The Paddington Survivors Group Support Site

After any accident, once the immediate pain and disruption has passed, your thoughts will turn to getting compensation for what you have been through.

You may have incurred extra costs such as taxi fares, or had clothing and equipment damaged. Worse, you may be unable to work or go about your normal routines.

The good news is that you will almost certainly be claim for these items. The best course of action is to obtain the services of a solicitor and get them to act on your behalf. However one worry is that if blame has not yet been accepted or apportioned there may be no-one to claim from. Again your solicitor can help here.

A claim will almost certainly be settled by an insurance company. It is wise to remember that these companies make money by calculating risks and setting premiums according to the loss (claims) they think they are likely to pay out on that risk.

The insurance companies aim quite rightly is to minimise the amounts they pay out - and this means the amount of money that you might get is at risk.

Sometimes people are offered a sum of money soon after an incident. You are strongly advised NOT to accept an offer direct from an insurance company until you have consulted a solicitor.

The amount of compensation you might be entitled to can vary considerably. There are tariff levels for injuries - you may be surprised to hear how low these are. The largest payments tend to be made when someone has been unable to work

Your claim will be split into two types: 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

'Special damages' are paid as compensation for financial loss caused by the accident. These include damage to clothes and other belongings, the costs of care, travel costs to hospital, and medical expenses and so on.

'General damages' are paid as compensation for an injury, for example, a payment for pain and suffering or loss of future earnings. The court will decide on the amount to be paid.

Whatever is finally agreed will be particular to your own circumstances. Discussing the state of your claim with others can work both ways. You may find it distressing, and comparing amounts, or you may pick up important hints about how other claims are going.

Remember, if your life has literally been turned upside down, your claim may be the foundation of the rest of your life. Take it very seriously.