Personal Injury is a broad concept which may cover any type of physical, mental and emotional harm that is suffered by a person due to the wrongful act or omission of another person. Very often, people who suffer harm that can be reparable through a civil action are not fully aware of their legal rights and therefore they do not use all the available legal means that are available to them.
In Cyprus, Personal Injury law is covered largely by the Civil Wrongs Law, Cap.148, which codifies most of the principles found in English Tort law, which deals with negligence, personal injury and any other harm caused wrongfully to one person by another.
The most common situations where Personal Injury may occur are road traffic accidents, medical negligence, tripping accidents and accidents in the workplace.
II. Procedural steps
Where the potential defendant is insured, then the victim's lawyer shall as a first step contact the defendant's insurance company in order to negotiate a compensation reasonable for the injury sustained. This is most commonly the practice in road traffic accidents.
Where the insurance company does not offer a reasonable compensation or does not accept the liability of their client, then the victim's lawyer may file an action in Court. This is a civil action, based on Cap. 148 and dealt with at the District Courts in Cyprus. Such an action, according to various criteria set by the law, must be filed within a reasonable time period from the time when the injury was sustained.
III. Types of Damages
Damages that arise out of the situations described above vary in nature and severity. They may be minor injuries, life debilitating paralyses, mental harm or even death. In Cyprus Courts grant damages that fall into 2 categories: general damages and special damages.
General damages are awarded for a harm that cannot be quantifiable, such as bodily harm, emotional and psychological harm, pain, suffering, loss of amenity, damage to one's private and family life. The Courts have wide discretion in awarding such damages, and the height of compensation is determined by the Court according to the severity of the harm caused. For example, damages for a whiplash will generally reach about €1000-2000. However, a serious personal injury such as a disability or a loss of a vital organ will receive considerably higher compensation.
Special damages, on the other hand are awarded where the value of the loss as a result of the defendant's wrongdoing can be quantified. For example, where an injury causes the claimant to lose earnings or spend money for medical expenses These are measurable damages such as loss of earnings, medical expenses and any financial expenses incurred directly linked to the injury.
In rare occasions, courts may also grant punitive damages, where the behavior of the defendant showed grave disregard towards the claimant's rights as an individual, or increased damages, where the claimant has suffered humiliation as a result of the harm caused by the defendant.
Our firm can act for both claimants and defendants. We offer services in regards to all possible procedures relating to a Personal Injury claim, such as:
- Advice on how to best pursue a claim. Minor injuries and road traffic accidents are often settled out of court, while more complex injuries may require Court proceedings;
- Advice on the amount of damages to be claimed;
- Negotiating with insurance companies to reach to an out of Court settlement;
- Issuing or defending Court proceedings when out of Court negotiations fail;
- Managing the entire Court process until completion whether that involves acting for a claimant or defending a claim.
- Enforcement of a judgment for damages for a Personal Injury claim.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.