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Home > Personal Injury Glossary

Personal Injury Glossary

Please find below an explanation of some personal injury terms.  Please click on the links opposite to go to a particular term or click on the first letter of the alphabet for the term you are looking for.


Accident claim

Making an accident claim is the process of formally seeking damages or redress against a wrongdoer for any injury or loss that you may have suffered.


A mineral that is mined and is then crushed into fibrous material that has excellent heat and cold resistance. It was used extensively for heat insulation and protection. In industry generally, it is common in 3 forms namely blue asbestos (crocidolite), white asbestos (chrysotile) and brown asbestos (amosite). Asbestos is a dangerous material and can cause many different disabling lung diseases including a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma. There is no safe level of exposure.


Asbestosis is a disabling lung disease caused by the inhalation of large quantities of asbestos fibres. It can cause significant breathing restriction and death. It can lead to the development of the deadly asbestos cancer mesothelioma.


Industrial asthma is caused by exposure to and inhalation of harmful chemical, dusts, gases or substances that cause breathing disability.


Asthmagen is a chemical or substance that has a known propensity to cause Asthma

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Please see Solicitor and Barrister below.

Bladder Cancer

Cancer which develops in the bladder and is caused by exposure to chemicals and substances that have known carcinogenic properties.

Breach of Statutory Duty

A failure to comply with a legal responsibility or duty in an Act or Regulation passed by Parliament as part of the law of the land.

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A chemical or substance that is known to adversely effect human tissue so as to cause cancer and tumours to develop.


The Criminal Injuries Compensation Agency that will consider claims for compensation from the innocent victims of criminal assault.


The Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Panel


The process of formally seeking damages or redress against a wrongdoer for any injury or loss that you may have suffered.

Common Law Negligence

See contributory negligence below

Comprehensive Insurance

Insurance that covers all risks.

Contributory Negligence

This is where another party is principally responsible for the injury but where the victim is also partly responsible for causing the accident through their own actions. It is measured as a % and forms a deduction from any damages that may be awarded to the victim.

Congenial Employment Loss

If you do a job which is vocational such as a nurse, teacher, doctor, firefighter or a train driver, this is possible additional compensation you can claim if you are prevented from doing the job.


The solicitors and barristers fees, VAT and other expenses such as court fees and medical report fees necessary to run and prove the legal case.

Court Fees

The Court charge 'Court Fees' on a scale relating to the potential value of the claim for starting the court action and further Court fees are payable at the various stages throughout the court action.

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Financial recompense for injury and loss. See General Damages below.


Damage to hearing caused by loud machine or tool noise. See Tinnitus below.


Skin disease which is classified as industrial dermatitis where the victim has been exposed to chemicals, liquids or dust that has caused a rash or adverse skin reaction.


Disbursements are the additional fees charged by the doctors and experts involved in the case for the medical and other reports that are necessary to pursue the court case.


The Department of Work and Pensions formerly the DSS (Department of Social Security). Claims for benefits for disability following industrial accidents and industrial diseases as well as SSP after 26 weeks, incapacity benefits, attendance allowances and carers allowances can be made to the local office. There is also a 1979 workers compensation scheme that may pay compensation to victims of asbestos related disease where the employers have ceased to exist many years ago and where their insurers can not be identified.

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Family and Friends Trade Union Legal Schemes

Some Unions offer legal help and assistance to family and friends of Trade Union members as an additional service subject to terms and conditions.


These are the legal and other costs that arise in pursuing a legal case. They consist of the charges raised by the solicitor and barrister for the work that they do on your behalf.

Although seperate, this term can be taken to also include disbursements. Disbursements are the additional fees charged by the doctors and experts involved in the case for the medical and other reports that are necessary to pursue the court case.

The Court also charge 'Court Fees' on a scale relating to the potential value of the claim for starting the court action and further Court fees are payable at the various stages throughout the court action.

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General Damages

Money paid to compensate for pain and suffering, disability, or reduction in quality of life.

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See VWF / HAVS below.

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Industrial Disablement Benefit

Where there is disability assessed by the DWP doctors for an accident or disease, it may be possible for the victim to claim this benefit. There may be entitlement to other benefits in addition.

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Interim payments

If the person causing your injury accepts that they are liable to you or the Court considers this to be so, it is possible to obtain an interim payment on account of the damages that you may be awarded at the end of the case. The interim payment of damages may help with ongoing expenses such as loss of earnings, medical treatment and housing adaptation costs.

You do not have to prove or establish any financial hardship to ask or obtain an interim payment. It is meant to be a tangible recognition to the victim of the pain and losses suffered in the injury. The interim payment, however, will be taken into account at the end of the case and will be offset against the final award of damages.

It is possible to apply for any number of interim payments particularly when the injury is serious and the medical prognosis is uncertain. When there are medical and financial complications, the settlement of the case can be delayed, so interim payments can be of vital assistance.

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The time period that is imposed for the bringing of a court action following a claim. Time runs from the date of an accident or the onset date of a disease. This is normally 3 years for a personal injury in an accident / disease claim or 2 years for a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Agency. If there is no personal injury and it is a contractual dispute for example, it could be 6 years. Different time limits apply. A failure to commence a court action within the relevant period will mean almost certainly that the legal right to sue will be lost.

Loss of Earnings

If one can prove that an injury or disease has directly resulted in a loss of wages or salary, it may be possible to recover this against another wrongdoer in a civil claim for damages.

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Mesothelioma is a deadly form of asbestos related cancer that can be caused by just one microscopic particle of asbestos dust. There is no safe level of exposure. There is no cure.


The Motor Insurers Bureau that will consider claims for compensation for people involved in RTA’s (Road Traffic Accident) where the other driver causing the road accident is either untraced (stolen vehicle or just simply drove off without stopping to exchange details) or was uninsured or had no valid car insurance.

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Fault or wrongdoing where someone owes another person the duty to take care and not cause an accident or disease.

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Pleural Plaques

Damage or scarring caused by asbestos exposure that can be seen on X rays or CT scans which may not necessarily cause disability but indicate asbestos exposure and warns of the risk that the victim could develop more serious asbestos related disease.

Pleural Thickening

Inflammation and scarring caused by asbestos exposure which can cause breathing restriction and loss of lung function. It can progress and become disabling. There is also an increased risk of contracting the deadly asbestos cancer called mesothelioma.

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Risk Assessment

Employers of all sizes must assess and manage health and safety risks. The employers must ensure that the people carrying out risk assessments know what they are doing and are experienced to identify hazards. Once the risk assessment is completed, the employer must put in place measures to eliminate, avoid, limit or control the chance of injury. The employer must review the risk assessment on an ongoing basis to make sure that it remains up to date and effective and particularly where there are reports of accidents, near misses or complaints.


Repetitive strain injury or work related upper limb disorder caused by repetitive manual and strenuous physical work


Road traffic accident. The term covers car accidents, motorcycle and pedal cycle accidents as well as injuries to pedestrians.

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Solicitor and Barrister

The specialist lawyer that will prepare the case and the evidence on a day to day basis up to the Trial. The barrister is specially trained to present and argue the matter before the Judge.

Special Damages

Money paid to cover actual out-of-pocket costs, such as loss of earnings, loss of pension, damage to a car, clothing, medical bills, etc.


Psychological injury caused at work by excessive workloads, bullying or harassment.

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Third Party Insurance

Compulsory vehicle insurance to cover all other passengers and road users when an accident occurs. Generally, it will not cover injury to oneself or ones own vehicle.


A buzzing in the ears as a result of deafness and hearing damage caused by loud machine, tool or background noise.

Trade Union

A body or organization that seeks to protect and enforce the rights of its members and to improve their terms and conditions of employment.

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Union Legal Cover

Legal assistance and advice provided by Trade Unions to their members and families for accidents and diseases, employment based problems and many other personal issues. See Family and Friends Trade Union Legal Schemes.

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Vibration white finger or hand / arm vibration syndrome is a condition caused by prolonged use of vibrating air or percussion tools that can cause lasting damage to blood circulation and the structures of the arm.

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See RSI/WRULD above.

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