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England v Scotland: What are the three key differences in making a claim?

With Scotland increasingly becoming a more popular destination for staycations for people from England, Hudgell Solicitors has taken the time to look at the subtle legal differences between the two countries.

Unfortunately, increased visitor numbers mean some people will have accidents which may lead to a claim for compensation.

Most people assume that, because they are both in the United Kingdom, when it comes to making a personal injury claim the laws of England and Scotland are the same, however this is not the case and there are subtle differences that people should be aware of between the two jurisdictions.

Here we set out the three key differences which could have a big impact on your success of making a claim for compensation or not if you were to suffer an accident while in Scotland.

1) Time limit for making a compensation claim

The general rule is that in England you have three years from the date of the accident in which to either achieve settlement or issue court proceedings as per the Limitation Act 1980.

The issue of court proceedings can be defined as placing papers into court and having them officially sealed by a court officer. Should you do neither of these things then you lose the right to bring a claim for personal injury compensation.

In Scotland, however, the time limit is governed by the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973. In this Act, the general rule is that you have three years from the date of the accident to issue and serve court proceedings.

2) Serving court proceedings in a personal injury claim

Under English law, the act of service of court proceedings can take place by posting, emailing or serving court proceedings against the proposed defendant direct, to their solicitors or at their last known address.

However, under Scottish law you must serve the court proceedings direct on the defendant. If you try to serve on the defendant’s solicitors this will not be valid.

3) Age from which a compensation claim can be brought

For claims involving children in England, the three-year period in which to bring a claim or achieve settlement does not start until they turn 18 years old.

However, this is different in Scotland where the three-year period starts at age 16.

Hudgell Solicitors comment

Anthony Hey, Litigation Executive in the Travel Team at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “On the whole, while there are marked similarities in the laws around bringing a compensation claim after a personal injury between England and Scotland, there are some very important differences that people need to be aware of to protect their claims.

“Should you suffer an injury whilst in Scotland it is important to seek expert advice from lawyers with experience in this area.”

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