Personal injury Q&A

Why should I claim?

Most people who make a personal injury claim do so reluctantly. Very little is generally known about the process and there have been many negative news stories in the press in recent years. Claims are progressed through the insurers and not directly with the responsible party.

Why do I need a solicitor?

You need professional legal advice to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation due to you. Insurers will attempt to settle your claim at an early stage and often before you have been able to instruct a solicitor. They do this to save legal costs which they otherwise would have to pay and to also secure the lowest settlement award possible.

How long will the claim take?

This depends on the type of claim, but some can conclude within 6-9 months. Only a very small proportion will ever make it to court. In the UK, less than 2% of claims actually reach a trial.

How long do you have to make your claim?

A personal Injury claim must either be resolved within three years of the date of injury, or proceedings must have been commenced at court within that time period. In certain claims, for example, clinical negligence and Industrial disease claims, the three year time limit runs from the date that you first became aware of the illness, disease or negligent act suffered.

What is the Personal Injury Protocol?

All claims in England & Wales are subject to certain rules which both solicitors and insurers must follow during the course of a claim. The protocol ensures that both sides act fairly and responsibly and it prevents delay in the progression of the claim.

How do I start a claim?

You do not have to make a claim directly to the responsible party. We will take instructions from you as to the circumstances of the accident and the extent of your injuries. We will then send a “Letter of Claim” to the insurers, which sets out why the claim is being brought and what injuries have been suffered.

When will I know that the insurers are prepared to deal with my claim?

Under the Personal Injury Protocol, an insurer is allowed a period of three months to investigate the claim and then either admit or deny liability for your injuries. If liability is to be denied, the insurer must supply evidence in support of their arguments. They cannot simply refuse to deal with your claim.

Will I have to be medically examined?

In order to prove that you suffered an injury as a result of the accident, you will have to attend a medical examination by an independent doctor in your locality. Following the examination, a report will be prepared. The report is essential as it describes the injury suffered and confirms when or if your recovery is likely and forms the basis for the award of damages. There is no need to be concerned about the examination; the doctors that we instruct are friendly and sympathetic and most examinations take no more than 20 minutes.

How much compensation will I receive?

The value of your claim will be based on the medical evidence. No claim is settled without your specific authority to do so. This ensures that you keep absolute control of your claim. Compensation is generally divided into two parts:

  • General Damages

These are damages for pain and suffering including the loss of the ability to do certain tasks, hobbies etc. This award compensates you for the suffering you have encountered usually in its physical form e.g. whiplash, broken leg, strained muscles etc. However, it is also possible to be compensated for psychological distress and conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

  • Special Damages

You will also receive compensation for specific quantifiable losses attributable to the accident. These include loss of earnings, car hire expenses, care and services, extra expenses (e.g. travel costs incurred going to doctors, hospitals, etc,) damaged clothing, and prescription charges. All we ask is that you keep a note of any expenses, and preferably receipts so that when we eventually calculate your claim for special damages, we will be able to include all relevant items.

If the injuries were the result of a criminal attack then you might be able to claim from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Autority (CICA). We have devised a CICA calculator to give victims an idea as to how much compensation they could be entitled to.

Can I get any financial assistance as the claim progresses?

Where liability is not in dispute, it is possible to arrange for an interim or early payment for certain losses e.g. loss of earnings. All interim payments are deducted from the final damages award.

What costs will be deducted from my damages?

If the insurer admits liability and agrees to deal with your claim, they will also meet part of your legal fees. A recent change in the law means that a deduction will also be made from your damages award to cover the costs of running your claim.

What is “No win No fee”?

If we do not win your case then we do not have any right to recover our fees from you. If we do win your case, then as explained above, the insurers will pay part of those legal costs. You do not have to make any payment to us for legal fees during the course of the claim.

What about payment of medical report fees etc?

We will cover the cost of all expenses incurred in pursuing your claim whether they are medical fees, court fees, barrister’s fees, or other related expenses.

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