Serious injury claim FAQs

Serious injury claim FAQs

Frequently asked questions about making a compensation claim

Will it cost me anything to make my claim?

There are various funding options available to help you to bring a serious injury compensation claim. If you do not have existing legal expenses insurance or any other pre-existing funding, then we can discuss acting for you under a “no win no fee” or Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which will enable you to bring a claim for damages without incurring expensive legal costs.

What is “no win no fee” compensation claim?

A “no win no fee” agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), is a method of funding a compensation claim. The solicitor works without payment from the client and claim their costs from the other side if they are successful. If the claim is unsuccessful the solicitor will not be paid.

To reflect the risk that lawyers take of losing the case and not being paid, they are entitled to charge clients a “success fee” which is payable out of client damages. This new regime was implemented by the Government on 1 April 2013. All CFA agreements entered into after this date may provide for a success fee which is payable out of the compensation recovered for the client.

The success fee is capped at a maximum of 25% of general damages (a rounded sum of compensation in respect of pain, suffering and loss of amenity), and past financial losses. The success fee will not apply to future financial losses (which often comprise the largest proportion of damages, as the losses can extend over a lifetime).

The percentage amount of the success fee is designed to reflect the risks in the case, and the lawyer’s risk of losing and not being paid. In many cases, the risk will reduce as the case goes on, particularly if the opponent admits liability. The amount of the success fee will depend on the individual circumstances of each case and the stance adopted by the other side.

Will I receive 100% compensation?

As a consequence of legislative changes implemented by the coalition Government on 1 April 2013, Claimants in England & Wales may have to make a contribution to the costs of pursuing of their claims. The old regime under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement (“no win no fee” agreement) provided that Claimants received 100% of compensation and the Defendant paid the legal costs. This is unfortunately no longer the case.

All Conditional Fee Agreements (“CFA”) entered into after 1 April 2013 may provide for a success fee which is payable out of the compensation recovered for the Claimant.

The success fee is capped at a maximum of 25% of general damages (a rounded sum of compensation in respect of pain, suffering and loss of amenity), and past financial losses. The success fee will not apply to future financial losses (which often comprise the largest proportion of damages, as the losses can extend over a lifetime).

The percentage amount of the success fee is designed to reflect the risks in the case, and the lawyer’s risk of losing and not being paid.

Can you take over from my current solicitors?

If you have concerns about how your current solicitors are dealing with your claim, first raise your concerns with them to try and resolve any issues. If you still have concerns regarding time delays or the handling of your claim, then you may wish to seek the advice of other solicitors.

We will be happy to discuss your claim with you, so that you can make an informed decision about the future handling of your case. If you decide to change solicitors and ask us to take over conduct of your claim, we will obtain your current solicitor’s file of papers to avoid delays and will ensure your case is handled by an appropriate solicitor.

Can I instruct who I like?

Yes, it is your claim and you should instruct the solicitor of your choice with appropriate experience in relation to your injuries and individual needs. If you have legal expense insurance, for example with a motor vehicle policy, this insurer is likely to steer you towards one of their panel solicitors. You are however entitled to instruct whoever you like. Your insurer may agree to the instruction of this firm.

It is essential to ensure that someone with the appropriate expertise deals with your claim.

When can I make a claim?

The sooner you make your claim, the better. Broadly speaking, under English law you have three years from the date of your accident, to bring court proceedings against the Defendant. It is therefore in your interest to instruct a solicitor sooner rather than later, to ensure they have adequate time to investigate your claim before initiating court proceedings.

If you delay instructing a solicitor evidence could be lost, memories may fade, witnesses may become untraceable, and as a consequence, it may be more difficult to prove your claim.

This rule does not apply to children, who can proceed at any time up until their 21st birthday. There are different time constraints that may apply if your accident occurred outside of England and Wales or if a defective product is involved.

How can I get financial help whilst I am unable to work?

If you have suffered a serious injury, it is unlikely that you will be able to immediately return to work following your accident, which often creates financial problems. We can request an interim payment on your behalf from the Defendant insurer to ease financial pressures and allow you to concentrate on your rehabilitation. We can also advise in relation to state benefits that you may be entitled to.

How will my immediate care and treatment needs be met?

We will arrange for an immediate needs assessment report, which will be prepared by a medical professional experienced in the management of serious injuries. This report will set out your treatment needs and priorities. Thereafter, if appropriate we will instruct a case manager to co-ordinate your care and treatment needs. In the vast majority of cases, the cost of this will be met by the Defendant insurer.

How much compensation will I receive?

The level of compensation you will receive will very much depend on the seriousness and duration of your injuries plus the effect they have on your everyday life and future. It is often the case that we won’t be able to accurately value your claim until we have sought independent medical evidence from medical professionals, experienced in dealing with your specific injuries.

When will I meet my solicitor?

In serious or complex injury cases, we will usually arrange to visit you and or your family in person at the onset of the claim. This will ensure you are able to ask any questions you may have and put a face to the person who will be dealing with your claim. It also allows us to obtain all the necessary details we require to start investigating your claim.

How long will my claim take?

This is usually determined by the medical evidence. Once we have a final prognosis, we can assess the value of your claim and attempt to settle it by negotiation. Alternatively we can ask the court for a hearing to assess the value if agreement cannot be reached with the Defendant insurer. If you are still undergoing operative intervention 5 years post-accident for example, to seek to settle the claim before the final outcome is known would be premature and would risk settling your claim before its full value is established. Ultimately however, this is a matter for you and if you instruct us to settle your claim at an earlier stage, we will try to do so.

In serious and more complex cases duration of the claim is determined by many factors including length of recovery, duration of treatment, stance of the Defendant insurers and the timetable the Court imposes on your case.

Straightforward road traffic accidents with a value under £10,000 and little or no issue with liability can be settled within 4-6 months.

Will I have to go to court?

It is always possible that your case might end up in court and it is important to prepare for this possibility throughout the running of your claim. However, in reality, very few claims go to trial, most claims settle through negotiations with the other side without ever reaching a court room. However, if we cannot achieve appropriate compensation for you through negotiations we will take your case to court with your agreement. See how we’ve helped our clients.

Will I have to meet the Defendant?

This depends on your case but in the vast majority you will not meet the individual Defendant concerned at any stage unless your case goes to court. The majority of Defendants are insured against claims and we therefore deal with their insurance company and lawyers appointed by their insurance company. In some situations you may end up having to meet the Defendant, for example, if liability is disputed and the Judge has to decide whose evidence he/she prefers, in fatal cases where there is an inquest or in Health and Safety cases where there is an HSE prosecution. If we are acting for you in such a case, we will assist and prepare you for what to expect before any inquest, hearing or trial.

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To talk to us about claiming injury compensation, call us now on 0800 316 8892 or contact us online.

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