What is “pre-action disclosure”?
Sometimes, we need the other side, or in some case a third party, to disclose certain documents for us to decide whether your claim is likely to be successful. For instance, if you have slipped in a supermarket, we may want to obtain their cleaning and maintenance records before advising you whether we think they have acted reasonably or not. If the other side refuses this documentation, we can ask the Court to make an order that they disclose it to us for this purpose. That is known as a Pre-action Disclosure application
Why do I have to see a doctor who isn’t treating me?
We need to obtain an independent opinion from a doctor who has not been involved in treating you and who is experienced in supplying “medico-legal” reports on which we will base the valuation of your claim for General Damages.
Can instructions be by email?
Yes. The speed of email is clearly going to cut down on the time it takes to deal with your claim. however, we may need certain documents signing and sending by post. We will supply a pre-paid envelope.
It’s all a bit daunting
Most things are when you have no knowledge of them. We are experts at what we do and we will guide you through the claim process. We aim to make the journey as easy and painless as possible.
What if my claim is unsuccessful?
If we are unable to negotiate personal injury compensation on your behalf, or if a Judge decides you have no claim, or we advise you that for some reason your claim no longer has reasonable prospects of success, you will not have to pay our fees.
Is making a claim a difficult procedure?
Not for us. We have been doing this for many years. Yes, there are protocols and procedures to comply with, but the Ministry of Justice is keen for cases to proceed as quickly as possible and so that is one of our over-riding objectives.
Will I have to go to Court?
By far, the majority of Personal Injury claims settle without having to go to Court- 95% of the time. If there are arguments on who was to blame and no compromise can be reached (we will not suggest a compromise against your best interests) then it may be necessary to attend a hearing. Don’t worry, we will look after you. That’s what we are here for.
Is there a simplified claim process?
Yes. The Ministry of Justice has recently opened a web-portal where recent claims can be submitted. Whether the claim stays in that regime depends on whether liability is denied by the other side, and whether compensation amounts can be agreed. All round, it’s much easier than it used to be.
How much will I receive in compensation?
We will need a medical report with a final conclusion before we can let you know what amounts to proper personal injury compensation. Lawyers refer to what is known as ‘Heads of Damage” when compiling claims. This means that you might have a claim that includes different elements.
Common examples of these are:
- Pain, suffering and loss of amenity for the pain and restrictions on your activities.
- Loss of earnings – income loss caused by your injury.
- Care and assistance – for the help received from family and friends with things like housework that you cannot do because of your injury.
- Handicap on the open labour market – for the risk that your injury might make it harder for you to find a job if you lose your current employment.
There are many others, and new types of claim arise all the time. As long as you can prove that the claim was caused by the personal injury, you can argue that you should be entitled to recover compensation for it. If you have suffered any loss whatsoever, don’t feel bad about asking if you can include it in your claim.
What are Special Damages?
Any financial losses which can be linked to the accident. Loss of earnings damaged clothing/items etc. Receipts are sometimes necessary. Don’t throw anything away if it is remotely connected with the accident or your claim!
What are General Damages?
Not so complicated! Damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (loss of comfort/convenience/quality of life) all make up General Damages. Just think of it as compensation for the injury and how it has affected you in the past and if it will in the future,
How long will my claim take?
This really is the “piece of string” question! The answer is that while we will do everything to ensure your claim is dealt with as quickly as possible, inevitably there are procedures to be followed and protocols to be observed.
As a general rule of thumb, if you were involved in an accident and your personal injuries were not very severe, you could expect that it will take 3 to 6 months, if liability is not in issue and the medical evidence supports the fact that the claim can be settled. More serious injuries take longer to heal obviously and we can not settle your claim until we are sure we know the longer term diagnosis.
How can I help support you in making my claim?
Always keep us notified of a change of address, email or new telephone numbers. Please provide a prompt response to our requests for information or instructions. We may ask you for your instructions in writing as we will need to keep a record for our file. Email is fine. You don’t have to write a letter.
Why do you ask for instructions in writing?
“If it’s not written down – it didn’t happen” is an old saying used by lawyers. We have to be sure that we have understood your instructions and that we have a record on our file so that there can be no misunderstanding. So please, where we ask for you to write to us, please do so. We can supply you with a pre-paid envelope or you can use email
Do you get paid if I lose my claim?
No. We take your case on a No win, No fee arrangement. Basically, we are prepared to risk not getting paid if we don’t recover some compensation for you.
How do you get paid?
Since a change in the law in 2013 you are not able to recover all your fees from the other side. We can recover some of our fees by the Insurers for the other side but the balance of our fees are paid by you once we have recovered your damages. However, we will guarantee to cap our fees to the equivalent of 25% of any damages you receive, so you will always get 75% of your damages as a minimum.
Do I have to pay the other side’s fees if I lose?
No. We will arrange an insurance policy on your behalf, at no cost to you, to ensure that the other side’s fees are covered in the event that you lose.
The papers sent to me are confusing. Can you explain?
Our Regulations say that we have to give you a lot of the information in our letter and Terms of Business. It’s the same for most professional service firms these days. Regulatory bodies, quite rightly, want to protect members of the public from entering into Agreements where they are unaware of some of the issues. If you have any concerns or don’t understand something, discuss it with our agent when they visit or please contact your appointed lawyer team and they will help you.
What is No win, No fee?
Basically, we decide whether we will take your claim on the basis that if we are unsuccessful in getting you compensation, we will not get paid. That shows how much confidence we have in you and in our ability as lawyers.
What if I change my mind?
If we have decided to take your Personal Injury claim on a Conditional Fee Agreement (No win, no fee) then we have already decided we will risk not getting paid if we are unsuccessful in getting you compensation. So, if we decide to take that risk on your claim, we want you to be committed as well. If you decide that you don’t want to proceed, after signing the Agreement, we will have to bill you for our services to that point.
Tell me about your rehabilitation services
We can provide rehabilitation services through a national medical agency. They are a proactive rehabilitation company offering the complete spectrum of rehabilitation and treatment services necessary to return you to as near to your pre-accident physical and psychological condition as possible.
Early rehabilitation is widely recognised as playing an essential part in returning an injured person to their pre-accident condition. Rehab offers the opportunity for you to have access to appropriate treatment at a convenient location whilst by-passing NHS waiting lists.
The Rehab Network
Assessment and treatment is provided through a network of practices on a fully nationwide basis, all Physiotherapists are fully trained and are members of the Institute of Chartered Physiotherapists.
The Rehab Network delivers:
Full clinical governance and treatment protocol management in line with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists guidelines.
Guaranteed appointments within 48 hours of referral.
Well appointed facilities with access to specialists, imaging and rehabilitation and onsite parking.
The size of the network ensures that you will be offered treatment within a 15 mile radius of your home.
Can I get physiotherapy?
This is dependent on medical advice. In whiplash claims early physiotherapy may be beneficial in some cases, but not in others. It depends on the injury. We will ask our team of physiotherapists and triage nurses to assess your requirements. For further information on this process, please see our “rehabilitation after an accident” section.
What if the claim is defended?
The rules require that your opponents have a period of time in which they can make investigations and either admit fault or deny it, or say it was partly their fault. Since April 2010, if you were injured in a road traffic accident, that time period is only 15 days, for any other claim it is 90 days.
Just because your claim is defended in the first instance does not mean that you will lose. Insurance companies will do all they can to try to deny responsibility or reduce the amount of compensation they are obliged to pay. That is where our expertise comes in. We know all the tricks! It is our job to get them to admit responsibility and pay you compensation.
What if the accident was my fault?
The question is, was it all your fault? In some cases, liability is apportioned between the two parties, and you can still claim compensation for the damage caused by the other person.