Here's a simple, plain speaking guide to no win no fee compensation claims for personal injuries in the UK. If you have been injured and wish to make a claim then this document will make essential reading.
If you wish to make an enquiry about your own case – please contact us today. Law Society Accredited Solicitors & members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
Most claims for injury inevitably revolve around accidents. Without stating the obvious there are many different types of accident but regardless of how a person came to be injured you can only claim compensation if someone else (or a company, organisation etc) was to blame for your injuries. It is of course possible that your own injures were not accident related but due to other causes i.e. Industrial disease etc.
You will most commonly hear the term “Negligence” used to describe blame following an accident. In real terms negligence can be defined as “The failure to use the reasonable care that a prudent person would have used under the same or similar circumstances.” If you feel that your injuries were caused by or contributed to by another person, company or organisation then you may be able to make a claim. If on the other hand you fall over in your back garden playing football with the kids, there will be a very remote possibility of a claim.
Do not miss your claim time limit – more here on working out how long you have to claim compensation for negligence.
In order to claim for personal injuries there has to have been a clear injury that preferably has been subject to medical treatment of some kind. If you heal very quickly (within days) then it will not be possible to instruct a solicitor to represent you because legal costs cannot be recovered. However this does not preclude you from claiming from the negligent party personally. If a period of pain and suffering extends beyond a few weeks then generally speaking you can and should pursue your case.
Most people are critical of others who make claims for compensation. They are considered to be out for a fast buck. The alleged compensation culture has fed this misconception and helped to put off many deserving accident victims. Yes there is a monetary award to gain and yes this may motivate some people to make their claim. However the vast majority of people that we deal with are genuine victims who have every right to compensation and of equal importance they can also obtain vital treatment (physiotherapy etc) that they may not otherwise have access to.
Don’t lose out on your compensation because you hear others complain or put you off – you are the injured party, not them.
We can help you with:
Don’t be the victim twice over!
The more serious the injury the longer a claim is likely to take. If you have been involved in a serious accident you could make a claim for serious personal injury through our experienced solicitors. Find out how compensation for serious injuries is calculated by reading our in-depth guide and what you should do following a serious accident.
If a member of your family has died as a result of a fatal accident, which was due to no fault of their own, you may be entitled to make a Fatal Accident Claim to be able to secure compensation. If you or a family member was dependant on the finacial support of the victim you could make a dependants claim. You can also make a victims claim for compensation if they had suffered distress, emotional or physical pain prior to death. There is a separate statutory award for bereavement applicable in certain circumstances.
Now that you’ve considered the above points, we can deal with the key questions that people ask before deciding whether or not to pursue a claim. [click on a question]
No. You can make a claim directly with an insurer however we would strongly advise against doing so. Whilst you would expect us to make such a statement, it is simply not in your interests to approach an insurer direct in the majority of personal injury cases. Most insurers will attempt to get rid of your claim as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Their staff are not employed to hand out cheques, they are there to save the insurer money. Whiplash claims can be particularly easy for insurers to settle and many will be ruthless in "managing" your claim A solicitor can be instructed on “No win no fee” (see “can I afford a solicitor) and you can be certain that the outcome of your claim will be satisfactory.
Like most law firms we work on a “No win no fee” basis. This means that if we lose the case we do not charge you – regardless of how much work has been done on the case. If we are successful in claiming on your behalf then our costs will be met by the insurers for the negligent party, however they will not meet our "success fee" which must be met by you the claimant – capped at 25% of your damages. So be aware that the insurers for the responsible party are duty bound to meet the costs of pursuing a justified claim against one of their policyholders. So in summary yes you certainly can afford a solicitor. Call us now on HELPLINE TBA to discuss your case.
It is true to say that there is some initial inconvenience when you make a claim. But there is far less hassle than most people actually believe. With our service you simply complete an application form to get the claim started. We then explain the no win no fee agreement to you (if this is applicable) and following the signing of the documents, commence your case. In the majority of cases you are asked to visit a local medical doctor who will assess your injuries and report back to both your solicitors and the insurers for the liable party. This report will form the basis for any compensation that is agreed. The medical assessment usually takes around 15 minutes. Hassle wise – that really is it.
The law requires in the form of the limitation act that a personal injury claim must either be resolved within 3 years from the date of injury, or that proceedings have commenced at Court within that time period. There are very few exceptions to this rule. Most claims are concluded within 9-12 months and only a very small proportion will ever make it to court (see below).
It is very unlikely that you will ever have to go to court to settle your case. Fewer than 2 or 3 % of claims will require a trial. It is not in the insurers interests to settle compensation in court because this means they are liable for legal costs on both sides. The vast majority of claims for personal injury are settled outside of the court process with legal action rarely being required.
This can depend on the injury sustained and whether liability is in dispute. Most claims for soft tissue injuries settle within 8-12 months.
You can still claim if you were partly responsible for an event occurring. You may be guilty of “contributory negligence” whereby you contributed to the event but if there were other factors that may be considered primary causes (such as the negligence of another person, company, organisation etc) then you should still be able to pursue your case.
There are two main types of claim award in personal injury matters;
General Damages: An award for pain & suffering including loss of amenity. This award compensates you for the suffering you have encountered usually in its physical form e.g. whiplash, broken leg, strained muscles etc but can include psychological injuries.
Special Damages: These damages relate to out of pocket expenses (past or future) including but not limited to – loss of earnings (also bonuses or overtime) car hire expenses, care and services, extra expenses ie; travel costs incurred going to doctors, hospitals, etc, damaged clothing, prescription charged etc.
This question cannot be answered with any real certainty because each and every case is different. To generalise most soft tissue injuries will heal within 12 months and such a claim would mean around £2000 would be paid in compensation. More info on injury claim valuations can be found here.
That’s the easy part! There is a huge amount of information available on the web regarding accident claims and in addition you have the benefit of being able to contact dozens of law firms to seek advice from.
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