1. Can I make a claim?
If you have been injured because of the fault of someone else, you can claim financial compensation through the courts.
2. Who can claim?
If you are the injured person, then you can claim on your own behalf. You would be identified as a "Claimant".
If the injured person is under the age of 18 the Court will appoint someone to claim on their behalf called a "litigation friend" â€“ this is usually a parent or close relative.
If the injured person is incapacitated and/or cannot make decisions for themselves the Court may appoint a "litigation friend". Again this is usually a close friend or relative.
If a claim is made on behalf of someone who has died their dependants and/or personal representatives have the right to make a claim.
The dependants and personal representatives (ie executor or administrator of estate) are sometimes, but not always the same person. For example: a wife whose husband has died will usually be a financial dependant and able to make a claim for loss of dependency in her own right.
The personal representatives (or any one of them) can make a claim on behalf of the estate and the dependants. However, whilst the financial dependants have the right to claim on their own behalf, they cannot make a claim on behalf of the estate unless they are appointed personal representatives.
3. Is there a time limit for making a claim?
Yes â€“ in most cases you have 3 years from the date of the accident to settle the matter or Court proceedings need to be issued. You can make a claim at any point during these 3 years, though generally speaking the earlier you consult a solicitor the better. However, if you do not settle the matter or issue Court proceedings within 3 years then you are too late to do so and your claim will become statute-barred. If there was no accident as such â€“ for example if you are suffering from an occupational illness such as stress at work, occupational dermatitis, deafness or asbestos related disease â€“ then you have 3 years from the date you first knew (or should have known):
4. What if the 3 years have passed?
Occasionally if there is a very good reason for the delay the Court will allow a claim to be made "out of time". However these instances are rare and it is a matter for the Courts discretion. The safest course of action is to bring a claim within the 3 year limitation period.
5. What is an injury?
Even if someone admits they were at fault, you can only claim compensation if you have suffered an injury (or illness) because of their fault.
Injury means physical or psychological harm. The injury must be more than minimal and you must suffer actual symptoms. Your solicitor will need to get a medical report to confirm that you suffered an injury and to tell the Court:
(a) what is the likely cause of the injury, and
(b) what is the extent of the injury.
6. What is fault?
You can only claim compensation if your injury was caused because of the fault of someone else. Someone is legally at fault (or liable) if they are negligent and/or if they break a law or regulation (known as "a breach of statutory duty"). Often the injured person ("the Claimant") will allege that the person at fault (the "Defendant") was both negligent and in breach of statutory duty.
7. What is negligence?
Negligence is usually defined as behaviour or conduct that is blameworthy because it falls short of what a reasonable person would do to protect another person from a foreseeable risk of harm. If an injured person proves that another person acted negligently and/or in breach of statutory duty to cause his injury, he can recover financial compensation (or damages) for his harm.Sometimes a person can be injured by an accident that was not the fault of anyone and there is no claim to be made. An example of this might be a car skidding on black ice where none was forecast. It can be difficult for the victim of an accident to come to terms with the knowledge that it was nobody's fault; this is particularly true if they have been very badly injured. It is not always possible for a claim to be made for injuries sustained in an accident.
8. What is financial compensation?
Financial compensation is money. Sometimes compensation is called "damages" and the amount of damages is called "quantum". These are legal terms that you may hear.
Financial compensation comes in 2 parts:
General Damages(This is the lump sum payable to compensate the Claimant for their pain, suffering and loss of amenity. The amount payable is dependant on the seriousness of the harm and the extent of the symptoms or disability. The general principle is, the more serious the injury the higher the award of general damages. Judges and solicitors refer to guidelines called "The Judicial Studies Board Guidelines" which are published annually and which classify awards for the most common injuries in a sliding scale of severity. To more precisely pin down the likely award of general damages, Judges and solicitors also refer to actual decided cases (known as case authorities or comparable authorities).
(ii) Special Damages
This refers to past and future financial losses that can be proved to be a consequence of the injury. The most common special damages claimed are lost earnings, cost of lost or damaged items, cost of medical treatment and drugs.
9. What is the process formaking a claim?
Why instruct a solicitor direct?
It is important to know that claims management companies do not pursue your claim for you. They are not allowed to and are not qualified to deal with court proceedings and as such cannot represent you if your case progresses to court. As soon as you instruct a claims management company, they will normally sell your claim to a firm of solicitors.
Claims management companies are therefore little more than the middle men, advertising for your claim before selling your details on to a firm of solicitors, often based on which firm is prepared to pay for the details rather than any analysis of who is the best firm to deal with the claim.
We advise you to cut out the middle man and deal direct with the solicitors who will fight your case.
Once you have asked us to act for you we will send you a Letter of Engagement. This is something all solicitors have to send to clients before carrying out any work for them. It summarises your instructions to us and the terms on which we will act.
The terms on which we will act will differ depending on whether you are a trade union member, eligible for public funding or looking to enter into a conditional fee agreement (also known as a "no win no fee" agreement).
10. What will we do when you instruct us?
We will take a statement from you as soon as possible. We may do this by telephone or arrange a face to face meeting.
Based on what you tell us, if we agree you have a claim, we will identify the likely Defendant (or Defendants) and send a Letter of Claim. The Letter of Claim is usually fairly detailed and its format and content must comply with the relevant "pre action protocol".
A pre-action protocol is a framework set down by the Ministry of Justice governing the dealing between the parties (The Claimant and Defendant) up to the point of issue of proceedings.
Once a letter of claim has been sent the Defendant has 21 days to acknowledge receipt and a further 3 months to complete their liability investigations. When replying the Defendant must either admit or deny fault. If fault is admitted then you have effectively won your claim and we can go on and investigate how much compensation you are entitled to be paid.
If the Defendant denies fault or partially admits fault they must firstly give full reasons for their denial and secondly disclose any relevant documents. Having considered the Defendants response and their documents we will either advise you to press on with your claim and we will carry on investigating liability and fault issues on your behalf, or we will advise you that your case is not likely to succeed and should be discontinued.
11. What is a partial admission?(Contributory Negligence)
Often a Defendant will admit they were at fault, but deny that the accident was wholly their fault. Instead they will allege that the Claimant was partly to blame for their injuries
â€“ this is known as an allegation of contributory negligence. It is a very common allegation for Defendants to make in personal injury cases and if upheld by the Judge will result in a reduction in the amount of compensation payable that is equivalent to the degree of fault attributed to the Claimant.
For example if a Claimant is injured in a road accident caused by another driver driving into the back of his car (a rear end shunt), and he was not wearing a seatbelt at the time, the Defendant will allege and the Court will agree that there should be a 25% reduction in the compensation awarded. This is because it is accepted by Judges that the Claimants injuries would not have been so severe had he been wearing a seat belt.
12. What is expert evidence?
In personal injury cases it is always necessary to obtain an expert medical opinion to advise the court precisely what injury the accident caused, and what the long term effects are likely to be. The expert's duty is to the Court not to the party instructing him or her. Where injuries are serious or complex more than one expert medical report will often be needed. Sometimes medical evidence cannot be obtained immediately because treatment or recovery will be ongoing, or it may simply not be possible to give a long term prognosis until a certain amount of time has passed since the injury. It can be hard for Claimants to understand why their claim is being delayed; it can also be frustrating for the solicitors since often matters are out of their hands. Occasionally a non-medical expert will be instructed to advise the Judge on a specialist area such as accident reconstruction. The principle is the same â€“ the expert's duty is always to the Court. Once final medical evidence is available and agreed it is usually possible to advise how much compensation is likely to be awarded and at this point an offer to settle can be made by either party.
13. What if the case does not settle?
If deadlock is reached or if the 3 year time period is about to expire, then we will recommend that Court proceedings are issued.
14. What is a list of documents?
A list of all the documents that a party intends to rely on in support of his or her case.
15. Is it your
Own fault or not?
If you have injuries from an accident and it is your own fault, then you are usually not entitled to compensation but are usually entitled to something.
16. What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a term that describes injury to the neck that occurs as a result of a motor vehicle or car accident. The most common type of car accident is the rear impact, and most typically, the occupant in the vehicle that gets "rear-ended" (hit from behind) is at the greatest risk of injury, including whiplash.
What Is Now Known about Whiplash
Until recently, the reason for the extent of whiplash injuries was poorly understood. In addition, due to the legal and insurance issues, the veracity of complaints of neck pain and other symptoms by people who suffer from whiplash is commonly viewed as suspect.
However, recent research has helped clarify why occupants struck from behind experience more extensive whiplash injuries than those in other types of crashes. This new information is important for the physician treatingwhiplash pain, as it impacts the physicianâ€™s case management strategy.
Related Whiplash Symptoms/Conditions
Whiplash injuries can be quite complex and may include a variety of related problems, such as:
Joint dysfunction. As a result of the whiplash, one of the joints in the spine or limbs may lose its normal resiliency and shock absorption (referred to as the joint play), possibly leading to restricted range of movement and pain.
Disc herniation. A whiplash accident may injure the discs between the vertebrae, lead to small tears and cause the inner core of the disc to extrude through its outer core. If the disc's inner core comes in contact with and irritates a nearby spinal nerve root, a herniated disc occurs, with symptoms possibly including sharp, shooting pain down the arm and even neurological symptoms like numbness, tingling and muscle weakness.
17. I have a question that is not listed in the FAQs state.
If you were not able to find your question or answer in the list of FAQs please dont hesitate to call us on 0627444269 or email us at email@example.com
We will do our best to answer your question as soon as possible.