The process of a personal injury claim
The personal injury claims process depends on a number of factors, such as the type of claim, and the value of your injuries. However, we aim to make the process run as smoothly, and as quickly as possible for you.
When claiming compensation for a personal injury, the following is a step by step guide to what you can expect when starting the personal injury claims process;
- When you contact us, our team will take your personal details, and take some details about your accident/injury. We will pass this information on to one of our expert No Win No Fee Solicitors, who will then contact you to discuss whether you have a potential claim.
- The time limit for making a personal injury claim is 3 years from the date of the accident for an adult Claimant, or 3 years from the date of the 18th birthday for a child.
- The Solicitor will take as much information as possible from you, in order to determine whether you have a claim that is likely to be successful. This will depend on whether it is likely you can prove (on the balance of probability) that the person responsible (the Defendant) owed you a duty of care (or relevant statutory duty), that the Defendant was in breach of that duty (negligence), and that the breach caused you injury and any losses which were reasonable foreseeable (i.e. a reasonable person could (or should) foresee that such injury/loss may occur as a result).
- You will be sent any necessary documentation for your claim, and your file will be passed to an experienced file handler or solicitor who will deal with your claim. You will be asked to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement, which is a funding agreement with the Solicitor agreeing that you pay no costs upfront, and the Solicitor is only paid in the event of success of your claim. The Solicitor then deducts a success fee (usually 25%) out of your compensation payment. So if your claim is unsuccessful, you’re not left with a bill for legal work.
- You will also be asked to send your Solicitor any documentation you have that relates to your claim, along with any evidence of losses. You can claim for general damages (for your injuries) and special damages which are economic losses such as loss of earnings, and property damage.
- Your Solicitor will gather evidence to support your claim, including contacting any witnesses, and obtaining as much information as possible from you. When this has been completed, the Defendant will be notified that a claim is being made against them. This will either be the person who is directly responsible, an insurance company, a public body, or a company.
- A medical appointment will be arranged for you, with an independent medical expert. The medical expert will prepare a report on your injuries, and provide a prognosis of when you recovered or will be expected to recover from your injuries. In some cases depending on your injuries, you may be referred for another medical expert to prepare a more specialized report (such as a psychologist). The Solicitor may require your medical records, so these will then be requested from your GP or Hospital. If you require any treatment such as physiotherapy, this can also be arranged for you to start as soon as possible, to help you with your recovery.
- The Defendant is given a short period of time to respond to the notification of the claim, which varies depending on the claim type. The Defendant may request further documentation/information on the claim, and they will have to provide any information or documentation that may be requested by your solicitor.
- Personal injury claims are governed by a set of rules, called the ‘Pre Action Protocol’. This encourages information to be exchanged quickly, and promotes settlement without the need for the claim to go to court. The Pre Action Protocols set specific time limits that must be followed by both parties throughout the process. The Court can issue sanctions upon parties for not complying with the Protocols; however your Solicitor will be highly experienced in this area.
- The Defendant can either admit fault for your accident/injuries (that they are liable), or they can defend all or part of your claim. If liability is admitted, then your medical evidence will be finalized, and your Solicitor will negotiate with the Defendant to try and reach a financial settlement for your claim. Your medical evidence will be disclosed to the Defendant, and your Solicitor will likely make an offer to the Defendant stating how much you would be willing to settle your claim for. The Defendant may accept the offer, or could make a counter offer, which your Solicitor will discuss with you.
- If the Defendant denies that they are liable, then they must give reasons and provide supporting documentation relating to why they feel they are not responsible. Your Solicitor will then conduct any necessary investigation to dispute their reasons, and to try to make them admit liability. Your Solicitors will be well experienced in handling personal injury claims, so will be highly trained in how to prove your claim.
- If liability for your claim is denied, or settlement is unable to be reached, then your Solicitor will consider issuing Court Proceedings. If your Solicitor feels it is necessary, and the prospects of your claim succeeding in Court are higher than 51%, then proceedings will be issued, and your claim may be dealt with in Court by a Judge.
- If your claim is issued, then the Court will set Directions as to how the claim is managed and you will receive a trial window. If your claim goes to Court, it is unlikely that you would need to attend, as this is normally a paper exercise where all the information is looked at by a Judge, who then makes a decision on the issues that remain in dispute. However, there is a chance that you would have to attend Court and give evidence. This will be discussed in more detail with you if your claim is likely to go to Court.
- Once a settlement is reached (with or without Court proceedings), your compensation will usually be paid to you within 21 days of settlement.
Usually most cases settle without the need for Court proceedings. The ‘No Win No Fee’ Solicitors will keep you fully updated throughout your claim, and will aim to achieve the best settlement for you as quickly as possible. Call us to discuss starting your claim today.