Personal Injury & Accident Claim Advice FAQ

DMA Law are dedicated to providing the best possible service to our clients. We believe the best form of communication is by speaking to you either face to face or via the phone. The advantage of modern technology is that we can provide the same high level of service not only to clients local to us but also to clients throughout the country.

The following list of questions and answers provides a list of common queries if you wish to read on. However, please do feel free to pick up the phone or request a call and we can talk specifically about you and your claim.

All our advice is free and with no obligation.

Is there a time limit for making my accident claim?

Yes. Generally Claimants in personal injury cases have 3 years from the date of their accident within which to settle the claim or issue Court proceedings.

An exception to this rule is in the case of children – see separate section relating to children’s injury claims below.

If you do not claim within that time your claim will be deemed to be statute barred (out of time) and you will lose your right to compensation.  Obviously your Solicitor will need to do quite a bit of work before it is necessary to issue Court proceedings.  Most personal injury cases are dealt with without going to Court and the earlier you make the claim the better.

Please click the links below for advice tailored specifically to suit the type of accident you have been involved in.

+ Road Traffic advice

+ How long will my personal injury claim take?

If an RTA accident is straight forward and the client’s injuries are not severe then the electronic claims process can be used (please see Claims Process section at the bottom of this page for further information). Liability can be established very quickly and medical evidence obtained within 6 weeks to two months following the accident. This would mean that we would expect to conclude the claim within three to four months.

Claims can of course take longer if there are issues regarding liability or where they are claims of substantial value. Claims for children also take longer due to the need to get Court approval of the settlement.

+ How much compensation will I get?

The value of the injury element of a claim (known as general damages) depends on the nature and severity of the injury suffered. The period of time for which the client has symptoms is an important factor in the valuation of the claim. In road traffic accidents most claims have a value for the injuries suffered of between £1,000 and £5,000 but the value can of course be much higher in cases of serious injury.

The general damages are only one element of the potential value of a claim as in addition to damages for the injury itself any losses or expenses arising out of the accident and injury can also be claimed.

Every claim is different so why not give Ian Wanstall at DMA Law a call and we will do our best to give you an indication of what your individual claim might be worth.

+ I was in a car accident where my husband was the driver and was at fault, can I claim for my injuries?

The answer is yes you can. As a passenger in or on a motor vehicle you are entitled to claim against the driver/rider if they are at fault for the accident and you have been injured.

+ My five year old son was injured in an accident where he was the passenger in a car, can he claim?

A person under the age of 18 cannot make a claim themselves but a claim can be made on their behalf by an adult who is described as the child’s “litigation friend”.

Children’s claims are also different in that any settlement of a claim for a child has to be approved by the Court. Once the settlement is approved the money is paid into the Court where it remains, gaining interest, till the child is 18.

Don’t be discouraged if this seems daunting. At DMA Law we have dealt with many claims for children and will guide you through the steps that have to be taken.

+ I had a car accident four years ago which wasn’t my fault can I claim for my injuries?

Generally the answer is no. There is a three year time limit from the date of the accident within which a claim for personal injuries must be concluded or proceedings issued if not the claim will be out of time and will fail. There are very limited exceptions to this rule but it is very rare for an injured party to be able to rely on these exceptions.

Children’s claims are different in that the three year time limit does not start to run until the child’s eighteenth birthday i.e. when they become an adult. A person injured as a child will have until their twenty first birthday to make a claim.

+ I was a passenger on a bus that ran into a car, can I make a claim for my injuries?

As a passenger in or on a vehicle you can make a claim. The only thing we would need to establish is if the accident was the fault of the bus driver or the car driver. A claim can be brought against either the bus company or the car driver or both if they were both to some extent responsible for the accident.

Claims for passengers on busses are dealt with by the electronic claims process details of which are set out in the Claims Process section at the bottom of this page.

+ If I make a claim will I have to go to Court?

It is extremely unusual for it to be necessary to commence Court proceedings in straight forward RTA cases. Even if it is necessary to commence Court proceedings there are a series of procedural steps that have to be taken before a case actually goes to trial and in the majority of cases where proceedings are commenced the matter settles before it gets as far as a trial.

The simple answer therefore is that whilst it cannot be absolutely ruled out it is very unlikely that by making a claim the client would have to go to Court.

The exception to this is, of course, children’s claims where there is always a Court Hearing for the Court to approve the settlement. We would emphasise that the Hearing is in the Judge’s office and not in a formal Court. Judges are very pleasant to members of the public and no one should have the slightest concern about attending the brief Hearing for the Court to approve a Child’s settlement.

It is also interesting that at Stage 3 of the claims process is that even though the Court is involved in deciding the value of a claim, it is generally done by the Judge alone reviewing the papers in the case and there is no need for the client or indeed the solicitor to attend.

+ Since I was knocked off my bike by a car I have been having private physiotherapy treatment, can I claim back the cost of this?

If the medical evidence in your claim confirms that the physiotherapy was necessary then there is no reason at all why this cost cannot be claimed back.

As an alternative DMA Law can arrange rehabilitation treatment for a client on the basis that the client does not pay for it and the cost is recovered directly from the other side. In appropriate cases treatments such as physiotherapy can be arranged quickly after the accident when the treatment will be most effective. As it is private treatment the client can have the treatment where and when it is most convenient for them.

+ Will I receive all of my damages?

Due to recent changes in the law where a claim is dealt with on a CFA basis (no win, no fee) there will be a deduction from the clients damages for the success fee and any insurance premium. Whilst this is unfortunately unavoidable at DMA Law we will always restrict the amount to be deducted from the clients damages as much as we can. The law provides that the absolute maximum that a client has to pay out of their damages is 25% of their damages. In other words whatever the arrangements the client will always receive at least 75% of their damages.

+ Due to the injuries I received as a passenger in a car I have had to take three weeks off work. Can I recover my lost earnings as part of my claim?

Lost earnings are a very common item to claim as part of a claim. Provided that we can obtain documents to prove the loss of earnings then we can certainly claim them back.

+ Since my accident I have had problems with doing household chores and my family have had to help me. Is this something I can claim for?

Where you require assistance with jobs that you would have done yourself before the accident then this is something that can be claimed for. Even where the assistance you have had has been given free of charge by family members or even friends an amount can be claimed for this.

These are called “Care and Assistance” claims and the amount is calculated by working out how much time others have spent providing assistance and then applying an hourly rate to this.

If someone has been paid to carry out work for an injured person, for example a gardener, then the actual amount paid for this service can be recovered.

+ How much will it cost to me to make a claim?

If a claim is successful then some of the cost of pursuing the claim are recovered from the other side. If the claim is funded by a CFA (No Win, No Fee Agreement) then the client will have to pay a contribution to the costs out of their damages. the contribution cannot be more than 255 of the clients damages. If a claim is unsuccessful then the funding arrangements that DMA Law use means that you don’t have to pay our costs. The other side’s costs, if there are any, will be covered by insurance.

The net result is that whether you win or lose you will not have to pay the all the costs of your claim and, as indicated above, you will receive at least 75% of your damages.

+ My insurers say that I must use their solicitor to pursue my personal injury claim is this correct?

No it certainly is not correct. Some insurers want you to refer your claim to solicitors chosen by them as they often have commercial arrangements with the solicitors. If you want to use a different firm, for example DMA Law to handle your claim, then there is nothing to stop you doing so.

Through our contacts with other companies we can arrange a replacement vehicle for you and for your vehicle to be repaired to avoid paying your excess. Even if you are fully comprehensively insured you do not have to have your car repaired through your own insurers where you would have to pay your excess and your insurance premiums may be temporarily affected.

If you are involved in a road traffic accident that isn’t your fault call DMA Law first and we can help you with all aspects dealing with the accident not just your personal injury claim.

+ I was the driver of a car involved in an accident but my two passengers were also injured, can we all use the same solicitor?

If it is clear from the accident circumstances that there is no question of the driver of the car being in any way to blame for the accident then a solicitor can act for the driver and the passengers.

If at the start, or later in the claim, it becomes clear that the driver might be to some extent to blame for the accident then a solicitor can only act for the driver or the passengers. If the solicitor is already acting when this comes to light the solicitor must cease acting for either the driver or the passengers or both. This is due to a conflict of interest having arisen since the passengers might have a claim against the driver for all or part of their damages.

If you are in any doubt as to whether there may or may not be a conflict of interest then give DMA Law a call and we will be happy to advise you free of charge and without obligation.

+ I have been injured in an accident but I’m not sure whether it was my fault or the fault of the other driver, what should I do?

Contact DMA Law and we will be very happy to advise you free of charge and without obligation. Some road traffic accidents can be quite complex and a solicitor will be able to advise you on liability in more complex or unusual situations.

Even if you are partly to blame for the accident it may not prevent you from making a claim so why not give DMA Law a call or send us an email.

+ How does the claims Process work?

At the end of April 2010 a new electronic claims process was introduced for all road traffic related claims valued at £10,000 or less which has since increased to £25,000 or less. As specialists in road traffic accident claims DMA Law are very familiar with the electronic process and have successfully run large numbers of claims through the process.

The claim is started by submitting electronically to the other side’s insurers a form called a Claims Notification Form (CNF).

When we take initial instructions from our client we obtain the information that we need to complete a hard copy of the CNF. This is sent to the client for approval and signature.

Once the CNF is returned and the client is happy with the contents we then put all the details onto the electronic form and submit it to the other side’s insurers.

The submission of the CNF starts Stage 1 of the process which is where the other side consider liability. The other side have 15 working days to consider liability and if they are satisfied that they are liable for the accident they will confirm that liability is admitted electronically.

If liability is not admitted at this stage the claim leaves the electronic process and is dealt with in the traditional paper based way which unfortunately can take much longer.

If liability is admitted at Stage 1 we then decide by talking to our client when it is best to arrange for our client to be examined by a medical expert and a report produced. During this period we will also ascertain from the client what other losses or expenses they have incurred as a result of the accident.

Once the medical report has been approved by the client we carry out the exercise of valuing the claim for injury related damages (known as general damages). Once the valuation is agreed with our client we can then move to Stage 2 of the electronic process.

At Stage 2 of the process we complete a form giving all the details of our client’s claim and attach to the form electronic copies of all documents relating to the value of the claim. The Stage 2 form is then submitted electronically to the other side with our client’s offer to settle the claim.

The other side can then either accept the offer put forward or make a counter offer. Generally there are a number of offers and counter offers made on the electronic portal until a final figure is arrived at which our client is happy with and then the claim settles.

There are both time limits for individual stages within this part of the process and an overall time limit but these can be varied by agreement when necessary. Generally the Stage 2 process does not take longer than 2 to 3 weeks and once it is completed successfully the insurers will send out a cheque for the client’s damages which is forwarded to the client on the day of receipt.

If agreement cannot be reached at Stage 2 of the process then there is a further stage, Stage 3. Stage 3 is a simplified Court process which results in a Judge deciding the level of damages to be paid either on paper or at an oral Hearing.

The Stage 3 process is quite straight forward but as it involves the Courts it can take several months before a Court decision is received. Stage three is not used very much as the vast majority of claims settle at Stage 2.

+ Accidents at Work

+ What constitutes an accident at work?

People at work can suffer tripping and slipping accidents, lifting accidents, accidents involving defective or inappropriate equipment, falls from heights and even accidents caused by fellow employees. All of these can cause injuries that may give rise to a claim.

The accident may occur on your employer’s premises but not necessarily. If the accident does not occur on your employer’s premises what matters is that the accident occurred while you were in the course of your employment. Wherever you are if you are doing work for your employer then your employer owes you a duty of care to ensure that you are safe while you are doing your employer’s work.

Recent changes mean that all claims for accidents at work with a value of up to £25,000 are dealt with electronically in the same way as road traffic accidents.

+ Was my employer responsible for my accident?

The duty owed by an employer to an employee to ensure the safety of an employee whilst they are at work is the most complex and rule governed of all relationships where a duty is owed by one party to another.The law around accidents at work is substantial and complex and only matched by the sheer variety of ways in which people can potentially be injured in the course of their work.If you are injured in an accident at work, unless the accident was entirely your own fault, it is entirely likely that your employer will be responsible.

+ What happens if my accident was caused by a fellow employee?

If your accident was caused by a fellow employee you can still make a claim against your employers as they will be held responsible for the action of their other employee (vicarious liability) and they will have insurance to cover this type of claim.

+ Will it affect my job if I make a claim against my employer?

Many people hesitate when it comes to making a claim against their employer and, in some ways, this can seem understandable. The days of having to put up with unsafe working conditions, however, are long gone. The very least any employee can expect is a safe working environment and, if this hasn’t been provided, then it’s only fair that you should seek compensation.

It is against the law for your employer to penalise you in any way for such a claim, and any compensation awarded will be covered by insurance and not be taken from your boss’s pocket.

+ What should I do now that I have had an accident at work?

To help your case, you should

a) Report the accident to your employer.

b) Make a note of your accident in the accident book if there is one. If there is no accident book write down brief details of the accident and send it to your boss. Make sure to keep a copy for yourself. If you can’t report the accident because you are too ill, try to get someone else to do this.

c) If you’ve had an accident, you should see a doctor even if your injury doesn’t seem too serious. This is so the doctor can record the medical details of your accident.

d) Take names and addresses of witnesses to the accident.

e) If you are intending to claim expenses such as prescription costs and travelling expenses as part of your compensation claim, remember to keep receipts as evidence.

+ Will I have to undergo a medical examination?

Yes. If your injuries are sufficient to cause you pain and suffering it will probably be necessary for you to be examined by your GP in relation to your injuries immediately following your accident and you may need some ongoing care in the time following your accident.

An examination by your own GP will be insufficient for the purposes of your claim. You will almost certainly have to undergo at least one formal medical examination as part of your personal injury claim. Depending on how recently your accident occurred it may be necessary to wait for some time before an examination is arranged to allow your injuries to settle so that an expert can give an accurate prognosis for your recovery period. The Doctor we arrange to examine you will be asked to prepare a report on the nature of the injuries suffered, the consistency with the expected type of injuries given your accident circumstances and a prognosis on your recovery period. He/she will not offer any medical treatment although it may be recommended that you follow a course of physiotherapy or you may need to be examined again by a more specialist expert but if this is necessary we will make the arrangements for you.

We have access to Doctors throughout the whole country and will do our utmost to ensure that any medical appointment arranged is at a location in your local area.

+ Is there a time limit for making my claim?

Yes. Claimants in personal injury cases have 3 years from the date of their accident within which to issue Court proceedings. If you do not claim within that time your claim will be deemed to be statute barred/out of time. Obviously your Solicitor will need to do quite a bit of work before it is necessary to issue Court proceedings. Most personal injury cases are dealt with without going to Court and the earlier you make the claim the better. If in doubt give us a call on 0191 375 3938 or 1019 375 3939

+ How long will it take to settle my case?

It is far more difficult to predict how long it will take to settle an accident at work claim than it is for a straightforward road traffic accident claim. The reason for this is that the types of accident which occurred and the nature of the injuries suffered is endless. However, in a straightforward case, dealt with via the electronic system, where evidence is available and liability is admitted quickly it is possible to settle an accident at work claim within 4-6 months.

Your claim may take longer if liability is not as clear cut.  High value accident at work claims are dealt with differently from RTA claims and the time limits allowed for your employer to make their investigations is much longer. They have 3 months from the letter of claim to make their initial response and if liability is not admitted further time will be needed to obtain additional evidence and possibly expert opinions in support of your claim.

We will, however, keep you fully informed of the progress of your claim at all times and you will always have the direct dial number of the fully qualified Solicitor who will be dealing with your claim.

+ Will my claim succeed?

Your chances of a successful claim will be based on if you are able to prove that your injuries were caused as a direct result of the negligent acts or omissions of your employer who owed you a duty of care.

The key to success will be evidence. If we can show that your accident was due to the fault of your employer by providing evidence to prove what happened then your claim should succeed.

There is never any guarantee that any claim will succeed but if you come to DMA Law then your claim will be dealt with by a fully qualified Solicitor with many years’ experience in this type of work. We have a proven track record in this specialist area of law.

One thing is certain. If you do not make your claim or if you leave it too late you will not receive any compensation for your injuries.

+ How much money will I get?

It is impossible to tell at this stage. You may have noticed many personal injury website which have “calculators” to show you how much you claim is worth. We do not operate this system as we believe it serves little purpose and indeed can be very misleading for claimants. Each claim is individual and no one will really know how much your claim is worth until medical evidence is obtained and we obtain details of all heads of damages e.g. loss of earnings, assistance with household tasks while recovering from your injuries etc. We can assure you, however, that if we handle your claim we will recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you.

+ Since my accident I have had problems with doing household chores and my family have had to help me. Is this something I can claim for?

Where you require assistance with jobs that you would have done yourself before the accident then this is something that can be claimed for. Even where the assistance you have had has been given free of charge by family members or even friends an amount can be claimed for this.

These are called “Care and Assistance” claims and the amount is calculated by working out how much time others have spent providing assistance and then applying an hourly rate to this.

If someone has been paid to carry out work for an injured person, for example a gardener, then the actual amount paid for this service can be recovered.

+ How much will it cost to make a claim for an accident at work?

The vast majority of accident at work cases are funded on a “no win, no fee” basis. We know these agreements as Conditional Fee Agreements. This form of funding will ensure that your claim can be pursued without risk of your having to pay out anything unless your claim is successful and you receive compensation.

There are changes in the law which came into effect on 1st April 2013 which will affect funding for all accident claims but when you contact us to discuss your potential claim we will explain in detail the best form of funding for you, taking into consideration the new rules, to ensure your claim can be pursued without have to pay the other side’s costs.

Alternatively, if you already have Legal Expenses Insurance which would cover accidents at work then this insurance will fund the claim.

Our initial advice is always free and the easiest thing to do is to give us a call and we can discuss matters in more detail taking into account your individual circumstances.

+ Will I have to go to Court?

Only a small percentage of personal injury claims brought will actually proceed to trial but it may be necessary for us to issue Court proceedings if the claim cannot be settled amicably – especially if your accident happened some time ago and we need to protect your claim from becoming time barred.

The current system of personal injury claims aims to encourage parties to be open with each other and in the vast majority of cases claims are settled without going to Court. This saves both time and costs.

There are, however, a number of cases that do go to trial. Cases tend to go to Court for one of two reasons:

1. The defendant does not accept liability (or legal responsibility) for the accident and therefore does not accept that they should have to pay any compensation.

2. The defendant might have accepted liability (or legal responsibility) for the accident, but the parties cannot agree on the appropriate level of compensation, so they go to Court in order to a Judge to make a decision on the level of compensation that should be awarded.

Often cases settle once the Defendant realises that the claimant is not simply going to go away and rather than risking losing at trial the Defendant may make an offer simply to save costs in the long run.

If this does not happen and your cases does go to trial you can be assured that we will do our utmost to make sure that the procedure is as painless as possible for you.

If it is necessary for your claim to be settled by the Court a lot of people are naturally nervous and uncomfortable about going to court. We understand this and will advise you every step of the way, should your case reach a trial.

+ Other Accident Claims

To make a successful personal injury compensation claim after a slip, trip or fall, you would need to prove that another person was responsible for your personal injury.

+ Was someone else responsible for my accident?

If you trip in a public place as a result of your own clumsiness then there’s very little you can do other than dust yourself down and try not to do it again.

If your trip, slip or fall was caused by someone else’s failure to ensure a safe environment then you may be able to make a claim.

+ Who was responsible for my accident?

Depending on where your accident occurred you may be able to make a claim against the local council if your accident occurred in a public place (public liability) or the person who was in control of the land or building if your accident occurred on private land or premises (under occupier’s liability).

In simple terms, however, if you were injured anywhere other than your own home or land you may have a claim. The easiest way to check if you have a claim is to give us a call.

+ Who is responsible if I’ve slipped on any icy pavement or car park?

It is the legal duty of your local authority to keep the roads and pavements safe at all times. In winter, this can often involve ensuring that they are free from ice and snow. If they have had sufficient time to clear such ice but have failed to do so, they are failing in this duty. If you then slip on the ice and injure yourself you have every right to make a claim.

+ Will I automatically succeed if you slip on a pavement or car park that has been icy for a couple of days?

The answer is not necessarily – it all depends on the knowledge of the defendant. It is important to remember that Local Authorities have hundreds of miles of pavements and road to maintain and the law allows them to rely on a regular inspection and maintenance routine. If they have carried out and documented a reasonable inspection routine, making necessary repairs etc. as they are documented, they may be able to successfully defend the claim. When you have your accident, however, it will be impossible to know what inspection routine the Council had in place and therefore whether they knew and had time to act before your accident. The only way to find out is to contact us and allow us to make a claim and then review the inspection records which they will be obliged to send to us.

If, however, you slip in a supermarket car park which was icy but not cleared or gritted within a suitable time scale you may have a much greater chance of success. The reason for this is that the supermarket staff will have been on site and known about the ice and snow and in most cases should have taken appropriate action before you injured yourself.

+ I slipped on a grape in a supermarket – do I have a claim?

Technically yes. Success will depend on how long the grape had been there and where it was in the supermarket. The obvious place for a grape to land is in the fruit and vegetable section but it is possible that it could have fallen out of someone’s basket somewhere else in the store which is less likely to have slipping hazards and it would be reasonable for the supermarket to have a less rigorous inspection routine in those other areas.

You may have noticed that many supermarkets now have anti slip matting around their fruit and vegetable sections to avoid slipping problems. It is also likely that they will have regular patrols near the health and beauty and household detergent sections as customers regularly open bottles to smell the contents then fail to reclose the bottle properly. This causes a potential hazard for the next unsuspecting customer who picks up that product and lays it in their basket unaware that the top is not secure. They can then leave a trail of slippery substance as they progress around the store. Patrols are likely to be less rigorous in areas where only dry materials are stacked.

The success of your claim will depend on whether or not the supermarket had a reasonable inspection routine in place and whether or not they carried out their inspections as planned and acted promptly on any hazards located. Again the only way to know if you claim will succeed is to allow us to make a claim on your behalf so that we can inspect the supermarket’s inspection records for the time in question.

In order to assist your claim it will be important to know the exact time your accident occurred, details of any witnesses, which members of staff were notified of the accident and any other information you can obtain which will help identify the length of time the hazard had been there before your accident.

+ I was talking on my mobile phone and not concentrating on where I was going when I tripped over a hazard. Do I have a claim?

Possibly but you may be held to be partly responsible. Although the owner of the land or premises has a duty to ensure your safety you should not forget that you also have a duty to take care of yourself and to pay attention to where you are going and what you are doing. Your claim may succeed but it is possible that a deduction will be made for “contributory negligence” i.e. that you were partly to blame for the accident yourself. Do not let this prevent you from making a claim as we will be able to negotiate the percentage reduction and keep it to a minimum for you.

+ Can I claim for a fall at work?

Many people hesitate when it comes to making a claim against their employer and, in some ways, this can seem understandable. The days of having to put up with unsafe working conditions, however, are long gone. The very least any employee can expect is a safe working environment and, if this hasn’t been provided, then it’s only fair that you should seek compensation.

It is against the law for your employer to penalise you in any way for such a claim, and any compensation awarded will be covered by insurance and not be taken from your boss’s pocket.

Find out more in our accident at work claims section.

+ What happens if my accident was caused by a fellow employee?

If your accident was caused by a fellow employee you can still make a claim against your employers as they will be held responsible for the action of their other employee (vicarious liability) and they will have insurance to cover this type of claim.

Find out more in our accident at work claims section.

+ What should I do now that I have had a Slip, Trip or Fall?

To help your case, you should

a) Report the slip, trip or fall accident to the staff or owner of the premises at the time.

b) Make a note of your accident in the accident book if there is one. If there is no accident book write down brief details of the accident and send it to your boss (if at work) or to the owner of the premises. Make sure to keep a copy for yourself. If you can’t report the accident because you are too ill, try to get someone else to do this.

c) If you’ve had an accident, you should see a doctor even if your injury doesn’t seem too serious. This is so the doctor can record the medical details of your accident.

d) Take names and addresses of witnesses to the accident.

e) If possible take photographs of the area where the accident happened. In cases involving badly maintained pavements, it would be advisable to put a ruler or 50p/10p beside the defect before you take the photograph to give an idea of depth / height.

f) If you are intending to claim expenses such as prescription costs and travelling expenses as part of your slip, trip or fall compensation claim, remember to keep receipts as evidence.

+ Is there a time limit for making my claim?

Yes. Claimants in personal injury cases have 3 years from the date of their accident within which to issue Court proceedings. If you do not claim within that time your claim will be deemed to be statute barred/out of time. Obviously your Solicitor will need to do quite a bit of work before it is necessary to issue Court proceedings. Most personal injury cases are dealt with without going to Court and the earlier you make the claim the better. If in doubt give us a call on 0191 375 3939.

+ Will my claim succeed?

There is never any guarantee that any claim will succeed but if you come to DMA Law then your claim will be dealt with by a fully qualified Solicitor with many years’ experience in this type of work. We have a proven track record in this specialist area of law.

One thing is certain. If you do not make your claim or if you leave it too late you will not receive any compensation for your injuries.

+ How much money will I get?

It is impossible to tell at this stage. You may have noticed many personal injury website which have “calculators” to show you how much you claim is worth. We do not operate this system as we believe it serves little purpose and indeed can be very misleading for claimants. Each claim is individual and no one will really know how much your claim is worth until medical evidence is obtained and we obtain details of all heads of damages e.g. loss of earnings, assistance with household tasks while recovering from your injuries etc. We can assure you, however, that if we handle your claim we will recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you.

+ Since my accident I have had problems with doing household chores and my family have had to help me. Is this something I can claim for?

Where you require assistance with jobs that you would have done yourself before the accident then this is something that can be claimed for. Even where the assistance you have had has been given free of charge by family members or even friends an amount can be claimed for this.

These are called “Care and Assistance” claims and the amount is calculated by working out how much time others have spent providing assistance and then applying an hourly rate to this.

If someone has been paid to carry out work for an injured person, for example a gardener, then the actual amount paid for this service can be recovered.

+ How much will it cost to make a claim?

The vast majority of trip, slip or fall cases are funded on a “no win, no fee” basis. We know these agreements as Conditional Fee Agreements. This form of funding will ensure that your claim can be pursued without cost to you unless your claim is successful and you receive damages.

There are changes in the law which came about on 1st April 2013 which will affect funding for all accident claims but when you contact us to discuss your potential claim we will explain in detail the best form of funding for you, taking into consideration the new rules, to ensure your claim can be pursued without have to pay the other side’s costs.

Alternatively, if you already have Legal Expenses Insurance which would cover your accident then this insurance will fund the claim.

Our initial advice is always free and the easiest thing to do is to give us a call and we can discuss matters in more detail taking into account your individual circumstances.

+ Will I have to go to Court?

Only a small percentage of personal injury claims brought will actually proceed to trial but it may be necessary for us to issue Court proceedings if the claim cannot be settled amicably – especially if your accident happened some time ago and we need to protect your claim from becoming time barred.

The current system of personal injury claims aims to encourage parties to be open with each other and in the vast majority of cases claims are settled without going to Court.

+ Children’s claims

+ My child has been injured in an accident, what should I do?

In the eyes of the law, a person is considered to be a minor until he or she reaches the age of 18 and therefore their claim will be dealt with differently from your own claim. Different rules apply and the time limit for making a claim is also longer. It is very important that you consult a Solicitor as soon as possible to protect the child’s interests.

Litigation friend
As your child will not be deemed to be capable of making decisions in relation to their own claim we will ask you to appoint a responsible adult who can act on their behalf. This person will be known as a Litigation Friend and we will liaise with that person to bring the personal injury claim on the child’s behalf. This person is usually a parent but can be another relative or family friend as long as they can show that they would have the child’s best interests at heart. The Litigation Friend must have no interest in the compensation claim. In some cases it may not be appropriate for the parent to be the Litigation Friend for example, if the parent was driving the car which caused the accident. In that case there would be a conflict of interest between the child and the parent and we will ask you to suggest someone else.

Time limits
In most personal injury cases, a 3 year limitation rule applies. This means that court proceedings must be started within 3 years of the date of the accident. However, in cases involving children, this ‘limitation period’ does not start to run until the child reaches 18 years old. Having said that it always best to bring the claim as soon as possible so that evidence is still available and before memories fade.

Acceptance of an offer to settle in a child’s case
Although we will ask you to appoint a Litigation Friend to assist in bringing the claim for the child and will ask that person to approve any offer which we deem acceptable any agreement between us, the Litigation Friend and the insurers for the Defendant will not be binding until it has been approved by the Court. This Court approval protects the interests of the child but also protects the other parties involved. Unless the value of the claim is extremely small and the likelihood of the child having a relapse or not having made a full recovery in the first place is extremely remote Court approval should be obtained to protect everyone involved.

The Court will look at all the medical evidence obtained and details of any financial losses as well as advice from a Barrister (or Solicitor if low value) and will also wish to meet the child before giving approval of the settlement. This is the case even if the level of personal injury compensation was settled without commencing formal court proceedings.
We would emphasise that the Hearing is in a Judge’s office and not in formal Court. Judges are very pleasant to members of the public and no one should have the slightest concern about attending the brief Hearing for the Court to approve a child’s settlement. On the day of the Hearing we would ask the Litigation Friend to attend the Court with the child and the Solicitor dealing with your claim will also attend to explain the process and assist in any additional technical questions the Judge may have.

Investment of compensation for children
Once the court has approved the amount of the child’s compensation claim, the money will be invested in the Court Funds Office where it will earn interest until the child reaches 18. The money and any interest accrued will then be released once the court has seen the child’s birth certificate and a copy of the Order containing details of the settlement reached.

It is possible, in certain circumstances to obtain some of the compensation money before the child reaches the age of 18. However the court will only release the money if it is satisfied that the child has an immediate need and the expense is necessary and the money will be used only for the child’s benefit.

Any other questions?

The types of accidents and injuries which you could suffer from are endless. The easiest way to know if you have a claim is to give us a call. Our initial advice is always free. Call us on 0191 375 3938 or 0191 375 3939.