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If you’ve suffered an injury and would like to know where you stand on claiming compensation, call our legal helpline for a free assessment of your case on 0333 888 0408 or send a brief email to us at email@example.com
Alternatively scroll down to see the answers we have given to some of the most popular questions we get asked.
If you are injured because someone else is careless or fails to follow rules intended for your safety, then you may have a claim for compensation. Whilst each case is different, compensation could be claimed for injuries caused by:
- Someone else’s bad driving;
- Someone else’s carelessness at work;
- Someone else’s carelessness in a public place, such as a supermarket, a shop or a hospital;
- Badly maintained or defective machinery at work;
- Poor working practices, such as having to move heavy or awkward loads or not being provided with proper protective equipment;
- Tripping or slipping on hazards in workplaces or other premises;
- Tripping or slipping on hazards on the roads, pavements or other public areas;
- Poor medical practice or treatment;
- A dog or other animal.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. Injury claims can arise in all sorts of unusual circumstances.
Claims can also be made where the injury was intentionally inflicted, such as an assault or an abuse case.
You do not necessarily have a claim simply because you have suffered an injury. You have to show that someone else was at fault for your injury. If you are not sure whether you have a claim, you should always have a word with a good personal injury solicitor. We provide a FREE assessment service, so if in doubt, call or email us.
Some people are reluctant to make an injury claim, perhaps because they feel it is ‘not the done thing’; or that they may be seen as ‘money grabbing’; or because they know the other party well and feel it would be awkward. Reputable personal injury solicitors will never try to persuade someone to claim – but if you do have a valid claim, they are likely to advise you to pursue it, simply because the law is there to protect you. If you are entitled to compensation, you ought to claim. After all, you are the one who has been injured. Remember that in most cases compensation is paid by an insurance company, not by the defendant personally. That is why people and businesses pay their insurance premiums – for just such situations. So you should not feel awkward about bringing a compensation claim.
You can claim for virtually any injury that causes you pain, suffering or restricts your everyday ability in life. Obvious examples are physical injuries, such as fractures, burns, strains and sprains, tendon and ligament damage, cuts and scarring. Less obvious examples are depression, anxiety, phobias and psychiatric injuries.
In cases of head injury, there may be serious consequences that are not obvious to a casual observer, such as epilepsy, behavioural changes, memory and functional damage.
In clinical negligence cases, there may be worsening of a disease, failure to diagnose a serious illness leading to reduced chances of successful treatment, and/or incorrect medical treatment causing further injury.
When people make a personal injury claim they tend to focus on the compensation for the injury itself. Lawyers call this the “pain and suffering”. However, there are other elements to the compensation that can be recovered. Most financial losses and expenses that come about because of an injury are claimable and these can add up to a great deal of money. Typical examples include:
- Loss of pay while unable to work because of injury;
- Damaged personal items and clothing;
- Cost of medical treatment and similar care;
- Cost of travel to receive treatment at hospitals, GPs, physiotherapists or similar.
Claims can also be made for losses which are not immediately translatable into money, such as the value of care provided to you by family and friends whilst you are injured.
Where expenses continue into the future, these can be claimed as well, and in cases of serious disability, can add up to very large sums indeed.
There is no set ‘scale’ or ‘going rate’ for personal injury compensation. Each case will be valued on its own merits. The ‘pain and suffering’ element is assessed on the basis of independent expert medical evidence about the nature and extent of the injury. So once a medical report has been obtained then we are usually able to value the claim.
However, injuries do tend to fall into common categories, and you can check out our Compensation Calculator to see what your claim might be worth.
It must be stressed, though, that you cannot value a claim simply by looking at the injury description alone, because each injured person is different. A retired person who loses an index finger is likely to receive a lot less than a young professional concert violinist who suffered the same injury.
For that reason, you should never rely on ‘pub talk’ about what someone else’s uncle’s claim was worth, even though ‘his injury was just the same as yours’. You should get specialist advice from a good injury solicitor.
Again, because each case is unique this is almost impossible to predict. Much will depend on how serious the injury is, what its consequences are, how long it takes you to recover, and whether the other party’s insurers admit that they are liable for your accident or not.
Some cases are resolved quickly. Some can take six to 12 months. Others can take a lot longer, especially where ongoing medical treatment is required and the full consequences of the injury on the claimant’s life are uncertain.
However, where the other party has admitted liability, we can get you interim compensation if the claim is not likely to be capable of settlement for some time.
Almost certainly not. Nearly all injury cases will be settled by negotiation without having to go to court. However, if your case is one of the rare ones that does have to be decided by a judge, then you will probably have to go to court. Whilst this may be a daunting prospect, your solicitor will make sure that you are fully prepared long before that point and will explain to you exactly what will happen at court, so there is really nothing to worry about.
If we think you have a reasonable chance of succeeding in your claim, we can offer you a “no win, no fee” agreement (called a CFA) to pursue the injury claim. This means that if your case does not succeed, you won’t have to pay anything at all for the legal work that has been done. If you win your case, you pay a success fee, but the amount of this is limited by law. It can never be more than 25% of your compensation and it could be a lot less. See the answer to question nine for more details about how this works.
We also fund all the expenses of the claim such as the cost of a medical report.
When we take cases on under a CFA, we take the risk that we may lose the case and not get paid (although we don’t lose many!). If we lose a case, we receive nothing at all for the work we have done. We also fund all the expenses of the case ourselves and cannot recover these if you lose. To balance that risk, and to discourage ‘cherry picking’ of only sure-fire winners, solicitors charge a success fee if they win the case. The success fee is paid by the claimant and it comes out of their compensation. The success fee will vary in each case, for two reasons:
- The success fee percentage can vary from case to case, depending on how risky the claim appears when first taken on;
- The amount of work done will vary from case to case, so the success fee will be different in each case.
It cannot be stressed too strongly that the success fee is NOT based on the amount of compensation. The solicitor does not take a fixed percentage of your compensation. It is actually based on how much work has been done on the case to secure that compensation.
The success fee is calculated as a percentage of the costs, not the compensation. Furthermore, the law limits the success fee to a maximum of 25% of the compensation, so there can never be a situation in which you win your case, but then find all your compensation goes to your solicitor in paying the success fee.
You won’t receive any compensation, but under our “no win, no fee” scheme you won’t have to pay anything for the work we have done or the expenses we have incurred either. Nor will you have to pay the other side’s costs, unless the court decides your claim was fraudulent or was brought wholly unreasonably.
You don’t have to continue the claim if you really don’t wish to, but if the injury solicitors have done work under the CFA and still feel the claim has reasonable prospects, the solicitor may ask you to pay towards our costs if you wish to discontinue.
If formal court proceedings have been started, you cannot simply abandon the claim without good reason. In the unlikely event that you wanted to abandon a reasonable claim, your solicitor would advise you on the implications.
This simply means that both parties accept that each might be partly to blame for an accident and so they agree to share the blame. For example, if a 50/50 split is agreed, it means you would receive 50% of whatever your claim is worth overall. This is often called ‘contributory negligence’.
Your solicitor will arrange for independent expert medical evidence on your injuries, and that will usually mean going to see an expert. We always try to use suitable experts local to you to minimise inconvenience. Sometimes a degree of travelling is unavoidable if a specialist expert is needed, but we always discuss this with the claimant. In the most serious of cases, experts will be asked to visit you if you are unable to get to them.
The medical is much like a normal doctor’s appointment – an expert will ask you about your injuries, how they affect you and about any ongoing problems. Prior to your appointment your solicitor will provide the background to your case and the expert will also receive any relevant medical history from your notes. The expert will then examine you and send the lawyer a full report about the injuries and the degree of recovery.
We always send a copy of the medical report to claimants, with our advice on what it means and how it affects the value of the claim. In most cases, only one report is needed and it is possible to value and negotiate settlement of the claim immediately. With more serious or longer-term injuries, you may need to be seen more than once, to track the progress of your recovery.
Nearly all injury claims settle by negotiation, without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Most sensible insurers will take a practical approach to any claim. If they believe they will have to pay something in the end, then it is in their interests to pay as little as they can reasonably negotiate, and pay it as soon as they can. Contrary to popular belief, insurers do not like to spin claims out; there is no benefit to them in doing so. They want claims valued, paid, and off their books. The point of negotiations is to persuade them to pay at least as much as the case is reasonably worth, and if possible, rather more. Our injury solicitors have over 100 years’ combined experience in negotiating and we do it well.
Even if your insurance is fully comprehensive, it will not cover any claim for your injury or the expenses linked to it. These are “uninsured” items and it is your responsibility to make an injury claim. Your insurers will not undertake it for you. However, they may well help with damage to your vehicle, provision of a hire vehicle, and payment of other items if covered by your policy. Sometimes they will offer to put you in touch with someone that can make a claim for you, but we advise people to choose an independent solicitor who specialises in this field.
Yes, you can. The law provides for a suitable adult to help with claims on behalf of children (that is, people under 18), or those who have a disability which prevents them from dealing with a solicitor themselves. It will often be a parent or other close relative, or even a friend. The only significant difference with such claims is that any final settlement has to be approved by the court, to make sure the amounts involved are fair and reasonable.