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It means an accident that has caused someone a physical or mental injury. The injury needs to be more than something very minor to justify using a solicitor to bring a claim; but if you are not sure please ask and we will be happy to advise you.
The general rule is that the accident must have happened within the last 3 years BUT that is not always the case. For example if you are a minor (under the age of 18) you have until your 21st birthday to bring a claim. Other exceptions apply and if you are in any doubt about whether you may be able to bring a claim or not, just ask. You need to be able to prove that your injury has been caused by someone who was at fault in respect of something that they did or did not do. This is called liability. You are not entitled to compensation if no one was to blame for your accident. Unless the value of your claim is more than £1,000.00 then a solicitor will not be able to act for you and it is important that you should have, if at all possible, seen your doctor or been to the hospital as a result of your injury. Finally in most cases it is only possible to bring a claim if the person or organisation that caused your injury has insurance.
The best way to get things moving is to give us a call and we can arrange a free no obligation appointment for you either by telephone or in person.
For most claims, there is a statutory limitation period of 3 years means that you have to make a claim within 3 years of the date of your accident or the date when you realised that your injury could be someone else’s fault.
Children usually have until their 21st birthday as the limitation period does not start until their 18th birthday.
Some claims have different limitation periods (e.g. accidents abroad). You may need specialist advice. Even if you think you are out of time, it’s worth checking.
Much depends on firstly whether your opponent admits responsibility for your accident or not; if not then your case is likely to last a minimum of 12 months. Another factor to consider is the nature and extent of your injuries – it is generally not a good idea to settle a claim until you have made a full recovery from your injuries. So if liability for the accident is admitted early on and you recover quite quickly (for example a whiplash injury from a road traffic accident) then it might be possible to settle your claim within 6 months or so. More complicated cases will take longer.
No almost all cases settle out of court. As the legal process can be expensive most of the time insurers will take a fairly pragmatic view of litigation and will try to settle cases out of court. It is never possible to guarantee success – there is always risk in litigation so more often it is in everyone’s interest for a settlement to be negotiated out of court. That said there are some cases where that’s not possible and occasionally cases will proceed to a full hearing (called a trial) and you might have to give evidence at court – but there is no jury (that is only in criminal cases).
For most cases there is no fixed amount that you will receive for a particular injury. There are guidelines which are updated each year and lawyers will refer to those guidelines and previously decided cases to help them in valuing your claim for general damages. The term general damages means the compensation that you will receive for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your injury. You are also entitled to claim special damages – these are the financial losses that you have suffered as a direct result of the accident, plus interest. It may be difficult at first for your lawyer to advise you about the value of the claim because much depends on your injury, how it affects you and how long you take to recover from it.
As solicitors we are under a strict professional obligation to act in your best interests. We will explore all the possible funding options available to you which may include: –
• Legal funding;
• Legal expenses insurance;
• Trade Union funding;
• Paying privately;
• No win no fee.
We need to discuss all of these options with you to find out which one would suit you best. We will not automatically advise a ‘no win no fee’ agreement but if we do we will explain the nature of the agreement to you very clearly. Our responsibility is to protect your interests. If we do act under a ‘no win no fee’ agreement (called a conditional fee agreement) then your solicitor’s costs are only paid if you win your case. We would not get paid at all if you lose.
You may be able to make a claim on your son’s behalf. Even if the police decide not to prosecute, you should get expert advice because criminal proceedings are different from claims for compensation. You still need to prove that the driver was negligent, so a criminal conviction would help, but it is not essential.
Even though your son has until his 21st birthday to claim, it is important that you instruct a solicitor as soon as possible while the evidence is fresh.
We have dealt with many accident at work claims and completely understand how difficult it is to consider suing your employer. All employers should have public liability insurance in place and that insurance should meet your claim. Often clients will say that they would simply like to have their lost wages paid – but the law makes it clear that if you prove your claim you are entitled to full compensation both for your pain and suffering and your financial losses and otherwise you are entitled to nothing at all. If handled sensitively it can still be possible to remain at work and pursue a compensation claim.
No. Claiming compensation is ’all or nothing’ You can only claim compensation if you can prove fault (called liability).
If you establish liability then you are entitled to general damages, that is, compensation for your pain and suffering. You are also entitled to special damages which includes loss of earnings, travel expenses and so on.
So if you have a claim you may as well claim for everything as you only have one ’bite at the cherry’. Any settlement is generally full and final.