One of the things that can put people off making a personal injury claim, when they’ve been injured in an accident that was not their fault, is that they simply don’t know where to start!
The very thought of having to deal with solicitors at a law firm and to go through the claims process can be so daunting that many give up and don’t make a claim at all. That’s a decision that they may later regret, particularly if the injury turns out to be more serious than first thought.
or any other type of claim that has resulted in you suffering a personal injury or industrial disease such as Asbestos Disease. In each case, the process to be followed is similar albeit with some accident type-specific differences.
Be Honest: Exaggerating the extent of your injuries or other losses would be dishonest and jeopardise your claim.
Since one of the things that may be putting you off making that call to a personal injury law firm, is that you are worried that you will forget everything you want to say about the accident or that the solicitor will ask you lots of questions that you can’t answer, it’s a good idea to jot down some notes about the main points you can recall about the incident.
You are likely to feel more confident about calling a No Win No Fee solicitor if beforehand, you have scribbled down some notes that you can refer to during your conversation with the lawyer.
Wherever and however the accident happened, if you can get some photographs either just after the accident happened or at a later date, they may be of great help to your solicitor in helping to piece together how the accident happened.
Equally photographs of your injuries, depending on their type, can be useful, particularly in the case of burns, scarring, or laceration claims.
Get together any receipts for expenses – taxi fares, prescription costs, medical bills etc, so that they are in one place. Keep a running total of the amount of money that you pay out for expenses that you wouldn’t have incurred but for the accident.
If there were witnesses to the accident, try to get their details – phone number and/or email address. It may be that you or someone on your behalf got these at the time of the incident. Other witnesses may come forward sometime after the accident. If liability for the accident ends up being disputed, witnesses as to fact, that is anyone who saw the accident, will be vital.
Find out if you can make a claim – call a specialist personal injury solicitor
Note that we said, ‘call a specialist solicitor’. We didn’t say call ‘an accident claims company’ also known as an ‘accident management company’. Claims companies are not solicitors’ practices. They are often run by marketing companies who make their money by selling on people’s personal injury claims to solicitors.
You may be attracted to the claims company because they have a nice website or by answering one of the many ‘had an accident, not your fault’ ads that crop up on TV or social media.
However, you then lose control of your claim because it will simply be sold on to a solicitor who is chosen for you because he has agreed to pay the fee that the claims company ants for it.
At Mooneerams Solicitors we are a highly trained team of personal injury solicitors. We’ve been in existence since 2002. We are a purely personal injury firm. That means we only take on personal injury compensation claims. We are specialist personal injury solicitors.
Call us on 029 2048 3615 to find out if you can make a claim. You can also get in touch by completing the online form on this page, leaving your name and phone number, so that we can call you back. Our email address if you prefer to communicate with us in that way, is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Discuss your claim with a personal injury solicitor
When you get through to us, you will speak with an experienced personal injury solicitor right away. You’ll find that they will be friendly and only too pleased to help you. They will discuss details of the claim with you and at the end of the discussion, will tell you whether they think that you would have reasonable chances of succeeding if you were to bring a compensation claim. This initial discussion is entirely free of charge.
No Win No Fee personal injury claim
Once our solicitors have given the go-ahead for your claim, if you decide that you would like Mooneerams to pursue the claim for you, then we will in most cases, be able to offer to fund the claim using a No Win, No Fee agreement, also called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
If you want to find out more detail about funding your claim in this way, that go to our No Win No Fee advice guide. However, in a nutshell, if you sign up to a No Win, No Fee agreement, then in the event that your claim is unsuccessful, you will usually have nothing to pay.
Starting the claims process
It will now be time to write to the other party to advise them that you are making a claim against them. If we have details of their insurance company at this stage, we’ll send them a letter too. This is known as the letter of claim.
The other party, the Defendant has 21 days within which to respond to that initial letter.
After acknowledging the letter of claim, the Defendant has a period of three months, within which to investigate the claim and provide a full response. If liability is being formally denied, it’s at this stage that the Defendant will let the claimant know that.
Obtaining medical reports
We will arrange for you to attend a medical examination so that the full extent of your injuries can be established.
You probably went to your own doctor after the accident or were taken to hospital. You may even have been taken in as an in-patient at hospital for a while because of your injuries.
We will still arrange for you to have a medical examination because on the basis of this consultation the doctor, often a consultant surgeon, will prepare a medical report. This will form the basis of your claim (and it will only do so after you have specifically agreed its contents).
Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, you may need to be examined a number of times during the course of the ongoing claim. This is to ensure that any ongoing symptoms, as well as treatment, will be taken into account and so that when the final report is done, it will confirm whether you have fully recovered, and if not how long complete recovery is likely to take.
New clients quite often ask us whether their case will have to go to court to be decided upon. The thought of having to go to court can be another factor that may initially put them off contacting a personal injury solicitor or not pursuing a claim at all.
The truth is that the vast majority of injury compensation claims are settled before they get anywhere near to a court hearing. Negotiated settlements are common and they should still lead to you receiving maximum compensation. Certainly, that is the case for Mooneerams solicitors’ clients.
‘Negotiation’ doesn’t mean that you are getting less than your claim is really worth. Often negotiated settlements achieve higher settlement figures than you would receive if it went to court.
Going to court to win your claim
It’s worth pointing out here that there are two meanings that can be given to the phrase, ‘going to court.’
Quite often at Mooneerams, we will start court proceedings either because the Defendants are denying liability, or to inject some urgency into the claim if the Defendants are being slow to deal with the matter or are not making any reasonable offers to settle your claim.
You may hear that being referred to by some people as ‘going to court’, whereas the proper term for this, is ‘ issuing court proceedings’.
After court proceedings have been issued, there will still be an opportunity to negotiate a settlement. In fact, the very process of issuing proceedings will often lead to more urgency in getting your claim settled.
Nevertheless, some cases do end up going to a court hearing. This happens where:
The Defendant continues to deny liability or will not admit full liability i.e. they say that the Claimant was partially responsible.
The Defendant accepts liability but offers less than the Claimant solicitors advise their client that the claim is worth.
The matter will be heard at court by a single Judge – not a jury. There are no juries in personal injury court hearings (or indeed in any civil cases, unlike in criminal cases at a crown court).
The Judge will decide the case after hearing evidence from both the Claimant’s lawyer and the Defendant’s.
How long it will take to get your case concluded will be decided by so many different factors that it isn’t possible to say if it will take X months or Y years for this to happen.
The factors that will decide how long it will take include:
The severity of your injuries. If you suffer a fairly minor soft tissue injury following a car accident, your claim will settle much more quickly than a claim for a broken leg, which will, in turn, settle much more quickly than a claim for multiple serious injuries.
Whether liability is denied. If the Defendant denies that the responsibility for the accident lies with them, but instead with you, then the claim may not settle before a court hearing. If liability for an accident is accepted by the Defendant fairly quickly, then once the full extent of your injuries has been documented in a medical report and both parties agree on the extent of those injuries, then the claim will settle much more quickly.
This is another reason for making sure that your claim is dealt with by experienced personal injury solicitors such as Mooneerams. It is hugely important that your claim is not under settled just to try and get it settled quickly. Once your claim has been concluded, you can’t re-open it and try to get more compensation (although you might have a claim for professional negligence against your solicitor!).
Yes, in more serious injury cases where liability has been proven or accepted by the Defendant, then it is possible to get an interim payment or even several interim payments depending on how long the case takes. Interim payments can be seen as ‘payment on account’. The amount of any interim payments will be taken into account when compensation has been agreed and deducted from the final agree figure, by the Defendant.
Interim payments are often agreed informally. If the Defendant refuses to make an interim payment, when one is requested by the Claimant, then the Claimant’s solicitor can apply to the court for an order making the Defendant pay.
Interim payments are made so that in serious injury cases, the Claimant and their family do not experience financial hardship, whilst waiting for the claim to be settled.
Your claim for compensation will have been put together by your solicitor to ensure that your claim will be for:
General damages – this is the compensation (damages) for the pain and suffering that the injury caused to you. The claim for general damages should also include an amount to compensate you for the very lawyerly sounding term of ‘loss of amenity.’ This is compensation for the effect the accident and injuries have had on your everyday life and that of your family. It may include things like not being able to carry out a hobby such as going to the gym, playing a sport, horse riding etc.
Special damages – think of these as compensation for fixed monetary items. Loss of earnings claimed for whilst you were off work as a result of the accident would be special damages – so too would travel expenses, cost of medical treatment if carried out privately, cost of medication.
Keep all documents, receipts, and correspondence relating to your claim in one place. Doing so will make it easier when you need to refer to them.
Alistair Worth – Solicitor
Mooneerams solicitors have recovered millions of pounds worth of personal injury compensation on behalf of very satisfied clients since 2002.
We make the claims process as comfortable as possible for our clients. Most of the time there will be very little for you to have to do in connection with your claim, so it’s best to ensure that your claim is in good, experienced hands. It certainly will be with Mooneerams.
Call us on 029 2048 3615, email us at enquiries@Mooneerams.com or fill in the form on this page and we’ll call you straight back.
Don’t delay though – there are time limits for making a claim. The Limitation Act 1980 states a claim for personal injury must be started within 3 years from the date of the accident or it can’t be brought at all (except in certain circumstances).