Making a personal injury claim
Following an accident or injury the prospect of making a personal injury claim for compensation can be daunting.
We aim to help you through the whole process, so that making a personal injury claim is not a worry or a hassle.
The exact route your claim takes from the outset to final settlement will vary greatly depending on the circumstances of your claim and the type of injury and losses you've suffered. There are, however, some common areas, and what follows offers some insight into the basic principals of making a compensation claim.
Once funding has been arranged, we must investigate how the injury arose, and who can be held liable for compensating you. In some cases this may be a very quick and simple task, but in others can take some time. There may be a lot of information required, investigations to be made, and evidence to obtain, before a final assessment can be made. Even then the opponent may still dispute the case. In some instances it may be necessary to proceed to a court hearing to obtain a judge's ruling on the question of liability.
In cases where liability is disputed you may well be required to provide detailed evidence on how the accident/injury occurred, where it occurred, who/what else was involved, and whether there were witnesses. You should forward all the information you have to your lawyer as quickly as possible, and the more information you can retain about this the better.
As your claim progresses, we'll regularly update your list of financial losses. Again, you should try to keep as much information and evidence to support your financial losses, and pass this to your lawyer as and when expenses are incurred. In many cases your financial losses may continue to be incurred over an extended period of time – for example if you have ongoing medical treatment costs – and in those cases you should keep us as up to date as possible.
As with liability issues, the more information you can provide the better. Although it is not always necessary to have documentation to support every item of loss you wish to recover, the more your losses are supported, the better chance we have of being able to recover those losses in full.
Where necessary we will make our own direct enquiries to obtain the information we need. For example, when making a claim for loss of earnings, we'll often look to contact your employer or accountant directly. We can also contact treatment providers, your insurers, hire companies and other bodies directly to try and minimise the disruption and burden on you. It is inevitable, however, that there will be times when you are required to provide the information we need.
Personal injury claims
The key to successfully making a successful personal injury claim is ensuring that the expert medical evidence supporting your claim fully reflects the injuries sustained and the impact they've had on your day-to-day activities, hobbies and working life. In some cases, where the injuries are relatively straight forward, a single medical report could be all that is required. In other cases, particularly those with long-term or multiple injuries, several reports may be required.
In most cases we will arrange the medical examinations for you. If required we will arrange for your medical notes and records to be obtained and provided to the expert for review, and you will simply have to attend the examination(s). The expert will then complete their report and send this to us, and once the report is received it will be reviewed and sent out to you for approval before it can be disclosed to the opponent. This process may need to be repeated several times, depending on how many reports are required. If you incur financial costs in attending an examination then these can be added to your claim.
It is often the case that following disclosure of a medical report, the opponent will make an offer to settle. You will be advised of the offer and given guidance on the options which are available to you at that time, with advice on what we consider to be the best course of action to take.
Negotiation and settlement
Once the issue of liability has been resolved, and the necessary evidence to prove your claim has been obtained, we will look to negotiate settlement of your claim. We will seek your instructions at every stage to ensure that you are fully aware of what is happening, and we will advise you as early as possible as to the likely value of your claim.
In general we try to do most of our negotiation over the telephone with our opponents, and our experience and expertise in personal injury claims means that we are adept at securing the best possible awards. Where necessary we will make formal written offers and, if agreement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to issue court proceedings to try and force further increases in the offers being made. In some cases it may be necessary to take the matter to a final hearing for a judge to assess the value of a claim, and in those instances we will prepare the case to give you the best chance of achieving the maximum award.
Once settlement is agreed, payment will normally be made by cheque. This will normally be payable to you and will be forwarded to you as soon as we receive it.
What to do next?
You or a family member or friend can contact us on our helpline on 03700 868 686 or you can request a callback so that we can discuss your situation and offer our specialist help. The helpline is available seven days a week and lines are open Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm.