A Step By Step Guide To Claiming Compensation For Your Injury
When someone is injured in an accident they often have no idea how to go about claiming compensation for their injuries and losses. They are often aware that solicitors are involved but it can be daunting for some people to contact a solicitor to obtain advice. We have provided below a simple outline of the claims process so that you can understand exactly what pursuing a compensation claim entails.
The first step is to make contact with one of our solicitors. They will take your details, listen to how the accident occurred and how you have suffered and then provide you with the relevant advice. If they believe that your case has good prospects of succeeding they will then take your personal information and further details of the accident.
The next stage is to trace the relevant insurance company and then forward a claim form to them. Depending in the type of accident there are various time limits in which they must respond. If liability for the accident is admitted then the case usually proceeds in a straight forward manner. A medical report from a local medical expert is obtained and we will gather information to support your other losses. Once we are able to value your compensation claim we forward the evidence and our valuation to the insurers and enter negotiations. Generally settlement terms can be reached out of court, if however the insurers persistently under value your compensation we will issue court proceedings and request that a judge makes a final decision on the level of compensation to be awarded. Cases settled out of court usually take between 4-6 months to reach a conclusion.
If liability is denied however then further investigation is required. The insurance company has to provide reasons for the denial of liability and depending on these we will then look to gather evidence to overcome them. For example, if they say that you have not been injured we will obtain a medical report to prove otherwise. If they state that they provided you with the relevant personal protective equipment and you should have been wearing the same and have been trained in how to use the equipment we would have to obtain evidence to confirm that the PPE was not provided, was not sufficient or that you have not been trained in using the same. Every case we deal with different. We can return to the insurers to request further information and ask further questions however once we are satisfied that we have all the relevant evidence we will look to instruct a barrister. The barrister provides a formal legal opinion on whether or not they believe that your case has a prospect of succeeding at trial. If so we would obtain the relevant medical evidence, gather evidence to document your other losses and then issue court proceedings. Cases usually take between 6 and 12 months from the initiation of court proceedings to reaching the trial. There are various steps along the way, such as the exchange of witness evidence, which the court will direct us to. Ultimately the trial will be held often in the County Court lasting a full day. At the end the trial the judge will make a decision as to whether or not, on a balance of probabilities, you have proved your case and then if so award you what they believe is the correct level of compensation.
It is worth remembering that we are experienced accident claim solicitors. We deal with all types of accidents and all types of injury. We are therefore very good at determining whether or not a case has a chance of succeeding and, if liability is denied, in determining exactly what evidence we require to ensure your case succeeds at trial. Because we are experts we are happy to fund your case on a No Win No Fee basis. All the risk is ours. Therefore if your case lost at trial then unfortunately you would not receive compensation however you would not have single penny to pay and we would cover all legal costs. We can offer this guarantee because, with the odd exception, we win all of our compensation claims. We don't make you purchase an insurance policy to cover this risk to us but lots of other legal firms do.
A word of warning re video surveillance. In the case of Kirk v Walton 2009 the Claimant, Mrs Kirk, was awarded compensation for her injuries following a personal injury claim. She had been involved in a car accident which was not her fault. However after "winning” her car accident claim, the insurance company acting for the defendant brought proceedings for contempt of court against Mrs Kirk on the basis that she had deliberately misled the court as to the extent of her personal injury. The insurance company had obtained video surveillance of Mrs Kirk involved in a number of activities which appeared to be contrary to the medical evidence she had provided. She had also tried to claim disability benefits. Although not all the allegations of fraud against her were upheld by the court, 2 of them were and she was ordered to pay a fine and a considerable amount of costs. This is an unusual case but it does show the lengths that defendant insurers are now going to in car accident cases to prove that some claimants are fraudulent.
The information above is a general summary on claiming compensation and is the information which we discuss with clients when they contact us. However every case is unique and if you are unsure as to whether or not you are able to make a compensation claim then contact us now to get assistance from a fully qualified personal injury solicitor.
We have offices throughout North Wales and Cheshire and you can contact us safe in the knowledge that one of our expert solicitors will take care of everything for you on a No Win No Fee basis allowing you to carry on with your life whilst we proceed with your legal case.