Making a personal injury claim can be a daunting process, particularly when your focus should be on recovering. If you think you have a personal injury claim, here’s some of our most frequently asked questions answered by our expert, Kate Smith.
How can I fund my claim?
We will be able to discuss with you the various options you might have regarding funding your personal injury claim.
It may be that you have legal expense cover under your home or motor insurance which could provide funding towards your legal costs and experts’ fees. You may also have similar funding available through your bank or credit card, or via a trade union so it is important to check your existing policies to ascertain whether you have the benefit of legal expense insurance before pursuing your claim.
If you do not have the benefit of legal expense insurance then, depending on the circumstances and our view of the prospects of your case, we may be able to act for you under a conditional fee agreement which is commonly known as a ‘no win no fee’ agreement.
What is a ‘no win no fee’ agreement?
A ‘no win, no fee’ agreement is a funding arrangement between you and your solicitor. It means that if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay your legal costs (i.e., the fees you have incurred with your solicitor), as long as you have met the terms of the agreement and acted reasonably. If so, the only fees you would be responsible for are the cost of any disbursements and third party expenses.
If your claim is successful, the majority of your legal costs are paid by the other party or their insurers in addition to your compensation. Any shortfall in your legal costs and any success fee payable (a fixed percentage solicitors can charge if the claim is won) will be paid from your compensation payment.
What is ATE Insurance?
After the event (ATE) insurance is a type of legal expenses insurance (taken out after an accident or incident has occurred) which provides cover for the costs associated with bringing a claim and which are incurred throughout the process, e.g., legal fees, experts’ fees, Court fees and other disbursements.
A premium is payable for the policy (the cost of which is dependent on the circumstances of the claim). Payment of the premium is usually deferred, i.e., paid upon the successful conclusion of the claim.
If we are able to act for you under a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement we can also assist you with obtaining estimates for ATE insurance.
How long do I have to bring a personal injury claim?
If you have suffered an injury and intend to make a claim, it is best to seek legal advice as early as possible due to the statutory time limits in place.
The time limit for bringing a personal injury claim depends on the circumstances of your accident, but generally you have three years from the date of your injury, or, three years from the date of knowledge of the injury (if later) to bring a claim. However, certain types of claims do have shorter time limits, so it is important to seek legal advice as early as possible.
In claims involving children, the three year time limit will not commence until the child reaches the age of 18. A parent of guardian can bring a claim on the child’s behalf before they turn 18.
How much compensation will I receive?
If the other party accepts responsibility for your injury, then you will be entitled to compensation, i.e., you will be entitled to general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (compensation for your injury) and special damages, covering any financial losses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
To enable us to advise you regarding the likely level of compensation you should expect to receive in respect of your injury, it is usually necessary for us to obtain evidence from an appropriate medical expert on the severity of your injury (and any complications) and recovery times.
With regards financial losses you may have suffered as a result of the accident, these could include but are not limited to: loss of earnings (past and future), the cost of private medical and rehabilitation treatment, the cost of care and any necessary adaptions to your home, and any other future costs you may incur.
Can I still make a claim if I was partly responsible for the accident?
Yes, you can still make a claim if you were partly to blame for the accident, but your compensation will be reduced to reflect this. This is known as contributory negligence and is assessed as a percentage. For example, if you were not wearing your seatbelt in a road traffic accident which was not your fault and not wearing your seatbelt contributed towards your injuries, your compensation may be reduced by around 25%.
If you have suffered an injury, or you wish to find out more about making a personal injury or clinical negligence claim please contact a member of our Personal Injury Team on 01603 610911 or email email@example.com.