Injury, Compensation Claims
Making a claim for compensation FAQ
Compensation claims cover a wide range of injuries from the relatively minor to major claims culminating in awards for millions of pounds.
How long do I have in which to bring a personal injury claim?
For most but not all claims there is a three-year limitation period that means that you must bring a claim for compensation within three years of the date of your accident or three years from the date when you realised the accident was someone else’s fault. The important exception to this rule is that children have three years from the date of their 18th birthday and therefore until their 21st birthday in which to bring an action. For certain types of claim such as criminal injuries compensation or accidents abroad, limitation periods can differ and you will need to seek specialist advice in relation to these specific events.
How long will a personal injury claim take?
This is a difficult question and will depend on the merits of each particular claim. If the claim is relatively straightforward, there is a full recovery from the injuries and there is an admission of liability, the claim could be settled within a few months. However, where liability is not accepted and/or the recovery is protracted, then the claim will take longer, possibly two years or more. In all cases medical evidence will be needed which can be a time consuming and a protracted process.
What does "no win, no fee" really mean?
“No win, no fee” means that should your legal advisor not succeed with your claim, they will not be paid.
However, should they win your action and you receive compensation then your legal advisor will recover reasonable costs and disbursements from the defendant's insurers, together with a bonus called a “success fee”. Depending upon the financial arrangements under the terms of your “no win, no fee” agreement, you may be expected to pay something towards the ongoing expenses (eg. medical reports, medical records, court fees) at the conclusion of the claim.
How will I fund my claim?
There are numerous forms of funding available including legal expense insurance under the terms of an existing policy such as household contents, motor insurance, travel insurance, credit card protection and even trade union membership.
Alternatively, a Conditional Fee Agreement ("no win, no fee") may be arranged. You will also be advised to take out an appropriate "after the event" insurance policy to protect you against your opponent’s costs should you lose your claim. These can be arranged for you at no initial cost. If your claim is successful, these costs can be recovered from the defendant’s insurers.
How much compensation am I likely to receive?
Every personal injury claim is different and the amount of compensation is assessed on the specific facts and circumstances of that particular claim. There are no set tariffs for compensation; however, from experience of similar claims your legal advisor will be able to give you an estimate of the value of your claim.
Will I have to appear in court?
Only a very small percentage of personal injury claims result in trial, therefore it is extremely unlikely that you would have to give evidence in front of the judge. Most claims are settled through insurers by a process of negotiation, and it is only where there are complicated issues or the value of the claim is in dispute that court proceedings are required.
What evidence will I need in order to pursue my claim?
You will need to provide a witness statement. Wherever possible, photographs, measurements and plans are useful to supplement your claim. Your legal advisor may instruct an enquiry agent to attend the accident location to prepare a professional report and take photographs in support of the claim.