Accident Claims Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Below are some of the questions we are most frequently asked about Personal Injury Claims. Please click on a question to see the answer.
I'm not sure if I can make a claim?
If you have suffered an injury through no fault of your own and it can be proven that someone else was responsible for your accident then you should be able to make a claim. Our personal injury lawyers will help identify who is responsible for the accident and pursue a claim for compensation against them on your behalf.
If you are unsure as to whether you have a valid claim then you can speak to us in confidence and we will assess your accident and tell you whether you have a valid claim. This service is free of charge with no obligation.
What does no win no fee mean?
A no win - no fee agreement is officially known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Under the terms of a CFA if you are unsuccessful with your claim you will not have to pay our costs. If we are successful with your claim then our costs and disbursements become payable.
Although the CFA states that you are responsible for payment of our legal costs and disbursements, in reality those costs are recovered from your opponent and you therefore do not have to pay them. However, with effect from 1st April 2013 any agreed success fee and insurance premium (if any) is no longer recoverable from your opponent and will be your responsibility.
Will I have to go to court?
The majority of cases are settled through negotiation between both parties and never make it to a court trial.
However, in the unlikely event that your case does proceed to a trial, you can be assured that you will be supported by an experienced lawyer throughout the whole process and we will instruct an experienced personal injury Barrister to represent you at trial.
How long does an accident claim take?
A personal injury claim can usually take anything between 6 months to 3 years and will depend on several factors such as the type of claim, the severity of your injury, whether you have any ongoing problems, and whether your opponent has admitted liability or is defending the claim.
The legal system is now set up so that more straight forward claims can be settled in months rather than years. Only the most complex cases will take longer than 12-24 months.
How long have I got to make a claim?
For most types of personal injury claims, with a few exceptions, you have to make a claim for compensation within 3 years of the accident occurring. At the end of the 3 year limitation period, if you have not settled your claim, it will be necessary to issue proceedings at Court so that you do not become statute barred from making a claim.
In the case of child claims, the limitation period starts to run from the date of their 18th birthday and they must settle their claim or issue proceedings on or before their 21st birthday. After that time they will become statute barred from making a claim.
Our advice is always to speak to us at the earliest opportunity if you think you may have a claim.
What can I claim for and how much compensation will I receive?
The circumstances of each accident are different and the amount of compensation will depend on a number of factors. Compensation payments are generally made up of two parts; General damages and Special damages:
General damages are commonly paid for what is known as pain and suffering. The amount paid under this element will depend on the type and severity of the injury suffered, how long you suffered for, and whether or not you have any ongoing problems associated with the injury. The amount payable for this will be guided by previous precedents, awards which have been made for similar injuries in previous cases.
Special damages is a payment which is made to cover your out of pocket expenses. This could be loss of earnings, medical expenses, travel expenses, etc.
Why should I wait until I have fully recovered before settling my claim?
If you have suffered injury and experience ongoing symptoms it would not be in your best interest to settle the claim too early. In such circumstances, if your opponent has admitted liability, we may seek to obtain an interim payment of damages from your opponent until such time that you have made a full recovery. Once you have made a full recovery then the true value of your claim can be calculated and the balance of damages obtained from your opponent in full and final settlement of your claim.
If you settle your claim before making a full recovery and subsequently require further medical treatment or discover that you have suffered a lifetime disability, you will not be able to go back to claim more from your opponent. It is therefore important that you make a full recovery before fully settling a claim.
Can a child claim compensation for an injury?
If a child has suffered personal injury through no fault of their own they may be able to claim compensation providing another person was responsible for their accident.
Children under the age of 18 will need to be represented by a parent, friend or another person appointed to act on their behalf. This person will be known as their "Litigation Friend".
All child settlements must be approved by the Court who ensures that all parties have acted in the child's best interests and any damages awarded are usually held and invested by the Court until the child reaches the age of 18 years.
I was a passenger in a road accident, can I make a claim?
Yes. Whether you were a driver or a passenger in somebody else's car, on a bus or another type of public transport, if you suffered personal injury through no fault of your own then you can make a claim. In these circumstances it is important to remember that your compensation will be paid by the insurance company and not by the person responsible for the accident.
The other driver cannot be identified. Can I still make a claim?
Yes. All motor insurers are required to pay into a scheme operated by the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB). This is effectively a contingency fund that is used to pay out claims arising from accidents caused by uninsured or untraced "hit and run" drivers.
If you have been involved in an accident with an unidentified driver, contact us for advice on making a claim.
Somebody suffered an injury but died whilst making a claim. Can the claim be concluded?
If somebody suffered personal injury and subsequently passed away before bringing their claim to a conclusion, the claim may be brought by the Executor or Administrator of their estate. Any damages awarded will be paid into the deceased person's estate.
I witnessed a violent crime. Can I make a claim?
If someone close to you, such as a spouse, child or someone you have a close relationship with suffered personal injury as a result of a violent crime and you witnessed that crime resulting in you suffering from psychiatric injury, you may be able to claim compensation as a secondary victim.
If you witnessed a horrific crime and have suffered psychiatric injury as a result, then please telephone one of our personal injury lawyers for free confidential advice.
What should I do next?
Telephone us to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We will ask you some questions about your accident and tell you if you have a valid claim for compensation.