Please find below a list of frequently asked questions to assist you, if you maybe seeking to pursue a personal injury claim. If you are unable to find the answer you are looking for, please click here to contact Ashfords directly.
Q. Do I have a claim?
A. To have a successful personal injury claim you need to be able to show that you have been injured as a result of someone's negligence, intentional misconduct or breach of a legal obligation such as Health and Safety regulations.
Q. An insurance company have already offered me compensation to settle my claim, should I accept?
A. No! An early offer made without a medical report or independent legal advice should be treated with caution.
If this happens, instruct Ashfords LLP to take over conduct of your injury claim. We will contact you and discuss the best course of action to obtain the compensation you are legally entitled to.
Q. Do time limits apply?
A. In personal injury cases, generally court proceedings must be started (i.e. a claim form filed at court) within 3 years from the date of accident or;
If later, from the "date of knowledge" which means the date when you first knew that your injury was linked to a possible negligent act.
In cases involving children, the three year period does not start until after their 18th birthday.
In cases of fatal accidents, the time limit is only 2 years.
The above is known as the 'limitation period'.
A lot of work needs to be done before the claim form can be filed with the court and its is best to contact a solicitor as soon as you become aware of a potential claim.
Q. Can I still bring a claim if the accident was partly my fault?
A. Yes, this is often referred to as 'contributory negligence'. If you were partly responsible for the accident, a percentage will be attributed to your own fault and that percentage will be deducted from your compensation award. For example, if the accident was 25% your fault then an award of £1000 compensation will be reduced to £750.
Q. How long will my claim take?
A. This depends on how complex the case is, how much evidence needs to be obtained to prove your case and how much is disputed by your opponent.
A simple claim may be settled within 9 - 12 months but if it is necessary to start court proceedings or get further medical evidence then it will take longer.
Q. How can I fund a claim?
A. There are two main ways to fund a claim:
You may already have legal expenses insurance which can be used to fund a claim. You may have cover under house-hold contents or vehicle insurance policy or through trade union membership.
We may be able to offer a 'no win-no fee' arrangement whereby if you win we will recover our costs from the other side and if you lose your claim we forgo our costs. In addition to this you would be advised to obtain insurance to cover against the risk of paying any of the Defendants legal costs that you may have to pay if you lose the case.
We can advise you in more detail on the issue of funding before we proceed with your claim.
Q. How much will my claim be worth?
A. The value of your claim will be assessed under two different headings; General Damages and Special Damages.
Special Damages will include any financial losses or expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. This may include loss of earnings, expenses incurred in travelling to and from doctors appointments, prescription and treatment charges or the cost of care being provided.
General Damages is a lump sum award to reflect the pain, suffering and overall impact of the injuries on your life (including affect on sports, hobbies and day to day activities). This is assessed with reference to medical evidence and similar cases that have been before the courts in the past.
A claimant has a legal duty to minimise their losses, such as returning to work as soon as medically possible.
Q. Will any compensation I receive affect my state benefits?
A. If you are in receipt of means assessed state benefits then the receipt of a capital sum may effect your entitlement to future benefits, either by reducing them or ending your entitlement, depending on how much compensation you receive.
The first £6,000 capital is disregarded when assessing your state benefits but if your compensation means you have more than this amount in capital then your state benefits will be reduced by £1 for every £250 of capital held over the £6,000 threshold.
If your compensation means you have more than £16,000 capital then you are not entitled to state benefits.
If you receive state benefits as a direct result of your injuries, these may be deducted from your compensation monies and paid direct to the government by way of re-imbursement.
Q. Will I have to go to court?
A. Most personal injury claims settle before a final hearing at court. If there is an unresolved dispute about the facts of the accident, a legal point or the value of your claim, there may need to be a hearing for a judge to determine those issues, in the absence of any agreement between the parties.
Q. Will I have to visit a Doctor or Medical Specialist as part of the case?
A. In every personal injury claim, the claim must be supported with medical evidence in the form of a medical report. This report is prepared following a medical examination with a nominated medical expert which will be arranged by your Solicitor. In most cases, your medical records or medical history will have to be reviewed but is not referred to in the report unless it is relevant to the injury claim.
If you would like to find out more about current issues affecting injury compensation click here or to discuss a potential injury claim please contact Gemma Rowe on 01392 334017 for a free, no obligation chat.