Although personal injury law is complicated and can be daunting to you, if you instruct one of our speciliast solicitors we can make the process easier as we give you the confidence to pursue your claim by knowing that your claim will always be handled by the same experienced solicitor. We offer a free initial consultations with the solicitor who would be taking on your claim, should you instruct us, in this meeting we will be able to let you if you have a valid or feasible claim to pursue.
What your solicitor needs from you
To establish the details of your case, we will need to know;
- When, where and how the accident occurred; time, date, location and details of the incident.
- The contact details of any witnesses.
- The details of your injuries, medical diagnosis and treatment that is required and what has been recieved so far.
- Whether you have any legal expenses insurance as this may entitle you to reduced costs of legal representation.
We may also need to see;
- Proof of your loss of earnings and other financial expenses which are the result of your injury.
- Documents relating to any insurance policies you have (such as household or motor insurance) to check whether these will cover the legal costs of your claim.
- Any documents that can be used to support your claim, including documents from before your accident or any evidence of previous accident in similar circumstances.
How your solicitor can help
Once you have explained the circumstances of the your injury in detail, we will be able to judge:
- How likely your case is to succeed; and
- How much you may be able to claim in compensation
We will also explain to you the legal process involved in taking your claim further. We will discuss with you exactly how you can fund your case, see here for more information on Costs.
If the solicitor is convinced you have a claim and you are happy to instruct us to take on your case, then we will write a letter, known as a client care letter, confirming the name of the solicitor handling the case, the status of the solicitor or the main person in the firm who will have main day to day contact with you. It will also include an esitmation of how long the claim is likely to take to settle, arrangements for the progress reports, details of how the case is to be funded as previously agreed, an estimation of the costs and agreed spending limits.
Making your claim
The first step we will take is to send a letter of claim to the defendant. This sets out the details of your injury and the circumstances in which it took place. You need an expert opinion to support your claim, from a doctor for example, your solicitor will suggest a relevant specialist and help you to arrange the appointment.
The person you are holding responsible for your accident (the defendent), then has to investigate and reply within a fixed period, usually no more than 3 months or 4 months in clinical negligence cases. In their reply they must state whether they accept or deny liability for your injury. If they accept liability we will try to settle the matter out of Court.
Making an offer
We will tell you what we think the value of your claim is, from this we may ask you to give an indication of the level of compensation you are prepared to accept, and whether you want to make an offer to settle for that amount. This is known as a Part 36 Offer. We will then advise you of whether to make a Part 36 Offer and how this would affect you.
If the defendant responds reasonably to this offer a net figure is agreed and the matter can be settled without going to Court. In some situations, the defendant may reply with their own Part 36 Offer. If this happens, we will advise you as what to do but ultimately the decision is yours.
If you cannot settle for a fair amount out of Court, we will advise you on whether to start legal action. If the defendant says they are not liable for paying you compensation, we may advise you to go to Court to challenge them and to ask the Court to award you compensation.
Count down to Court
If you decide to take the matter to Court your case will be passed to a Judge. That Judge will then be in charge of the timetable for your Court case. The Court will let you know the date of your hearing, and we will tell you about the preparations you need to make.
The thought of going to Court may be daunting, but it is important to remember that by this stage we will have preapred your case in detail and will have explained to you exactly what to expect. Then it is just a question of waiting to hear the judgement finding out if you have won and have been awarded what you are claiming.