Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to frequently asked questions about personal injury claims, clinical negligence compensation claims and the conveyancing process below, or call Liddy's Solicitors for more information.
How to choose a compensation solicitor
Once you think you have a case for compensation, you need to find a good accredited solicitor to help you.
Deciding to take legal action to obtain compensation for an injury or loss is a big decision. Many people rush into compensation cases, lured by the possibility of large financial awards, without taking the time to check whether their solicitor has the qualifications or expertise to manage your case efficiently and successfully.
A compensation case can take some time from start to finish, and so it is worth spending an extra few days on selecting your solicitor. Television, radio, magazines and the internet are full of compensation firms looking for business, and you should know how to distinguish the good from the bad. Choosing the wrong solicitor can result in an unsuccessful claim or one where you end up paying the solicitor a large percentage of your award. Whether at home or abroad on holiday, at work in the UK, or travelling the roads, Liddy’s Solicitors can help you with your accident and compensation claims.
What do you mean by ‘No Win No Fee’?
If you lose your claim we will arrange it so that you are not responsible to anybody with respect to legal costs. Your only obligation is to co-operate throughout the case, including following legal advice.
How can I check a solicitor’s track record?
Talk to people you know who have had successful injury claims, read the local papers and talk to friends and family. Good solicitors will have a good reputation, and you can check whether they are regulated by the Law Society of England and Wales by typing their names into the Law Society’s website. Make sure that the solicitors you are considering have a good track record of successful cases that they have demonstrated, that they see cases through to the end and that they can handle court cases where necessary.
Can I claim for a work related accident?
Regardless of where you work, whether in an office, a shop or a factory, workplace accidents are a very common occurrence and your employer is obliged to protect you through training, safe practice and have relevant insurance cover should an accident happen. Accidents at work occur in all occupations, from construction work and heavy industry to clerical and managerial roles. An employee can injure themselves by tripping over something, by slipping on a wet floor, or even by not having the correct equipment provided to carry out their duties.
While you are at work your employer has a duty to provide you with a safe place of work, correct equipment, a safe working procedure and adequate training in your role. They are also responsible for ensuring that the other people you work with also behave appropriately and do not cause accidents. Safety in the workplace is highly regulated and if your employer breaches any of these statutory duties, this may give rise to a compensation claim by employees who have been injured as a result of that breach.
Can I claim for a road traffic accident?
Every year we successfully recover damages for many clients who have been injured in road related accidents, whether they were drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, passengers or pedestrians. We handle the complete range of road traffic litigation, from Brain and Spinal Injury to Uninsured Loss Recovery.
Anyone who suffers personal injury in a road accident caused by someone else’s negligence is entitled to claim compensation for their injuries and their losses.
Everyone driving a vehicle on the road should have insurance, but something like one in twenty do not. Where the driver does not have insurance, or where the vehicle is untraced, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau will take the place of the insurer to protect the rights of innocent parties.
Liddy’s Solicitors have vast experience in dealing with road traffic accidents and are able to help with the following;
- Brain and Spinal Injuries
- Motorbike Accidents
- Uninsured Loss Recovery
- Pedestrian Accidents
Can I claim compensation for a sports injury?
Physical sports carry with them a certain level of risk for those involved. Injuries can sometimes occur that are not preventable and are simply a part of a game. Therefore, a person agreeing to play sports is considered to have consented to this natural level of risk of injury. If an injury occurs that is not part of normal play however, it may be possible to claim damages.
It is not only professional sports people that are entitled to claim compensation when they are injured whilst taking part in a sporting activity. Anyone who suffers a sports injury, whether taking part on a professional, semi-professional, amateur or recreational basis, should be entitled to claim compensation if someone else is to blame for the incident. For blame to exist, the contact has to be reckless or dangerous and beyond the normal range to be expected in the particular sport. There may be a failure to supervise, referee or umpire the sport or activity.
Sports injuries can occur in a variety of situations, including:
- Team sports
- Exercise & fitness classes
- Motor sports
- Physical education at school
- Outdoor pursuits (e.g. sailing, horse riding, water skiing etc.)
- Winter sports (such as skiing or snowboarding)
Injuries arising out of the general physicality of contact or active sports, or from genuine errors in their own judgement or that of other players, would not usually be considered eligible for compensation.
There are certain circumstances under which a sports injury can occur due to negligence of others that are not directly participating. For example:
- A dangerous defect present on a pitch, court, equipment or other sporting facility
- If a referee or umpire failed to take reasonable efforts to prevent any unnecessary risk
- If adequate supervision or training was not given
- Incorrect instruction given by the formal instructor or coach
- Reckless conduct by players
- Unsafe or poorly maintained facilities or equipment
These types of accident would not be considered part of the normal, reasonable conduct that a player would consent to and could give rise to a valid compensation claim. In most cases, sporting venues, schools and clubs will have liability insurance in place to cover such eventualities as personal injury claims.
Sports injuries can be serious and may result in the victim suffering a loss of earnings or other financial losses in addition to the pain of the injury. It is therefore important to seek the advice of a sports accident claims solicitor with experience of sport injury cases if you believe you may be entitled to claim, so that they can assess your individual case and advise on the best way to proceed.
How can I claim for brain and spinal injuries?
Liddy’s Solicitors have vast experience in dealing with brain and spinal injuries. We have a bank of occupational therapists, neurologists, nursing care consultants and other rehabilitative specialists so that we can provide a seriously injured client with private treatment to accelerate a client’s recovery as quickly and fully as possible.
Can I claim for trip and slip accidents?
- If you have suffered a trip or fall, then you need to record any evidence, ideally photograph the area and any reason that caused you to fall. Try to use an object of a standard size, to try and show the actual size of the defect.
- Try to record the area in which you fell, paint the picture as to the reason, whether it was poor lighting, slippery substances such as oil and water or ice. Perhaps there was a lack of warning signage.
- If you were injured in a commercial property such as a shop or sports hall, then try to discover if they have an accident book and record the accident with them.
Compensation for psychological problems
If you or a member of your family is suffering psychological problems following an accident, then talk to a compensation solicitor.
The psychological effects of an accident are often overlooked, because victims, doctors and solicitors are concentrating on the visible, physical injuries. People who suffer a traumatic accident, however, are also likely to suffer from psychological symptoms that include depression, lack of ability to cope with normal life pressures and sleeping problems. A road accident can trigger a fear of driving, whilst an accident at work may prevent the victim from returning to the same job.
Psychological problems are harder to diagnose than physical ones, and it can therefore be more difficult to present a compelling case for compensation. If you feel, however, that the problems you have suffered are severe enough to warrant compensation, and you have been diagnosed with a psychological disorder by your doctor, then you may decide to talk things over with a compensation solicitor, to see whether you can pursue the other party for a financial reward.
In the same way as a claim for compensation for a physical injury, your compensation solicitor will evaluate the information you give him or her on your case. They may want to talk to the other parties involved, or to anyone who witnessed the events, and they will certainly want to see a report from your own GP and also send you for an examination by an independent doctor or psychologist. This will help them to build a strong case on your behalf and demonstrate how the accident has affected your ability to work and your lifestyle in general.
Research has shown that psychological disorders can occur as a result of physical injuries, or exposure to traumatic incidents and this is often known as post-traumatic stress disorder. This is where the effects of the original incident have a psychological effect on the individual, affecting their ability to work, socialise and maintain good relationships with their families. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a recognised problem and a compensation solicitor will be able to help you to get a professional diagnosis and pursue compensation on your behalf.
If you think that you have suffered a psychological injury as a result of an accident or through something you have witnessed, then please contact us to see if a compensation solicitor can help you.
Is it possible to claim compensation for accidents abroad?
Accidents abroad bring with them a whole array of legal problems.
Gathering evidence in support of the claim, which defendant to nominate and which country’s law applies. Liddy’s have a good deal of experience in these types of claims.
What if I believe that my solicitor has been negligent in my claim?
Sometimes solicitors make mistakes when dealing with a claim, either losing the case outright, or more often than not, settling the claim for damages less than the claimant should receive. If you feel that your solicitor has done a bad job on your claim, telephone us and we will discuss what we can do for you.
What is clinical negligence?
Clinical negligence, or medical negligence as it is often referred to, occurs when medical professionals fail in their duty of care towards a patient. Examples of this include a surgical error, a misdiagnosis, the mishandling of a birth, drugs being incorrectly prescribed or administered, a fracture being missed, misleading a patient about their treatment or failure to take the right steps to combat the spread of infections in a hospital.
Deciding whether clinical negligence occurred is not always straightforward, as all treatments involve an element of risk and an adverse outcome is not necessarily evidence of a failure in care. If you believe you have grounds for a claim, one of Liddy’s Solicitors’ clinical negligence specialists will help establish whether or not doctors or other medical staff fulfilled their duty of care towards you.
To make a successful compensation claim, it is not enough to simply demonstrate that negligence occurred, there also needs to be evidence that it caused some kind of damage or injury. Examples of negligence that did not affect the outcome of treatment are likely to be a matter for the professional bodies of the staff involved, rather than the basis for a claim.
How do I make a clinical negligence claim?
The first step towards making a clinical negligence compensation claim is to arrange an initial consultation with a specialist solicitor. This is a complex area of law, but our expert team will explain everything in detail and make sure you understand what is involved.
They will also help you to establish whether you have grounds to proceed with a claim and assess your chances of success. This process is likely to involve obtaining your medical records and asking appropriate medical experts to examine them.
Is it possible to win a claim against the NHS?
In short, yes. NHS trusts pay out millions of pounds to victims of clinical negligence each year and, at any one time, there are thousands of ongoing claims against medical staff, hospitals and clinics in the public sector.
Claims are not restricted to the NHS. Private hospitals, cosmetic surgery clinics, dentists and other healthcare practitioners all have the same duty of care towards patients, and can be held legally responsible for injuries caused by negligence.
When should I begin a clinical negligence claim?
The general rule is that you have three years from either the date of the negligence or the date when you first became aware that the negligence caused your injury to issue proceedings. However, if you suffered the injury before your 18th birthday, you have three years from the date of your 18th birthday to begin your claim.
There are some circumstances in which different time limits may apply, but it is sensible to seek legal advice as soon as you realise you may have a claim. One of our clinical negligence specialists can assess your case and provide guidance on how to proceed within the time limits.
How long will a medical negligence claim take?
There is no simple answer to this, as the time taken depends on the complexity of the claim and the defendant’s attitude. Obtaining all the relevant medical records and having them examined by independent medical experts will take a number of months, so you should be prepared for a lengthy process.
If the evidence is clear and the defendant is keen to reach a settlement, the claim could be completed in 10-12 months. However, it is not unknown for a claim to take three years, particularly if it ends up in court.
Will I have to give evidence in court?
Only about two per cent of clinical negligence claims go to court. If the evidence we amass to support your claim is clear, the defendant will almost certainly choose to settle and agree a compensation payment without you having to give evidence in court.
How much does it cost to make a clinical negligence claim?
It is difficult to accurately predict the cost of legal fees for a clinical negligence claim, as every case is different. There are a number of options available for funding your claim, including some that will not involve you parting with any money. One of Liddy’s Solicitors’ specialists will explain the most suitable choices to you when you enquire about making a claim.
How much compensation will I receive?
The amount of compensation you will recover depends on the precise details of your case. The size of the damages paid will reflect the severity of the injury suffered, loss of earnings and the cost of ongoing care and private treatment related to the injury.
Our clinical negligence team will give you advice on what financial records you should keep to help calculate damages once the claim reaches the settlement stage.
What can I make a clinical negligence claim for?
If you can demonstrate the hospital or staff involved were negligent and that the failure in care caused an injury, you can make a claim.
Among the most common examples of clinical negligence claims are:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Birth trauma
- Maternal injuries
- Mismanagement of fractures
- Surgical errors
- Anaesthetic failure
- Spinal injuries
- Hospital acquired infections, such as MRSA
- Incorrectly prescribed medicines
- Cosmetic surgery errors
If you believe you have reason to make a clinical negligence claim, call Liddy’s Solicitors on 01226 731314 (Barnsley) or 01924 780753 (Wakefield) to speak to one of our experts or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is conveyancing?
Your ‘Conveyancer’ is the person who will make sure that on your sale or purchase the legal paperwork known as ‘Conveyancing’ will be dealt with properly.
Your Conveyancer will ensure that on a sale any Mortgages are paid off and the property is transferred to the Buyer in accordance with current Land Registry practice. On a purchase your Conveyancer will ensure that relevant searches and enquiries are carried out so that you are aware of everything you need to know about the property before you are committed to the purchase.
Your Conveyancer will also deal with the requirements of your Lender in all Mortgage cases and will liaise with your Estate Agents and Surveyors to ensure that everyone works together to complete your house sale or purchase.
What are the basic steps involved in the conveyancing process?
- 1. First make an offer on the property you like. Tell the Estate Agents what you would be prepared to pay subject to contract.
- 2. Once the seller accepts your offer, their Conveyancer will send out a draft contract setting out the terms of the sale.
- 3. The buyers Conveyancer checks the contract, raises enquiries and carries out searches to see what information is available about the property.
- 4. If you require a Mortgage you need to make a mortgage application to your Lender at this stage (or before if the relevant information is available).
- 5. Once your Conveyancer reports to you that all is in order and the money is ready contracts are exchanged. After this, neither you nor the seller can withdraw from the transaction. It is usual on exchange for the buyer to pay a deposit which the seller can keep if the buyer defaults.
- 6. At exchange of Contracts a completion date is fixed.
- 7. Before completion final searches are carried out to make certain no last minute changes have taken place. Your Conveyancer prepares a final statement showing how much money is needed.
- 8. On completion your Conveyancer pays over money to the sellers Conveyancer, the seller moves out and you move in to your new property.
- 9. After completion the Conveyancer will pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax due and will register the property in your name at the Land Registry.
How do we deal with the money in the conveyancing process?
If you are selling, the main items to be paid from the sale proceeds will usually be:
- The amount needed to pay off any mortgage(s)
- Estate Agents commission
- Conveyancing costs
- The balance that is due to you
If you are buying, the main items will be:
- The deposit
- Any balance of the Purchase Price (after deposit)
- Mortgage Valuation and Survey fees
- The Mortgage Advance (to be received from your Lender)
- Stamp Duty Land Tax
- Land Registry fees
- Relevant Search fees
Detailed Completion Statements including all of these matters will be provided to you at the beginning and end of each of your transactions.
What does it all cost?
We will provide you with our Estimate at the outset. This will include our Conveyancing fee (plus the VAT currently 20%) and we will also advise you of any Stamp Duty Land Tax payable, the Land Registry fees and search fee applicable to your property sale or purchase.
What about online conveyancers, they seem very cheap?
A house is probably the most expensive asset you’ll ever purchase. It is important that you ensure that you have expert advice from a specialist solicitor. A telephone conversation can never replicate a face to face meeting.
From your first interview, we will allocate you a qualified and experienced Conveyancing solicitor that will deal with your transaction from start to finish, adding a degree of continuity that you will never get with an online conveyancer. He or She will contact you regularly to update you on progress and keep you informed. If you ever need to contact the office you will know who to ask for and we’ll ensure you’re not left wondering what’s going on.
When do I pay my deposit?
We will ask for your deposit money before Contracts are exchanged. The deposit will have to be cleared before we can exchange Contracts so payment by Building Society cheque, Bank draft or Bank transfer will save time and is the preferred method of payment. We will advise you of the exact amount required and provide you with our Bank details at the appropriate time.
How much will the deposit be?
As a standard term of sale contracts it will be 10% of the purchase price. However, the sellers may agree to a reduced amount.
What is ‘exchange of contracts’?
In a property transaction a draft Contract is prepared by the Sellers Conveyancer and sent to the Buyers Conveyancer for approval. The Contract will include details of the legal title to the property, a list of Fixtures and Fittings which are included in the sale and any special conditions relevant to the property.
The Buyers Conveyancers will then check the legal title and carry out preliminary searches and enquiries. Once they are satisfied that all is in order the Buyer and Seller both individually sign a copy of the Contract and the two parts are then literally exchanged between the two Conveyancers. At that point the Contract becomes legally binding, the completion date is fixed and neither party can withdraw from the transaction.
How long does the conveyancing process take?
In straightforward cases about 4-6 weeks is usual. If there is a ‘chain’ of properties it may well take longer but we will always try to work to your requirements regarding completion dates.
What happens on the completion date?
On the day of completion you will need to aim to move out of the house you are selling by lunchtime and into your new home during the afternoon. If there is a long chain you may find there is a delay whilst the monies are transferred between the Banks. Please be patient and remember that we will do whatever we can to speed the process but we have no control over what time Mortgage funds are released by Lenders. It is for this reason we normally request the mortgage funds one day earlier.
Once the purchase monies are received we will pay off any outstanding Mortgages, pay your Estate Agents commission and pay any balance to you. This can be either be cheque or direct Bank transfer to your account if requested.
What do we do about the keys?
If you are the Seller you should take the keys to the Estate Agent on the day of completion so that they can be released to the Buyer once all of the purchase money has been received from the Buyers Conveyancers. If it is a private sale with no Estate Agents involved you will need to make your own arrangements with the Buyer about handing over the keys. We will advise you and we often can assist in the process if required.
If you are the Purchaser you will be able to obtain the keys from the Estate Agents once your purchase money has been received by the Sellers Conveyancers and the Sellers have vacated the property.
In the majority of transactions completion has been effected and keys released by about 12 noon – 1pm.