Solicitor 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.
Does personal injury compensation affect benefits?
Receiving personal injury compensation in the United Kingdom may affect your eligibility for certain means-tested benefits. This is because the compensation may be considered personal capital or savings, affecting your eligibility for these benefits. It is important to note, however, that establishing a Personal Injury Trust can allow you to receive compensation without affecting your benefits. Because these issues can be complex and vary from case to case, it is always best to seek legal advice to fully understand the implications for your specific situation.
Can I make a personal injury claim after 3 years?
In the UK, personal injury claims typically need to be filed within 3 years from the accident’s date or the date of knowledge about the injury’s link to the accident. This 3-year rule, known as the ‘limitation period’, starts from the 18th birthday for those under 18 at the time of the accident. Exceptions do exist for this rule, so it’s advisable to seek legal advice to understand your rights and any potential exceptions.
How long does a personal injury claim take?
The duration of a personal injury claim can vary widely, typically ranging from a few months to a few years, depending on the complexity of the case and the severity of the injuries.
How many personal injury claims go to court?
The number of personal injury claims that go to court in the United Kingdom is relatively small. While exact figures vary from year to year, it is estimated that less than 10% of these cases are taken to trial. This reflects the preference of parties for out-of-court settlements, which are typically less expensive and time-consuming. Regardless, it is important to have a solicitor on your side who can effectively represent your interests whether the case goes to trial or not.
Will you take my case on?
When you consult us, our first job is to carry out an initial assessment of the prospects of the case based on your instructions and any available medical records. But to begin with, we need to take a view as to whether the case is sufficiently strong for us to make further enquiries. With a lot of cases, we will be able to make that decision on our first meeting, but in other cases we will need to do some background research and may need to seek the opinion of an expert witness. That might take us a few weeks or months depending on how busy the expert witness is.
If we agree to take your case on, the costs that we have incurred will be part of the no-win no fee agreement. If we do not agree to take your case on, we will write off those costs.
What do I pay if my Personal injury claim succeeds?
If your claim succeeds you will have to contribute to your own legal costs, but it won’t be more than 25% of your damages. If your case loses, you will have nothing to pay so long as you have not breached your contract with us, for example by not cooperating with your own case.
We still though try to give you an idea of what legal costs we are likely to incur whilst running the case, because you will be contributing if you win.
It can only be a broad estimate though because some cases settle before court proceedings are issued, perhaps 6 or 9 months after beginning the case. Other cases settle at trial which might be 2 years after the beginning of the case. And some cases will involve more expert witness reports than others. Our figure can only therefore be a ballpark estimate.
Claims involving accidents at work or claims against the council where the damages are under £25,000. Doing the best that we can, if the case settles prior to the issue of proceedings, then typically the total costs incurred on your file will be approximately £2,500-£7,000 plus VAT, though they may be more or less than that. If the case goes to trial, then significantly more costs are incurred.
Accident at work claims and claims against the council where damages are likely to be over £25,000
Doing the best that we can, if the case settles prior to the issue of proceedings, then typically the total costs incurred on your file will be approximately £10,000 and £15,000 plus VAT, though they may be more or less than that. If the case goes to trial, then significantly more costs are incurred.
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.
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.