Our Personal Injury Solicitors Discuss How An Injury Compensation Claim Is Valued
Posted on 14th May 2020
The million- dollar question (pardon the pun). How much is my personal injury compensation claim worth, is a question that practically everyone asks, or at least thinks about, at the start of their claim. Here at MG Legal, your Personal Injury Solicitor in Longridge, we would like to give this answer straight away, but as much as we want it to be, it simply isn’t possible. The answer is both simple and complicated, a bit like the legal system we have to work within.
What type of Personal Injury Claims do solicitors deal with?
Solicitors will, usually, accept all types of claim involving personal injury, from slips, trips and falls in supermarkets and public places, to road traffic accidents, accidents involving animals, and medical negligence claims for compensation against dentists, NHS professionals, and doctors, provided it is believed there is a reasonable chance of obtaining an award for your injuries in excess of £1,000.00: This being the legal threshold at which the fault party also has to pay towards your legal fees.
Why is the threshold for recovery of Legal Fees different in Personal Injury Compensation Claims?
The Law has a threshold at which it believes claims are simple enough for individuals to handle them without the need for a Solicitor. Here is the Small Claims Track and the basic rules for cases that are suitable for Small Claims are described by the Civil Procedure Rules.
As you will notice, Personal Injury is one of a very few cases where the threshold is lower, set at £1,000.00, with most claims being valued at £10,000.00 or more before they are moved up to the Fast Track, this being the standard Track for cases that are deemed complex enough to need a Solicitor and so, makes provision for you to recover legal fees in addition to your damages.
How likely is is that my case would be a Fast Track case?
It is, in reality, very difficult to be injured but not be entitled to an award of at least £1,000.00. MG Legal, your Personal Injury Solicitor in Longridge do not accept sub-par settlements and whilst many Defendant insurers will ‘try it on’ with arguments of cases being below this threshold, we are very good at setting them straight. The Judicial Studies Board Guidelines, a common reference booked used for valuations of injuries by Solicitors, Judges and Barristers, indicates that a simple soft tissue injury lasting for one month would likely be enough to achieve an award in excess of £1,000.00. So, unless your injuries are very severe, your claim will almost always be a Fast Track claim.
See our short video, here.
So, how do you value a claim?
Generally speaking, to value a Personal Injury Claim your Solicitor will need two things, a report from a medical expert and a copy of the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines. An expert medical report will provide an accurate summary of your injuries and your estimated recovery time from the same, as well as detailing the effect on your general life of what you could not do as a result of your injuries.
Sometimes, if your injuries are more severe, or if you have sustained multiple types of injuries, say, a broken bone and scarring, then two experts might be needed to fully quantify your injuries, but the principle remains the same in that the medical expert(s) will do their job in reporting on your injuries and then your Solicitor will review the reports and apply a monetary sum to the matter and with your authority commence negotiations with the fault party.
What about more complex injuries?
With more complex injuries, particularly life-changing or particularly severe injuries, it is not uncommon to seek a second opinion from a Barrister, this is known as “Counsel’s Advice”. Barristers spend a lot of time in Court arguing for, amongst other things, awards for claims and so their perspective on the matter, coupled with their knowledge of the most current case-law, can strengthen the arguments for the best sum.
Barristers are also called in sometimes to provide what is known as a Schedule of Loss. This is a document that is generally used when the injuries will have a longer lasting effect, whether by reducing your ability to work, or making it necessary that care in the future is provided. “Care” is a catch-all term and does not necessarily mean looking after the injured person directly, but anything they can no longer do, such as decorating, gardening or DIY.
Can I claim Loss of Earnings?
Yes, you can include lost earnings and these can include earnings lost straight after the incident, days missed for treatment or medical appointments and also for future losses if either you can no longer do a higher paid job due to the physical demands or if your working hours must be reduced due to your injuries making it impossible to fulfil your previous contractual hours.
What about other losses?
Any loss, expenditure, bills or future costs which have or which will come out of your pocket as a result of the incident can be included in a claim against the fault party. Provided the cost or loss is reasonable and can be proven, either with a document such as a wage slip, receipt or invoice or an expert opinion that says the loss will likely be incurred, there is a strong probability that the loss can be recovered.
What to do if I sustain an injury?
Get in touch with MG Legal, your Personal Injury Solicitor in Longridge and we will put you in touch with our specialist Personal Injury Team who will discuss your claim the same day. We aim to accept all Personal Injury Claims on a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) to ensure you have access to the legal representation you deserve. We will always aim to have documentation sent to you by post or email straight away so that the there is no delay in getting the ball rolling on your claim.
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