Do I have a Claim For Personal Injury Compensation?
Contact one of our expert personal injury compensation solicitors, and we will let you know, within seconds if you have a claim for personal injury compensation. Whatever you are doing, from walking on a public highway, to working in a warehouse, or with machinery, you will be owed a duty of care by someone. This means that if you are injured as a result of the negligence of another, then you probably do have a claim for personal injury compensation, and our personal injury compensation solicitors will be able to assist you, on a No-Win-No-Fee basis.
Can I make a personal injury claim for someone else?
You can make a claim for someone else, but only in certain circumstances. Legally, if someone has what is known as “capacity” to make a decision for themselves, you cannot make a claim on their behalf (Link here to LPA blog). Most common cases of people making a claim for someone else however, are parents or guardians making claims on behalf of their children who are under the age of 18. In the eyes of the Law, until you are aged 18, you do not have the ability to make your own legal representation or to instruct a Solicitor and so you must have what is known as a Litigation Friend, usually a parent or guardian, to make the claim for you.
The other occasion where you can make a Personal Injury Claim for someone else is if they lack the mental capacity to do so. In these circumstances the Law classifies the person as a “Patient” and much the same with the child above, a parent or guardian would have to make the claim on their behalf. Most usually, in those circumstances, there would be an individual with a Power of Attorney or Deputyship (Link here to Power of Attorney blog), who manages the Patient’s day-to-day affairs and they could make the claim on that person’s behalf.
Do I need to go to my doctor to claim personal injury?
The same principle as attending hospital applies to going to your doctor, usually this would be your GP. If you believe that you need to seek the advice, or if you are in any doubt at all, then we strongly recommend that you do go and see your GP.
It is true that the attendance upon a doctor does sometimes assist with evidencing certain incidents, say, a tripping incident in public where there is no CCTV to record the incident or staff to complete an accident report form. Your attendance upon a doctor would quiet certain cynical insurers who may require more proof than just a video of the defect you have fallen down, before they are willing to settle your claim for personal injury.
It can also assist if you are injured by going to your doctor as they may be able to refer you to other services such as physiotherapy which can speed up your recovery. Every Claimant has a duty to “mitigate their loss” which means they must minimise their injuries and any financial losses. By failing to seek medical assistance or undergo rehabilitation, there are occasions where the fault party could raise allegations of your not mitigating your losses properly.
How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?
Generally speaking, you have three years to make a claim for personal injury. This three- year period starts either on the date of the incident; which is usual for most “accidents” whether Road Traffic Accidents, Accidents at Work or Slips, Trips and Falls. Sometimes, if you are not aware that damage has been done, which is not uncommon in Medical Negligence Claims or Industrial Illness (deafness, lung disease etc.) the three year period is deemed to start when you become aware of the link between your injury and the act of negligence; this is referred to as the date of knowledge (insert link to blog here).
If you do not either settle your personal injury claim, or issue proceedings in the County Court within your three -year time limit, your claim will become automatically Statute Barred under the Limitation Act 1980.
There are some shorter time limits for certain types of claim, such as those occurring whilst at sea or in the air (insert link to blog, here) and so, we always recommend that you do not delay and contact MG Legal to ensure you have the right advice swiftly and so that we can ensure you do not miss out on your right to claim.
How often will my solicitor update me on my case?
Your Solicitor will update you as soon as anything occurs on your case, which means that you will hear from us every few weeks in general.
However, here at MG Legal, we pride ourselves on being human and accessible and so, we always welcome our clients getting in touch if they have any queries and we will speak to you to confirm exactly how your claim is going. Generally, we ask our clients to telephone the office for an update so that we can have a conversation and ensure that you are absolutely happy with what is going on and why we are doing what we are doing. Our team are very approachable, and will always accept your ‘phone call, or if on another line, will call you back immediately after. Emails are always acceptable too.
Is there any risk in bringing a claim for personal injury compensation?
Nothing in life is without risk, but when dealing with MG Legal these are minimal and provided you bring your claim honestly and listen to the advice of your Solicitor, these risks are effectively zero.
As long as you adhere to your Conditional Fee Agreement and see your claim to a conclusion honestly, you will not be liable for any of our costs. The fault party costs are similarly covered by a piece of Law known as Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting (QOCS) which provides that as long as your claim is justified and you bring it honestly, the fault party cannot seek their costs from you, even in the highly unlikely event, with MG Legal acting for you, that it does not succeed.
The final risk is a Part 36 offer, which is an offer made to settle by the fault party under Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules (Link to Part 36 offers here). Basically, if the fault party makes an offer to settle subject to Part 36 and you reject it, but then fail to beat it later, you would be liable for the fault party costs from 21 days after the date they made the offer. Here at MG Legal we would always advise you fully on any offer made and ensure that you knew what was a good offer and what was a bad one.
In short, provided you work with MG Legal, we will ensure that you are protected against all risks and that if you have a decision to make, you are fully advised and have all the information you need to make the decision. Our expert team of personal injury compensation solicitors have never had a client fail to beat a Part 36 offer made against them. You’re definitely in safe hands when you work with our team.
What is a CFA No Win No Fee Personal injury claim?
To assist anyone who has been injured claim for compensation, without paying up-front solicitor’s fees, No Win No Agreements are favoured way of funding all personal injury claims. Everyone has the right not to be injured, or to suffer personal injury, as a result of someone else’s negligence. No Win No Fee agreements give MG Legal’s clients the right to pursue a claim for personal injury, without financial risk to themselves. Click here to find out more
What is causation?
Causation is the legal link between an incident for which the fault party is liable and any injuries you may have sustained. For any claim for personal injury to succeed, it must be shown, usually through medical evidence, that the incident was responsible for the injuries claimed. For example, a Road Traffic Accident could reasonably cause a neck injury, or a tripping incident could reasonably cause a leg injury. The medical report will illustrate this, and that the accident you had, ‘caused’ the injury you have sustained.
Does liability have to be admitted before I receive my personal injury compensation?
Not always, whilst an admission of liability is generally an indication that your claim will be settled, it is common for fault parties to settle claims on what is known as a “without prejudice” basis. This is an offer to settle based on a sum of money being paid to settle your claim without an admission of liability being made.
Often this type of offer is made when an insurer does not have a full report from their insured or if they believe there is insufficient evidence to support a full denial but they do not wish, for their own (often financial) reasons, to either openly concede fault or dispute a claim any further.
Ultimately, a “without prejudice” settlement still results in full settlement of your claim and so we are equally happy with this type of settlement for our clients as those made on an admission of liability. The advice you receive from us will always be tailored to your individual claim and so, we will ensure that you are absolutely confident when accepting your settlement.
How do I make a personal injury claim for my injured child?
The process for making a claim for your child is not too different to making a claim for yourself. Up to the age of 18, your child is not deemed to be able to make their own claim and so you will act as their Litigation Friend (Link to blog on Litigation Friends). You will instruct MG Legal as you would for your own claim, assist with the progression of the claim and in obtaining medical evidence. Settlement negotiations take place in the same way and we will ensure that we obtain the best possible settlement for your child.
Any settlement for a minor must be approved by the Court with the support of a barrister’s opinion on the value of the claim, also known as “Advice on Quantum”. You will need to attend a short (usually ten minutes long) non-contentious Hearing at your local County Court, accompanied by a barrister, to obtain the approval of a District Judge, who will then make an Order that the fault party make payment of the appropriate sum.
We appreciate that this may sound like a complex process, however, it is really quite simple, and you will always have expert legal advice and guidance to hand throughout the process to ensure your child does not miss out.
Do I need to go to the hospital to claim personal injury?
You don’t have to go to hospital to claim personal injury. Later in your claim, we would instruct a medical expert to examine you and to prepare an independent report on your injuries. This report can sometimes be done to include a review of your records but just because you did not go to hospital, does not mean you were not injured.
What we do recommend to anyone, client or otherwise, is that after any kind of incident where you have been injured, if it looks like you should go to hospital, or if there is any doubt about it, then you should go and seek medical advice and treatment. At MG Legal, we are very good at what we do in the field of Law, but we are not doctors and so we strongly recommend that you see one if you are uncertain.
How is my personal injury compensation worked out?
As part of the evidencing process you will be sent to see a Medical Expert and depending on the severity and type of your injuries potentially two or three experts. The Medical Expert will produce a report which summarises your injuries and gives the most likely prognosis for your injuries.
We then take those reports and your likely recovery period and compare these with the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines (JSB) which is a reference book used by Solicitors, Barristers and Judges alike. The JSB, as it is known, provides various brackets for valuation of injuries of every type based on the severity of the injury, any lasting problems and the length of time it takes to recover. One criticism of the JSB is that it gives, at times, a somewhat broad-brush approach to injury valuations; for example Minor Back Injuries are valued between £1,950.00 and £6,290.00.
Upon receipt of a medical report, detailing your injuries, we will then advise you on our recommendations for negotiations with the fault party and with your agreement, proceed to negotiate the best possible settlement for your claim.
How long will my personal injury claim take?
One of the most commonly asked questions here at MG Legal and one of the most difficult to answer without reviewing your case on an individual basis. Much depends on the fault party and how they deal with the claim at their end.
The shortest time that a fault party has to provide an initial indication on liability is 21 days in the case of a Road Traffic Accident, although most claims, including Road Traffic Accidents, have a second, longer, requirement under the Pre-Action Protocols (the Laws that govern how these claims are handled) for the fault party to respond in full regarding liability within three months of the Claim being presented. The exceptions to this rule are Medical Negligence cases where four months is permitted and incidents which happen abroad which have an investigation period of six months. The shortest time in which personal injury compensation solicitors settled a claim for one of our injured clients, was 14 days- and that included the client receiving their compensation.
From there, much depends on whether liability is admitted, if your medical evidence can be completed swiftly (usually dependent on how serious your injuries are) and whether reasonable settlement proposals are made by the fault party to settle your claim. There are many factors which make some claims quicker to settle than other.
On average, it takes nine months from start to finish on any given case, although of course we will do everything we can to get your case to the right conclusion as quickly as we can.
Do you accept all personal injury claims on a no win no fee basis?
Yes, once we have assessed that the prospects of your claim are in excess of 50%, we will be happy to take your claim on a “no win, no fee” basis. In 99% of cases, this will be a Conditional Fee Agreement, where our base costs are recovered from the fault party. There are very few exceptions where we cannot accept cases on this basis, which are usually Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority cases and Motor Insurer’s Bureau cases where the fault party cannot be traced which do not provide for our base costs and so, we would look to handle these cases on a different “no win, no fee” agreement called a Contingency Fee Agreement.
In April of 2013, recoverable legal fees were reduced and there is a success fee to pay which for Conditional Fee Agreements is never any more than 25% of your damages. You will, on a Conditional Fee Agreement with MG Legal, never receive less than 75% of your damages. There is good news, however, in that, despite reducing legal fees, compensatory awards to those injured, were increased by 10%- very good news indeed.
Can I claim for psychological injury, if I am not physically injured?
Yes, you can. Whilst it is rare for a psychological injury to occur without some kind of physical injury, we completely understand that this can happen and MG Legal have successfully concluded cases for people with psychological injuries alone. Psychological injury is, after all, still a personal injury.
The Judicial Studies Board Guidelines has a section dedicated to psychological injuries and as with any claim for personal injury, we would ensure that you have the correct expert medical evidence to support your claim.
What is liability?
Liability is the legal definition of “fault” and is sometimes called “breach of duty”. If someone is liable for something, it is their responsibility and so, in the context of your personal injury claim, if someone is liable for an accident or incident, they are then liable for any injuries caused.
Liability is the first of the three steps in successfully concluding a personal injury claim, the others being “Causation” and “Quantum”.
MG Legal seek to have liability admitted by the fault party as early as possible so that we can then get on with the business of evidencing and settling your claim.
What is quantum?
When we are discussing quantum, your claim for personal injury is almost always on its way to settlement. Quantum basically means value, or money, and is dictated by causation, as discussed above. The scale of your injuries and/or losses is described as the value of your claim. Once liability has been established and causation shown, the worth or value of your claim is said to be the quantum of the claim.
Will I be taxed on my personal injury compensation?
Personal Injury compensation is not classed as “income” or “earnings” and so you do not have to pay tax on it. You can make your claim safe in the knowledge that the taxman won’t be taking a slice out of your compensation.