Each year, more than 3 million people are injured in accidents in their cars, at home, at work or outdoors. In many cases, the accident is the result of someone or something else’s fault, meaning the victim has a right to compensation.
Personal injury law is rather complex but with the aid of a solicitor, victims can often make a claim relatively quickly and easily. Most solicitors even offer a free consultation beforehand to advise whether your claim is justifiable.
Finding a Solicitor
To find a solicitor that specialises in accident & personal injury, visit solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk. Here you can search a list of accredited solicitors in your area, find out more about their reputable standing and get in contact. It is recommended that you choose a solicitor who is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury accreditation. Legal experts undergo meticulous examination and tests on this scheme to show their high-standard of ability when dealing with personal injury cases.
What Your Solicitor Needs From You
For your solicitor to ascertain the details of your case, you will need to provide the following information:
- The date of the accident
- The location of the accident
- How the accident happened
- The contact details of any witnesses
- The details of your injuries and any medical diagnosis and/or treatment you have received
Other information the solicitor may require includes:
- Proof of any lost earnings or incurred financial expenses as a result of your accident
- Documents for your legal insurance policies (if applicable)
- Documents that support your claim. e.g. evidence of prior or subsequent accidents in the same location and/or circumstances.
How Your Solicitor Helps
When your solicitor has all of the information about your accident and injury that they require, they can then judge:
- Whether your case is likely to succeed
- The amount of compensation you may be entitled to
Your solicitor will explain the processes involved in making your claim before the court and how the case will be funded. If you do choose to take your claim further then you will receive a confirmation letter. This document will confirm the following:
- The solicitor has agreed to take on your case
- The contact details for the solicitor or other person who will be your main point of contact throughout the process
- The length of time the process is likely to take
- An estimate of the legal cost, details of how your case will be funded and when you must pay
- Details of any other information that’s required
- How to seek advice/who to contact if you are unhappy about the way your case is progressing.
Making Your Claim
To begin the claim process your solicitor will send a letter to the defendant setting out the details of the accident and your injury. The defendant will then have a limited period of time to respond to the letter (usually 3 months maximum). They will need to state whether they accept or deny the liability for your injury. If they accept then in most cases the matter can be settled out of court.
Making an Offer
Your solicitor will discuss with you the estimated value of your claim and will ask what amount you are prepared to accept. You will be advised whether you should make an ‘offer to settle’ for your agreed amount. The defendant may either agree to settle with this offer or put forward their own offer from which point your solicitor can advise you of the next step.
If a settlement cannot be reached out of court, you will be advised by your solicitor whether to take further legal action and take the case to court.
At this point your case will be passed to a judge who will provide you with a timetable for your case. You will be advised of the date of your hearing and your solicitor will inform you about any preparations you need to make beforehand.
At the court stage your solicitor would have fully organised your case and you would be fully advised of what to expect.
There is a number of ways to fund your personal injury claim and your solicitor will explain your options in detail. Legal fees may vary per solicitor based on the following:
- The solicitors’ length of experience
- The complexity of your case
- How the case will be funded
It is advised that you compare the costs for a few different solicitors’ firms and do some further research about their past experience with dealing with your type of case.
Legal aid is no longer available for accident & personal injury cases in the UK but if your case is won then the defendant is liable to pay the majority of your legal costs. However, remember that if your solicitor is acting for you under a ‘no win no fee’ agreement then you are accountable to pay what is referred to as the solicitor’s ‘success fee’.
If your case is lost then you will be advised on how you can manage the costs. Ensure you have the answers to the following questions from the very beginning of your case:
- What are the estimated costs for the case and how do they break down?
- How does the solicitor charge? With a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement, by the hour or by a fixed rate?
- How will you manage the costs of your case if it is lost – what are the options?
For more information about personal injury claims from a Law Society accredited Solicitors’ firm, visit: www.martynprowel.co.uk/personal-injury.html
Author Bio: Hannah is a passionate blogger working directly with and writing on behalf of Martyn Prowel Solicitors Cardiff, a highly distinguished legal firm located in South Wales UK. The legal team at Martyn Prowel specialise in a number of areas that range from family law to equity release and personal injury claims. The team are members of several Law Society accreditations and have been noted by many independent publications for their commitment to high quality service.