Our personal injury solicitors have answered the questions they are asked most. If you still have a question about your claim, get in contact with us.
What is the time limit for bringing my claim?
There are time limits that apply to claims for injuries and illness, but there are also exceptions to the general rule and, in certain limited circumstances, claims may be brought outside the normal time limit with the court’s permission.
For this reason, even if you think you are out of time, please call us so that we may advise you whether you may still bring a claim.
On the other hand, if you believe that you still have plenty of time to bring your claim, it is still advisable to contact us as soon as possible, so that the evidence needed to pursue your claim may be collected and preserved. Indeed, the earlier a claim is pursued the better, whilst the evidence is still available and any witnesses can still be located and their memories are still fresh.
The time limit for bringing accident claims is usually three years from the date of the accident. If court proceedings have not been brought within that time, you would normally be barred from bringing your claim.
However, there are exceptions to this rule, including:
Children who have an accident have until their 21st birthday to bring their claim because the three year time limit does not begin to run until they are 18 years old.
People who are incapable of managing their property and affairs due to a mental disorder are not subject to the three year time limit unless and until their mental capacity returns. If it returns, then the three year time limit will begin to run at that stage.
Death of the accident victim within the three year time limit leaves it open to the personal representatives of the victim’s estate to continue or commence the claim within a further three years from the date of death.
Where you did not know that you had been injured by your opponent, then the three year time limit will only begin to run from when you knew or should have known that your opponent had injured you. This often arises in medical negligence cases and in asbestos claims where the disease develops many years after the contact with asbestos.
There are also other types of case where different time limits apply, including:
Accidents involving untraced drivers have very short time limits for reporting the accident to the police. The accident must be reported within five days after the accident if you wish to claim for any property damage and within 14 days after the accident if you wish to claim for your injuries. There is also a different time limit for submitting an application for compensation to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. If you wish to claim for property damage, the application must be submitted within nine months of the accident, but if you wish to claim for your injuries, there is still a three year time limit.
Victims of crime have two years to make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
Accidents abroad, on boats or on planes may have different time limits. For example, an accident on a plane has a two year time limit and the time limit for accidents abroad may vary depending on the law of the country where the accident took place.
It can be very complicated to work out the time limit in some cases and so we recommend that you do not delay and contact us as soon as possible. We will then look into this for you and advise you about the time limit that applies in your case.
Once we know more about your injuries and have assessed your claim in more detail, we will be able to provide you with an estimate of how much compensation we think you should be awarded.
How much compensation will I receive?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no fixed amount of compensation available for each type of injury or illness, because every case is different. For example, whiplash injuries can vary in severity from a few days of mild discomfort to life-changing injuries that cause permanent and severe disability. Likewise, recovery from a fractured limb may be very straightforward or there may be complications that lead to ongoing problems and incapacity.
For this reason, the value of an injury or illness is assessed for each case individually so that it properly reflects the level of pain that has been suffered and the effect that the injury or illness has had on the life of the victim.
However, there is a set of national guidelines that provide a range of values for different types of injury or illness according to their severity, and this is a very useful starting point. From there, we can reach a more precise valuation by looking at case law and comparing your injuries or illness with those of other victims whose compensation has been assessed by a court.
To enable us to assess the extent of your injuries or illness and likely recovery, we will ask a medical expert to examine you and prepare a report. Your claim will then be valued on the basis of that report.
In addition to claiming compensation for your injuries or illness, we will also claim compensation for your other losses and expenses. Depending on the type of claim, these may include the accident damage to your vehicle, any excess, recovery charges, storage charges, car hire charges, loss of earnings, any property damaged in the accident, travel costs, the cost of medical equipment, care costs, prescription charges and so on.
Once we know more about your injuries and have assessed your claim in more detail, we will be able to provide you with an estimate of how much compensation we think you should be awarded. Talk to our friendly solicitors to start your claim.
Will I have to go to court?
It is very unlikely that you will have to go to court for a full trial of your case.
The vast majority of claims are dealt with by agreement without needing to involve the court at all. Even in cases where court proceedings need to be issued, many of them settle later on without going all the way to a full trial.
In the very unlikely event that you do have to go to court for a full trial of your case, we will talk this through with you in detail and ensure that you feel comfortable about it in advance.
The situation is slightly different where a claim for compensation is being made on behalf of a child. In such cases, the child has to be represented by an adult, who is often one of their parents or carers. As the child is not legally capable of approving any agreement to settle their claim, the court must be asked to approve it on the child’s behalf. This is a protective measure to ensure that the level of the settlement is appropriate.
This will involve the child and their adult representative attending the court along with a member of our firm for a short and fairly informal hearing with a District Judge. This does not take place in a large court room, but in a small side room and usually only lasts a few minutes. There is no need to worry about this hearing as we will be there to guide you through it.
Can I transfer my case to you from my current solicitors?
We have taken over many cases from other solicitors when clients have been dissatisfied with the service they were receiving. Those clients have been impressed by our positive and proactive approach and the fact that we have gone on to obtain successful outcomes for them.
If you have any concerns about your current solicitors, please contact us so that we can discuss your situation with you and advise you how we can help.
The process of moving your case to us is very simple and we will take care of the arrangements and liaise with your current solicitors on your behalf.
For more information on this, go to our blog on transferring claims.
How much will it cost?
We will provide you with free initial advice on your claim, so it will cost you nothing to call us for information and guidance.
If we advise you to bring a claim, we will discuss with you how your claim may be funded. There are a number of options, including no win no fee agreements (also known as conditional fee agreements), damages-based agreements, trade union funding, legal expenses insurance and public funding.
The vast majority of cases are funded using no win no fee agreements and these are often used alongside an insurance policy. These arrangements together mean that, provided you comply with certain requirements:
If you lose your claim – you will not have to pay anything.
If you win your claim – you will be charged certain costs that can no longer be recovered from your opponent due to changes in the law. However, we will cap these costs at no more than 25% of your compensation payment.