What happens and when
Whether you’re a client, acting on a client’s behalf, or just wanting to find out more, our ten-step introduction should help you to better understand the claims process.
What happens and when...
1. Choosing your legal representation
You’ll be seeking reassurance and advice from the outset.
You need to find the right partner – the relationship with your legal team is vital. But regardless of which company you choose, you should consider:
- the financial arrangements – the No Win, No Fee (Our No Win No Fee offer depends on you complying with our terms and conditions – call 0800 587 7502 for more information.) agreement and fees payable at the end of a successful claim
- the time it takes – this can be from a few months to a number of years although we’ll deal with your case as quickly as possible and ensure we get the right result. Most cases take less than two years to resolve, but this depends on whether responsibility is admitted and the nature/seriousness of your injuries
- care and support provided – before, during and after your claim, both legal and beyond.
Understandably, personal recommendations are the most popular way of getting the right legal representation. But does it compare with your situation? If not, like any solicitor we can’t wave a magic wand and guarantee you’ll make the right decision by suggesting you choose us as your partner.
These are good too, but the reality is, everyone gets their share of good and bad reviews. Many justified, others unfortunate and unhelpful. Why? The legal team–client relationship is crucial and deals with difficult issues that may involve many people with lots of opinions, demands and decisions.
Judge for yourself
What we do is aim to be open, clear and realistic. It gives the key relationship we have with you the best possible platform. We’ll explain what it’s like to work with us and give you the opportunity to talk to the people who’ll be working for you. Hopefully this should enable you to make an informed decision about who are the right people to best represent and look after you.
2. What we do first
We usually find out about an injury claim by being contacted by you, i.e. the person directly involved, or someone representing you – whether it’s a family member, friend or colleague, your insurer or another third party.
We’ll look to take the basic details, then action any immediate needs and select the most appropriate person or team to handle your case. They’ll usually be the next people to contact you to introduce themselves, unless more details and further assessment is required before we can decide who is best placed to help you.
Let’s make this as easy as possible
We appreciate you’re unlikely to have been involved in this type of situation before, so we aim to make it all as stress-free as possible, explaining what we are going to do – and why – at every stage, and ensuring we keep you up-to-date throughout your case. You’ll always find us open, clear and realistic – it works best for everyone.
3. How long your case will take
Each case is different. The more straightforward your case the quicker it is likely to be concluded. However, there are many variables and these can change during the process, so it is difficult, without understanding the individual circumstances, to give a more reliable estimate other than between three months and a number of years – depending on:
- the complexity of your case
- the severity of injury/impact on your life
- how well the relationship works between you and your legal team
- the efficiency of those responsible and their representatives
- whether liability is admitted or denied
- the extent of work involved in preparing your case
- the availability of the best experts to assist
- whether court proceedings prove necessary.
Time is precious…
The quicker things are resolved, the sooner you can get on with your life. Once we know more, your legal team will give you an indication of likely timescales, and keep you fully informed of any changes throughout the process, based on what we know at any given time.
Because the process does take time, we do everything possible to prevent this from adversely impacting on any help or support you may need as a result of your injuries, and in many cases are able to secure early part-payments on your behalf. This means you can get on with your life when it suits you – and not feel it is impossible to do so until your claim is settled.
4. Looking after your needs
Once we know about your case we put the right team in place as quickly as your needs demand. They will get in touch with you to introduce themselves, start to get to know you and take control of the situation on your behalf.
In many cases this will simply involve our legal representative establishing what has happened and beginning the process of building your case, including the arrangement of any medical examinations, assessing what financial losses you have suffered and compiling evidence in the event that liability is denied.
If it is required, the most serious cases with the most significant impacts on our clients’ lives will involve a core legal team of three people, led by a highly experienced and qualified solicitor or legal executive, plus a client liaison manager and rehabilitation case manager, working to deal with all your non-legal needs.
Representation tailored to you
Because each case is individual, we put in place the people absolutely appropriate to deal with your needs and best qualified to resolve the case efficiently and cost effectively. We either write to you or meet you in person, whichever is the most appropriate course of action for your case and the evidence gathering process – to explain what we intend to do, everything you need to know and ensure your needs are being taken care of and questions answered.
Once we’re notified of your case we work for you as our client, but you’re under no obligation until you’ve agreed a funding arrangement with us.
5. Information gathering
We first establish the facts about your case including:
- what happened, where and when
- the nature of any injuries
- information about witnesses
- all other relevant details and circumstances including other potential losses
- details of the people you believe to be responsible.
We’ll confirm these with you in the form of a letter or meeting, whichever we believe is most appropriate to your case, explain everything else you need to know and seek to formalise our relationship, unless your circumstances make this more appropriate at a later date.
a) Who’s responsible…
The first thing we need to establish is who you believe is responsible for your injury, that your accident happened as a result of their negligence and we’ve the evidence to prove this. If they deny liability, this becomes key and could involve witness statements, photographs, CCTV, vehicle damage reports, wider investigations and seeking of a variety of expert opinions.
b) Medical matters…
If necessary, we’ll arrange for a medical or series of medicals, with a specialist in the injuries you’ve suffered. These are tailored to each case but it’s possible your initial examination will be quite brief as in the more straightforward cases, a GP’s report may be all that is necessary.
If further medicals are required, you’ll be kept fully informed and these will be organised at a location, date and time convenient to you. The medicals are designed to confirm the nature of your injury and the likely recovery time. We will also look to arrange treatment with a physiotherapist if this is required. We will look to recover any travel expenses you incur attending these medicals as part of your claim.
c) Financial losses…
We’ll establish the value of your claim, primarily assessing the compensation your injury demands alongside any associated financial losses you should claim for. This relates to any costs you’ve incurred or may incur relating to your injury, and covers costs associated with:
- your vehicle being damaged
- replacement vehicle hire charge
- medication and treatment
- loss of earnings
- damaged property or belongings
- care and assistance.
These are all standard procedures, we do the work, but it’s important you know what’s involved – and that it will take time.
6. Representing you
a) Formalising our relationship
At the appropriate time during the relatively early stages of a case we need to agree the funding arrangements with you. It’s a relatively simple process but we have to do this to be able to represent you. It outlines the financial terms within which we are working and our obligations to each other.
b) Agreeing our Case Plan
Where necessary, we’ll prepare a Case Plan that explains our approach to dealing with your case and describes specific actions and provides timescales. This will be updated as your case progresses and irrespective of this, you’ll always be notified of any update in regard to your claim’s progress.
c) Protocols and people
To maximise our effectiveness in dealing with cases and avoid court proceedings where possible, we adhere to a number of protocols. These are simply different processes for the most efficient management of various claims and circumstances. For a variety of reasons, usually related to complexity or delays, there’s a possibility our agreed approach may become inappropriate to your case. If this happens we’ll tell you immediately, explain why and potentially drop or change both our approach and your legal team – to best manage your situation.
d) Dealing with those responsible
- handle all aspects of your dealings with them
- inform them of the claim and the details
- negotiate the value of compensation if they accept responsibility
- deal with any denial of responsibility
- start court proceedings if we cannot agree a settlement on any of the above and we believe your claim is likely to be successful
- handle all further negotiations (Even after court proceedings are issued, negotiation takes place. It’s very rare for cases to go to court – the vast majority settle beforehand).
We keep you fully informed and there should be no need for you to have contact with those you hold responsible for your situation or their representatives.
7. Keeping you informed
Given the time that even the most straightforward claims take to be settled, we understand that keeping you up-to-date and involved when required is of paramount importance.
You need to be able to get on with your life, safe in the knowledge that we’re taking full responsibility and dealing with all aspects of your case.
With the most complex and catastrophic cases, we’re likely to be in constant contact and form a very close working relationship with you. However, because these usually are the longest cases, there will be periods of time when very little appears to be happening, especially when progress is largely sat with others.
You never have to worry
With every client and every case, we aim to keep you fully up-to-date and if we feel it is necessary, we’ll agree a Case Plan at the outset to give you the confidence to leave it all with us. You should never worry if there are periods of time when you hear nothing, unless it deviates significantly from what you are expecting. Rest assured we’ll be in touch whenever you need to be aware of anything or there has been key progress with your claim.
If you have any questions or concerns at any time, you can always visit our Help Centre, send an email or call your legal representative.
8. Negotiating your claim
In all instances, we seek the speediest and most cost-effective way to get those you believe are responsible for your personal injury to accept responsibility, agree the right level of compensation and settle your claim.
In some cases, those believed to be responsible will deny liability. If so we’ll examine their case and reasons why they are denying liability and potentially seek further evidence as part of our negotiation process. This is aimed at seeking an admittance of responsibility or ensuring we present the strongest possible case should the case go to court. This can take time and of course you’ll be kept fully informed and no decisions will be made without your agreement.
As part of the information gathering stage we investigate and ascertain the value of your claim and once liability has been admitted, we will make an offer to those liable (or ask them to make an offer to us) to agree the level of compensation.
In some cases those responsible accept liability but we cannot agree the level of compensation to be paid with our initial offer. If so further negotiations take place that may involve a series of offers between ourselves and those responsible. Throughout this process you will always be kept informed and any offer agreed with you.
c) Court proceedings
If, despite all negotiations, responsibility is not admitted or a level of compensation cannot be agreed with those admitting responsibility, we may start court proceedings while continuing negotiations to settle your claim – which will only ever be done with your informed consent. Only when these fail and your claim cannot be settled to your satisfaction, do we commit the case to court (or arbitration if it is against an untraceable driver). Please be assured it is very rare for cases to go to court.
9. If court is required
Most personal injury cases do settle out of court, but if responsibility is denied or a level of compensation cannot be agreed – and we still believe your claim will be successful – we will take your case to court.
We’ll handle all aspects but it will add time to the length of your case and it may be necessary for you to appear in court. We will of course take this into account at all stages of the negotiation with those held responsible. Naturally we'll provide full advice, arrange representation if necessary and support you all the way through court.
If liability is admitted the court will not judge liability and will simply decide the level of compensation.
If liability is not admitted, the court will judge whether those responsible (the defendants) are liable and if so, the level of compensation they will be required to pay in respect of the claim.
Cases for under 18s
Most claims for those under 18 years of age go to court whether a level of compensation has been agreed or not, so the court can approve the amount of money paid.
Explaining court proceedings
All court proceedings are quite complex as each case is individual and there are a number of processes and variety of scenarios that can lead to court and dictate what happens.
Given only a very small percentage of cases result in court and you’ll be kept involved throughout, it’s best that specific explanations are provided by your legal team.
10. Settling your claim
When liability has been admitted and we’ve agreed a level of compensation, those responsible will make a payment to settle your claim.
Only when you’ve received your payment will we close your file. We will then keep it for seven years after it has been closed, which protects everyone’s interests and meets Law Society Guidelines.
Following closure, depending on the severity of your injury and the impact on your life, we may remain in contact with you as part of your continued recovery process.
Whatever the nature of your case, we look forward to taking care of all your personal legal needs long after we’ve represented you for the first time.
- Find out more about our No Win, No Fee (Our No Win No Fee offer depends on you complying with our terms and conditions – call 0800 587 7502 for more information.) promise
- Personal Injury claims - your FAQs answered
- Case study - how we helped biker Karl and his family after he sustained serious head injuries