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Glossary

Thankfully we are not involved in accidents every day, so it’s not surprising when it comes to be making a personal injury claim we can often feel overwhelmed by the whirlwind of legal jargon that is used. Have a look at our glossary of terms for a straightforward explanation of some of the most common terms and acronyms.

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Authorised person

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Someone you have provided permission to act on your behalf. An authorised person can provide information and ask questions, but can’t make decisions on the claim.

Causation

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The relationship between cause and effect so in this instance the link between the accident and our injuries

Child limitation

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Where a child (under the age of 18) has been involved in an accident their 3-year limitation period will usually end on their 21st birthday.

Claimant

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The person making a claim.

Claimant representative

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The party representing the claimant e.g. Minster Law

Compensator

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General term for insurers, MIB and others paying compensation

Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA)

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A funding agreement and so called because the ‘agreement’ in relation to legal ‘fees’ is ‘conditional’ upon a result e.g. winning the PI claim and receiving compensation. If you lose there is no fee to pay provided you abide by its terms. If you win the claim you will pay a success fee but this not payable if you have pre-existing legal expense insurance’

Contingency Fee Agreement (CA)

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Not to be confused with a conditional fee agreement, a CA is used with MIB untraced cases as a funding agreement.

Contributory negligence

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The other side may argue that you contributed to your injuries e.g. if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. They may then reduce your compensation based on how much your actions contributed to your own injuries

CPR protocol

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The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) are the rules of civil procedure used by the Court of Appeal, High Court of Justice, and County Courts in civil cases in England and Wales.

CRU

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“Certificate of recoverable benefits” means the certificate issued by the Compensation Recovery Unit. This is to specify if benefits to be deducted from any damages and repaid under social security legislation.

Defendant

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The person who the claim is brought against. Often referred to as the other or third party.

Diminution

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A term used to describe the value lost when calculating damages.

Disbursements

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This is money which we incur and have to pay to third parties to help progress your case. E.g. fee for police accident reports or medical records

DME / MRO

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Direct Medical Expert is the expert who will conduct the appointment and produce the report. A Medical reporting organisation is the organisation who appoint the expert

Fast Track/Multi Track/ Small Claims Track

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The different court tracks for personal injury cases which are broadly dependent on claim value.

OIC Portal/Small Claims = up to £5,000 for injury compensation and £10,000 for overall claim value

Fast Track = £5,000 – £25,000

Multi Track = £25,000 +

File Handler

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A file handler is a term used to describe the person who is carrying out work on your claim.

Fundamental dishonesty

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Where a claimant has acted dishonestly to affect the outcome of the case or a related case by exaggerating injuries or financial losses. Fundamental dishonesty can lead to a claim being dismissed. A claimant who is found to be dishonest may be asked to pay legal fees.  If a court makes a finding of fundamental dishonesty then court proceeding may be brought against you.

General damages

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General damages mostly refer to the compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, this will be set out in the medical report. E.g. loss of enjoyment of life or a reduction in ability to perform everyday tasks.

Hearing

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A meeting where evidence and arguments are presented before a Judge

Hearing

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A meeting where evidence and arguments are presented before a Judge.

Impecunious

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Where a customer has no money to hire a vehicle so uses credit hire.

Issuing

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This refers to the start of court proceedings.

Judicial College Guidelines

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We use these to help calculate how much damages you should receive

Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI)

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Legal expenses insurance (LEI) or simply legal insurance, is insurance which facilitates access to law and justice by providing legal advice and covering legal costs of a dispute.

Liability admitted

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Liability admitted means the third party accept responsibility for the accident.

Liability denied

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Liability denied means the third party do not accept responsibility for the accident.

Limitation

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The time limit within which court proceedings must be started. For most adults over the age of 18, this is three years from the date of the accident.

Litigant in person

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A person who doesn’t have a solicitor or legal representative and instead represents themselves

Litigation

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The process of taking legal action at court.

Litigation friend

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A litigation friend is someone who acts on behalf of a child (under the age of 18) or someone who lacks mental capacity in bringing forward their injury claim.

Low Velocity Impact (LVI)

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Low Velocity Impact, commonly referred to as LVI, often alleged that low speed or velocity of impact is not enough to have caused an injury

Medco

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MedCo is the organisation used to facilitate the sourcing of the first fixed cost medical report in soft tissue injury claims

Medical report

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A report of your examination with a medically qualified expert which will be used as proof of the injuries which you sustained in this accident. The report includes a description of your injuries, your past medical history, and how your symptoms have affected your day-to-day life. It also includes the medical expert’s professional opinion as to how your injuries were caused, any future treatment needed, whether any other medical expert opinion is required, and your expected recovery period.

MIB

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The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) is a government organisation set up to compensate victims of accidents caused by uninsured drivers or drivers that can’t be traced (untraced). They essentially step in the place of a commercial insurance company for the purpose of your claim.

Ministry of Justice (MOJ)

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The Ministry of Justice is a major government department, at the heart of the justice system.

Mitigation

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Mitigation is a claimant’s duty to minimise loss where possible. For instance, a claimant cannot recover damages for a loss which could have been avoided by taking reasonable action.

Motor Legal Protection

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This cover is sometimes included as part of your car insurance, and provides cover for legal assistance so you can recover your uninsured losses after a non-fault accident.

NVC

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In the OIC Portal Non Protocol vehicle costs are losses which another company helped you with e.g. hire vehicle/repair costs

OIC

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Official Injury Claims is the Portal for the post reform small claims process

PLSA or Damages for injury (DFI)

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Pain, suffering, loss and amenity – the injury element of the claim

Portal Support centre

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The portal support centre is there to support claimants and representatives using the Official Injury Claim portal

Practice Direction

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Part of the Civil Procedure Rules or CPR which set out the rules around how claims are dealt with in the OIC and MOJ Portals and at court

Pre action protocol

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Specific rules which set out how different types of cases are dealt with before court proceedings are started. There are protocols for OIC and MOJ Portal claims, claims outside the Portals and for employers and public liability (ELPL) claims. They cover both the procedural steps and timetable to be followed.

Proceedings

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When a court claim is started or issued the process from there to the trial are the ‘proceedings’, also called the ‘court action.’

Prognosis

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Prognosis is a medical term for predicting the likely or expected recovery time.

Protected party

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Person who lacks legal capacity under Mental Capacity Act 2005

RTA

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Road Traffic Accident

(SCNF) Small Claim Notification Form

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An online form completed by the claimant or their representative which sets out the details of their claim

Small claims (post May 31st)

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In general, for claims where the amounts likely to be awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity does not exceed £5,000 and overall claim value does not exceed £10,000.

Special damages

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Special damages refer to any additional expenditure linked to the accident or injuries. Some examples would be loss of earnings, medication, policy excess or travel expenses.

Statement of truth

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When a person signs a document to verify that that they believe the facts stated in that document are true. Proceedings for contempt of court can be brought against someone who makes a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief it its truth.

Tariffs

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Fixed damages for whiplash post May 31st 2021

SRA

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Solicitors Regulation Authority are the regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales

Third party/Third parties

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Can be the defendant or other vehicles involved in the accident. In multiple vehicle collisions, there may be more than one potential third party.

Third party insurer

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The third-party insurer are the ones who have issued the third parties’ insurance.

VRU

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Vulnerable Road Users which are motor cyclists and pillion/sidecar passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and those in mobility scooters

Without prejudice

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An insurer can make an offer ‘without prejudice’ to settle a claim without legal proceedings and formally accepting liability.