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Making a serious injury claim with Minster

Suffering from a life-changing injury is difficult time for yourself, and your loved ones, and can be both emotionally and financially stressful.

Your claim journey

Making a claim can seem confusing when you are still coming to terms with your accident, but our expert team will be able to support you through the difficulties of planning your rehabilitation and future with the very best advice and guidance.

Assigning an expert to your claim

Minster Law is home to one of the largest serious injury teams in the UK, with specialists in neurological injuries, spinal injuries, injuries resulting in amputation or limb damage helping clients all over the country.

Minster Law is home to one of the largest serious injury teams in the UK, with specialists in neurological injuries, spinal injuries, injuries resulting in amputation or limb damage helping clients all over the country. Our breadth of experience means your claim will be handled by a specialist with training in your specific claim type and has enabled us to secure access to leading services

The first step in the claim is to gather the information needed about the injuries and accident, to ensure your case is assigned to the most appropriate expert. This conversation often happens with your loved one, so we work with care and compassion to ensure they are supported through the process. To ensure you’re protected certain instructions in relation to your claim will have to be provided by you.

From there we assign you to your file handler. You may have more than one file handler during your time with Minster Law and this is so we can ensure you are with the right person for every step of the journey. Your file handler will also work closely with their team of legal assistants and paralegals, so you will have a team working on your claim.

Rehabilitation and case managers

Surviving a serious accident can leave you with significant physical and psychological trauma which may lead to short term or permanent disabilities.

Surviving a serious accident can leave you with significant physical and psychological trauma which may lead to short term or permanent disabilities. Fortunately access to high quality rehabilitation can drastically improve recovery and the chances of returning to a more normal life – but it isn’t always an easy road.

Good, intensive rehabilitation can help to ensure being seriously injured in an accident does not need to be life defining. The work to ensure you receive the very best rehabilitation and care starts from the moment your case is assigned to a file handler. We work with leading medical experts and providers across the country to make sure the support you receive is the best quality.

It is likely while we are laying the groundwork for your rehabilitation plan you will still be in hospital, so we can prepare for your discharge. Finding out about your lifestyle and your family will help us to understand what your needs will be long term. We will nearly always instruct a case manager to organise things like adaptions to the family home, identify and purchase necessary equipment and organise a team of therapists to provide treatment for as long as necessary to ensure that the best recovery is achieved.

Investigating your accident

Before a claim can reach settlement, it’s first important to prove who is at fault for the accident. In many cases this will be a matter that can be easily proven, and the Defendant will admit 100% liability for the accident.

Before a claim can reach settlement, it’s first important to prove who is at fault for the accident. In many cases this will be a matter that can be easily proven, and the Defendant will admit 100% liability for the accident.

However, in other cases there can be a dispute as to who exactly is to blame for the accident. In these circumstances, it is important that we work quickly to collate evidence as early as possible in the claim. Examples of key pieces of evidence we will look to identify and acquire include:

  • Police accident reports
  • Ambulance records/phone logs of initial calls for the ambulance
  • Witness statements
  • CCTV, including dashcams, from local businesses or the local authority
  • Engineers’ reports
  • Photographs

In some cases, there is very little evidence available, and we may require the services of an expert to reconstruct the accident and provide a detailed report with their findings.

Once we have acquired all the evidence available your fee earner will complete a detailed consideration of the evidence. They will consider previous case law and provide detailed advice on their findings and the prospects of proving the Defendant was at fault.

In some cases, neither party will be 100% at fault for this accident. In those cases, an agreement must be agreed as to what percentage of fault each party has for the accident. It can be the case that you are found to have contributed to your accident. An example of this is if you driving over the speed limit was a factor that contributed to the accident.

If an agreement on liability cannot be agreed, and we believe your case has prospects of proceeding, the matter can be brought to a trial. This will either be to decide both liability and damages, or in more serious cases, to decide liability only, with the case to continue if you are successful. More information on what to expect at a trial can be found on our taking your case to court journey page.

Interim payments

An interim payment is a payment of part of your damages before a final compensation settlement is reached between the parties.

An interim payment is a payment of part of your damages before a final compensation settlement is reached between the parties.

There are many reasons as to why an interim payment will be required, and the specific reason will depend on the nature of your claim. For example, the interim payment could be required to pay for medical treatment or surgery, or to provide financial assistance in the event you have lost earnings.

When considering whether to agree an interim payment the first point the Defendant will consider is whether they agree they are at fault for causing your accident. If they do not believe they are at fault it is unlikely they will agree to an interim payment.

Once liability is established a Defendant will also want to satisfy themselves that the figure you are requesting is a reasonable amount and does not exceed the value of your total claim. We will often be asked to provide medical evidence or evidence of your losses to support this.

In the event the Defendant unreasonably withholds an interim payment an application can be made to Court for them to be ordered to pay the interim. The Court will only do so if the figure claimed is a reasonable amount, and you have a legitimate need for the money at that stage.

You are entitled to make multiple interim payments throughout your claim, depending on the value and nature of the claim.

Whether these payment requests will be agreed by the Defendant and / or the Court will depend on if you are requesting a reasonable proportion of your claim. The Defendant will not agree to pay interim payments totalling close to or more then they value your claim at.

Any interim payments you receive during your claim will be deducted from the final total settlement figure agreed at the end of your claim. This means the figure you receive at that point will be smaller to account for the money you have already received.

Accommodation costs

Returning home after your accident is a priority for most people, but in some cases your home may need to be adapted or you may need to find a new home to suit your injury, we will help to make this possible.

Returning home after your accident is a priority for most people, but in some cases your home may need to be adapted or you may need to find a new home to suit your injury, we will help to make this possible. It is important for us to use your medical evidence to understand the implications your injury will have on your living arrangements.

The laws around what you can and can’t claim for when it comes to your property can be complicated, but we are experts at understanding this process. Your file handler will be able to provide you with more pointed advice regarding your specific circumstances.

The litigation process

From the date of your accident we have a period of three years in which we must start the formal litigation process in your claim.

From the date of your accident we have a period of three years in which we must start the formal litigation process in your claim.

The first three years following your accident allow time to investigate liability, gather medical evidence and allow rehabilitation. Some cases may settle within these initial three years and will not require the litigation process to be started. However, in serious injury cases, it is common for cases to go on for longer and require litigation.

The steps of the litigation will be explained to you by your file handler in great detail as they arise, but the general outline of each step, and the usual order, is outlined below:

  • Issuing / serving the claim – This will require us to lodge a claim form, particulars of claim, medical evidence and a schedule of Loss at the Court. We must also pay a fee to issue the claim, and serve a copy on the Defendant, or their Solicitors.
  • Defence – Following the above step the Defendant will respond with their Defence. This document outlines what claims the Defendant agrees, and which they intend to oppose. They may also enclose a counter schedule of loss at this stage.
  • Direction Questionnaire – Both parties serve this document on the Court to state what further steps they need to take before reaching a trial. At this stage, we may also need to prepare a budget stating what our costs in bringing the claim are.
  • List of Documents – The parties exchange lists of all the documents they intend to rely on as evidence in their respective cases. The parties can then request sight of each other’s documents.
  • Further medical evidence – It is usual that we may need to acquire additional medical evidence. It is also common that the Defendant may wish to acquire their own evidence.
  • Witness Statements – Both parties can prepare witness statements. The number of statements, and which parties serve them, will be dependent on whether liability is agreed, or still in dispute.
  • Final Schedule of Loss – You will usually have an opportunity to serve a final version of your schedule of loss. The Defendant can then respond with a final counter-schedule of loss.
  • Listing Questionnaire and trial – A Listing questionnaire is sent to Court by each party providing information ahead of a trial.

While the above is a good outline of the main steps that are undertaken in the litigation process, the steps required, and the order, can vary from case to case. Your case handler will ensure you are kept fully updated on where your claim is in the litigation, and the next steps to be taken.

Taking your case to court

The final step to resolve a claim will be for the matter to proceed to a trial at Court. The number of cases that proceed to a trial is very low, as the parties agree a settlement before trial in most cases.

The final step to resolve a claim will be for the matter to proceed to a trial at Court. The number of cases that proceed to a trial is very low, as the parties agree a settlement before trial in most cases.

Of the cases that do proceed to trial, the majority are in relation to liability disputes, where the parties cannot agree who is at fault for the accident.

Regardless of whether the claim relates to liability, damages, or both, it will still be daunting to attend for many Clients, and we do all we can to prepare you for the experience. On the day of the trial you will be represented by an experienced Barrister who will address the Court on your behalf. You will usually have met with this Barrister on previous occasions throughout your claim and they will ensure you fully understand the process and are ready to give evidence.

The usual order of proceedings will be explained in detail to you by your Barrister and case handler, but a general overview of the order is below:

  • Opening speeches by both your Barrister and the Defendant’s Barrister
  • Cross Examination and re-examination of yourself, the Defendant and any other witnesses
  • The Defendant’s submissions
  • Your submissions
  • Judge’s consideration and Judgement

There may also be evidence given by various experts as required depending on the nature of the case and trial. In serious cases trials can last for multiple days, and it will be clarified by your file handler if you are required to attend a trial, and on what days.

We understand many clients find giving evidence at a trial very difficult, and we will make sure your legal team, including your file handler and Barrister, are there to support you every step of the way.

Financial management

We understand that when you suffer a serious injury it can have a significant effect on your financial stability.

We understand that when you suffer a serious injury it can have a significant effect on your financial stability. Our Clients are often unable to work for long periods of time and can struggle to manage their finances as they would have done prior to their accident.

Often, our Clients will need to consider whether they will be able to access benefits, as their injuries can often leave them disabled and vulnerable. In these cases, we would refer you to one of our business partners who are experts in financial management. They would be able to assist you in considering what benefits you were entitled to, and how to apply for the same.

In addition to benefits, many of our Clients require interim payments. Depending on the amount that you receive in interim payments, this could influence whether you can still receive your benefits. As such, it is our practice to offer you detailed advice from one of our partners on establishing a PI Trust should you want this. This is a specific kind of trust to ensure the proceeds from your claim do not affect any benefits you are receiving.

Depending on the severity and long-term effects of your injuries the figure of compensation you receive could be of a significant amount. If your injury is one that is likely to affect you for the remainder of your life, we will explore a periodical payment order with you. This is a Court ordered mechanism where a set percentage of your damages is paid to you each year. This ensures that you have sufficient funds to maintain the support you will require for the remainder of your life.

Need help?

Whether you’re a customer, acting on a customer’s behalf, or just wanting to find out more - check out Minster Law's help and advice. Our frequently asked questions, claims journey, and glossary will get you started.