Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

If you have sustained an injury and you are considering claiming compensation, it is only natural that you will have many questions about how the process works, and whether you could even make a claim. 

You can contact us today to find out the answer to these questions on 0800 91 92 30 or email injuryteamenquiry@warnergoodman.co.uk

In the meantime, feel free to look through our frequently asked questions below.

Can I make a claim?

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, or you have been injured due to negligence of your employer, then yes, you may be eligible to claim for compensation.

If you are over 18 years old then you must make a claim within three years of your accident.  If you are under 18 years old when you have your accident, you have until you are 21 years old to make a claim.

What happens if I decide to proceed and make a claim?

The first thing we will do is send a letter to the person or organisation who caused your accident. It is up to them to notify their insurance company within 21 days.

The insurance company will investigate the circumstances of your accident, illness or injury within a three month time frame. They will then tell us whether they accept your claim or deny that it was their policyholder’s fault. If this is the case the insurance company must explain why.

In order to help us win your claim, we will ask you to provide us with:

  • copies of all relevant documents that you have received about your accident, such as accident report forms and photographs.  Photographs are incredibly important in these situations, particularly if something such as a pothole has caused your injury.  The defect needs to be one inch deep and so any photographs should be supported with these details.  A 50p piece is an accurate display of this measurement.  Photographs should also include the area surrounding the defect, with the defect shown in context
  • details of financial losses, out of pocket expenses and loss of earning

In the meantime, we will obtain your GP, hospital and other medical records and arrange for you to be examined by a local doctor who will then write a report explaining your injuries and how they affected you.

Hopefully at this stage, the insurance company will have accepted the claim and we will attempt to negotiate a settlement.

How do I prove the impact my injury has had on me?

One of the most important parts of your personal injury claim is collating medical evidence to demonstrate the impact the injury has had on you physically and psychologically.  Only by having an independent medical examination and subsequent medical report can we provide the other side with a true representation of the potential value of your claim.  

During the medical examination, the independent medico-legal professional will ask you a series of questions regarding the accident, the injuries you sustained, whether you had time off work to recover, how long this was and whether you had any treatment.  They will then use this information, as well as your existing medical history, to produce a report for us which we normally receive within four weeks of your appointment.

An independent medico-legal professional is used in situations such as this as they will take your previous medical history, notes from your GP and their own assessment in producing a report that we will rely upon to pursue your claim for damages. We use experts who specialise in particular areas to prepare these reports rather than your GP who will, quite rightly, be focussed on treating you.

Do I need a solicitor to make a personal injury claim?

While there is no legal requirement to instruct a Solicitor to make your personal injury claim, the process is a complex one so we would always advise that you discuss your situation with a Solicitor before proceeding.  We offer a free review during which we will discover more about your injuries and the circumstances that led to the accident before offering our expert advice with compassion and understanding.

There are a number of reasons why using a Solicitor to make a personal injury claim is recommended:

  1. Understanding of the legal process – there are certain time limits involved in making a personal injury claim and complying with the legal steps involved is a crucial part in succeeding in your claim.  There are various milestones along the way, such as whether liability is admitted, when settlement offers are made or if your claim needs to proceed to Court and having an expert by your side can make all the difference.
  2. Value of your claim – every injury and every case is different; however an experienced Solicitor will be able to discuss with you the potential amount of compensation you may be awarded based on their experience in this field.  In order to understand this figure, it is necessary to evaluate the medical reports, your financial statements, the impact the injuries are having on your current lifestyle and the potential future consequences in relation to your prognosis and loss of earnings.  Only by taking all of this information into consideration are we be able to form a true valuation and ensure that you will be properly and fully compensated.  This insight is vital in being able to determine whether to proceed in making a claim and if so, when to accept or reject an offer.
  3. Likelihood of success – as well as providing you with an indication of the compensation you are entitled to, a Solicitor will be able to advise as to the realistic likelihood of success.  It is important that you trust your Solicitor to make the best decisions for you, and so having this honest discussion at the beginning of your claim will start your journey off on the right foot.
  4. Carrying out negotiations – should you decide to proceed with a claim, at some stage you may be offered a settlement figure.  We can advise as to whether you should accept or reject this offer and carry out the negotiations on your behalf.

Having the advice and guidance from an expert Solicitor can truly increase your chances of a successful claim.  In fact, research from the Financial Conduct Authority indicates that claimants who instruct a Solicitor receive two to three times more in compensation as opposed to the claimant representing themselves.  As we offer a free review into the circumstances of your accident and subsequent injury, you have nothing to lose by giving us a call.

What does No Win No Fee mean?

There are several ways you can fund your claim, and we will help you choose the most appropriate way for you. We will work with you to keep your bill to a minimum if you are successful, and reduce or eliminate the risks of you having to pay anything if you are not successful.

The phrase “No Win, No Fee”, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), is well associated with personal injury claims and simply means that if we are not successful in winning your claim for compensation, then generally you will have no legal fees to pay. 

If you are successful, then the other side is required to pay your basic costs of the claim. There may be additional costs for you to pay out of your compensation, but it is guaranteed that these costs will never be more than 25% of the compensation you receive for your injuries and past losses. In practice, this means that you will always keep at least 75% of your compensation after paying your bill.

If you are not successful in your claim, unless you have brought a fraudulent claim or acted in an improper way, then you should not have to pay the other side’s costs. You may have to pay your own side’s costs if you lose, but by using an option like a No Win, No Fee agreement, you can avoid that risk.

There is a risk that if you refuse a settlement offer from the other side during your claim and continue to Court, you could be awarded less than the other side initially offered. In this situation you may be liable to pay some of the other side’s costs, which could be all of your compensation. There is no need to be concerned, as this is part of your journey with us and we will help you choose the most appropriate funding option to reduce this risk. We will also keep you up to date with any offers made from the other side, and advise you accordingly.

There are several funding options available, including No Win, No Fee arrangements, Community Legal Service, private funding, Before the Event Insurance, third party funding or damages based agreements. We know that funding arrangements can appear daunting, so do not be afraid to discuss this with us when you contact us and we can explain them further in detail, and advise as to the best option for you.

What is After The Event insurance?

We are able to offer No Win, No Fee arrangements which are supported by After The Event (ATE) insurance.  ATE insurance is a type of legal expenses insurance and is taken out at the beginning of the claim covering any costs as they arise, for example the defendant’s legal fees, Court fees or medical reports fees.  You only pay this insurance if you are successful in your claim which is usually covered within the success fee we retain from your damages and will never exceed 25% of the damages you recover.

While it is not a requirement to have ATE insurance in order to proceed with your claim, we would always advise that you have this in place to reduce the financial risk at a time when you are already under additional pressures.

Should I accept the first offer of compensation?

When you are made an offer from the other side, you will have the option to either accept or reject this.  If you accept the offer, that will be a full and final settlement of your claim for damages. You will not be able to claim further damages at a later stage.

We will discuss with you whether we believe that you should accept the offer or whether we should reject it and negotiate on your behalf to achieve a higher settlement figure.  When determining the true value of the compensation we consider you are entitled to, we will review:

  • The injury you have sustained, the severity of that injury and any ongoing symptoms
  • The impact on your day to day life, both physically and mentally
  • The impact on your financial stability:
    • whether you have suffered any loss of earnings or will do in the future,
    • any medical bills you have been required to pay, or will have to in the future,
    • any adjustments you have had to make to your home,
    • whether you are having to pay for additional care.

We will advise you on any offers made based on our many years of experience, discussing with you the next steps should you decide to reject the offer and your claim proceeds to Court.

Is it better to settle out of Court?

In the majority of cases, we would attempt to settle out of Court in order to have your claim resolved in a timely fashion, keeping legal costs to a minimum (if they are applicable) and reducing the stress placed on you when you have already been through a traumatic experience.  By settling your claim you will have the reassurance of knowing the amount of damages you are to receive rather than this being determined by the Judge at the conclusion of a final hearing. Only 5% of personal injury claims go to a final hearing with the remaining figure successfully settling out of Court.  Even if proceedings commence, there’s still every expectation that we will win your claim and settle before we go to Court.

There are a number of reasons why your claim may result in Court proceedings:

  • If the defendant’s insurance company does not accept liability. 
  • Similarly, if they do not respond to our correspondence or attempts to negotiate a settlement.
  • In the event that the injury you have sustained is particularly serious with complex medical considerations, for example serious accidents at work, head, back and spinal injuries or fatalities.
  • If you require financial support urgently during your claim, you may be able to apply for interim payments.

If your case goes to a final hearing then you will be required to attend.  We understand this may be an unnerving prospect, however you will meet your barrister before hand and we will guide you every step of the way.

How much compensation am I likely to receive?

Your compensation is a reflection of your physical and emotional injuries, and your financial losses. Collectively the money that you receive is known as your “damages”.

There are two types of damages:

  • General damages – for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity which compensates you for your physical and emotional injury. We will be able to advise you how much your injury claim is worth once we have received the doctor’s final medical report
  • Special damages – compensates you for your financial losses. These might include loss of earnings, travel expenses, prescription and medication costs, private medical treatments and money that you need to pay other people to look after you or with things around the house

Before settling your claim we will produce a detailed schedule of all of your financial losses and present this to either the insurance company or the court.  It is vital that you help us with this and are able to provide us with as much information and documentary proof as possible, such as your payslips.  It would be useful if you could keep a careful note of when you make visits to your doctor, hospital, physiotherapist or anywhere else.

Every compensation claim is different and so it isn’t possible to categorise the amount of compensation you may receive based on the injury or accident itself.  To see an estimate of how much compensation you could potentially receive, visit our Personal Injury Claims Calculator.

Are personal injury compensation payments taxable?

Compensation that arises from a personal injury claim can either be made in a lump sum or in a series of payments.  Either way, these payments are tax free, including any interest accrued between the date of the injury and the date the settlement is agreed.

However, if there is a further delay in payment from the date the payment was supposed to be made, then the interest on this amount may be subject to tax.  There are separate tax implications dependent on the actions you take with your compensation, for example if you invest the payment, this may be subject to tax.  Tax implications are always confusing and we will ensure you understand the requirements placed upon you should you need to declare any such payments.

How long does a claim take?

This will be dependent on a number of different factors including the nature and extent of your injuries or illness, and whether the opposing party has accepted liability for your accident.

In accidents where your injuries are not serious and liability has been accepted we would expect matters to be settled in around 6 months. More serious injuries can take longer, particularly if liability has not been accepted.  The vast majority of all cases are settled within 12 – 18 months.

Once we have obtained more details about your own situation, we can advise accurately on how long your claim should take.

Can I move my personal injury claim to you if I’m not happy with my Solicitor?

Making a claim for compensation following an accident will understandably be an overwhelming thought and for the majority of people will be a process you are unfamiliar with.  You will be looking for a Solicitor who will explain the steps to you, keep you informed, provide you with a dedicated point of contact who has the required expertise for your type of injury and leave you feeling confident that they are on your side.

If you feel that this is not the case with your current Solicitor, or if you feel you do not wish to use the Solicitors that your insurer suggests, you are within your rights to move your claim.  For some situations, it may not be prudent to move to a new Solicitor, however we will always welcome the opportunity to discuss your situation with you and help you reach the right decision based on the circumstances.

Will making a claim against my employer impact my career?

All employers have a legal duty of care to provide a safe working environment for their employees.  If you are injured in an accident at work that was the fault of your employer, then you are protected by law not to be treated detrimentally if you make a claim for compensation against them.  All employers should have the relevant insurance policies in place to cover the cost of compensation should a claim be brought against them, and they could leave themselves open to Employment Tribunal claims from you for unfair or constructive dismissal if they do treat you unfairly in the course of your employment as a result of pursuing a claim for damages following an accident at work.

Should I take out a Personal Injury trust?

We appreciate the impact that your claim will have had on your life, and that of others around you.  Once your claim has concluded, there are still many things to think about; perhaps you need care, help and assistance now and in the future or even need assistance with what to do with your money. One possibility for you in managing your compensation settlement is to open a Personal Injury Trust. 

If you are receiving any means-tested state benefits and received £16,000 or more in compensation, you could be at risk of losing some or all of your benefits.  If this is the case then you may wish to invest your compensation in a Personal Injury Trust as this will remove the compensation you have received from any assessment in your entitlement to benefits. 

For those who are not subject to means-tested benefits, you may also find a Trust useful if you wish to ring-fence it from future care home assessments or if you simply require assistance in managing your finances.  Opening a Trust allows your compensation to be used for its real purpose; to assist you in building your new life whether that is to pay for medical treatment, care, cover any loss of earnings or to make alterations to your home.

This is a complex area of law, subject to a variety of thresholds and the benefits of setting up a Trust of this nature will be determined by your own personal circumstances.  There are also timescales involved that will impact the value of setting up the Trust.  To discuss how to set up a Personal Injury Trust, you can contact our colleagues in our Private Client department.

You may also wish to consider investing your compensation.  It is important you make appropriate plans for this money so it continues to work for you in the years to come and helps towards your recovery and new life. Our Financial Services colleagues can help you with this, providing you with help and advice on planning for your future and investments.

 


It couldn’t be easier to start your claim with us, or to discuss your queries further.  Simply call us on 0800 91 92 30 or email injuryteamenquiry@warnergoodman.co.uk for a free review of the nature of the incident and the injuries sustained.

To speak to one of our experts please call us

Thank you so very much for all your patience, you have a great calm manner that really helped me.