Here is my final list of the most frequently questions I am asked as a personal injury solicitor. Compiling the three lists has reminded me of all the issues and considerations our clients have to understand and work through. I hope these Q&As prove useful for anyone considering making a personal injury claim. Taking the first step is often the most difficult but, our legal teams are trained to closely support and advise throughout the legal process. Below are more important questions you may be currently considering.
1. Can I make a claim on behalf of someone else?
There are certain instances where you may make a claim on behalf of someone else if the injured party is for instance, your child, a member of your family who is either incapacitated or lacking mental capacity or if a family member has sadly passed away as a result of an accident.
2. How long will my personal injury claim take?
It is difficult to provide you with an estimate as it really depends on the complexity of your claim and whether liability and/or the value of the claim are disputed. The average claim can take between 9 and 12 months to complete if it is a straightforward matter. More complex claims may take longer to settle. We aim to complete personal injury claims within a reasonable time period.
3. How often will I be updated on my claim?
We will contact you as soon as we hear from your opponents or when we require information from you in order to progress your claim. We always aim to keep you updated about the progress of your claim at least once every 4 weeks.
4. My injuries are minor in nature, can I still make a claim?
A firm is unlikely to accept representing you if you sustained a soft tissue injury in a road traffic accident (as a driver or passenger) taking place on or after 31 May 2021 and your claim for damages is worth less than £5,000 and the total value of your claim is less than £10,000. This is because your legal fees will not be recoverable from the Third Party Insurers. It is important to note that different rules apply for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, children and those lacking mental capacity.
For non-road traffic accident claims, if your claim is worth less than £1,000 then again a firm is unlikely to accept representing you. These claims will have to go through the small claims Court where you will be able to represent yourself.
5. I am partially responsible for the accident, can I still make a personal injury claim?
You can yes, liability will be split and the blame will be apportioned between parties. For instance, you could be held 30% responsible for the accident which means your compensation will be reduced by 30% and you will retain 70% of the total amount claimed.
6. What is a Litigant in Person?
A litigant in person is an unrepresented party where an individual choose to represent themselves without a legal representative.
7. A pre-medical offer has been made to me, what does it mean?
A pre-medical offer is an offer to settle the claim that is usually made by the Third Party Insurers at the beginning of a claim before any medical evidence has been obtained.
Third Party Insurers make pre-med offers by often offering a significantly lower amount than what the Client is entitled to in order to conclude the claim quickly hence, saving time and money. Although a pre-med offer may look attractive to you, it will have to be careful considered by your Solicitor as these offers are usually unreasonable and do not include other losses you may wish to claim such as loss of earnings, travelling and medical expenses etc…
8. What is an interim payment?
An interim payment is a payment on account of compensation before your claim has concluded ie: an early payment of your compensation. For your opponents to consider an interim payment being made, liability has to be admitted, or partially admitted, and you need to have a good reason for requesting an such payment for instance, if you are suffering financial hardships or if you wish to have money to pay towards rehabilitation or medical care.
The amount of the interim payment really depends on your situation and the seriousness of your injury. The sum your Solicitor requests should be considered carefully as ultimately your case could be worth less than the interim payment obtained, in which case you would need to pay back the difference. When making you an offer, your opponents will take into account any interim payments that have already been paid to you. For instance, if your claim settles for £10,000 and you previously received an interim payment in the sum of £2,000, your final payment will be in the sum of £8,000.
9. What are the disbursements?
Those are the expenses incurred by your Solicitor in bringing a personal injury claim for instance. Court fees, Police Reports, Barristers’ fees or Medical Reports are some examples.
10. How long will it take before I receive my compensation?
Following settlement of your claim, it usually takes the Third Party Insurers between 2-4 weeks to raise payments. If after 2 weeks funds have not been received, the Third Party Insurers will be chased.
11. Do I have to pay tax when I receive my settlement?
No tax is payable on personal injury settlements.
12. Will my compensation affect my benefit entitlement?
Yes, the damage award may affect your eligibility for future entitlement to means tested benefits if, when added to any existing savings, the award and your savings amount to over about £6,000.
There is thankfully a way to protect your entitlement benefits in the future by setting up a Personal Injury Trust whereby your award is placed in a Trust which would mean that your award is completely disregarded for means-tested benefits. At Hodge Jones & Allen we have an In-house Private Client Team that can set us these Trusts.
13. What is the Law Society?
The Law Society is the independent professional body for Solicitors in England and Wales.
14. What is the SRA?
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (‘SRA’) was formed in January 2007 and it is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society that regulates all Solicitors and most law firms in England and Wales. The SRA has for purpose to protect the public by ensuring that Solicitors maintain high standards and ensuring Solicitors act in their Clients’ best interest when risks are identified. Solicitors must follow a code of conducts which are mandatory principles, one of which for instance is for a Solicitor to act with integrity.
To view my previous lists please click on the links below:
- Six frequently asked questions about personal injury claims
- Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Injury Claims- Part 2
If you have suffered an injury due to somebody’s else negligence, you may be entitled to compensation to help get your life back on track. For a free consultation with our specialist personal injury experts please call us today on 0808 252 5231 or request a call back online.