What Happens When I Make a Claim And The Opponent Admits or Denies Liability?
Making a personal injury claim
When you first approach a solicitor, you will be required to provide a clear account of the accident and provide any evidence in support of a potential case. Depending on the nature of the claim and the value of the claim your solicitor will either draft a Claim Notification Form if the value is less than £25,000.00 or a letter of claim if over £25,000.00.
The Defendant’s insurers will then investigate the claim and make all the necessary enquiries. They will then respond to your solicitor within the relevant time frame. The time frame for the Defendant insurers to respond will vary depending on the type of claim in question.
Generally speaking, the Pre-Action Protocol for personal injury claims is a protocol set by the Ministry of Justice. This Protocol states that the Defendant’s insurers have 21 days to acknowledge receipt of the letter of claim and then, 3 months to investigate the claim, and provide a decision on liability. If the claim is submitted in the Employers Liability or Public Liability portal the time frame will be 40 working days to provide a response within the portal but if enquiries are ongoing they have 3 months to investigate.
The Defendant Insurer will then admit or deny liability.
What happens when liability is admitted?
If liability is admitted, this means that the defendant insurers have accepted that the accident did take place as a result of a fault or negligence on the defendant’s part. They may admit breach of duty and therefore admit negligence but may place you to strict proof regarding causation of your injuries. You therefore have a duty to prove that the injuries were sustained as a result of the accident. This can be by way of medical records.
For example, if an individual tripped over uneven paving on a highway and injured their ankle, the defendant’s insurers are admitting that the defendant was negligent in maintaining and securing that the part of the highway was not dangerous.
Therefore, your solicitor will request your consent to obtain a copy of your medical records from your GP and, where relevant, any hospital records.
Once these records have been received, your solicitor will review them in full to find entries for attendance following the accident and rule out any long-standing history of pre-existing medical conditions which could relate to the injury in question. Once again, the aim of this is to find evidence linking the accident to the relevant injuries.
Your solicitor will then instruct an independent medical expert with the relevant specialism to undertake an assessment of your injuries and a report will be provided which will conclude whether the injuries are a result of the accident, among other conclusions. This is an independent report and the expert may make recommendations for further treatment. It is important to note they are not a treating doctor.
For further information on the medical appointment and the purpose of a medical examination, please read our blog by Chris Bond.
What happens if liability is denied?
If liability is denied, this means that the defendant’s insurers deny that the accident in question was a result of a fault or negligence on the defendant’s part. The insurers cannot simply deny liability, they must provide evidence in support of their denial.
For example, if an individual tripped over uneven paving on a highway injuring their ankle and the defendant’s insurers deny liability they would have to explain on what basis they deny liability. In this example, they could argue that there was no defect in the paving of the highway in question and that they had a reasonable system of inspection in place to ensure maintenance and safety of the highway. Further they could argue that previous inspections did not identify or uncover any defects in the highway. In support of their denial they may provide documentation, including their system of inspection, previous records of maintenance and inspections and records of any previous complaints for the highway in question.
Your solicitor will review the denial and evidence provided by the defendant’s insurers and will further review your evidence provided. Your solicitor will then make an assessment on the prospects of success on liability.
For example, a defect in paving of a highway has to be more than 1 inch to be actionable. So, if there is clear photographic evidence of the defect in the paving on the highway where you tripped or measurements taken of the defect, then the solicitor can respond to the defendant’s insurers explaining further why they believe the dfendant to be at fault.
The denial and evidence provided by the defendant’s insurers will be discussed with you in detail, and your solicitor will provide you with advice on the best way to proceed.
Our highly experienced personal injury experts have years of experience in dealing with various types of personal injury claims and achieving favourable outcomes for clients. If you have suffered an injury due to somebody else’s negligence and would like to speak to a personal injury specialist please call us today on 0808 271 9413.