Is there a time limit for personal injury compensation after an accident?
Yes, there is a time limit of three years. You must begin court proceedings within three years of sustaining your injury, or, if you weren’t aware you had an injury, three years of the date you first became aware of the injury. After three years, the case becomes ‘time-barred’ or ‘statute barred’. There are exceptions if the personal injury happened to a child, or someone incapable of managing their own affairs.
How long will my personal injury claim take?
We aim to complete all claims within a reasonable time period. The average claim can take between 6 and 12 months to complete. A claim may take longer, as there can be disputes with the defendants regarding liability or the settlement of the claim. We always aim to keep you updated about the progress of your claim and the likely time frame to settlement.
How often will I be updated on my case?
We aim to update you about the progress of your claim every 28 days, or whenever we hear from the defendants and require further information from you.
Can you tell me at the start of my claim what my injury is worth?
It is always difficult to give a valuation of your claim at the start of it as a medical report is required to value your claim accurately. If you do wish to have some indication of what your claim may be worth, we will try to assist, but we will always advise you that this is an estimate and will, in all likelihood, change after medical evidence is obtained.
How do you value my claim?
A personal injury claim is split into two parts. The first part of your claim is the injury claim. This will be valued by using a medical report, which will be prepared by a medical expert who will provide an opinion and prognosis for your injury, i.e. what injuries you have suffered and how long you will suffer from them. The second part of your claim will centre around any expenses you have incurred as a result of your injury and this can include loss of earnings, travel expenses, care and assistance and prescription charges.
Can I be compensated for losses other than personal injury?
Yes. There are different ‘heads of claim’ or ‘heads of loss’ that you can claim for personal injury. This can include things like medical expenses, loss of earning potential, travelling expenses, care and assistance and future treatment costs.
I feel psychologically traumatised but have no physical injury. Can I claim?
You could do. If you’ve suffered a recognised psychological condition as a direct result of your accident, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Common psychological injuries can include:
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- anxiety disorders or phobias
My injuries seem to be minor. Can I still make a claim?
Yes, you could do. Injuries that seem minor to begin with may actually have a long term and irreversible impact on your quality of life. However, to instruct a solicitor the value of your claim currently needs to be above £1,000. Anything less than that would have to go through the small claims court, where you would represent yourself instead.
My relative or loved-one had a fatal accident. Can I claim on behalf of someone who has died?
Yes, if their accident or death was the result of someone else’s negligence. The family of the deceased can receive the compensation. There are a number of Acts under which you can make a claim for the person’s death. These are:
- the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934
- the Fatal Accidents Act 1976
- the Human Rights Act 1998
Due to the nature of these incidents, if you require any further information involving a fatal incident please contact a member of our specialist road traffic accident team who will be happy to discuss further.
Under these acts, various people can make a claim. They may be:
- executors of the will
- administrators (if there is no will)
- beneficiaries of the estate
- people entitled to a bereavement award
- eligible dependents such as spouses and civil partners (including ex-spouses and partners), children (or any minors treated as children by the deceased, by way of marriage or civil partnership), parents, siblings, aunts or uncles
- anyone living in the same household as the deceased as their spouse or partner for the 2 years preceding their death
What is liability?
Liability means that someone is legally responsible for an incident. In order to win your case we will need to prove that the defendant is liable for your injury, i.e. they have been negligent in their actions and have caused your injury.
Liability has been admitted by the defendants, what does this mean?
This means the defendants have agreed they were responsible for your accident or injury, i.e. at fault, and will therefore compensate you.
Liability has been denied by the defendants, what does this mean?
This means the defendants believe they can successfully show they were not negligent and cannot be shown to be at fault in respect of your injuries. If liability is denied, your claim will be reviewed by a barrister who will advise whether we will be successful if the matter proceeds to court.
Why do I need to go to see a medical expert? Do I need a medical examination?
It is important to see a medical expert as they will examine you and prepare a report outlining what your injuries are and how long it will take you to recover. This report will then be used to value your claim.
What will happen at the medical examination?
Your appointment will usually only be a short one, lasting around 10 minutes. The expert will examine you and ask you a number of questions regarding your injury: how long it took you to recover, how long you had to take off work and what, if any, treatment you have had. The expert will have your medical notes and records and will refer to them when preparing your report.
When will I receive the report?
Your report is usually sent to you within four weeks of the date of your appointment. If the report is going to take longer than this, we will let you know and advise you why that is the case.
Will I have to go to court? What if my claim goes to trial?
The vast majority of personal injury claims are settled without the need to go to court. However, on some occasions, where settlement cannot be agreed with the defendant’s solicitors, your claim will need to go to court so a judge can consider the case and provide a final judgement. Rest assured that the personal injury team at Graysons is very experienced at representing you in court – and winning too!
What will it mean if my claim goes to court?
This will mean that your claim will be considered by a judge who will read all the evidence and decide whether the defendant is at fault regarding your accident or injury. You will be represented by a barrister who will present your claim and you will need to give evidence to the judge. This will usually be based upon a witness statement that we will prepare for you using the information you have given to us throughout your claim.
My insurance company has recommended a solicitor, do I have to instruct them or can I choose a different solicitor?
No, you are free to instruct whichever solicitor you like, according to EU law. Insurance companies may recommend solicitors who they know will agree a smaller settlement amount – so these recommended solicitors are often not independent or impartial. Choosing an independent solicitor like Graysons ensures that we’ll act only in your best interests (rather than those of the insurance company) to get the maximum amount of compensation possible.
My insurance company contacted me with an offer to settle my claim. Should I accept it?
It is completely up to you to decide this – but do be aware that insurance companies often want to ‘pay people off’ quickly and quietly without any medical evidence of the extent of their injuries, so they often offer much less than your claim is actually worth.
Will Graysons charge me for carrying out my claim?
We will offer you a funding agreement that outlines the way your case is funded. The majority of cases are funded on a no win, no fee basis. We call this a conditional fee agreement. This means that if you win your claim the defendants will pay our costs, and if you lose your claim you will not pay anything. The only time we will consider sending you a bill for our costs is if you fail to cooperate and provide instructions to us on a regular basis or knowingly provide us with incorrect information.
How long will it be before I receive my compensation?
The defendants will send the amount that has been agreed or won (damages) to us within 21 days of the date of settlement. If the funds are not received after 21 days we will chase the defendants on your behalf and advise you accordingly.
Will I have to fund my case expenses like court fees and medical exams?
No, we will pay these on your behalf. If you win, these expenses will be recoverable from the other side. If your claim isn’t successful, we will still pay these for you.
What deductions will be made from my settlement figure?
As per your funding agreement, we will never take any more than 35% of your damages – 25% as a success fee for winning your claim and 10% to cover the insurance policy (ATE) that we took out on your behalf. For example:
£250 (25% of £1,000)
£100 (10% of £1,000)
You will receive £650.
If I receive a personal injury settlement, do I have to pay tax on it?
No – and it doesn’t matter whether you receive it as a lump sum or as instalments over time. No tax will be payable on personal injury settlements.