Claims FAQ

How to find out if you are entitled to compensation

In simple terms, any person who has been injured and believes that someone else is responsible for their injuries, can make a claim for compensation. The law is the same for adults and children, with the only difference being the length of time you get to make your claim. Children are allowed up until their 21st birthday to pursue a claim, whilst adults have 3 years.

The first question to ask is whether the accident which lead to the injuries was caused by negligence? Could the accident have been avoided by using better practices and did the 3rd party have every reasonable chance to foresee such an accident?

These are the main criteria you need to check to see if you can claim:

  • Was the accident someone else’s fault?
  • Do you know the identity of the liable party (business name and address etc)?
  • If not, did you report the incident to the police or local authority?
  • Have you sought medical treatment from your GP or hospital?
  • If not, are your injuries still presenting symptoms that your GP can diagnose?

Ultimately, you’ll need to speak to a solicitor to confirm whether or not you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. They will assess the merits of your case and be able to tell you if claiming is in your best interest.

Valid work accident claims

Just having an accident at work is not enough to guarantee compensation. To make a valid claim, the injured employee must be able to demonstrate that the employer was liable and exposed the staff to risk of injury, rather than it being their own fault. For example:

  1. Did your employer give you the correct training?
  2. Were you given an induction to the workplace?
  3. Were you provided with personal safety and protective equipment to complete your job safely?
  4. Did your employer adequately maintain equipment and service machines?
  5. Were you advised how to report accidents and how to access the accident book?
  6. Did your employer ensure correct staffing levels and an adequate amount of first aid trained staff?
  7. Did your employer act upon reports of potential risks of danger to employees?

The above is just a guide and there could be many more ways in which an employer would be liable.

Valid road traffic accident claims

RTA claims can be made for a range of physical and psychological injuries, not just whiplash. And the cause of the accident need not be another vehicle, it could equally be a faulty traffic light or road surface. If the person who caused the accident is insured you can make a claim against the insurers, for hit and run or uninsured drivers the claim will be made against the Motor Insurance Bureau. If the accident was caused by the road surface itself, it may be possible to make a claim against the Highways Agency.

Valid slip, trip or fall claims

Slips, trips or falls can obviously take place anywhere, but to claim compensation you need to prove that responsibility for the accident lies with a third party rather than yourself. Shops, restaurants, libraries and business establishments, for example, all have a responsibility to ensure people’s safety. If they fail to do so and accidents occur as a result, they can be found to have been negligent and liable to compensate the injured party.

Clearly, if you slip and fall after mucking about, any injuries you have are going to be seen as being your own fault. You can’t claim personal injury compensation if an accident was caused by your own actions!

Reporting the accident

Another important factor in making a successful claim is reporting the details of your accident to the right people. If you’ve slipped on a wet floor in a private establishment (a business premises, a supermarket, a cinema, a restaurant etc) you must make every effort to ensure that the party responsible for running the premises is informed. Any employer or location open to the public should have an accident book and a way of recording incidents. By recording the incident, you are providing proof that you fell in their premises and that your injuries were caused on their patch.

Unless you are severely injured and incapacitated, you should report your accident and injuries immediately and ensure that they are noted in an accident book. If the third party tell you they don’t have an accident book, or won’t let you have access to it, there are things you can do.

Are your injuries serious enough?

It’s not enough to just be injured, the injury has to be severe enough to provide a sufficient level of quantum to enable the claim to be placed. Quantum is the posh Latin term for value of the claim used in the legal world. To ensure that the injury value is sufficient, it is usually the case that an injured client will need to have suffered from their injury for a period of at least a few weeks. Therefore, if you sprained your ankle mildly and recovered within a fortnight, you would struggle to bring a claim. But if you sprained your ankle badly, tearing the ligaments and spent 6 weeks on crutches and then had 5 physio sessions, your claim would easily pass the quantum test.

If you haven’t had medical treatment, it is likely that your injuries will not be seen as sufficiently serious to warrant a claim as medical evidence is needed to support your claim. If you have been suffering in silence and haven’t seen the GP, you still can. If the GP is happy to note that your injuries are consistent with those suffered in a slipping on a wet or dangerous floor surface, you can then prove your injuries and pursue a claim.

If all this seems a bit complicated, or you haven’t done any of the above, don’t worry – if you contact us we can talk you through it and help you to complete the necessary steps.

Being involved in an accident which isn’t your fault can be rather traumatic, not just for you but also for your family. Most people don’t know how to react after being thrust into such a scenario and it can rock a family to their core when they least expect it.

You might not think it is worth going through the hassle of putting in a claim for compensation, but it doesn’t take much time at all and provided you hire a good solicitor who has experience in dealing with such matters, you will find the process of claiming for compensation rather easy.

What exactly does “No Win No Fee” mean?

No win no fee is a fair means of providing everyone with access to justice, especially those who can’t afford to pay solicitors’ costs. It means just what it says – if a compensation claim fails, the claimant doesn’t pay anything even though their solicitor will have run up considerable fees during the claims process.

No Win No Fee services are officially known as a conditional fee agreement, which states that your solicitor will only be paid for their services if you win your claim for injury compensation.

A deduction if you win

When a claimant succeeds and wins their compensation claim, a deduction is taken from the settlement. This came about as a result of the government’s Compensation Act 2012 (LASPO Act 2012) that sees winning claimants contributing up to 25% of any settlement value to the cost of their claim. The deduction is formed by the value of the entire claim and may also include the sum provided for a special damages settlement.

At Direct2Compensation, our no win no fee process complies fully with the requirements of legal and government legislation. This guarantees that the bulk of your legal costs will be paid for you when you win your claim, and that you will receive at least 75% of any compensation settlement awarded to you. The balance of your legal costs will be payable by the 3rd party.

No costs if you lose

In the event that your no win no fee claim is not successful, you will never be liable for the costs incurred so long as you are not acting fraudulently.

This means that the solicitor’s own costs are lost when a claim fails. The 3rd party defendant may well charge their costs to the claimant’s solicitor, but our solicitors will have ensured that all claimants have obtained an insurance policy that will cover such costs. The insurance policy will cost the claimant nothing if the claim fails, but the premium for the policy may be deducted from the compensation settlement should the claim be won.

The important thing to remember is, that with Direct2Compensation, our claimants are not responsible for any legal fees.

It continues to be very much worth it to pursue a no win no fee claim, and we do our utmost to minimise any deductions from compensation settlements. Our staff and partner firms uphold the ethos of working in our client’s best interest at all times. We are proud to be part of the personal injury claims industry, and to help our clients claim compensation they deserve in an efficient and ethical way.

What is a compensation settlement made up of?

One of the most common questions put to us asks what decides a fair settlement value for a claim. There are two basic factors that your solicitor will use to evaluate your claim and reach a value on your settlement: injury severity, and special damages.

The severity of the injury

The amount of compensation for the injury itself will be decided on medical evidence and the severity of the injuryand how that affects your life. Clearly, the more severe the injury, the higher the level of compensation. In most circumstances, your injury will need to last a minimum of a few weeks. This element of your settlement consists of the value of the injury and the pain, distress and discomfort caused as a result of the injury and accident. An expert medical opinion will be sought to corroborate the details and the value will depend on whether the injury will heal, if so how long a recovery will take or if not, what level of recovery will be made.

Your solicitor will access your medical records and then organise for a specialist independent medical expert to interview you and assess your injury and what prognosis can be attached to your recovery. Upon receipt of a report from the expert, your solicitor will be able to tell how much compensation you can expect to receive for the injury.

Special Damages

Special damages is a term used to describe the additional elements of any claim. This will include lost income should the injury sustained by a claimant prevent them from working their normal hours and lose income. Clearly, if an injury is extremely serious and an injured person is no longer able to work, their claim value can become very high. An ongoing loss of income claim will cover the income the claimant would have expected for the remainder of their working life.

Special damages can also include sums for future medical treatment, ongoing care or adaptations to a claimants home, car or equipment needed by the claimant. It can also include small items such as property or clothing lost or damaged as a result of the accident and injury. This would normally include jewellery or items such as spectacles or mobile phones smashed or broken in falls.

To sum up, special damages could include:

  • Loss of wages or earning ability
  • Requirements for post accident care and support
  • Medical costs
  • Out of pocket expenses
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Personal losses

Case precedents

Injuries carry case law precedent values – this means that previous cases heard in court have decided levels of compensation and that similar future claims should be based on that precedent. From this your solicitor can work out the minimum and maximum value of the claim for the injuries and any ongoing care or treatment requirements.

To add to this, your solicitor will ask you for information on your lost income, cost of care or products purchased for you as a result of your accident. These factors provide the basis for the evaluation of your claim.

What are ‘Special Damages’?

Most people know they can look to win a financial settlement if they are injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault, but a lot of claimants don’t seem to know about claiming for their special damages.

Special damages cover financial loss

Special damages form part of the final value of a claimant’s settlement. It is the term used to describe the element of a claim that arises from the costs that an injured claimant has incurred. Such costs could be minor things such as bus or taxi fares to and from hospital, or petrol and parking expenses. However, they can also become large elements of a claim such as lost income or lost future income. Claimants can claim for items or clothing broken in an accident, such as spectacles, or private medical treatment if it can be proven that it is necessary to enable a quicker recovery.

One of the best reasons to use a company like ourselves is that our specialist solicitors will ensure that the value of a client’s final settlement is maximised in favour of the claimant. Whereas an inexperienced claimant, dealing directly with an insurer, will have no idea what is a fair settlement and for what they are entitled to claim. As well as making sure the full extent of a client’s injury is understood and the implications of the injury properly diagnosed and stated by a specialist doctor, your solicitor will ask you for details of expenses that you may have incurred. These and other costs will then form your special damages claim.

Keep receipts and quotes

To enable yourself to avoid being out of pocket, it is important that you make a point of claiming back any reasonable expenses that the injuries have lead you to incur. It is really important that you are able to prove these expenses. Therefore, if you are injured in an accident and wish to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation, make sure you keep receipts for taxi fares, car parking at hospital, petrol costs, massage therapies, prescription costs or physiotherapy treatment. Without receipts to prove your expenses, it is much harder to successfully claim them back.

You can also claim any lost income. For PAYE employees that don’t receive full sickness pay during sick leave, they will receive statutory sickness benefit. They can claim back the difference between the sum of money received for statutory sickness benefit and their usual average salary. Providing pay slips for a period of 3 months prior to the accident will enable your solicitor to claim this back.

For self-employed claimants, they will have to prove their income by way of providing accounts for the 2 previous years of their working life.

How much is my claim worth?

There’s no definitive answer to the question of how much compensation you could receive, especially during the early stages of a personal injury compensation claim. In the early stage of the claims process, we won’t yet have enough information for it to be helpful for us to quote settlement value estimates, as it would be all too easy to be incorrect. It’s completely natural for people who are considering making a claim for personal injury compensation to ask how much their claim may be worth, but without knowing the full extent of the injuries and losses (special damages) that the claimant has sustained, it isn’t possible to give anything more than a rough estimate of the possible value of their compensation settlement.

Value of the injury itself

A reliable estimate of an injury compensation claim settlement valuation can be given later in the no win no fee claims process. This will be done by your specialist injury compensation solicitor once they have viewed the relevant medical records relating to the injuries sustained and read a full report of the injuries, medical treatment given, further treatments required and a long term prognosis for your full recovery or otherwise. This report will come from an expert medical assessor after they have examined you and discussed your accident, injuries and current state of health. Until this step of the claims process nobody can accurately value your claim.

Depending on the above, your solicitor will then refer to guidelines issued by the courts as to what level of compensation you can expect, and let you know.

Additional losses (special damages)

A large differential in the valuation of injury claim settlements is the element of losses that you have incurred and not just the injury suffered. Claimants must remember that lost wages, other income and personal expenses make up the remaining portion of a personal injury claim settlement value. This is the non-injury element of your claim for personal injury compensation, known as your special damages claim.

In claims of very high settlement value, it is very likely that the largest portion of the claim arise from the claimants loss of income if they cannot work. When someone is seriously injured, they will most likely be forced from their usual salary on to statutory sickness benefit. This can be a very hard burden to bear and is often a big motivation for claimants to pursue their claim. Luckily, if you succeed with your claim for compensation, you will be able to recover your loss of income in full.  If you have received certain state benefits, you may want to know if your benefits affect your injury claim. Direct2Compensation can advise you regarding this and many other issues.

Total settlement amount

Values range widely depending on various issues. More severe injuries, with permanent connotations and the losses that this will cause, will obtain the highest injury settlement value. Most common injuries associated with claims for personal injury compensation relate to relatively minor injuries, with no permanent implications from the injury and where the claimant recovers fully within 6-8 weeks of an accident. In most cases of this severity of injury, there are minimal special damages and the injury compensation settlement is usually valued in the region of £1000-£3000. Clearly, where injuries and losses are more substantial, the value of a claim will reflect the same.

If you are successful with your claim for personal injury compensation, be sure to fully take up your special damages claim and maximise your settlement. Contact us for some friendly advice! We know your rights and can help you succeed with your claim.

How long does a compensation claim take?

Every claimant wants to settle their claim as quickly as possible and move on from their injury. But to get to the point where a compensation claim can be settled involves evidence, expert opinions and investigations from insurers. It also requires clear communication between insurers, specialist solicitors, claimants and occasionally the courts. All of this can take time.

Some claim types are known to settle more quickly than others. In cases where negligence is obviously clear, and a defendant insurer has no reasonable option other than to make an admission of liability, a claim will settle more quickly. Conversely, in a matter relating to a more complex claim where negligence isn’t so easily obvious, a claimant solicitor will have to make a strong argument to succeed and achieve an admission of liability, and a claim will take longer to settle.

Claims that tend to settle more quickly

Claims often settle within a few months, when:

  • Liability against the party that caused an accident is clear and obvious
  • The claim relates to relatively minor injuries with full recovery
  • Claimants respond quickly to requests for information
  • Accident details have been properly reported and recorded
  • Injuries and losses are not in dispute

Claims that can take longer

As you would expect, there are many issues that can arise that are beyond our control and slow the claims process down. Furthermore, two seemingly similar claims may initially give the view that they will settle quickly – yet one could take six months and the other could take 18 months. Each claim does need to be looked at on its own merits and complexities, but common issues that can cause a slower claim timeframe include:

  • Complex claims, including severe and life changing injuries
  • Incomplete medical treatments meaning injury/recovery prognosis is not known
  • Split liability or denied liability claims
  • Claimant failure to respond quickly to solicitor queries
  • Inefficiency and slow work by other parties – for example, defendant insurers
  • Claims that have to go to court

In more serious and complex cases, where negligence is not obvious and evidence is not so clear cut, there can be denials of liability from a defendant insurer. This will lead to an unavoidable slowing of the claims process. At this point, a claimant solicitor will seek further instructions from a claimant to enable them to fight a denial of liability and seek expert opinion from a barrister in an effort to force an admission of liability.

In cases where a defendant has accepted responsibility, and will therefore make a compensation settlement offer to a claimant, they may dispute the value of a claim settlement or the losses incurred by a claimant, and request further evidence and medical assessments to support the claim. They could state a desire to take the matter to court for a judgement on the settlement, and such issues will definitely slow a claim down.

Insurer deadlines and legal protocols

It is the third party insurer’s job to minimise any settlement they have to pay, and they aren’t always good act acting quickly. Helpfully for claimants, there are legally-binding timeframes in place to prevent claims being dragged out longer than necessary. These ‘Pre-Action Protocols’ give a maximum time for defendant insurers to respond to claims and carry out their investigations. The times vary depending on the claim type involved.

At Direct2Compensation, we realise that much rests on the speedy action of our team and partners to minimise delays, that defendants are pressed to ensure that deadlines are met, and that the claim is regularly chased. We work tirelessly to ensure that claimants are kept informed and that their claim is settled fairly and quickly.

Is it worth making a compensation claim?

Most of us wouldn’t be able to cope financially if we were hurt in an accident that left us unable to earn a living. We would struggle to support our families and as a result, we may go behind on paying the mortgage or bills. Life would be extremely difficult. Claiming compensation can help in many ways.

Accident victims have many things to consider when thinking about making a claim for personal injury compensation. Besides suffering often nasty injuries and having worries about recovery, how it will affect work, child care etc, a potential claimant should also consider how much making a claim will cost, how much any settlement value will be and why they should use a solicitor.

Another issue that many potential claimants raise with us when they contact us for advice is whether or not it will all be worthwhile. “Isn’t it a lot of hassle?“, they often ask. Well, the process of claiming isn’t a hassle, but it also isn’t something one should enter in to without considering whether they wish to pursue it and can see the benefits of claiming.

Why you have to pay 25% if you win

Unfortunately, in April 2013 the Government made claiming compensation slightly less fair on the claimant than it was before. The Association of British Insurers utilised their very well-funded lobbying powers to get the government to reduce the amount of compensation claimants could receive, and to force claimants to make a contribution from any settlement they won towards their legal costs. Therefore, claimants still pay nothing of they lose but now (as a result of the LASPO Act) a winning claimant will lose up to 25% of any award made to them as this will be deducted to contribute to their legal costs.

Previously, winning claimants could address their entire costs to the losing side ON TOP of any compensation award made. The insurance industry said this was unfair and for reasons only known to themselves, the government agreed!

It’s still worth claiming

However, 75% of something is certainly more than 100% of nothing and with this in mind, if you have been injured through no fault of your own you really should still claim. Direct2Compensation are of the view that it is still very much worthwhile for an injured person to seek compensation for their injuries and losses. Many claimants not only suffer painful injuries but lose income when they can’t work. Therefore, losses can be considerable – especially when taking special damages in to account. Remember, our partner solicitors try their best to minimise any deductions to compensation and the costs of your claim as far as practically possible.

Compensation settlements will still see your claim returning a worthwhile value to you to help you to start to overcome the injuries and losses you’ve sustained.  You may also be able to obtain physiotherapy and rehabilitation services at the cost of the 3rd party if your solicitor can obtain an admission of liability.

What should I do after an accident at work?

Many companies have proper regulations and procedures in place and should you have an accident at work they will ensure that you receive proper treatment for your injury. It is inevitable in some jobs that accidents will occur, but when they do, your employer should deal with every aspect of the incident professionally. Should your employer not handle your case and injury properly, or was negligent, you may be entitled to compensation.

Employees have legal rights in the event they are injured at work, and employers have legal responsibilities that oblige them to ensure their staff are properly trained, provided with the correct equipment and advised as to how to handle an accident and injury in the workplace.

An injured employee who has been hurt in the workplace needs to know how the claim works so that they approach it in the correct way. Below are some basic guidelines for what to do after an accident at work and at the same time help your compensation claim:

Medical treatment

Clearly, if an injury is sustained, it is vital that good first aid is received and that the injured party is treated by a medical professional.

Report the accident

If you have had an accident at work you need to explain to the employer the exact series of events that caused the accident. Your employer needs to ensure that the incident is recorded properly and that steps are taken to prevent other colleagues from having the same accident.

Record in the accident book

The accident MUST be recorded in the employers accident book. If your employer won’t do this or let you see the book, there are actions you can take. Accident book entries should usually be done within minutes and the injured party should contribute to what is written and only sign it when they are happy with the way the accident circumstances have been recorded. If relevant, previous complaints or comments from staff to management about potential hazards that relate to the accident in question should be noted.

The injuries should be described and their cause listed. For example: “Joe has suffered a nasty laceration to his right hand and 3 fingers after it became trapped in the cutting machine on the factory floor. The safety guard was broken and not repaired despite the staff informing Management of the issue. Ambulance called and Joe has been taken to Hospital for treatment. This has been reported to Management”. The injured party should ask for a copy of the accident book entry.

Do not feel that reporting the accident would tarnish the reputation of your company. Your employer is responsible for your safety. He is legally bound to do so. Immediately reporting the accident to your employer will help him curtail such accidents in future by adopting proper safety precautions.

The employer is legally bound to report about any accidents in the workplace to the Incident Contact Centre of the HSE, depending on the type of accident. As your employer is responsible for reporting to the HSE, you should always check to see whether this has been done.

Get witnesses

If possible, obtain the names and addresses of supporting witnesses. Whilst the accident book entry is the main issue in an accident at work claim, having supporting statements from colleagues can provide a stronger prospect of success in certain cases.

If the employer is not convinced with your explanation, it would make sense to bring in witness testimonies in order to verify your story with your employer. The witnesses in this case would most probably be your fellow employees and colleagues. It is highly important for employers to take heed of the events imparted by the employee in case of an accident at work.

Discuss returning to work and your pay

Once medical treatment has been received, talk with the employer as to the situation and the likelihood of any return to work.

If you have experienced a serious accident in the workplace, your pay will definitely be affected, as you might not be able to work. You should talk to your employer about this and check whether they have the scheme for providing additional pay due to the accident.

Don’t leave it too late

You have three years in which to put in a claim for any personal injuries that you may have sustained during an accident either in public or in the workplace. However, it is always best to do it sooner rather than leaving it and the event being forgotten about, and to find a solicitor who specialises in accidental injury claims. They can confirm if you are entitled to claim for compensation and give you advice about whether or not to make a claim.

You’re entitled to support

There can be many causes of accidents at work but an employer should do everything in their power to help injured employees claim personal injury or work related compensation. It is also important that business owners or employers give employees the right treatment needed for the accident. Many a time, employees who have had an accident at work need to take leave and time off to recuperate from their injuries. In a situation like this, it is highly important to provide them with adequate relief measures, advice on what they should claim and how.

A good claiming service will understand and impart the right knowledge to the people concerned. With these basic guidelines in the back of your mind, your accident at work claim should be heading in the right track. Don’t be intimidated by the procedure; get professional advice and approach it in the correct way. Your solicitor will handle the case on your behalf and ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to.

Compensation claims jargon – understanding commonly used words, terms and phrases

There are many commonly used terms, words, phrases and descriptions during the processing of personal injury compensation claims.  At Direct2Compensation, we try to make the injury compensation claims process as simple as possible and want to make sure that our claimants fully understand how no win no fee works.

To further help you understand personal injury compensation and no win no fee claims, we explain the meanings behind some terms you will see written or hear spoken about and during personal injury compensation claims.

  • RTA/RTC Road Traffic Accident or Road Traffic Collision
  • EMP/EL – This relates to an Accident at Work claim and means Employer Liability or accident at work.
  • PL/Public Liability – PL means Public Liability which in terms of personal injury compensation claims relates to a tripping accident or accident in a public area.
  • OL/Occ Liab – This is occupiers liability
  • Med Neg – Medical Negligence compensation
  • Ind DiseaseIndustrial Disease Claims
  • LimitationHow long you have to make your claim – limitation is period in which you must make your claim.  This is usually within 3 years of the date of your accident, or for those under 18 years old at the time of an accident have until their 21st Birthday to make their claim.
  • 3rd Party – In personal injury compensation, the 3rd party is the defendant facing the claim.
  • Liability – This is the word used to apportion responsibility or blame in an accident.  It confirms who a 3rd party is.
  • Quantum – This old latin word is used in the legal sector to place a value on a personal injury claim settlement.  Quantum is the value of a claim.
  • Special Damages – This is the part of a personal injury claim settlement that relates to the loss of income and other losses caused in an accident.
  • Rehab – This describes post accident therapies such as physiotherapy provided as part of a personal injury claim.
  • CFA –  This is the official term for No Win No Fee – Conditional Fee Agreement – paperwork that you must sign to instruct your Solicitor to pursue your claim.
  • Medical – This relates to the medical assessment you may undergo later on in your personal injury claim.  This is used to form the valuation (quantum) for your claim settlement.
  • Locus – This term is used to state the accident location or place of accident.
  • Locus Report – This is the term for photographic evidence and diagrams of an accident location.

Of course, there are many more terms that could be confusing.  If you are unsure what something means in relation to your accident claim or personal injury in general, contact us and we’ll do our best to explain things simply to you!

Who can make a personal injury compensation claim?

In simple terms, any person who has been injured, reported their accident to the right people or place, received medical treatment and believes that someone else is responsible for their injuries, can make a claim.  The law is the same for adults and children and yes, you can make a claim for your child, with the only difference being the length of time you get to make your claim.  Children are allowed up until their 21st birthday to pursue a claim, whilst adults have 3 years.  However, we strongly advise that claims are made quickly as it usually gives a greater chance of a quick and successful outcome.

The law covering personal injury compensation claims in England and Wales affords the same rights to all individuals.  This enables any victim of a non-fault accident to make a claim for personal injury compensation via a conditional fee agreement on a no win no fee basis.

There are a whole load of myths about the personal injury compensation industry, and we have to work really hard to debunk these and to make sure that claimants know that they have a right to make a claim.  Whilst we can never guarantee that a claimant will be successful, we can guarantee that making a claim that does not succeed will not cost you a penny.  So as long as you are acting honestly and not attempting to make a fraudulent claim, any person should have the confidence to make a claim for personal injury compensation after an accident in which they are injured.

In April 2013, the personal injury claims process was changed after the government introduced the LASPO Act 2012 and whilst this changed the way claims are managed, with the majority of claims now processed via the portal system, claimants still retained the right to make a claim for personal injury compensation, although successful claimants now face losing 25% of any settlement awarded to them – BUT ONLY IF THEY SUCCEED WITH THEIR CLAIM.

 

How long does an insurer have to reply to a compensation claim?

Settling a claim as quickly as possible is hugely important to all our claimants, especially those suffering the stress of losing income whilst they can’t work. It’s less important to the defendant insurers who have to pay the settlement, and who are trying to minimise the amount paid.

Insurer response times – ‘pre-action protocols’

It will not surprise you to learn that insurers are not always great at acting quickly and often drag their feet at every stage of the claims process. Of course, it is their job to minimise any settlements and pay out as little as possible, and it is our job, and that of our solicitors, to ensure that claims are settled quickly and to their maximum value.

The good news for claimants is that there are legal protocols in place designed to make sure that claims are processed in an expedient manner and help defendant insurers to investigate and settle claims quickly. These timeframes are called ‘pre-action protocols’ and they set a deadline for defendant insurers to respond to claims and carry out their investigations into allegations made against their insured.

The pre-action protocols allow maximum response times for defendant insurers. The times and guidelines can vary depending on the claim type. For example, road accident claims have different protocols to other personal injury claims.

Personal injury protocols

Time limits for personal injury claims allow a maximum response time that is effectively 3 months and 21 days from the date that a claimant’s solicitor has submitted a letter of claim. This usually plays out as follows:

  • Claimant solicitor submits a letter of claim to the third party outlining the specifics of the claim and why they are being held responsible.
  • A response to this must be provided to the claimant solicitor within 21 days.
  • At this point a defendant insurer has a period of 3 months to properly investigate the allegations made in the claim and then respond to the claimant solicitor.
  • After the 3 month period, the insurer’s reply has to state whether or not they admit liability. If there is a denial of liability, the response has to state disclosure evidence that details why they have not admitted liability and what their defence is.

In the rare case where an insurer fails to provide a response within the time allowed, a solicitor will go to the courts to progress the claim.

Road traffic accident protocols

Time limits for road traffic accident claim protocols allow a maximum response time of 15 working days. Such claims are run via the claims portal and work using this method:

  • Claimant solicitor submits a Claim Notification Form (CNF) to the insurers defending the claim. This notification has to provide all of the details and information that a defendant insurer will need to be able to fully investigate the claim and decide upon their view.

When a defendant insurer fails to respond within the 15 working day limit, the claim will then continue via the pre-action personal injury protocol, stated previously.

As you would expect with two opposing parties, there are many issues that can arise during the personal injury claims process that are beyond our control and can slow things down. As each case is different, there is no way of knowing exactly how long it can take to receive compensation. However, what we can do is ensure our claimants aren’t waiting on us for their case to progress.

What is a conditional fee agreement (CFA)?

The worry that legal representation will be expensive sometimes puts people off seeking the services of a solicitor to pursue their claim for personal injury compensation.  But worry not, the reason that ‘no win no fee’ services are in place for matters like Personal Injury compensation claims is to ensure that people who cannot afford the cost of solicitor fees still have the ability to use the legal services of a specialist Solicitor to pursue their claim.

When answering the question as to how no win, no fee works, the phrase ‘conditional fee agreement’ arises.  Conditional fee agreements is the official term for no win no fee.

When pursuing legal action, there are many different options as to how the costs of the legal services can be funded. In matters of personal injury compensation claims, it is usually possible to enter into a conditional fee agreement which means the solicitor will charge you nothing if you lose and charge the majority of your costs to the 3rd party should you win.  You will also be able to take out some form of legal expenses insurance, which will cover the costs of the 3rd party should you lose your claim – as long as you behave honestly, cooperatively and don’t do anything stupid like try to make a fraudulent claim.

You should be aware that not all solicitor firms will offer conditional fee agreements and that it is not always possible to use such an agreement with all types of claims. However, with the Direct 2 Compensation claims process, CFA agreements are available with all personal injury claims, from road traffic accident claims through to slip and trip claims.

How a conditional fee agreement (CFA) works

In summary, a CFA is an agreement which states that a claimant’s legal fees will only become payable should the claimant win their claim. By offering conditional fee agreement services, a claims management company or solicitor is taking the risk that they will not receive any payment for their work.  The risk can be explained as follows: a solicitor agrees to run a claim for personal injury compensation for a client.  They evaluate the claim and decide whether or not the prospects of succeeding with the claim outweigh the prospects of failing.  If the solicitor feels that they are more likely to win than lose, they will agree to running the claim on a CFA basis.  If they win, they can then charge their fees to the losing side.  However, if they lose, they will not receive a penny for the hours of work that they have undertaken.  Given the risks faced by the Solicitor, it is only fair and right that they should receive a decent return should they win the claim.  To this end, since April 2013 when the system was changed by the Government post the Jackson/LASPO act, Solicitors now work on a fixed fees basis where the insurers of the 3rd party only pay a lower fixed fee if they lose.  Therefore, where Solicitors also used to be able to charge the losing insurer a ‘success fee’ they no longer can and therefore, within their CFA paperwork they must now deduct up to 25% of any settlement awarded to their claimant as the Government decided (after much lobbying from the Insurance sector) that winning claimants should be making a contribution to the costs of their legal services.  The deduction cannot be more than 25% of the total settlement and cannot include any award made for special damages.

In cases of personal injury compensation claims, the usual process is that the party that loses the claim has to pay the costs of the successful party, which will be fixed as per the new post April 2013 system as well as some disbursement costs.  The claimants now make a contribution – but only if they win, as stated in the previous paragraph.

Should the claim end up in the courts, the awarding of costs is for the judge to decide. As such you may win your case but still be liable for some of the costs of the claim.  This would usually apply if the claimant was at fault in some way for some or all of the incident in which they were injured. If a claimant loses their claim at the court, they will not usually be liable for their own costs, but will then have liability for the costs of the winning party.   However, when claiming with Direct 2 Compensation, or any other decent regulated claims company or solicitor, you will not personally be liable for the costs as your solicitor will already have insured you against such risks.

Legal expenses insurance and your CFA

As previously stated, claims for personal injury compensation that are pursued on a conditional fee agreement basis are not risk free.  Despite the best efforts of your solicitor to properly evaluate your claim, there is always a risk that the claim could fail – even in what seems a watertight matter.  Therefore, your solicitor will take steps to protect you and them from the risks of losing and paying costs and take out legal expenses insurance to limit your exposure.

Many people are already covered for certain legal expenses by an existing insurance policy that they already have.  This could be legal expenses cover on an existing home or car insurance policy.  This is known as ‘before the event’ insurance (BTE).  Therefore, when instructing your solicitor, you will be asked to check your existing insurance policies to see if you are covered.  If not, your solicitor will then arrange cover for you.

If you are not already covered under an existing policy, your personal injury compensation solicitor will organise ‘after the event insurance’ for you.  This is likely to be referred to as ‘ATE insurance’. Put simply ATE insurance is a policy which is taken out after legal proceedings have either commenced or will be commence.  The ATE covers losses which may be incurred as a result of the legal dispute or claim.

It is usual for your solicitor to arrange the cover for you and to ensure that you are adequately protected and properly advised.  All of the solicitors working on personal injury compensation claims for the clients of Direct 2 Compensation Ltd will do this for you and ensure your piece of mind.  Your solicitor will pay the premium due for the insurance policy and is likely to recover this cost from the other side if the case is won.

The benefits of using a Conditional Fee Agreement

The main benefit of instructing a solicitor under the agreement of a CFA as a means of funding your claim for personal injury compensation, is that you will not be liable for the costs of the claim should you lose.  Also, it means that the 3rd party will make a contribution (significant one at that) to your legal costs should you win.  Of course, it is not possible to know how much your settlement will be or what your total contribution to your costs will be until your claim is settled.

If you have any questions about making a claim for personal injury compensation, or simply want further explanations as to how the process works, please contact us for assistance.

Who are Direct2Compensation?

Direct2Compensation is a personal injury claims management company regulated by the Claims Management Regulator in respect of regulated claims management activities. We’re authorised to provide our services to clients wishing to pursue claims on a No Win No Fee basis for personal injury compensation. Should you wish to locate details of our registration, or check up on a claims company, you can search for the information online. To do so, simply visit the authorised business search page on the claims regulators website and search for us. Our authorisation number is CRM33541.

Put simply, the role of Direct2Compensation is to be the link between the person claiming personal injury compensation and the solicitors and other experts who process the claim. We provide this service by using our simple claims process that enables us to identify the right solicitor for you and then acting on the instructions we receive from the solicitor and claimant.

The solicitors we instruct to pursue our claims are both specialists in personal injury claims and also experts at litigation.  The solicitor’s role is to liaise with 3rd party insurers, hold them to account with the laws and regulations that they are bound by and prove a claim.  They will also instruct the relevant experts such as obtaining expert medical evidence. Our panel solicitors use the services of our business to investigate initial personal injury claim enquiries, and to then obtain the relevant evidence.  This then enables the expert solicitor to evaluate the claim enquiries so that that they can then pursue the claims that they believe have positive prospects of success.

Claimants often know nothing about the legal world, how to claim personal injury compensation or what No Win No Fee means.  As a result, it can be somewhat of a daunting thought to commence a claim. At Direct2Compensation we take the initial instructions of a claimant and identify the right solicitor for that person.  We then act on the instructions of the solicitors to investigate the claim and after gathering the relevant information and evidence, pass the same back to the solicitor.

Direct2Compensation offers a friendly link and a helping hand through the process of claiming personal injury compensation to both claimants and the solicitors. We are here to make the process of claiming simple and easy to understand.

How long does it take to claim road traffic accident compensation?

Road traffic accident compensation claims are amongst the fastest to process and settle.  This is even more likely since the claims process was changed as a result of the Jackson Reforms (LASPO Act 2012) came in to effect in April 2013.  As a result of these changes, claims for more minor injuries, as whiplash often is, are submitted via the ‘Claims Portal‘ and can now settle in as little as 3 months or less, although it is wise to allow a period of 3-6 months in most cases.

However, in the event of serious or catastrophic injuries, the process of claiming can be far slower as it is vital that the full extent of the injuries and other losses are known and understood.  This often takes months and years as it is vital that the full value of a settlement is known and understood.

In most cases, people injured in road traffic accidents suffer short-term injuries that whilst painful, are not life changing. In these circumstances, a claim should usually be settled within a period of 3-9 months.

Is making a claim a hassle?

Of the legitimate claimants who don’t actually make a claim, some don’t know how to or who to go to, some are too vulnerable and are not given the correct assistance by carers or family, and many are put off by the often complex and scary legalese jargon used by many law firms.

At Direct2Compensation, we believe in simplifying the personal injury claims process as far as we possibly can. We’ve taken steps to ensure that the process is easily explained and understood without bombarding you with intimidating jargon. Our clients get the peace of mind they need quickly when they speak to us and almost without exception, they instruct us to press on with the claim.

Making a claim should not be a hassle. We understand that when injured, a person needs to concentrate on recovering and does not need to be hassled by us or any solicitor. That’s why we have made the process of making a claim as simple as possible:

  1. Call us on 01225 430285, or use the Contact Us or Make a Claim pages on our website.
  2. Once we’ve heard from you, we’ll spend a few minutes on the phone so that we can take some basic instructions about your claim and obtain further contact details.
  3. We then pass your details to an expert solicitor and ask them to call you to further discuss the details of your accident and injuries and explain the next step.
  4. The solicitor send you some paperwork, you sign and return the No Win No Fee agreement (Conditional Fee Agreement) and authorities to release medical records.
  5. You attend a medical with an expert in order that a report can be written to support and prove your claim, and provide a value for settlement.
  6. Your solicitor will keep you updated and ask for information when needed.
  7. You receive a settlement cheque in the post.

Clearly, in some circumstance – when a claim is fiercely contested – a claim can end up in court. This is very rare and is most unlikely. Even if this were to happen, your solicitor would provide you with all the support necessary for you to proceed with the claim with minimum hassle.

How much will claiming cost me?

Perhaps the most important thing any personal injury compensation claimant needs to know is that, with Direct2Compensation, they will pay NO COSTS whatsoever should their claim fail.  Costs for such outcomes are covered by insurance polices.  The only caveat to this is if a claimant is found to have fraudulently or dishonestly attempted to claim compensation.

Since the Government introduced the LASPO Act 2012 in April 2013 (commonly known as the Jackson Reforms) there is now a cost to making a successful claim.  As a result, the claims process now sees successful claimants having a small portion of any settlement awarded to them deducted.

The government agreed with the insurance industry that claimants should contribute to their own legal fees, and therefore claimants can no longer force 3rd parties to pay for insurance policies taken out to protect them during the claim.  Solicitors were also prohibited from charging success fees when winning a claim and the government stated that clients should lose a maximum of 25% of any settlement that now forms part of their solicitor costs.

Whilst we argued that this would not be fair on claimants who had no responsibility for the accident in which they were injured, and therefore should not have to pay anything for claiming compensation, the government saw otherwise. As a result, the 25% deduction obligation was passed in to law.

Whilst this isn’t ideal for injured claimants, pursuing a claim for compensation after being injured in an accident is still very worthwhile as any successful claimant will still receive 75% of final claim settlement that is awarded to them.  With Direct2Compensation, you can be certain that our solicitor partners will work hard to maximise your claim settlement and do all they can to minimise any deductions.

Remember, with Direct2Compensation you pay nothing if your claim fails as we indemnify you of the risk of being liable for any costs whatsoever should your claim not succeed.

How long do I have to make a compensation claim?

The rules for making a claim for personal injury compensation state that there is a period of 3 years from the date of an accident in which an injured party must register their claim. This time limit is called ‘limitation’. Should an injured party fail to register their claim within a 3 year time period, the claim will be statute barred and they will then be unable to seek compensation for their injuries.

An exception to this rule is for minors. A person under the age of 18 years at the time of their accident have until their 21st birthday in which they can register a claim. Another exception is for industrial diseases, where the limitation period is 3 years from the date of medical diagnosis. This is because industrial illnesses may take years to present. There are other very rare exceptions to the 3-year rule that may enable an individual to overturn the limitation limit. This would normally apply to individuals who were so seriously injured that they could not manage their own affairs and no carer commenced a claim for them.

In all circumstances, it is advisable to make a claim at the earliest opportunity and to not wait the full 3 years. This allows time to prepare a strong claim and therefore maximise the prospects of a successful outcome.

Whilst the 3-year period is there, in usual circumstances, claims companies and solicitors require a good 6-month period of the limitation to remain in order that full investigations can be completed, and correspondence can be entered into with the alleged liable party. Many people don’t know about the need to allow sufficient time to run their claim and often find that they have ruled themselves out by missing the 3-year deadline or contacting us with only a month or less to go. They usually find themselves statute barred and unable to claim.

Beating the claim deadline

Direct2Compensation never rule anything out and are happy to go the extra mile to assist clients in making genuine claims. Indeed, only this week we have managed to move mountains to assist a client who contacted us with only 4 days of his 3-year period remaining. In normal circumstances, this would not provide sufficient time to enable us to help. However, the injuries sustained were very serious – the client could yet lose the leg that was injured.

We immediately contacted one of our specialist solicitors to discuss the case. The value of the claim for the client was high and all parties wanted to help. Following the advice from our solicitor, we decided to take the unusual step of registering the claim in the courts before contact was made with the 3rd party. Clearly, we had to make speedy investigations beforehand to ensure that we knew the identity of the parties involved to ensure that we were not wasting our or the client’s time. Once done, we paid the fee and decided that this claim was worth risking our time, money and effort upon.

Taking risks and helping clients

We are happy to take such risks and put our money on the line to help such clients. Sure, if we win this no-win, no-fee claim for our client, we will get our money back plus fees, but that is not the point. We are a business with a keen ethical stance that ensures that we push the boat out to help individuals who are not always in a position to help themselves.

If you are in need of a reliable and approved claims management company to manage your accident compensation claim, look no further. We offer genuine peace of mind, honesty and a friendly caring service.

What severity of injury warrants a claim?

In nearly every claim, there has to be a recognised injury and medical treatment has to have been sought and received by the claimant. Most injured clients get medical treatment in A&E or from their GP. This provides medical evidence to quantify their injury. If it’s noted on your medical records, it can be proven what injury you had. Some clients will seek private chiropractic or osteopathic treatment or visit a masseur or physio. That’s fine too, as they will keep records and provide receipts about the level of treatment given.

But alas, it’s not enough to just be injured, the injury has to be severe enough to provide a sufficient level of quantum to enable the claim to be placed with a specialist personal injury solicitor. Quantum is the posh legal (latin!) term for value of the claim used in the legal world. To ensure that the injury value is sufficient, it is usually the case that an injured client will need to have suffered from their injury for a period of 4 weeks or more.

Therefore, if you sprained your ankle mildly and recovered within a fortnight, you would struggle to bring a claim. But if you sprained your ankle badly, tearing the ligaments and spent 6 weeks on crutches and then had 5 physio sessions, your claim would easily pass the quantum test.

For the sake of a claim, its always best to ensure that your GP is made aware of any ongoing problems with an injury. To put it bluntly, if you suffer in silence and don’t return to your GP, you won’t be able to claim compensation for the ongoing injury. You could miss out on a substantial sum of what you are actually entitled to receive.

If your injuries don’t settle and you notice discomfort a few weeks or months later, or if you’re not sleeping or feeling depressed because of your injuries, make sure it’s on your medical records.

The basic claim rules are this:

  • Your accident must be someone else’s fault
  • You must report your accident to the correct 3rd party (accident book)
  • You must seek medical attention for your injuries
Is any personal injury claimable?

At Direct 2 Compensation towers, we get numerous personal injury accident claim enquiries. We’ve heard it all, the fall from a ladder, the whiplash from a rear end shunt, the slip on the wet floor, the lack of hazard warning signs, the blatant breaches of health and safety in workplaces. All claimable accidents in most cases in the world of Personal Injury compensation.

We’ve also had the opposite enquiries regarding completely unclaimable accident scenarios! We’ve genuinely had a personal injury enquiry for someone who slipped on a banana skin on the road (whether or not they were making a joke enquiry is debatable), we’ve had enquiries from people who have fallen through their own coffee tables when standing on them to change a light bulb (even a glass one – ouch!) and other ridiculous enquiries… I really could go on all day!

Just today, we had an enquiry from a parent who’s 6-year old son suffered a fractured jaw during a mini-rugby training session. The parent was understandably worried and upset by what had happened and they wanted to sue the Rugby Club in question. “They’ve got insurance” said the parent. However, it transpired that it was a genuine accident with no negligence. Two lads collided during a practice game of touch rugby when one of them tripped and a ‘bundle’ was caused with the lad fracturing his cheek bone. A nasty and painful injury no doubt, but we had to explain to the parent that the injury itself doesn’t constitute a personal injury claim. The parent struggled to understand that the insurers only pay out when their insured has acted in a negligent way. Rugby – along with other contact or physical sports are inherently dangerous and injuries are likely. The club were not negligent and just because the boy was injured, didn’t mean he could make a personal injury claim.

The moral of the story for those thinking of making a personal injury compensation claim is to ask whether the accident which lead to the injuries was caused by negligence? Could the accident have been avoided by using better practices and did the 3rd party have every reasonable chance to foresee such an accident?

In the case of the Rugby club, they had not been negligent and whilst they may foresee that injuries may occur, they could not avoid them – unless they abandoned the game of rugby! They had 1st aid trained people on duty and had planned out how to deal with injuries.

It’s interesting to see what people think will enable a personal injury claim, but contrary to the popularly medial portrayed myth of ‘claiming is easy’, ‘any injury is a claim’ and the ‘compensation culture’, it’s just not the case. It’s all about negligence.

Direct2Compensation Personal Injury Claims

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