If you are about to instruct a personal injury solicitor or regulated claims management company to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation you will have a large selection of companies to choose from. The majority provide a great service and their work meets the needs of their claimant. Despite this, you will still want to ensure the firm that you are instructing act in a compliant and legal way, and whether or not you will be able to trust the no win no fee process to manage your claim properly. Here I’d like to explain how Direct2Compensation employ a claims process that makes us the best choice for you and your individual needs.
Claims process – step by step
Whatever stage your claim is at, it helps to have an understanding of what’s going on. If you know how long the claim should take and what to expect from your solicitor, for example, you won’t get unduly stressed about the claim and can concentrate on recovering from your injuries. At Direct2Compensation we like to keep things simple, hassle free and understandable. Here we list the basic process that you will go through once you ask us for help.
- You contact us or use the make a claim form on our website. We will take your details so that we can contact you when the need arises and understand what happened to you. Depending on the information we have at this stage, we will either contact you for more specific details, or if we feel that we have sufficient information, hand your details to one of the suitably specialised and experienced partner Solicitor firms who pursue claims for our clients to best assist you with your claim.
- The specialist personal injury solicitor firm that we pass your details to will contact you directly, but only after we have advised you as to the details of the firm that we feel is best placed to represent your best interests. The specialist Solicitor firm will then spend a short while on the phone with you in order to fully discuss the details of your accident. They will ask specific questions that will help them to form a basic view as to the strength of your claim. Should they feel that your claim is insufficiently strong, the Solicitor will advise you and us accordingly. We will then liaise with you with regards to seeing a second opinion from another of our specialist Solicitor partners for you. If the solicitor believes your claim for personal injury compensation has a reasonable prospect of succeeding, they will advise you of this and invite you to formally instruct them to act for you on a no win no fee basis.
- In order to formally instruct your solicitor, you will need to sign some important legal documentation. The agreement which confirms that the claim will be run on a compliant no win no fee basis is officially known as a conditional fee agreement or CFA. This document confirms that you will not be liable for any costs should your claim fail for any reason other than fraud and that should you win, you will contribute a maximum of 25% of any settlement awarded to you towards your legal costs along with having to cover the cost of an ATE premium if one is needed (this is only payable if you succeed with your claim and would be deducted along with the 25% prior to your receipt of the balance). This paperwork also contains forms of authority to enable your solicitor to obtain your medical records in support of your claim and to access other evidence such as accident book records. These documents will be sent to you in the post, but remember you can request that the solicitor instructs an agent to visit you and fully explain the documents and conduct a signing process with you.
- Once you are in receipt of the CFA documents, your solicitor cannot commence work on your claim until they have received them back from you. You will have to sign where requested and possibly complete a brief questionnaire. You will also have to provide copy of photographic ID (such as your passport or driving licence) and a copy of a recent utility bill or similar dated within the past 3 months. These are required to satisfy money laundering regulations as the specialist Solicitor firm will be required to prove you are who you claim to be and live where you claim to live. If you don’t return your documents, the solicitor will not commence work on your claim.
- Upon receipt of your signed documentation and proof of ID and address, your Solicitor will begin the claims process. The majority of claims are now processed via the fast track portal system. If this relates to your claim, your solicitor will open your claim on the portal, input details of your claim and address it to the relevant 3rd party. They will then have a set amount of time to respond and correspondence between your solicitor and the 3rd party will then be conducted via the portal.
- Your solicitor will obtain your medical records in relation to the injuries that you are claiming for and any relevant history of similar health problems. Copies of the same will also be available for the 3rd party to view. You may be asked for further information by your solicitor once they have perused your records.
- The 3rd party will either admit or deny liability and your solicitor will advise you accordingly and then advise you as to what they believe is the best next course of action.
- You are likely to be required to attend a medical assessment with an expert in the area of injury that you are affected by. This expert will write a report based upon your medical records and an assessment of you that can be used by both your solicitor and the 3rd party to evaluate the level of settlement that you should obtain.
- Your solicitor will ask you for details of any expenses, loss of income or other relevant costs to form a value of your special damages.
- If liability is admitted by the 3rd party, you can expect your claim to settle within 9-18 months of the claim starting. Of course, there is no set limit to how long a claim should take and certain things can speed up or delay the claim process.
- If liability is denied, your solicitor will advise you as to whether they think you should continue with the claim, maybe having to take the matter to court or if they believe that your claim is destined to fail and should be closed at that stage.
- If your claim is closed by your solicitor, you may wish to seek a second opinion or switch to a new firm. Direct2Compensation can help you with this process and will confirm that you face no cost liability whatsoever.
- If your claim succeeds, your Solicitor will seek an appropriate settlement value for you and will advise you accordingly when a suitable offer is made. Once you have agreed a settlement, your Solicitor will obtain the settlement and you will then receive the settlement minus the 25% deduction and ATE insurance premium fee.
No two claims are the same, so it is impossible to give a cast iron prediction as to how your claim will go, whether you will succeed and how much you will receive if you win. However, the above provides a good basic outline of what you can expect and how the claims process works.
For most people, the process of making a claim is somewhat confusing and the thought of a legal battle with an often large organisation and dealing with a highly qualified solicitor is scary. Our role in the claims process is to provide the friendly, helpful and transparent link between you the client and the specialist independent expert personal injury solicitor with whom we will place your claim. We use our expertise and knowledge to make initial assessments about claims and make sure that the right solicitor can then review your claim and advise you accordingly.
Whilst Direct2Compensation do not have any direct involvement in the pursuit of your claim in terms of contact with defendants, we will help you to ensure that all relevant paperwork, important evidence and appropriate steps are taken. We remain available to assist our clients throughout the claims process liaising between claimant and Solicitor, explaining correspondence and answering questions regarding the claims process. Let’s be honest, with the best will in the world, some solicitors struggle to explain things in simple understandable terms and this can confuse clients. Therefore, as laymen, we can talk in a clear and transparent way and allow the expert Solicitor to get on with the important work of upholding your legal rights and working hard to settle your claim.