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Following initial medical treatments after an accident, those wishing to pursue a personal injury compensation claim usually instruct a specialist personal injury solicitor to run the claim for them.
To make a formal instruction to a specialist personal injury solicitor, the claimant has to sign a conditional fee agreement (CFA). A CFA is the formal term for “no win no fee”. Solicitor (CFA) paperwork for personal injury compensation claims provides the claimant the peace of mind of knowing that you are instructing a compliant personal injury claims company. It also confirms that the claimant will not face any costs should you lose your claim and only pay a maximum of 25% of any settlement awarded to you if you win. It also provides the solicitor that you instruct the legal authority to receive fees should they win your claim and also to act in your best interests.
We have previously covered the CFA paperwork in greater detail and you can read more about the contents of these important papers in our what is a conditional fee agreement article. There is also further information relevant to this article and your claim in our step by step guide to the Direct2Compensation claims process.
What am I authorising?
One element of the CFA paperwork (and it is a really important one) is documents known as forms of authority that you, the claimant must sign to provide your solicitor with the relevant authority(s) needed to properly represent you in your claim. This gives your solicitor the best possible chance of winning your claim as quickly as possible, and maximising any settlement made to you if and when you win your claim for personal injury compensation.
As with any important documents, people are right to take time to properly read through the contents of the paperwork that they are being asked to sign. At Direct2Compensation we expect clients to be a little perplexed by some of the paperwork that they are asked to sign. Whilst we take every step possible to remove the hassle from the claims process, we understand that legal matters can be complex and confusing and that most claimants are new to personal injury claims and therefore expect someone to help them with the paperwork. To this end, we are always available for clients to contact us to discuss this paperwork and, where needed, we will gladly send an agent to you (at no cost) to take you through the documents and signing process in a step-by-step manner, so that you are fully aware of what you are signing. Our solicitors will also verbally explain the documents prior to sending them to you for signature. But why are there forms of authority?
Forms of authority
In order to succeed with a claim for personal injury compensation, you and your solicitor must prove a few things. Most importantly, you must prove – or get the 3rd party to admit – liability against the company or people you are claiming against. Once this is done, you must then prove how serious an injury is – this provides your solicitor the basis for placing a value on the amount of compensation you should receive. In order to fulfill these requirements, your solicitor needs to obtain paperwork and records that are privately held by you or others, including the people you are claiming against. Therefore, you need to give your solicitor official authority to obtain these records and to this end, you must sign forms of authority to provide your solicitor with the legal right to request and obtain these documents from the relevant people. Therefore, it is very common that CFA paperwork will contact 2-3 forms of authority. Typically, they are as follows:
- GP Form of Authority – this gives your solicitor the authority to contact your general practitioner to request your medical records relevant to any treatment you have had, or will have in respect of the injury that you are claiming for. It also gives your GP surgery the authority to release your documents to your solicitor. Your solicitor can request any records relevant to your treatment or any pre-existing injuries or treatments that may be relevant. The remainder of your medical records remain private and will not be disclosed.
- Hospital Form of Authority – much the same as your GP form of authority, this provides your solicitor, and the hospital that provided treatment to you, the authority to correspond with relevant treatment details. Both of these forms will enable you to prove that an injury has been sustained and that the injury is severe enough to warrant a claim and also form the basis for your solicitor to give you an estimate of a claim settlement valuation.
- Employer/Accident Book Form of Authority – this form gives your solicitor the authority to obtain any relevant details of a report of the accident. This could be by contacting your employer for a copy of an accident book entry report or any other reports or any establishment where the accident happened or to whom details of an accident have been reported and recorded. This authority enables your solicitor to obtain the documents that help you to prove that an accident has happened, how it happened and to prove that the 3rd party to whom you are addressing your claim are liable for the injuries you have sustained.
Without having your signed authority, your solicitor will be powerless to compel any persons or organisations to release these essential items to you. Remember, your solicitor will use evidence of your medical treatment to form a valuation of your claim, and need to obtain the accident book records relevant to the report of your accident, to hold the right people liable to pay your personal injury compensation settlement.
Whilst it can seem confusing and even a little bit overwhelming, you should have the confidence to pursue your claim. Direct2Compensation cannot guarantee that you will win your claim, but we can guarantee that you won’t pay a penny to anyone should your claim fail. We’re regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of regulated claims management activities and are well-respected for our excellent personal injury claims process. If you want to find out more, contact us or make a claim today and we’ll help you on your road to compensation.