Making a serious injury claim can be daunting. You could be doing it for yourself or on behalf of a loved one. You also may be unsure of what to do or expect. Making a claim is a process you may already have heard others talk about.
Why people don’t claim?
We understand that you may have many questions relating to how hard a claim is to make, or whether it could have adverse effects on you or your loved one. Here we aim to answer all your questions and quell any doubts you may have holding you back from starting a claim.
Does making a claim cost a lot of money?
In 1995 England and Wales abolished legal aid for personal injury claims. Since then, it has become the industry standard that solicitors operate on a “No Win No Fee” model in which without a successful claim; you would never need to pay anything.
The norm now is that solicitor fees come out of the final payout as a percentage which is all pre-calculated. In effect you would never be billed from solicitors as they take their fee from the compensation and give you what you are entitled to directly.
Is it a lot of hassle?
Understandably you may believe that a claims process is a drawn out, difficult one involving you to speak to many people, do stacks of paperwork and put in much more work than the time and effort is worth in compensation. This is a definite untruth as your solicitor essentially works as your representative in the claim.
A solicitor will deal with all organisation of a claim from start to finish, sending you any relevant paperwork to sign and taking care of any correspondence with third parties, keeping you updated as they go. Apart from signing your name on documents you are sent and participating in a medical to back up your claim, it is highly unlikely you will be needed any further from beginning to end of your claim.
I know who is responsible, should I still claim?
Circumstances can be testing if you know the person involved in the incident, whether it be a friend, colleague or even employer. What must be stressed during any serious injury claim is that almost every case is brought against a person’s insurer rather than the individual themselves.
Should you make a successful claim, you are more than likely to receive payment directly from the guilty party’s insurer as that’s why they’re there, to alleviate the risk of paying out if they were ever to be at fault for somebody else’s injuries.
Do I have to go to court?
Going to court can of course be a scary prospect and is a common fear. However, the vast majority of claims never actually reach court and are settled before any proceedings are required. The only time court is required is usually when liability is denied or the cost of damages is disputed by the defending party.
Of the few that do go to court, we always give plenty of advice on what to do to keep minds at ease. If you are required in court, it is a minimal role you play as a barrister will argue your case for you, with you in attendance to simply answer questions.
I was injured at work. Will I lose my job if I claim?
If you have suffered as a result of an employer’s negligence, it may seem as though you are risking your job and/or career by bringing forth a claim. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As stated before, when making a claim, you claim against an offending party’s insurance rather than themselves, and your workplace will have liability insurance to cover any instances such as a serious injury.
If an employer was to take action after making a claim and dismiss you, or made work life uncomfortable following a claim in any way, you would be liable to make a claim for unfair dismissal. You are well protected and your injury shouldn’t discourage you from claiming from an employer.
Won’t I be part of the ‘compo culture’?
Compensation culture or ‘compo culture’ has received a large backlash from not only the media but from UK citizens in the past couple of years. And rightly so! *if* the claims are as often suggested, false. We cannot control when a claimant tells mistruths or attempts to gain compensation for something that hasn’t injured them, but then that is what compo culture is. What compo culture isn’t however, is getting justice!
Making a legitimate claim after being injured at the hands of somebody else’s negligence is justice. You have been injured and are suffering as a result. As such you are more than entitled to offset the damage in whatever way required. Making a claim can often be the difference in serious injury claims between being comfortable with any life changes or time off following injury, and struggling financially. Not claiming allows you to suffer for somebody else’s negligence without gaining any measure of justice, and that isn’t logical!