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Personal Injury Law > Making a personal injury claim

Making a personal injury claim

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All personal injury claims involve the same basic steps, regardless of whether the amount to be claimed is in the thousands, or the millions. We've put this guide together to explain the steps involved in making a personal injury claim.

Quick Enquiry

If you would like any further information regarding personal injury law, please complete our short enquiry form below;

Information gathering


We will take your basic details and contact numbers including home, mobile phone and email address. We then ask you how the accident occurred and where you were so that we can establish a feel for whether or not you have a potential case. We will ask you if the accident was witnessed and / or reported and then establish the nature and extent of your injuries. If we believe that you have a case we can help with then we will agree to deal with your case on a ‘No Win No Fee‘ basis and we will send you our standard documents which we ask you to sign and return either through the post or online.


The Letter of Claim


This is the formal letter we send to the party we believe is responsible for your accident and resulting injuries. We explain how the accident has happened and why we believe that they are responsible for the accident. We request copies of relevant documents which we believe would be of help in proving their liability, e.g. safety reports, accident report books, copies of any CCTV footage etc. We outline your injuries and the medical experts we propose to instruct on your behalf together with the outline of any other losses we are to pursue in addition to injury compensation e.g. loss of earnings, loss of pension, damaged clothing or medical expenses. Finally we ask that a copy of this letter is sent to their insurance company so that they can deal with the matter.


The Protocol Period


This is a period of three months from the Letter of Claim during which time the relevant insurance company investigates both the accident and our allegations on your behalf. They need to make a decision within this three month period as to whether they are to do one of the following:


  • Accept no blame or fault at all.
  • Accept some blame but allege fault on your part. (This is known as Contributory Negligence)

If the insurance company admits liability on behalf of their client, whether or not contributory negligence is alleged, then we proceed to obtain medical and other evidence so that we can assess the value of your claim and ensure that you receive the appropriate level of compensation.


If liability is denied then we will look very carefully at this denial including documents produced to support their defence. We will discuss this with you at which point we will either tell you that we do not believe you have a case or we will tell you that wee believe that you will win despite their denial. We expect insurance companies to deny fault in at least fifty percent of cases. As trained lawyers we will decide whether or not to support your case and if we do support your case we would expect you to succeed, after all, if you don’t succeed then we are paid nothing. We eat what we kill.


Gathering evidence


This is the longest stage irrespective of whether liability is admitted or denied. At this stage we are instructing medical experts to examine you and to provide an opinion and prognosis on your injury. It may not be possible to do this until a later stage, depending on how serious your injuries are. The more serious the injury then the longer this stage will take. We need to be absolutely certain that we have medical evidence to support every aspect of your injuries both physical and mental, for example if you have a broken wrist we need to know if it will deteriorate, whether you are at risk of arthritis and if so what that percentage risk is. One medical expert may suggest that you are examined by a different kind of specialist or we may instruct several specialists to look at different aspects of your injuries. It is also at this stage that we will look at loss of earnings, future loss of earnings, pension rights etc etc etc.


If we are facing a denial of liability then at this stage we will also obtain detailed statements from witnesses etc.
 

Presentation of the evidence


Once we have all of the evidence in your case we will tell you what it is worth. We have access to the best injury barristers in the City of Liverpool and some of these are the best in the country. We may take a written opinion from a barrister of the value of your case. The evidence is presented to the insurer or their Solicitors and they are invited to make offers in settlement. Even if liability has been denied we must give the insurer or their Solicitors an opportunity to change their minds, and they often do.


Negotiate and settle or go to Court?


Relatively few cases actually go all of the way to a Judge to decide who is right and wrong. Most cases that go before Judges do so because the parties cannot agree on a compensation figure. Invariably the defendants will say that they are offering too much and our view is that they are not offering enough. At this ‘ negotiation stage’ we will very often agree a compensation figure, even when liability was originally denied.


If we cannot agree on the amount of compensation or if they continue to refuse to admit liability then the final stage is Court.


Court Proceedings


This is the final stage. We will have tried to settle your case but those we blame for the accident either refuse to settle at the appropriate level or simply refuse to accept responsibility despite our legal arguments, which will be supported by a barrister who will deal with the case in Court.


  • Issue Proccedings
  • Defence filed
  • Case allocated to small, fast or multi track (depending on value)
  • Directions issued (leading to a Trial date)
  • Trial.

If the proceedings have been issued because we could not agree on the settlement value then the matter is quickly listed for a Disposal Hearing when a Judge will decide how much the case is worth. We would expect the case to be listed within a few months or less. If liability has been denied we would expect a Trial Date at around about twelve months from the date we issued the legal proceedings.


Conclusion


So, how long does it all take? Hopefully the above general timetable will give you an idea of why its hard, if not impossible, to give an accurate time estimate.


  • A modest injury (e.g. sprained ankle) in which liability is admitted would probably conclude within 6 – 9 months.
  • A more serious injury (e.g. with scarring) might take 18 – 24 months.
  • A very serious injury (e.g. loss of a limb or head injury) might take many years.

If liability is denied then we can generally add 12 months to the above estimates.


Start your compensation claim today


For expert legal advice from solicitors who know the compensation claims process inside out, contact Canter Levin & Berg on 0151 239 1180. Our specialist solicitors are ready to help you to claim the compensation you are entitled to.

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