For more than 30 years, our personal injury claims solicitors have been recovering compensation for the people and families who need it most. In fact, our specialists have built up a combined 60 years’ worth of personal injury claims experience. This provides us with the skills and knowledge to take on the most complex personal injury claims with confidence. Whether you had an accident at work or in a public place, or whether you were involved in a road accident as a motorist, motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian, we can help you with your claim for compensation for your injuries and any financial losses or expenses you experience now and in the future. Below you can find everything you need to know about personal injury claims but if you wish to speak with us right away to find out more about making a claim , you can contact us by telephone 0800 124 4845 or get in touch using our online form today. What does “personal injury” actually mean? How to make a personal injury claim? What compensation can I claim for serious injury? What are the time limits for making a personal injury claim? How long do personal injury claims take? How are personal injury claims funded? If I make a claim for compensation, will I need to go to court? What is an interim payment? – How can I fund my claim? How many personal injury claims go court? How to prove a personal injury claim? How are personal injury claims calculated? Is your personal injury claim taxable? How long does a personal injury claim take to settle? Can you help me access rehabilitation and medical care? Our personal injury services and expertise What does “personal injury” actually mean? The definition of personal injury is quite a broad one. It can cover everything from brain injuries sustained in a road traffic accident to spinal injuries caused by an accident at work. But you can make a claim for an injury to any part of your body – no matter how severe it is. You could even claim for an illness either caused or made worse by someone else’s actions or inactions. If you believe that you have a claim, it is essential that you seek the right support and guidance. Our personal injury claims solicitors have extensive experience that reflects the diverse range of injuries and illnesses that you can claim for. Our legal experts will help ensure you have the best possible case – one that clearly establishes who was at fault and why you deserve compensation. How to make a personal injury claim? Making a personal injury claim will help ease yours and your family’s financial burden which is especially important in cases involving serious or life changing injuries such a brain or spinal injury, loss of limb or severe orthopaedic injury, where long term care and assistance, ongoing therapy and treatment, aids and equipment or adapted vehicle and housing may be required. We will take a statement from you and any witnesses regarding the circumstances of your accident and gather evidence such as police reports, health and safety reports and accident reports at work or in a public place. If necessary, we will obtain expert evidence relating to your accident such as engineering evidence. This will help us to advise you whether you have a claim against your opponent, and if so, we will gather your medical records and instruct appropriate medical experts to advise on how your injuries were caused and the nature and extent of your injuries. We will gather details of your financial losses from you and advise you on the value of your claim. We may discuss the possibility of trying to settle your claim by way of negotiation. The majority of cases are settled by negotiation. Very few ever get to trial. Where we do end up going to Court, each step of the process will be fully explained to you beforehand and we will continue to support and advise you throughout. What compensation can I claim for serious injury? The amount of compensation that an injured person receives in a personal injury claim depends on a number of individual factors: the severity of the injury; the extent of any permanent disability caused by the injury; the impact that the injury has on their ability to live independently, study, work, or participate in leisure activities; additional needs arising from their injury, such as care, specialist equipment or an adapted home; their life circumstances before the accident; their predicted lifespan; litigation risk factors, such as contributory negligence. Depending on the client’s injury and the way it affects their life, their claim may include compensation for: pain, suffering and disability; rehabilitation: funded directly by the defendant’s insurer; funded from interim payments; future rehabilitation costs funded from final settlement; costs of care; case management; costs of medical or surgical treatment; therapies: occupational therapy (OT); physiotherapy; speech and language therapy (SALT); psychological counselling; pain management; loss of earnings and pension; additional costs of adapted accommodation; assistive technology (IT); prosthetics (after amputation); specialist equipment and aids; extra costs of transport or adapted vehicles; special educational needs (SEN); Court of Protection deputyship; funeral costs (fatal cases); bereavement damages (fatal cases); loss of dependency on the deceased’s income or services (fatal cases). Compensation is carefully structured to make the best provision for the injured person’s needs. There are rules protecting compensation for children or adults who lack mental capacity. Compensation may be paid in one or more of the following ways: Rehabilitation Code funding – paid directly by the defendant’s insurer to pay for the injured person’s rehabilitation; interim (advance) payment whilst the claim is ongoing; a lump sum settlement; a periodical payments order (PPO) providing lifelong, annual, tax free, index-linked payments for essential costs, such as care and case management, or Court of Protection fees. What are the time limits for making a personal injury claim? For compensation claims relating to injuries which occurred in England or Wales the general rule is that court proceedings must be issued (formally started) within three years of the date of the injury. In most cases, before a claim can be issued work must be carried out to investigate the claim, notify the defendant and the insurance company against whom the claim is being made and obtain a medical report to support the claim. The sooner you contact us after an injury has occurred, the sooner we can begin to help you, and the better we can investigate and prepare your claim. Longer time limits apply to children, whose three-year time period only begins to run from the age of 18, meaning that their time limit expires when they reach the age of 21. As with adults, however, the sooner you contact us after your child’s serious injury, the sooner we can start helping the child and obtain financial help via the claim. Time limits do not apply for those who lack mental capacity. Where an injured person’s mental capacity is uncertain, we work closely with our Court of Protection team to determine whether our client has capacity to bring their own claim. As with other claims, it is always advisable to contact us as soon as possible after the injury, to ensure that evidence can be preserved, rehabilitation started (where needed) and financial help secured via the claim. In exceptional circumstances the court may extend the time limit (or limitation deadline), such as in asbestos-related disease claims where it was not known that an injury had occurred until after the deadline for making the claim. If the injury occurred in an accident abroad [link to the new accidents abroad page when Kim has approved it], the law of the country where the accident happened will determine the time limit for making a claim. These time limits vary from country to country and can be much shorter than the deadlines in England and Wales. If you have suffered a serious injury that was not your fault whilst working, travelling, studying or on holiday abroad, you should contact us for advice straight away. How long do personal injury claims take? The duration of a serious injury claim depends on the individual circumstances of the client’s case. Claims take less time to conclude if: liability is admitted by the defendant or their insurer; the injured person’s injuries have stabilised and their prognosis (long-term outcome) is clear; the injured person’s needs, the costs of meeting those needs and their other financial losses can easily be assessed; Claims are more complex and may take longer to resolve where: the defendant or their insurer disputes that they were negligent or responsible for causing the client’s injury; an injured child’s disability and associated needs are expected to change as they grow and develop over time; the injured person has suffered catastrophic injury, such as severe brain injury, or major trauma and needs rehabilitation; multiple experts in different disciplines are needed to assess complex injuries and the likely long-term outcome. Our personal injury specialists have helped hundreds of individuals and families whose lives have been devastated by accidents on the roads, at work, abroad or elsewhere. We understand the impact that a sudden, severe injury and its financial consequences can have on an individual and their family. We work hard to secure cooperation with defendant insurers, to provide immediate needs assessments and timely funded rehabilitation for our clients to maximise their recovery in the all-important period immediately following an injury. Wherever possible we also secure interim payments to ease our clients’ financial hardship long before their claims have concluded. By taking the time that is needed for the client’s rehabilitation and the careful assessment of their long-term needs, we can be confident that each client receives the full support and the compensation they deserve. How are personal injury claims funded? It costs nothing to talk to us to find out about making a claim. Our initial advice is free. When you first contact us we advise you whether we can help you make a claim. We discuss how your claim will be funded, and advise, fully and clearly, how that works and what it will mean for you. We offer a range of funding options, but the majority of our clients’ claims are handled on a conditional fee agreement (CFA) basis, often known as ‘no win no fee’. This means that there is nothing to pay at the outset or until the claim is settled and you receive compensation. If you win your claim, the defendant’s insurer makes a contribution towards your legal costs. You pay nothing if your claim does not succeed. If I make a claim for compensation, will I need to go to court? The vast majority of our clients’ serious injury claims are settled without the need for a court hearing (trial). Our clients very rarely need to go to court. Our personal injury specialists are highly experienced in investigating and assessing the strength of each client’s case. From the outset, and throughout the claim, we advise our clients clearly and honestly about their prospects of success. Court proceedings are issued (started) in many cases but this does not mean that the case will end in a trial. There are many reasons why court proceedings might be issued: to protect our client’s right to claim compensation if their limitation deadline (time limit for making a claim) is approaching; to force the defendant (and their insurers) to take the claim seriously; to push the defendant to admit liability (fault); to push the defendant (and their insurers) to make an interim payment to our client; so that we can obtain a court judgment, guaranteeing our client’s right to compensation, if liability has been admitted; to encourage the defendant to enter into settlement negotiations; to avoid unnecessary delay by setting a timetable, which is overseen by the court, for the steps that must be taken to bring the case to a conclusion. We work hard to prove each client’s claim, based on evidence of the circumstances of their accident and the impact of their injury. We encourage cooperation with the defendant’s insurers and negotiate the best possible settlements for our clients. On the rare occasions when a claim cannot be settled without a court hearing, this will be because: there are serious, insurmountable challenges with the evidence, or disagreements between experts in a case, which need to be decided upon by a trial judge; the defendant’s insurers are using the case to test the court’s approach to a point of law. In the following circumstances, the law requires a judge to approve an out-of-court settlement, for the protection of those involved: where at least one of the injured claimants is a child under the age of 18; where the claimant does not have mental capacity to manage their own affairs; where at least one of the claimants in a fatal accident claim is a child or lacks mental capacity. In these cases, the approval hearing will be a short hearing at which the lawyers for both parties explain the circumstances of the case and the settlement terms to the judge. In most cases our client will be expected to be in court during the hearing, accompanied and fully supported by members of our legal team. What is an interim payment? An interim payment is a part-payment of compensation which is paid to the injured person, in advance, whilst the claim is ongoing. We can usually secure an interim payment from the defendant’s insurer where they have admitted liability (accepted fault) for our client’s injury. We use interim payments to help the injured person and their family, who may be suffering financial hardship as a result of the injury. Where insurers are not willing to provide Rehabilitation Code funding, we sometimes obtain interim payments to ensure that our client receives the rehabilitation, case management and therapies that they need straight away. Interim payments may be used to meet any genuine need, but it is important that the injured person and their family understand that the sums that they have already received as interim payments are deducted from their final compensation at the end of the claim. Depending on the client’s injury, an interim payment may help meet their needs for: case management; rehabilitation; personal care and assistance; physiotherapy; occupational therapy; speech and language therapy; psychological counselling; adapted accommodation; wheelchairs; transport; prostheses (after amputation); assistive technology and other specialist equipment; trials of supported independent living. By understanding and targeting provision for our clients’ rehabilitation and other essential needs early in the claims process, we help restore our clients’ mobility, independence and ability to participate fully in family and social life, long before the claim has concluded. How many personal injury claims go court? It is rare for a personal injury claim to go to court. In most cases, an out-of-court settlement is reached well in advance of this happening. If the other side refuses to accept blame for your injuries or illness, however, we will start court proceedings. Even if this happens, we continue to do everything we can to avoid a court hearing. In the unlikely event your claim does go to court, all our personal injury solicitors have the skills and expertise to achieve a positive outcome – while continuing to support you for the duration. How to prove a personal injury claim? In order to prove that someone else is to blame for your injuries or illness, there are four main points to consider for compensation to be paid: Duty: Were you owed a legal duty of care by the other party at the time of the accident? Breach: Did the other party breach that duty of care through their actions (or inactions)? Causation: Is the other party’s actions (or inactions) responsible for your injuries/illness? Damages: Can it be proved that you are physically or psychologically injured as a result? How are personal injury claims calculated? All claims are unique. Our personal injury solicitors know that injuries or illness can affect people in different ways. It is why the amount of compensation you could receive will differ from case to case. Each individual award is designed to reflect your specific circumstances and needs. General damages This is the amount that you could be awarded for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries. The Judicial College sets out guidelines for the range of general damages that can be paid based on the part(s) of the body affected and the severity of the injury. Special damages This is where your personal injury solicitor will factor in the other considerations that are unique to your claim. This can include: Lost earnings from not being able to work Medical care, treatment or travel expenses Ongoing care / rehabilitation requirements Modifications to your home or your vehicle Is your personal injury claim taxable? No. The law states that you will not have to pay tax on any compensation you receive for your personal injury claim. Tax may be owed on any interest that is added to your compensation amount, but this will be deducted before it is paid to you – so you do not have to worry about this either. How long does a personal injury claim take to settle? As you can no doubt understand, there is no set rule to how long your claim will take. There are so many factors involved that we cannot make any promises at the start of the process. But you can be sure that your personal injury solicitor will keep you informed of progress at every stage. Some of the most serious personal injury claims can take longer to settle as these are often the most complex cases – particularly if it can take time to get the expert medical opinion needed. In some cases where fault is accepted and the evidence is clear, it is possible for a claim to be settled in a matter of weeks. But it is reasonable to expect that a claim will take a few months. Our personal injury solicitors will do all they can to make the process as short as possible. Can you help me access rehabilitation and medical care? In the majority of our serious injury claims we are able to obtain funding for our client’s rehabilitation from the defendant’s insurer. We aim to secure rehab funding as soon as possible after the injury to avoid any delay or gaps in our client’s treatment between NHS acute care and rehab. Where possible, we work collaboratively with the insurer under The Rehabilitation Code 2015 to ensure our client’s needs are met, whilst acting in our client’s best interests, and supporting their family, at all times. The Rehabilitation Code encourages injury claims lawyers and defendant insurers to prioritise the injured person’s rehab in any compensation claim. If an insurer unreasonably refuses or delays responding to our request for rehabilitation funding, we escalate our request to someone with higher authority within the insurance company, following The Serious Injury Guide. This ensures that our request for rehab funding is considered quickly by someone within the insurance company who has authority to take action. In most cases where the defendant’s liability for our client’s injury is clear, we are able to get our client’s needs assessed and their rehab underway with Rehabilitation Code insurer funding. Occasionally, if full liability for our client’s injury is strongly disputed by the defendant, the insurer may refuse to provide Rehabilitation Code funding but agree to make an interim payment. An interim payment is a part payment of compensation paid to the claimant in advance. The client can use their interim payment to pay for their rehabilitation. Our personal injury services and expertise Our service to our clients includes: Free, confidential advice from experienced, specialist solicitors; No win no fee conditional fee agreements (CFA); Expert handling of every claim - our lawyers have: over 30 years of experience, industry knowledge and serious injury claims expertise; top-tier ranking by the Legal 500 and Chambers Directory; accreditation/membership of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel, APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers), Headway, SIA (Spinal Injuries Association), Major Trauma Group, Cycle Smart; expertise in the most severe and complex injuries; a commitment to help our clients achieve their best recovery through funded rehabilitation; an outstanding track record of successful settlements for clients in difficult/complex cases; Interim (advance) payments in appropriate cases, to start making a difference straight away; High value settlements which meet our clients’ lifelong needs; Ongoing support with: managing, protecting and accessing compensation funds from our experts in: Court of Protection deputyship; personal injury trusts/special needs trusts; special educational needs (SEN). We are committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for our severely injured clients even in the most complex or challenging cases. This enables us to help people whose claims need specialist handling because: they have suffered injuries of maximum severity resulting in lifelong disability; their injuries are complex or compounded by psychological injury, chronic pain or neurological disability; our client needs extensive multi-disciplinary treatment or rehabilitation; the circumstances of the accident or nature of the injury are highly sensitive, needing careful handling; multiple members of the same family or friendship group were involved or injured in the accident; establishing liability for the accident is complicated by circumstances or lack of witness evidence; more than one person/organisation’s negligence caused the accident - multiple defendants to the claim; someone else caused the accident but our client’s own actions could be regarded as contributory negligence.