Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Legal Aid available for Personal Injury Claims?
Unfortunately Legal Aid has been withdrawn for all but criminal injuries and the most complex and unusual personal injury claims. However there are still a number of ways in which the legal costs of a personal injury claim can be funded including :-
(i) Legal Expenses Insurance (often included in your house and contents policy as well as a motor insurance policy).
(ii) Support from a Trade Union or other professional organisation.
(iii) From your own funds
(iv) A No Win, No Fee Agreement.
In each case we can assess what is best for you.
2. Why do i need a solicitor?
If you have been injured in an accident getting the right compensation is important. Look out for a specialist solicitor who is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. Remember you only have one go at an injury claim. It is important to get it right.
3. How long do I have to make my claim and how long do they take?
In the UK claims must be pursued and Court Proceedings issued if necessary within 3 years of the date of your accident (longer if the accident happened whilst you were under 18). If you were injured in a crime you have 2 years to make a claim and if your accident took place on a plane or on a boat then you have only 2 years. If your accident was outside the UK these time limits vary from 1 year in Spain to 10 years in other countries.
It usually takes about 1 year to process an injury claim. Some complex cases can take a lot longer particularly where the injured person has ongoing medical problems.
4. What happens if I am out of time?
The 3 year time limit is very strict but there are exceptions. You will need an experienced solicitor to explore with you whether one of the exceptions applies in your case.
5. Do I need witnesses?
Often the cause of an accident is disputed. Your version of events may not be accepted by the Judge, even if you are an honest person who always tells the truth, sometimes it is not clear exactly where responsibility for an accident lies and in other cases people can deliberately set out to deceive the Court to avoid having to pay compensation. Your case can be strengthened by producing evidence. Sometimes that evidence is in the form of written statements from witnesses. In other cases there may be photographic evidence or even evidence from experts.
6. How much compensation will I get?
This will depend on :-
(i) The severity of your injuries.
(ii) Losses and expenses you have necessarily incurred as a result of the accident or will incur in the future.
(iii) Whether you were partly to blame for the accident, in which case a percentage reduction in your compensation will be made depending on the extent to which you are held to have contributed.
(iii) From your own funds.