We understand that accidents happen and when they do, you will need the best possible advice as quickly as possible to help you cope with the ordeal. It is important to us that you do not have to worry about coping financially during what can be a very stressful time. We can help you to make a claim for compensation and, where appropriate, obtain an early payment (known as an interim payment) from the other side. Rest assured, we will support you every step of the way.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is a legal case that you can make if you have been injured through the fault of another individual (such as in a road traffic collision), or by a company (for example a work accident). You can rely on the common law of negligence or in certain circumstances laws introduced by Government, commonly known as statute. If the claim is successful you will be awarded what are known as damages; a monetary payment to compensate you for your injuries.
What do Personal Injury Solicitors Do?
The aim of a Personal Injury Solicitor is threefold. The first is to try and help your recovery by securing funds for early rehabilitation. Time and again it has been shown that targeted physical therapy delivered at an early stage will assist in your recovery.
The second aim is to recover a fair amount of compensation for you from the insurance company (who represents the Defendant), as quickly as possible. Your solicitors will do this by obtaining evidence from expert witnesses and, if necessary, arguing your case in Court.
Finally, the law firm you instruct will provide support and guidance to you through what is likely to be a difficult period of your life. At Coole Bevis LLP, we work alongside you and your family, to ensure you attain the best possible resolution, both in terms of your rehabilitation and also compensation.
Can I use a Personal Injury Solicitor?
If your injury is sufficiently serious and the evidence suggests that someone is at fault, a specialist Personal Injury lawyer will be able to assist you. The law in this area can be complex and it can be difficult not only to establish fault, but also to know how much a claim is worth without specialist advice. If you have been injured in an accident then we would always recommend you contacting an experienced solicitor.
How do I know if My Case Will be Taken by a Personal Injury Solicitor
At Coole Bevis LLP we offer a free no obligation initial meeting to discuss your case. This can be at our offices, in hospital, or even at your home, wherever is appropriate, and helps us to determine whether or you not it would be possible for a personal injury lawyer to assist you. We believe in honesty and acting with high ethical principles. If we do not think you have a claim we will tell you at that interview and give you full reasons as to why. You will of course have the right to obtain a second opinion. Likewise if you do not want to continue after we have met, then that is fine; there will be no hard sell from us or fee to pay.
What Can a Personal Injury Solicitor Help With?
A personal Injury solicitor can help you to claim compensation for your injury and losses. The following are examples of where we can help:
Serious Injury Claims (including traumatic brain and spinal injuries)
We act for clients with serious and life-changing injuries. These include traumatic brain and spinal injuries as well as those suffering from amputations. We also advise those who have suffered serious sports injuries which can have devastating consequences.
The most serious injuries occur often as a result of a road traffic accident or an accident at work but can occur in any situation. We have acted for clients who have sustained very serious injuries through no fault of their own purely because they have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
They have had to instruct solicitors to bring a private lawsuit against the Defendant in order to recover compensation for the very serious injuries that have changed their life forever.
It is vital when dealing with a serious injury that your solicitor is able to work collaboratively with the Defendant in order to put together a rehabilitation package for your aftercare and recovery. Otherwise, when you are discharged from the hospital you will be relying on family help and assistance from the state. At Coole Bevis LLP we sign up to the Rehabilitation Code and the Serious Injury Guide which puts injured people at the center of the claim by meeting their needs at the outset.
We have also helped Silverlining Brain Injury Charity to set up and now run their users group in Sussex. This is an opportunity for those affected by brain injuries to discover a sense of purpose and social structure to their lives. More details regarding these groups can be found here:
Road Traffic Accidents (including pedestrian, motorcyclist, pedal cyclist and passenger accidents)
Accidents on the road are all too common. They contribute significantly to the main causes of death, especially in the younger population. They can involve cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians, as well as passengers or drivers. Thankfully most road traffic collisions are minor, but many claims involve severe and life threatening injuries often involving a traumatic brain injury.
If your accident involved someone who was insured the claim will be met by their insurers. If your accident was caused by an uninsured motorist then a claim can be made against the Motor Insurers Bureau.
Similarly if the negligent driver is never traced then you are still entitled to make a claim so long as you have reported it to the police. Again such a claim is dealt with by the Motor Insurers Bureau.
Accidents at Work (including back, head and manual handling injuries)
Government information shows that there were 0.6 million injuries to workers in 2016/17. Whether your place of work is in a hospital, in a business, a construction site or a charitable organisation, there is a risk that you can get injured there. If the worst does happen then you maybe entitled to receive compensation. You employer is under a number of duties to ensure that you are safe when you come to work. This includes working in an office just as much as in a factory using potentially dangerous machinery. Whilst some accidents are unavoidable, employers are required to put measures into place that reduce the risk of accidents that result in personal injury.
In practice this means that they need to make sure you are properly trained, provide you with suitable work equipment, undertake risk assessments and provide safe working systems. They may even be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive and/or the police in the criminal courts. There may also be enquiries made by the Air Accident Investigation Unit.
There are numerous accidents that can take place in the course of one’s employment. In an office you may trip up over boxes left by a colleague in a walkway, if you work on a construction site you may fall from faulty scaffolding, if you work in a factory you may injure your back while lifting heavy objects. You may believe that you are self-employed in that you are responsible for paying your tax and national insurance, but if someone controls the way you are working, eg if you are an electrician contracted to a company on a large construction site, then you may still claim. This is an often argued point and there has been a lot of comment about this in the news recently.
If you have an accident at work, then we would strongly recommend you contact a specialist personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. There are strict time limits in making claims and it is good practice to claim as soon as possible. You should not worry about making a claim against your employer. Most employers understand that they get things wrong sometimes and they will have insurance to cover your claim. It will be the insurance company and not your employer who deal with the claim. It is important to know that they are not allowed to discriminate against you because of the claim.
Accidents in Public Places (including claims against the council and slips, trips and falls)
- Accidents can happen in public places such as in shops, or in shopping precincts, in public parks or green spaces, on a private road or anywhere where the public are allowed access.
- Here at Coole Bevis LLP, our Personal Injury lawyers can help recover damages for you. Such claims can be against Government bodies, social institutions or businesses.
- There is a lot of Government information available from the Department of Work and Pensions in relation to the types of personal injury accident claims being pursued by Claimants in the UK.
Industrial Diseases (Including Hearing Loss And Respiratory Problems)
If you have suffered from a work related illness, we can assist you in making a claim. These typically affect those who have worked in heavy industry and can include noise induced hearing loss, occupational asthma, repetitive strain injuries, and chemical poisoning causing dermatitis. Claiming against an employer may seem daunting but we will be there to support you right to the conclusion of your claim. If your old employer is no longer in business we can often locate their insurance to allow the claim to proceed so you should still seek expert legal advice.
Asbestos is a building material used extensively in the UK from the 1950s to the 1990s. It describes a group of fibrous minerals known for their thermal resistance, strength and sound insulation. Four types have been used commercially: blue asbestos, brown asbestos, tremolite and white asbestos. The most prevalent in its use in this country is white asbestos. There are a number of conditions that are known to be caused by the inhalation of asbestos dust. The most common of these are mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening. Exposure can also cause small areas of thickening of the pleura called pleural plaques. Whilst these plaques are good evidence of significant asbestos exposure, they on their own do not cause any symptoms and therefore a claim cannot be made for these.
People suffering from an asbestos related disease will potentially be entitled to some form of benefits. Everyone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma is entitled to a one off payment from one of two Government schemes depending on whether you were exposed during their employment. We recommend that you take advice on this as there is a 12 month time period from the date of being awarded Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and benefit application forms can be tricky to complete. We can help you with these forms and we advise that you make such an application as soon as possible. Other potential benefits include Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Attendance Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, SSP and Personal Independence Payment.
Here at Coole Bevis LLP we strongly believe in achieving justice for our clients who through no fault of their own are affected by the careless attitude of others towards their safety.
How to Start a Personal Injury Claim
Once we have accepted your case we will approach the Defendant explaining why we think they were at fault for the accident. They are then allowed a period of 3 to 4 months to investigate the accident and make a decision on whether they are admitting liability or not. If liability is admitted we will then move on to valuing your claim by obtaining some medical evidence from an expert in the relevant field. So for example if you are suffering from breathing problems, we would instruct a chest physician. We would also prepare a list of any out of pocket expenses you have in order to recoup these. Once that is completed we would negotiate a settlement with the Defendant keeping you updated every step of the way. If liability is denied we will start to obtain the evidence required to prove your claim at Court. This is likely to take the form of witness evidence from those who either witnessed your accident or can provide other helpful information. Do not worry, we will do all the necessary work taking the strain off you as you recover from your injuries. Ultimately if the matter does not settle through negotiations we will put your claim in front of the Court to make a decision.
How long does a Personal Injury Claim Take?
We want to provide an excellent service to our clients whether their claim is worth £10,000 or £10,000,000. But every case is different and the more complex the case the longer it will go on for. So for example, if you have suffered complicated bone fractures this will likely mean that your claim takes longer than if you have suffered a simple soft tissue injury. This is because the expert will want to be satisfied that he or she is in the position where they can provide a clear prognosis. The time taken will also depend on whether the insurance company admit or deny liability. Generally speaking if liability is admitted early and the injuries are such that you are advised you will make a full recovery within a short time the claim should take around 12 months. If liability is not admitted and the injuries are complex it could take many years.
It is likely that in the more serious cases where treatment is lengthy the claim can take several years to reach conclusion.
How long after my injury can I claim compensation?
The only time limit in making a claim is that you have 3 years from the date of your accident to either settle your claim or bring it before the Courts. It is really important therefore that you take advice as soon as possible after your accident. This is important for another reason though. Over time memories fade and if you are relying on a witness they may have forgotten all about your accident. The earlier you take specialist advice the better.
What is the cost of hiring a personal injury Solicitor?
This really depends on what method of funding is used in your claim. Many people have the benefit of an existing insurance policy (known as Before the Event Insurance) that pays their Solicitor's costs. It is really important that at the outset of any claim you carry out a search for any existing policies such as home insurance to see if you have the benefit of this.
If you do then we can act under this policy and you receive 100% of your compensation. If you do not have such a policy, then as long as we feel that your claim has prospects of success we will likely act for you under what is known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as a no win-no fee agreement). If the claim is not successful we agree not to charge you for the work we have undertaken. Furthermore since April 2013 if you lose the claim then you will not be liable to pay the Defendant’s costs. You can also take out an insurance policy that will cover you for any Defendant's costs should the claim fail giving you further peace of mind.
However your case is funded, if successful you will recover your reasonable costs in addition to your compensation. We will of course discuss funding with you fully at the outset of any claim and what is the most appropriate method for your particular claim.
How Much Compensation am I likely to receive?
In a personal injury claim the practice of law is to compensate the injured party for their injuries and financial losses resulting from the accident. Such a claim for damages for personal injury under civil law is divided into two parts.
If successful you will be awarded a lump sum for your pain and suffering. This is what lawyers call "general damages". The more serious the injury, the higher award. On top of this you are entitled to claim any out of pocket expenses you have incurred because of the accident. This may include loss of earnings, medical expenses or for the care that a loved one has given to you.
Because every case is different it is impossible to say how much you will get. Rest assured though that at Coole Bevis LLP we will do everything we can to ensure you receive the right amount of compensation for your injury.