The Claims Process
1. Who is responsible for your accident?
Firstly, we need to ensure that the person or organisation that caused your injury is, according to the law, found responsible for what has happened. In legal terms, this is known as ‘liability’ for your accident.
The duty is upon us to prove, by various means, that your opponent was responsible for your accident.
Court rules known as the “Civil Procedure Rules" govern the way in which an accident or injury claim is pursued. It is designed to help resolve claims of this kind as quickly and fairly as possible, without the need for Court proceedings.
Under these Rules, details of the claim must be given to your Opponent to enable them to investigate the claim properly and make a prompt decision on how to deal with it.
(1) We will send a formal letter of claim to your Opponent which:
(a) gives as summary of the factual background and the reasons why the person or organisation is blamed for what happened.
(b) summarises your injuries, losses and expenses; and
(c) confirms that compensation is sought.
The rules requires the Opponent to acknowledge receipt of the letter of claim within 21 days of them receiving it.
(2) If the claim is not acknowledged we will let you know what action needs to be taken.
(3) Assuming that your Opponent does comply with the Rules, we will enter into discussions with a view to resolving, or at least narrowing, the issue of responsibility for the accident. Your Opponent’s insurers are expected, within 3 months from the time they acknowledge the claim, to make a decision on whether or not they accept responsibility for the accident.
If responsibility for the accident is admitted, this will allow us to enter into negotiations towards settlement of your claim.
If responsibility for the accident is not admitted, we will ask for detailed reasons why and any documentation in support of those reasons.
(4) In cases where responsibility for the accident is not admitted, we will write to any witnesses who can assist with providing evidence as to the accident circumstances.
(5) If your accident was a road traffic accident, and if the Police attended, we will ask them for a copy of their report which will provide most of the background information we will need, including details of witnesses. In claims involving your employer, we will request the report from the Health and Safety Executive. These reports will be useful should responsibility not be admitted.
(6) If responsibility is not admitted, it may be necessary to obtain a report from a suitable specialist or expert to help explain exactly how the accident occurred, and who was to blame, as that may help to support your case.
Our aim is to try to establish that your Opponent is entirely responsible for the accident as soon as possible. It may be however, that these enquiries will suggest that they were only partly responsible for the accident. Sometimes evidence gathered may suggest that your actions contributed to the accident, and therefore your injuries. In this event, any compensation payable could be reduced. For example, if your Opponent was 50% responsible for the accident, you would receive 50% of your compensation.
2. Compensation for the accident
We will examine the effect of the accident on you, which will determine the amount of compensation payable to you (assuming that liability is established).
Compensation is divided into two types.
(1) Compensation for Injuries
These are claims that include compensation for your pain and suffering, but also any inconvenience caused and the general interruption of the various aspects of your life. This part of the claim is usually established by medical reports and your witness statement.
This will then allow us to calculate how much compensation you are likely to be awarded by the Court or by way of negotiations with the insurers.
(2) Compensation for Financial losses
These are claims for financial losses that can be quantified precisely. We will send you a questionnaire so that you can advise us of the losses which you have incurred. These usually include lost earnings, insurance policy excess, cost of medication or treatment fees.
The claim for financial losses may also include those which may arise in the future, for example future lost earnings or treatment fees, care or pension loss.
If you have been working and are currently out of work, you may be entitled to benefits as a means of supporting yourself until you are fit enough to return to work. Please contact your local Job Centre or Benefits office for details on how to claim or speak to us for advice.
3. Settlement of your claim
We will disclose to your opponents insurance company any medical reports we wish to rely upon, and also a list of your financial losses so that they can assess what you are claiming compensation for.
Once this information is available, we should also be able to advise you in broad terms as to the likely level of compensation you are to receive so that if offers of compensation are made, you will be in a position to judge these.
4. Court Proceedings
Most cases are settled without the need to ask a Court to make a decision about your case. This generally only happens if responsibility for your accident is disputed, or if responsibility has been accepted but negotiations to settle your claim have broken down. In these circumstances will advise you as to whether it is appropriate to commence Court proceedings so that a Judge can decide on these issues.
On most, but not all occasions, you would be required to attend a hearing to give evidence as to the accident circumstances, the injuries you sustained and details of your financial losses. We try to have cases fast-tracked and it usually takes up to 6 months from commencing court proceedings to the final hearing taking place before a Judge.
Only a very small number of cases ever go to Court, although we can never rule out the possibility.
What can I claim for?
Compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering
You can claim compensation for your injuries, for the pain and suffering you have had to endure following the accident and any effect on your social life - hobbies etc.
You may be able to claim additional compensation if the accident is likely to have a long term effect on your life, including any effect on your long term employment or career prospects.
Reimbursement of financial losses
You can receive reimbursement for the majority of financial losses you have incurred as a result of the accident, including:-
• Lost earnings
• Telephone and postage costs
• Medical Expenses
• Travel expenses
• Treatment Costs including physiotherapy, chiropractic, plastic surgery and other types of surgery
• Compensation for your family and friends for any care and assistance they provide you due to your injuries whilst you are recuperating
• Repairs to your vehicle or the Written-off value of your vehicle
• Car Hire
• Recovery and Storage Charges
• Insurance Policy Excess
• Damaged property in your vehicle
• Compensation for you not having access to your vehicle
Future financial losses
It may be the case that your injury will have a long term effect on your employment, your career or health. Aegis Legal can assist you in recovering future costs for earnings, care or pension loss etc.
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