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A guide to your personal injury claim

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A guide to your personal injury claim Powered By Docstoc
					A guide to your
personal injury claim
Reasons we may not be able to pursue your claim                                                                                Introduction                                      Helping us to help you
                                                                                                                               In today’s society, it is an unfortunate fact     Any legal problem can take time to resolve.
Photographs of the disputed area                                 the case has reasonable prospects of being                    that many people are injured as a result of       Even the most straightforward claims can
                                                                 successful we will then reimburse the                         accidents that were not their fault. Such         involve a great deal of information and
These allow us an insight into what is actually                  reasonable fees incurred. (See section on                     accidents can have devastating effects for        correspondence. It is very important that you
       Contents
happening and therefore provide us with an                       prospects of success.)                                        both the victim and their family. Pursuing a      provide our personal injury team or a solicitor
indication of any possible legal remedy you                                                                                    personal injury claim can be stressful and        that we appoint on your behalf, with all the
      Introduction like to see photographs
may have. We often....................................................................................................... 3
                                                             If, on the information presented, we feel your                    time consuming. This leaflet explains how         information they ask you for.
of how an area looked prior to the dispute                   claim carries sufficient prospects, we may be                     we will look to assist you with your claim,
      Your claims team .............................................................................................. 3
where possible.                                              in a position to indemnify your claim from                        some factors that may affect you and some         Your policy only covers legal costs that we
■                                                            the outset.                                                       of the reasons why we might not be able to        have incurred or agreed to pay. For this
      Helping us to documents
Deeds and related help you ..................................................................................... 3
                                                             ■                                                                 continue with a claim.                            reason you should not ask for help from a
                                                                 Counsel’s Opinion                                                                                               solicitor unless we have agreed to pay the
         comprise will it take to Entries and
TheseHow longthe Office Copy settle my claim? ....................................................... 4                                                                          costs involved. Any legal action which you
Title Plan in relation to your property, and are              This is advice from a Barrister as to how                        Your claims team                                  take without our authority may prejudice
        Reasons we might not be able to
available from the District Land Registry, or acover your claim ...................................... 4
                                                              your claim may progress through the courts                                                                         your right to claim legal costs under your
copy of your Title Deeds with Plan if your land               and we may request this as well as or in                         DAS has a team dedicated to handling              policy terms.
        registered. These documents are your
is not Freedom of choice to instructoften own solicitor .......................................... 6
                                                              lieu of the expert evidence. Again, in certain                   personal injury claims. The team includes
vital in determining any legal rights relevant                circumstances, we may require you to obtain                      experienced and legally qualified members of      You should keep all of the information about
        dispute and also provide an a panel solicitor ...................................................... the
to theThe advantages of using indication                      Counsel’s Opinion at your own expense. If 6                      staff. Our personal injury team has worked on     your accident in one place and make a note
as to the extent of a legal boundary.                         opinion subsequently supports your case and                      thousands of claims for bodily injury involving   of any incident or conversation that may be
        Withdrawal of indemnity.................................................................................. 7
                                                              establishes that your claim has reasonable                       many different issues and legal scenarios.        relevant. Photographs of your injuries and/or
Chronology of events                                          prospects of success we will then reimburse                                                                        the place of the accident can also prove very
                                                              the reasonable fees incurred. (See section 7
        Solicitors’ costs/Legal fees .............................................................................. on                                                           useful in determining the extent of your claim
It is important that we have a clear and concise              prospects of success.)                                                                                             and the likelihood of that claim succeeding.
        Bagatelle payments ......................................................................................... 7
version of events which should outline the
nature of a dispute from start to present.                    Quotations
■       Claims against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).......................................... 8
Expert evidence                                               We will ask you for at least two quotations
                                                              for Claims (CICA) ............................... 8
        Criminal Injury Compensation Authority the cost of remedy if your claim relates to
Often, a claim may be covered by the policy.                  physical damage to your property.
        Claims against the forward we may
However, in order to move police ................................................................................ 8
                                                              ■
require expert evidence to establish the                      The remedy
        Useful contacts may have in law, for
extent of any action you ................................................................................................. 9
example a Chartered Land Surveyor’s Report.                   It is important for us to determine the value of
        Should you have a complaint ......................................................................... 9
We may, in certain circumstances, require                     your claim and what remedy you are seeking.
you to obtain a report in the first instance at               For example, if your boundary fence has been
your own expense. If the report subsequently                  damaged by your neighbour, it may be more
supports your case and establishes that                       practical to fund the cost of the remedy rather

2                                                                                                                                                                                                                             3
How long will it take to                           Reasons we might not be                            Specifically excluded events                       If legal proceedings have been issued in
settle my claim?                                   able to cover your claim                           You should refer to your individual policy to      pursuit of your personal injury claim and
                                                                                                      check the events which may be specifically         the party you are holding responsible then
It is not possible to give an exact answer to                                                         excluded. Generally however the following          makes a counter claim against you for their
this question because:                             Events not insured by the policy                   apply:                                             own injuries, cover will be provided to you to
                                                   Most of our policies provide cover for a civil                                                        defend the counter claim.
•	     every	claim	is	different                    action in which we will negotiate your legal       Any injury that occurs gradually or is not
•	     every	claimant’s	circumstances	are	         rights in a claim against a party who causes       resultant from a specific and sudden event.        Prospects of success
       different                                   the death of, or bodily injury to you and          This means that injuries sustained as a            Your legal protection policy requires that for
•	     the	other	side	to	the	dispute	may	or	may	   your family.                                       result of a gradual cause, such as repetitive      civil claims there must always be reasonable
       not be co-operative                                                                            strain injury, or vibration white finger are not   prospects in law to bring a claim to the
•	     it	takes	differing	time-spans	to	obtain	    The cover provided by the policy does not          covered by the policy. Similarly, claims for       attention of the court and successfully recover
       expert and other evidence                   extend to claims where there has been no           asbestos related disease or noise induced          damages. This means that DAS must be sure
•	     some	claims	are	contested	up	to	and	        diagnosis of a formally recognised psychiatric     hearing loss would also be excluded, as            that your chances of succeeding with your
       including a court trial.                    injury. This is because general stress and         exposure over a period of time would have          claim are 51% or greater in order for us to
                                                   anxiety are not considered to be bodily injury.    caused the injury, rather than one specific        indemnify your claim.
However, our average settlement time for           However, where you have been physically            exposure to asbestos or loud noise.
personal injury claims is 18 months.               injured, the policy will provide cover for the                                                        This is critical in deciding whether we can
                                                   pursuit of a claim for resultant psychological     Defending you and your family’s legal rights,      assist you. It may be that we need the opinion
                                                   injuries or nervous shock.                         but defending a counter claim is covered.          of a barrister (often referred to as counsel’s
     If you have any questions surrounding                                                            Your policy provides cover for the pursuit of      opinion) to determine the chances of your
     your claim please contact                     Date of occurrence                                 a claim for bodily injuries you have sustained.    claim succeeding in law.
                                                   It is a condition of your policy that the date     However, the policy does not provide cover
     newclaims@das.co.uk                           of occurrence of any claim must arise within       for defending a civil claim that is made           In certain circumstances we may require
                                                   the period of legal expenses insurance cover.      against you for any personal injury someone        you to obtain counsel’s opinion at your own
     0117 934 2000                                 Policies usually define this as being the date     has suffered for which they believe you are        expense. However, should you agree to one
                                                   of the event that may lead to a claim. If you or   responsible.                                       of our panel solicitors acting for you, you will
                                                   the insured person did not hold a policy at the                                                       not be asked to pay for this yourself.
                                                   time of the accident, there will be no cover in    If you are involved in a road traffic accident
                                                   place to pursue the personal injury claim.         and someone is blaming you for their injuries,
                                                                                                      the policy will not cover the defence of this
                                                   Claims reported outside 180 days                   claim. However, if you were also injured in
                                                   Your policy may state that you are required        the accident and believe the other party to
                                                   to report any potential claim to us within         be at fault, we will cover the pursuit of your
                                                   180 days of the initial incident that may give     claim against them.
                                                   rise to a claim. We will however, consider
                                                   claims reported to us outside of this timescale,
                                                   providing DAS’ position has not been prejudiced
                                                   by the late notification.



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Freedom of choice to                            The advantages of using                           Given that we have favourable agreements           Solicitors’ costs/Legal fees
instruct your own solicitor                     a panel solicitor                                 with our panel firms with regards to the
                                                                                                  rates that they charge, your indemnity limit       Your legal costs are subject to a limit of
The Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses         Panel solicitors are selected because of          could potentially cover more work than             indemnity. This is the limit to which we will
Insurance) Regulations 1990 require us          their expertise in dealing with certain           if a non-panel solicitor is instructed. This       pay the costs incurred on your case, inclusive
to allow you to instruct a solicitor of your    types of claims. The firms are vetted and         reduces the risk that you will become              of the costs incurred by your opponent. The
choice, subject to the terms of your policy.    continually monitored by DAS to ensure            personally liable for costs. If you continue       limit of indemnity is specified on your policy
Your policy allows you to select a solicitor    they deliver a quality service. The firms are     to instruct your own solicitors, you will need     documents. It is for your solicitor to liaise
of your choice only upon the issue of legal     familiar with our insurance policies, and         to cover these costs on a private basis until      with DAS and you regarding the costs being
proceedings (i.e. a Court Claim Form). We       have our authority to proceed with claims         proceedings are issued.                            incurred on your claim. You will be informed
reserve the right to deal with any claims in-   which means that cases are concluded more                                                            of the costs at regular intervals throughout
house or via our panel solicitors until the     efficiently and effectively.                      A referral fee may be paid by the nominated        the life of your claim and further informed of
point that proceedings are necessary.                                                             panel solicitor, but this will have no effect on   your opponent’s costs estimate.
                                                Although we appreciate that if you already        your claim or the compensation you might
A non-panel solicitor will not be appointed     have your own solicitor, they will be familiar    receive. You will be advised of the amount of
until we are satisfied that the claim is        with your file, it will not take a panel firm     the referral fee when our panel solicitor has      Bagatelle payments
covered under the policy and that there         long to become acquainted with it. They will      been instructed on your behalf.
are reasonable prospects of success.            request the file from your current solicitor to                                                      Sometimes, whilst your claim is covered
Any non-panel appointment is subject to         ensure that they have the same information                                                           by the policy, it would not be economic for
agreement of our Terms of Appointment           you have previously provided. As such this        Withdrawal of indemnity                            DAS to pay legal costs to pursue the claim,
and satisfactory completion of our DAS          will avoid you having to repeat information.                                                         as the fees which would be charged by a
Quality Management Report Form and              You will not suffer detriment if a non-local      We are entitled to withdraw indemnity for a        solicitor would far exceed the amount you
Contingency Arrangements Form.                  solicitor is appointed to act on your behalf.     number of reasons and at any stage of the          would receive for your injuries. In these
                                                The panel solicitor will conduct the case via     claim. The most common reason for this             circumstances, there is provision in your
                                                written correspondence and telephone calls,       is when reasonable prospects of the claim          policy for us to pay you the amount you are
                                                and should they deem it necessary to meet         succeeding (i.e. 51% or greater) no longer         entitled to rather than pursuing your claim.
                                                with you face to face they will travel to you.    exist. If we are advised this is the case,         If we apply this clause we will write to you
                                                                                                  indemnity will be withdrawn immediately.           confirming this and advising of the payment
                                                If DAS appoint a panel solicitor to act on                                                           to be made to you in full and final settlement
                                                your behalf, at this stage funding for your       The other most common reasons for                  of your claim to DAS. You may choose to
                                                legal expenses can begin immediately. This        indemnity withdrawal are failure to accept         use the money we give you towards legal
                                                will include your costs, any costs incurred       a reasonable offer of settlement from the          expenses, or as compensation to cover your
                                                from the other side (should they be awarded       responsible party or failure to provide the        losses, it will be entirely your choice.
                                                against you), and the funding of expert           solicitor with instructions.
                                                reports (e.g. medical reports) up to the limit
                                                of indemnity shown in your policy.




6                                                                                                                                                                                                 7
Claims against the Motor                          Claims against the police                          Useful contacts                                  Should you have a
Insurers’ Bureau (MIB)                                                                                                                                complaint
                                                  On rare occasions, we receive claims against       We hope we have provided a useful insight into
Where a policy provides cover for road traffic    constabularies for injuries sustained by an        how your claim may progress. Unfortunately,      DAS regards all complaints as essential to help
accidents, you may be able to pursue a claim      individual during arrest or detention. Whilst      many legal disputes are not straightforward      us improve customer satisfaction. To this end
for your injuries against an uninsured driver     the policy can provide cover for the pursuit of    and there are a variety of measures that         we treat all expressions of dissatisfaction about
or even an untraced driver, through the MIB.      bodily injury claims in these circumstances, it    may be explored prior to litigation becoming     any aspect of DAS service or product very
We deal with these claims in the same way         does not cover claims for unlawful arrest, false   necessary.                                       seriously and are dedicated to resolving matters
as other bodily injury claims, but you should     imprisonment or harassment. We will not                                                             as speedily and as thoroughly as possible.
be aware that in the case of claims against       consider any claims against the police until you   In the unlikely event that we are unable
untraced drivers, County Court proceedings        have raised a complaint with the Independent       to help you, the following may be of some        If you have a complaint, please first raise this
are not issued and therefore you will not         Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as             assistance:                                      with the Claims Team on telephone number
have the freedom of choice to choose your         their findings in the matter will determine the                                                     0117 927 1955 between 9am – 5pm Monday
own solicitor other than in exceptional           prospects of a civil claim succeeding.             Legal advice service                             - Friday, or alternatively write to us at the
circumstances.                                                                                       Even if your claim cannot be pursued using       address detailed at the back of this leaflet.
                                                                                                     your DAS policy, you can use our Legal
                                                   If you have any questions surrounding             Advice Helpline to discuss the legal problem     If you are not satisfied with our response, you
Criminal Injury                                    your claim please contact                         and obtain practical advice from one of our      may call our Customer Relations department
Compensation Authority                                                                               Legal Advisors. You make use of the Legal        on 0117 934 0066 between 9am – 5pm

Claims (CICA)                                      newclaims@das.co.uk                               Advice Service by calling the number printed     Monday – Friday, (fax 0117 934 2095), or by
                                                                                                     in your policy documents.                        email on customerrelations@das.co.uk. If our
If you are the victim of an assault, you may       0117 934 2000                                                                                      Customer Relations department is unable to
be entitled to make a CICA claim in respect                                                          You may also wish to contact the Citizen’s       resolve your complaint, your final course of
of your injuries, even if the assailant has not                                                      Advice Bureau – www.citizensadvice.org.uk        redress lies with the Financial Ombudsman
been identified. County Court proceedings are                                                                                                         Service.
not issued in CICA matters and therefore as                                                          Confidential counselling service
with MIB claims, your own solicitors will only                                                       Another helpline that you have access to is      Contact details
be appointed in exceptional circumstances.                                                           our confidential Counselling service. You        Financial Ombudsman Service
                                                                                                     should check your policy to see if you have      South Quay Plaza
                                                                                                     the benefit of this helpline.                    183 Marsh Wall
                                                                                                                                                      London
                                                                                                     Whether your claim is progressing or not,        E14 9SR
                                                                                                     the pursuit of compensation may cause you
                                                                                                     some degree of stress.                           T 0845 080 1800

                                                                                                     If you would like to discuss your claim, or
                                                                                                     any other personal matter, with a trained and
                                                                                                     qualified counsellor, please call the number
                                                                                                     printed in your policy documents.



8                                                                                                                                                                                                    9
DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company
Limited is authorised and regulated by the
Financial Services Authority.


     www.das.co.uk




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DAS4932/July2009

				
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Description: A guide to your personal injury claim