Personal Injury

Document Sample
Personal Injury Powered By Docstoc
					                       A helpful guide to claiming
                      compensation for accidents

                                                     Personal Injury

Information Booklet

                What Is A Personal
Personal injury can result from a                   care to our fellow human beings.
range of circumstances, such as                     This means that as we go about our
accidents at work, criminal injuries,               daily lives, we must take care that
accidents abroad, road traffic                      our actions are not harmful to
accidents or work-related illnesses,                others. Therefore, when we drive
for example. It may be possible to                  our cars, for instance, we must do
claim compensation for a personal                   so in a way that does not put other
injury when you are able to show                    drivers and pedestrians at risk.
that a person, company or some                      Parliament also passes legislation
other organisation is at least partly               placing a responsibility on all of us
to blame for your injuries through                  to act in such a way as to avoid
something that was either done, not                 harming others.
done (when it should have been),
made or repaired by them. Personal
injuries can be psychological as well
as physical - for example, depression
resulting from the trauma of an

Accidents that cause injury to
someone (a ‘third party’) are covered
by a section of the law known as
negligence. To explain this, under
the law, each of us owes a duty of

Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14      Page 3
              What Is
              Compensation?                                                                                           Related Matters
Compensation is a financial award
given in recognition of any injury –
either physical or mental; for loss of                                                              In certain instances, compensation
past and future earnings; a broken                                                                  under this duty of care is enforced
contract or something that has                                                                      by the law and insurance is required
ruined your enjoyment of your                                                                       to meet claims. A car driver, for
property, for example.                                                                              instance, must have current
                                                                                                    i n s u ra n c e c ove r w h i c h w i l l
Compensation claims can be long-                                                                    compensate a third party for any
winded and stressful and you are                                                                    damage or injury. Employers also
not guaranteed a successful                                                                         carry insurance to cover them for
outcome. Therefore, you are advised                                                                 any liability to their employees and
to think about whether you would                                                                    failure by an employer to comply
be happy with a different resolution                                                                with written law is known as a
to your claim, such as an apology,                                                                  statutory breach of duty. Under
the offer of counselling or a change                                                                some circumstances, an ordinary
in policy from the organisation                                                                     house contents policy will insure the
concerned, as just a few examples.                                                                  householder against accidents
                                                                                                    which occur on his or her property.

                                                                                                    In some cases, it may not even be
                                                                                                    necessary to prove that another
                                                                                                    party was actually negligent. There
                                                                                                    are a number of cases where the
                                                                                                    event itself is sufficient to establish
                                                                                                    liability. Such cases might include
                                                                                                    food poisoning or injury caused by
                                                                                                    a faulty product.

 Page 4             Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14   Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14   Page 5
Claiming damages                                Special damages                                     Future losses and expenses                           You may also get less compensation
                                                                                                                                                         if the other side can prove that you
                                                                                                    You may be able to claim for loss of                 did not mitigate your losses – that
Claims for damages are made                     This may include compensation for
                                                                                                    future earnings if, for example, you                 is, you did not do what you could to
directly against the person or                  money you have had to pay out, or
                                                                                                    have been unable to return to work                   keep them to a minimum.
organisation that is considered to              have lost, because of an accident or
be at fault. While this may include,            injury. It may, therefore, cover such               or have had to return to a lesser paid
                                                                                                    job as a result of your injuries. Any                If you have been receiving some
say, another driver, your employer,             things as loss of earnings, travelling
                                                                                                    future losses and expenses which                     types of benefit payments because
a local council, or a property owner,           expenses, prescriptions, or the cost
                                                                                                    may be incurred will be awarded for                  of a personal injury, you may have
it is also possible to sue members of           of any special equipment that you
                                                                                                    the likely period of loss.                           to pay them back from any
your own family through any                     have had to buy (e.g. rehabilitation
                                                                                                                                                         compensation you receive. The
relevant insurance policy they may              products or a hire car). You should
                                                                                                                                                         rules are complicated and a personal
hold. For example, if you are a                 keep any receipts for any costs                     Interim payments                                     injury solicitor will be able to advise
passenger in a car driven by your               relating to your injury as this will
                                                                                                                                                         you accordingly. You may also wish
partner that is involved in an                  make it much easier to claim the                    Cases can take many months to                        to read Leaflet 9, ‘Welfare Benefits’,
accident, you can claim against their           money back as part of special                       settle and, in some circumstances,                   published by the Community Legal
motor insurance policy for any                  damages.                                            a court may agree that part of the                   Service for more information (see
injury you have suffered.                                                                           likely total of damages can be paid                  also page 11 – under the ‘Suing your
                                                                                                    before a case is finalised.                          employer’ section).
In England, damages may be
classified as General Damages or
Special Damages.                                                                                    Reduction in damages
                                                                                                    Even if an injury to yourself was
General damages                                                                                     partly your own fault, a claim may
                                                                                                    still be successfully pursued. In
General damages include                                                                             these circumstances, there may be
compensation for the pain and                                                                       a reduction in the amount of
suffering you have had to cope with                                                                 damages awarded. For example, if
after an injury, as well as your                                                                    you are injured in a car accident and
inability to carry out day to day tasks                                                             you were not wearing a seat belt,
and loss of quality of life (e.g. if you                                                            then your compensation might be
are no longer able to carry out your                                                                cut. The level of any reduction in
usual sports or hobbies).                                                                           damages will depend on what extent
                                                                                                    an injured person is considered to
                                                                                                    be at fault (this is known as
                                                                                                    ‘contributory negligence’).

Page 6              Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14   Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14         Page 7
Accidents at work                                                                                  Claiming benefits                                   available from your local Jobcentre
                                                                                                                                                       Plus/Social Security Office or
According to the Health and Safety                                                                 When an accident forces you to stay                 available to download from the
Executive more than 25,000 serious                                                                 away from work, you are initially                   Department of Work and Pensions
accidents occur at work in the UK                                                                  likely to receive Statutory Sick Pay                website.
every year. In a great many cases,                                                                 from your employer, who may ask
the employer (or his or her insurers)                                                              for evidence of your illness, such as
has to pay compensation.                                                                           a self-certificate or a doctor’s
If you have an accident at work, you
may be entitled to compensation on                                                                 However, after you have been
one of three grounds:                                                                              disabled by the accident for two
1. Your employer’s negligence.                                                                     months and, once your absence has
                                                                                                   been accepted to be the result of an
2. Your employer’s failure (or that of                                                             industrial accident, you can claim
   someone for whom he or she is                                                                   Industrial Injuries Disablement
   responsible) to carry out safety                                                                Benefit (this is done by completing
   measures ordered by Parliament,                                                                 the ‘Declaration of an accident at
   e.g. Breach of Statutory Duty.                                                                  work’ form B195 - available from
3. A colleague’s negligence.                                                                       your local Jobcentre Plus/Social
                                                                                                   Security Office – and form BI100A,
                                                                                                   ‘Industrial Injuries Disablement
Any employer who is found breaking
                                                                                                   Benefit for an accident at work’).
a safety law is potentially liable to
                                                                                                   You must claim no later than six
criminal prosecution as well as to
                                                                                                   months after the date of your
pay compensation to anyone
injured because of his or her neglect.
                                                                                                   Alternatively, you may be entitled to
New regulations were introduced by
                                                                                                   benefits such as Industrial Disability
the Government in April 2007.
                                                                                                   Benefit or Incapacity Benefit. For
Consult a solicitor for detailed
                                                                                                   further details, please see our
                                                                                                   booklet ‘Work-Related Injuries and
                                                                                                   Disease’ or the Department of Work
                                                                                                   and Pensions leaflet SD7, ‘Disabled
                                                                                                   because of an accident at work?’,

Page 8             Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14   Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14     Page 9
What you should do first                        If your accident took place at work,
                                                                                                    Suing your employer                                 You may be concerned about the
                                                be sure to report it immediately                                                                        repercussions of suing your
When an accident occurs, whether                through the appropriate avenues.                                                                        employer in terms of returning to
                                                By law, employers must keep a                       Your employer is legally bound to
at work or elsewhere, it is a good                                                                  insure against the risk of an unlawful              work and potential victimisation.
idea to keep a diary of events – not            record of most types of accidents.                                                                      However, rest assured that various
                                                If you are self-employed, record the                accident to an employee. Therefore,
only the circumstances of the                                                                       always take legal advice about the                  Health and Safety laws are in place
accident but also a detailed note of            accident yourself (self-employed                                                                        to protect the rights of employees
                                                people are not entitled to the                      possibility of suing your employer
visits to your GP or to hospital, and                                                               for direct or indirect negligence, or               and many employers accept that
the progress of your recovery from              Industrial Injuries Disablement                                                                         accidents and compensation claims
                                                Benefit). Keep the report factual and               breach of duty under the Health and
the injury. In addition, keep a note                                                                Safety laws. You can do this by                     will occur from time to time and are
of any expenses you may incur in                avoid placing blame – it is also                                                                        covered by their insurance.
                                                helpful to write a signed and dated                 consulting a solicitor or via your
relation to the injury (e.g. loss of                                                                trade union, if you belong to one.
earnings and the cost of travelling             report for your own records.
to and from hospital) and hold on
                                                You or your employer should also                    If your claim succeeds, the damages
to any receipts. You will need to be
                                                report the accident to the Health                   awarded are likely to be much more
able to prove every aspect of your
                                                and Safety Executive or the local                   than the amount of any Industrial
claim should you decide to seek
                                                authority environmental health                      Injuries Benefit – although you
                                                department, if applicable.                          could still claim for that (see note
If your accident is the result of falling
over, such as through tripping on a             If you are hurt in a road accident,
                                                you must tell the police and, if your               The insurance company may
paving slab or a manhole cover,
                                                car was involved, your insurance                    deduct from your claim for Special
ensure you get a photograph as
                                                company. The insurance company                      Damages, the amount of any State
quickly as possible of whatever
                                                may refuse to pay out if you do not                 benefits you have received as a
caused your accident and make sure
                                                report the accident.                                result of the accident and will refund
that you date this photograph. You
                                                                                                    them to the Government. You can
should also try and get the name
                                                You may decide to pursue a claim                    find more information about this in
and addresses of anyone who saw
                                                for compensation as the result of an                the Department of Work and
you fall, as you might need
                                                injury under the care of a doctor or                P e n s i o n ’s l e a f l e t G L 2 7 ,
independent witnesses to back up
                                                hospital. In that case, different rules             ‘Compensation and Social Security
your claim. If you are aware of other
                                                apply to personal injury claims – see               Benefits’.
people having experienced
accidents in the same place, make               the Community Legal Service Direct
a note of the circumstances and who             leaflet 14 (which can be downloaded
these individuals were (if                      from their website) entitled, ‘Medical
applicable).                                    Accidents’.

Page 10             Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14   Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14     Page 11
Taking legal advice                              years of when you were injured, or
                                                                                                    Choosing a solicitor                                how many cases of this type has the
                                                 of when you knew you were injured                                                                      solicitor had to settle in Court over
The rules governing compensation                 and believed it was due to                                                                             the past five years; the results; and
                                                 someone’s negligence (e.g. if you are              If you want to consult a solicitor to
claims are extremely complicated                                                                    claim compensation, you should                      whether members of any of the
and, of course, insurance                        suffering as a result of exposure to                                                                   above mentioned organisations will
                                                 asbestos, your illness may have                    s e e k a d v i c e f ro m o n e w h o
companies are in business to make                                                                   specialises in personal injury cases.               be involved in handling or
money and not to pay it out. So,                 taken years to manifest itself and
                                                                                                    Choose a Solicitor who is a member                  supervising the claim. You should
while it is certainly possible to make           the three-year limit would apply to
                                                                                                    of one of the following:                            also ask how much time they will
a claim on your own behalf, the                  when you found out you had been
                                                                                                                                                        provide you free of charge to carry
result is likely to be better if you use         injured).                                          1-The Law Society Personal Injury                   out an initial assessment of your
the services of a specialised solicitor.                                                              Panel                                             case.
                                                 If Court proceedings in respect of
                                                 your claim are not started within                  2-APIL - Association of Personal
Many firms of solicitors will be glad                                                                 Injury Lawyers                                    At the initial assessment stage, you
to take a look at your case and advise           three years of your accident, the
                                                                                                                                                        are recommended to try and get
upon its chances of success,                     Courts are likely to hold that your                3-MASS - Motor Accident Solicitors
                                                 claim is out of time. The three-year                                                                   clear answers in writing to the
particularly those solicitors who are                                                                 Society                                           following questions:
members of the Law Society                       rule applies in different ways in
                                                 different circumstances – with some                4-HEADWAY - Specialists in Head /
Personal Injury Panel. Many                                                                           Spinal / Catastrophic Accidents                   • How much is your claim really
solicitors now also operate on a ‘No             variation in the case of criminal
win – no fee’ basis and the vast                 injuries (you must start court
majority will offer a free initial               proceedings within six years of the                Organisations such as the                           • What are your chances of making
consultation to see whether you                  assault unless you are applying for                Community Legal Service, APIL, The                    a successful claim?
have a viable personal injury claim              Criminal Injuries Compensation,                    Law Society, the Citizen’s Advice                   • What risks are involved?
to pursue. Insurance cover against               which has a two- year time limit)                  Bureau or your trade union can help
the possibility of having to pay your            and injuries abroad - so it is safer                                                                   • What costs could you face?
                                                                                                    you identify a suitable solicitor.
opponent’s costs should you lose                 not to wait too long before seeking
                                                                                                                                                        • Do the likely benefits outweigh the
the case should be discussed with                legal advice. There are some
                                                 exceptions where judges can                        If you have legal expenses                            costs?
your solicitor. (Specialists dealing                                                                insurance, your insurers may want
in this area of work are identified              override the three-year time limit.                                                                    • How long will the case take?
                                                 Consult a solicitor for further                    to appoint a solicitor to handle your
u n d e r t h e ‘Us e f u l C o n t a c t                                                           case. If you want to use another                    • Can you pull out of the
Addresses’ section at the back of this           information.
                                                                                                    solicitor, ask them to speak to the                   compensation claim if you change
publication).                                                                                                                                             your mind?
                                                 If the case is about a child who has               insurance company.
                                                 been injured, the time limit does                                                                      • What would the repercussions of
The three-year time limit                        not normally start until they turn 18              When choosing a solicitor, it is a                    pulling out be in terms of costs,
                                                 (16 in Scotland).                                  good idea to find out how many                        etc.?
If your injury was caused by                                                                        personal injury claims they have
someone’s negligence, you must                                                                      handled in the past 12 months; the
start Court proceedings within three                                                                biggest claim they have ever settled;
Page 12             Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14   Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14      Page 13
                                                                                                                                         Claims assessors and management
                                                                                                                                                    companies continued...

Claims assessors and                           cover costs (via a loan from them)                  The Compensation Act 2006 provides                  The Community Legal Service Fund
                                               or they may simply refer you to a                   the statutory framework for the                     has replaced Legal Aid and financial
management companies                                                                               regulation of claims management                     assistance is no longer available for
                                                                                                   activities. Since April 2007, all                   most personal injury claims. You
Some people choose to pursue                                                                       companies providing claims                          may, however, qualify for help in
compensation claims via a claims               Generally, claims assessors and
                                               claims management companies act                     management services without                         certain circumstances (e.g. a medical
assessor or claims management                                                                      authorisation or exemption are                      accident, an assault by the police, or
company. Claims assessors                      as a go between for you and the
                                               solicitor, and may have additional                  committing a criminal offence.                      deliberate harm, such as child
normally operate on a ‘contingency                                                                 Companies offering services in                      abuse). Solicitors who take part in
fee’ basis, which means the                    terms and conditions which may
                                               not apply if you go direct to a                     respect of personal injury, criminal                the Community Legal Service
company will take a percentage of                                                                  injuries compensation, employment                   scheme display the CLS logo. They
the amount you win as their fee. If            solicitor. You should be aware that
                                               there are no specific rules or                      matters and industrial injury                       will be able to advise you if you
you lose, they will normally get                                                                   disablement benefits must be                        qualify.
nothing but you should check their             regulations covering how claims
                                               assessors and claim management                      registered with the regulator and are
terms very carefully if you choose                                                                 required to meet certain standards.                 If you do not qualify for help through
this avenue of support.                        companies must work, whereas
                                               solicitors must follow the Law                                                                          the Fund, then there are other ways
                                               Society code of practice and have                   Consumers can check if companies                    in which a solicitor can be supported
Some claims assessors do not use               their own insurance against                         are       registered         on                     to pursue your case without causing
solicitors and can negotiate directly          negligence.                                                       you any financial problems. For
only with the organisation you                                                                     Authorisation and regulation is                     example, as stated above, a
believe is responsible for your                                                                    carried out by the Department of                    conditional fees agreement often
injury. Claims assessors cannot take                                                               Constitutional Affairs. For more                    known as a ‘No win-no fee’
court action for you or represent                                                                  detailed advice please consult a                    agreement is frequently available.
you in court. This means that if they                                                              solicitor or Consumer Direct at
are unable to negotiate                                                                                             If you win your case, you can claim
compensation for you, you must                                                                                                                         your legal fees from the losing side.
begin you claim through the Court                                                                                                                      But if you lose, then you will have to
by using a solicitor. This duplication
                                                                                                   Legal fees
                                                                                                                                                       pay your own fees and those of the
of effort can lead to substantial                                                                                                                      other side. You might want to
delays and may put your claim                                                                      Legal cases can be expensive as you
                                                                                                                                                       consider taking out legal expenses
outside the three-year time frame.                                                                 must pay your solicitor’s fees and
                                                                                                                                                       insurance known as ‘After the Event’
                                                                                                   other expenses (called
                                                                                                                                                       Insurance, which will cover all of the
                                                                                                   ‘disembursements’). If you lose, you
Claims management companies                                                                                                                            fees and other costs if you do not win
                                                                                                   must also pay the costs of the
work in different ways, so how you                                                                                                                     your case, or if you win but do not
                                                                                                   person or organisation you claimed
pay them depends on how they                                                                                                                           get the fees paid by the other side.
                                                                                                   against. If you have a small claim
work. You may have to pay an
                                                                                                   of £1000 or less for a personal injury,
upfront fee, the company may make
                                                                                                   you would have to pay your own
you take out an insurance policy to
                                                                                                   costs even if you won the case.
Page 14            Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14   Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14       Page 15
                                                        Legal fees continued...

Apart from advising you about this,             5. Negotiate a settlement without                   Alternative Dispute                                 (e.g. a faulty car or power tool, or an
your solicitor will also discuss with              going to Court or, if necessary,                 Resolution (ADR)                                    injury sustained at the hairdressers
you the possibility of getting support             issue proceedings in Court – in                                                                      for example). More information
from a legal expenses scheme                       fact, most personal injury claims                ADR looks at options for resolving                  about such claims is available from
through your car or house insurance                are settled through negotiation                  disputes without going to court and                 the Community Legal Service Direct
policy, or perhaps from other                      without a Court hearing.                         encourages people to negotiate a                    in their leaflet entitled, ‘13. Problems
insurance you may have. All these                                                                   settle before star ting cour t                      with Goods and Services’.
                                                6. Normally with the assistance of a
matters can be dealt with by your                                                                   proceedings.                 Visit
                                                   barrister, prepare all legal
solicitor to ensure that you know
                                                   documentation for the issue of          for more                          Accidents abroad
what the financial position is and are                                                              information about possible solutions
                                                   proceedings and advise on all
not necessarily out of pocket.                                                                      to your personal injury claim.                      If you were injured outside the UK,
                                                   procedural matters until the
                                                   matter comes to trial.                                                                               you usually have to make a claim
If your injury occurred at work and                                                                 Motor Insurance / Road                              under the law of the country where
you are a member of a trade union,              7. If the defendants do not accept                                                                      your injury occurred, although this
you may be able to seek their support              responsibility for the accident,                 Accident                                            may not be the case if the person or
for legal costs and help finding a                 they have to file a formal                                                                           organisation responsible is based in
solicitor. If you wish to, you may fund            document known as a Defence,                     Every year, hundreds of people suffer               the UK (e.g. a package tour operator).
                                                   which sets out the reasons why                   injury through road accidents. Some
your case using your own resources.
                                                   the claim is being defended.                     drivers break the law by not taking
                                                                                                    out motor insurance and this can                    Claiming under foreign law can be
What your solicitor does                        8. If the matter still cannot be                    present a serious problem in case of                difficult and expensive and you
                                                   resolved, then both sides through                an accident.                                        should seek expert legal advice.
                                                   their barristers present the case                                                                    Some personal injury lawyers
Your solicitor will carry out the                                                                                                                       specialise in claims for people
following steps to handle your claim:              before a Judge who will then                     The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (see page
                                                   decide who is responsible for the                                                                    injured abroad.
                                                                                                    23 for contact details, which is
1. Obtain full and detailed                        accident and, if necessary, how                  funded by the motor insurance
   instructions from you.                          much compensation or other                       companies, has a scheme to help                     The damages award
2. Make an assessment of the                       damages should be awarded.                       people who are injured in ‘hit and
   chances of success and the                                                                       run’ accidents or in accidents                      Damages are tax-free in all instances.
   possible value of the claim.                                                                     involving drivers who are not                       Where the award is a sizeable one,
                                                                                                    insured. There are, however, strict                 allocated on the basis of long-term
3. Submit details of the claim in                                                                   rules that apply to making claims                   future loss, it will be most advisable
   accordance with the Court’s Rules                                                                under the scheme.                                   to seek expert advice about investing
   to the Defendants.                                                                                                                                   the money and gaining interest on
4. Make further investigations into                                                                 Faulty products or services                         the capital. Your solicitor and your
   the claim and obtain all relevant                                                                                                                    bank manager will be pleased to
   and supporting evidence, such as                                                                                                                     recommend help with this.
                                                                                                    It is possible to make a personal
   witness statements, medical                                                                      injury claim as a result of an injury
   reports and other experts’ reports.                                                              caused by a faulty product or service
Page 16             Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14   Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14        Page 17
                 Jargon Buster                                                                                                                               Jargon Buster continued...

                                                                                                     Disbursements - Disbursements are                   Other side, opponent - These are the
                                                                                                     expenses, such as court fees, medical               different terms you may hear used
ATE insurance - ATE is short for                 Breach of contract - A contract is                  reports, police accident reports and                to describe the organisation or
‘after-the-event’ insurance. This is             ‘breached’ if it has been broken or                 after-the-event insurance premiums.                 person from or defendant whom you
an insurance policy you can take                 ignored in some way, for example,                   Your solicitor may pay these for you                are claiming compensation.
out after an accident has happened               if your car comes back from the                     at the start of your claim and get
and you have decided to make a                   garage after a service and it                       repaid by your opponent if your                     Personal injury - Any injury you
claim. If you lose your claim the                doesn’t work, the garage will have                  claim is successful. If you don’t win               suffer is personal, but in legal terms,
insurance company will pay your                  breached its contract with you.                     your claim, under some after-the-                   a personal injury for which you can
o p p o n e n t’s l e g a l c o s t s a n d                                                          event policies you will have to find a              claim compensation is where a
disbursements (expenses).                        Clinical negligence - The legal term                way of paying these costs.                          person, company or some other
                                                 used to describe a medical accident                                                                     organisation is to blame (at least
Basic charges - The amount a                     where someone has been harmed                       Limitation period - This is the period              partly) for your injuries. An injury
solicitor charges for the legal work             because a doctor or other healthcare                of time within which you must make                  need not be physical – you may be
involved in handling your claim.                 professional has not given the                      a claim for compensation. It is                     able to claim compensation for
They are calculated using an hourly              proper standard of care. But not all                usually three years for personal                    psychological injury such as
rate. These rates may var y                      complications or medical                            injury cases and six years for other                shock or upset.
depending on the experience of the               procedures that don’t work are                      claims. After this time, you are very
person doing the work. Your solicitor            clinical negligence, because                        unlikely to be able to make a claim,
should explain to you how their                  sometimes what happened could                       although there are exceptions to this.
basic charges are calculated and put             not have been avoided.                               Your solicitor will advise you about
it in writing.                                                                                       the limitation period that applies in
                                                 Conditional Fee - This is a contract                your particular case. This is a good
BTE insurance - BTE is short for                 between you and your solicitor                      reason for seeing a solicitor as soon
‘before-the-event’ insurance. It is              under which your solicitor will not                 as you think you may have a possible
also known as legal expenses                     get paid for their work unless you                  claim for compensation.
insurance and is often added to car              win your case. But you must still
and household contents insurance                 work out how to pay your or ‘no win,                Negligence - Negligence is when a
either free or for a small fee. Some             no fee’ opponent’s costs if you lose.               person or organisation doesn’t take
credit cards have BTE insurance, but                                                                 reasonable care over something
it can be taken out as separate                  Damages - The money you win as                      where they have a duty to do so, for
insurance, too. BTE insurance may                compensation, either after a court                  example, failing to drive carefully. If
pay for the legal costs of making a              h e a r i n g o r by re a c h i n g a n             you are injured because someone
claim for compensation, whether                  agreement before getting to court.                  was negligent (they did something
you win or lose. Your solicitor will
                                                                                                     they shouldn't, or didn't do
be able to check the terms and
                                                                                                     something they should), you may be
conditions of any BTE insurance
                                                                                                     able to claim compensation.
you have and tell you what it will
and will not cover.
Page 18              Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14   Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14       Page 19
                                                                                                                  Useful Contact
                                                 Jargon Buster continued...

Statutory duty - This is a legal
responsibility to do something set
out in an Act of Parliament. So, for
example, employers are under a                                                               Action against Medical Accidents                    Tel: 0845 123 23 52
statutory duty to protect the                                                                (AvMA)                                    
health and safety of their employees.
If an employer fails to do this they
                                                                                             Advice Services Alliance                  
are said to be ‘in breach of their                                                           Bramah House, 65-71 Bermondsey St.,
statutory duty’.                                                                             London SE1 3XF

Success fee - Solicitors who act
                                                                                             Association of Personal Injury                      Tel: 0115 958 0585
under a Conditional Fee Agreement                                                                                                                Email: via online enquiry form
will charge you an extra fee on top                                                          Lawyers
                                                                                             Call APIL for a list of                   
of their basic charges if you win your                                                       APIL members in your area
case. This is called a success fee. It                                                       11 Castle Quay, Nottingham, NG7 1FW
is a proportion of your solicitor’s
basic charges and cannot be more
than 100 per cent (in other words,                                                           Benefit Enquiry Line                                Tel: 0800 88 22 00
it must be no more than the basic                                                                                                      
fee itself ). Your solicitor should                                                                                                    , or
explain their success fee before you                                                                                                   
start your claim. If you win your
case, the other side will usually pay
                                                                                             Claims Management Regulation                        Tel: 0845 450 6858
most of the success fee but you may                                                                                                              Email:
                                                                                             Monitoring and Compliance Unit
have to pay the rest of it out of your                                                       57-60 High Street, Burton upon Trent,     
compensation.                                                                                Staffordshire, DE14 1JS

                                                                                             Claims Standards Council                            Tel: 0870 444 6454
                                                                                             Body aiming to regulate claims management           Email:
                                                                                             69 Wigmore Street, London W1U 1PZ

                                                                                             The Community Legal Service                          Tel: 0845 345 4 345
                                                                                             (run by Legal Services Commission)                  (some free legal advice available)
                                                                                                                                                 See CLS Direct Information Leaflet 17, ‘Personal
                                                                                                                                                 Injury: Complaining and claiming compensation’
                                                                                                                                                 The CLS also provides a directory of
                                                                                                                                                 approved solicitors
Page 20            Personal Injury - A helpful                                              Personal for accidents ED14
                                                                       guide to claiming compensationInjury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14               Page 21
                                                                                                                                                                         Useful contact
                                                                 Useful contact                                                                                   addresses continued...
                                                          addresses continued...

Criminal Injuries Compensation                   Tel: 0800 358 3601 (freephone)                      Motor Insurers’ Bureau                              Tel: 01908 830 001
                                                 Email: via online enquiry form                      Linford Wood House, 6-12 Capital Drive,             Email:
Authority (CICA)
                                                                            Linford Wood, Milton Keynes, MK14 6XT     
Working with victims of violent crime
Tay House, 300 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4LN

Department of Constitutional                     Tel: 020 7210 8500
Selbourne House, 54 Victoria Street,
London, SW1E 6QW

Headway                                          Tel: 0115 924 0800
The Brain Injury Association                     Helpline: 0808 800 2244
4 King Edward Court                              Email: via online enquiry form
King Edward Street                     
Nottingham NG1 1EW

The Law Society                                  Tel: 020 7242 1222
The Law Society’s Hall, 113 Chancery Lane,       Tel: 0870 606 2555 (to identify a solicitor by
London, WC2A 1PL                                 their area of legal specialism)
                                                 Tel: 0845 608 6565 (helpline for complaints
                                                 about solicitors)
                                                 Textphone: 0870 600 1560
                                                 See leaflet ‘Your guide to making a personal
                                                 injury claim’, which can be downloaded
                                                 from the Law Society website

Legal Services Commission                        Tel: 020 7759 0000
The Commission administers the                   CLS Directory Line: 0845 608 1122
Community Legal Service                
85 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8TX

Motor Accident Solicitors Society                Tel: 0117 929 2560                                  The information in this Guide is given in good faith for guidance purposes only and
54 Baldwin Street, Bristol, BS1 1QW              Email: or via online             was correct as of April 2008. If you have suffered a personal injury of any kind, then
                                                 enquiry form                                        you are advised to seek appropriate professional advice. This Guide is not intended
                                                                            to replace the advice of a legal expert and the law may be subject to change. The
                                                                                                     law in England and Wales differs to that in Scotland; therefore, if you are located in Scotland,
                                                                                                     you are advised to read our Scottish edition of this publication.

Page 22              Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14   Personal Injury - A helpful guide to claiming compensation for accidents ED14           Page 23

liaoguiguo liaoguiguo http://