Here is a brief outline of the claims process you will go through if you choose to make a no win, no fee personal injury claim. Many of the steps listed here can be completed by your solicitor in your absence, and the rest will be explained to you in more detail by your solicitor.
1) Finding a solicitor to handle your case
First of all, you need to find or be assigned a solicitor. Sometimes, this is done via a claims company, who will assess whether you have a valid personal injury claim before assigning you a specialist solicitor in your area, and sometimes people go to solicitors directly.
The choice entirely down to personal discretion and convenience, and should not make a difference to the compensation to which you are entitled.
2) Consultation with the solicitor
Once you have found a solicitor, they will ask you some questions about your accident and injury, and decide on how to proceed with your claim.
3) Letter of Claim
The solicitor will then send a Letter of Claim to the defendant, which will state that you will be claiming compensation for your injuries, which were caused by their fault.
4) Medical assessment
The solicitor will instruct an expert to asses you medically and determine the precise nature of your injury. The medical assessment will usually be more useful for your claim if you have initiated the claim within a short period of the accident occurring.
5) Schedule of Losses
The solicitor will next prepare a Schedule of Losses, which lists all the losses you intend to claim for (such as loss of earnings and pain and suffering), and send this to the defendants, asking them to pay compensation.
6) Claim accepted/Claim disputed
If the claim is accepted, that means the defendant has accepted responsibility, and the solicitor will need to negotiate with them for your compensation. If this happens, the claim is now settled and you will be paid compensation, along with the costs for your solicitor. If the claim is disputed and an agreement cannot be reached, it will go to court.
7) Case Lost/Case won
If the case is lost, you will not have to pay any costs, because the solicitor will have taken on the case on a no win, no fee basis. This means that when they took on the case, they accepted that not winning it would mean they would not be paid. If the case is won, you will receive compensation agreed or fixed by the court, along with solicitors’ fees with which to pay your solicitor.
A straightforward process?
On the whole, the claims process should be fairly straightforward, though it can take quite a long time from start to finish, and will probably be more likely to succeed if the claim is made very soon after the accident occurred.
For these reasons, if you think you might want to make a personal injury compensation claim, it is sensible to seek specialist advice straight away, so that the claim will be initiated as soon as possible.