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What does the law entitle me to claim for?
- Pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your physical and/or psychological injury. (Lawyers call this "General Damages".)
- For the financial loss incurred ("Lawyers call this Special Damages".)
Although this is not an exclusive list, compensation can be awarded for;
- Loss of Past Earnings and Future Earnings
- Medical expenses incurred.
- Care and assistance by others to you or the person injured.
- Adaptations and equipment required to assist the person injured live as normal a life as possible.
- Funeral expenses.
- Bereavement Damages.
- Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Future loss of earnings.
- Future case management costs.
- Future care costs.
- Future medical expenses.
- Loss of future pension rights.
- Disadvantage on the open labour market.
- Loss of congenial employment.
- Loss of consortium.
- Loss of marriage prospects.
- Car repair costs and alternative hire.
Will I have to go to Court?
Many cases will settle without the need to go to court. If you do have to go to court Grieves Solicitors will be there to guide you every step of the way.
In many compensation cases the insurers, or other representatives of the organisation you are claiming against, will settle your claim. This often happens when a company is presented with all the evidence of your case, including reports from the time and statements from witnesses and medical professionals. At Grieves Solicitors we always present a strong case, it is possible that the third party may decide it is more cost-effective for them to settle an amount with you before any court proceedings are necessary.
Court Proceedings or Tribunal
If the party of fault does not want to settle the claim, or if their settlement offer is rejected by you and your solicitor, your case will go to court. This means that both you and the party of fault will present your evidence and arguments and the outcome will be decided by a judge. You will have the opportunity to appear as a witness on your own behalf and to call other witnesses, who may include colleagues, medical professionals and anyone else you have consulted in connection with your case. Once both sides have been heard, a verdict will be given, and an amount of compensation awarded to you if you are successful.
Will I have to pay anything towards my legal costs?
NO, BECAUSE WE WILL BE PAID BY YOUR OPPONENTS.
You will receive 100% compensation unless your claim is a Criminal Injury Compensation Claim. This is because this is a government run compensation scheme which, unfortunately, does not pay your legal costs in addition to any award. In those cases, we keep our costs to the minimum and advise you as the case progresses what you will have to pay us. However, in Criminal Injuries Compensation Cases, we do not ask you to pay anything until the end of your case.
I have been approached directly by my opponent's insurers, so do I need my own Solicitor?
As you know, we are one of the few firms in the Huddersfield area who specialise exclusively in personal injury claims. We do not deal with any other areas of law such as conveyancing or wills but have a wealth of experience and expertise in dealing with accident claims. Helen Grieves, our founder, is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel and a Senior Litigator Member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. Even if you, your friends or relatives already have an accident claim with another firm of solicitors it is possible for them to transfer their files to us at no cost to them.
It is important to beware of 'third party capture'. What happens is that insurers acting for the guilty party who has caused an accident will try and buy off your claim. How do they do this? They will approach someone who has had an accident direct and offer them a settlement straightaway which may be far below what their claim is actually worth. Why do they do this? To save themselves money. They know that if the injured party consults a Professional, that Professional will fight tooth and nail to obtain for their client the maximum compensation they deserve. This is what we would do if we were instructed to deal with your compensation claim.
The guilty party`s insurers on the other hand are only interested in saving money and will often make an offer far below what the injured person deserves, often without obtaining medical evidence. Medical evidence should always be obtained. Why is medical evidence necessary? Medical evidence will shows the extent and duration of the injury and indicate whether or not there will be any problems in the future from the accident e.g. arthritis from a fracture which may prevent someone from working at some time in the future.
Unfortunately, people who have had accidents are enticed to accept an amount of compensation which is often far below what they deserve.
Can I Claim for Stress and Bullying?
Yes you can sue for psychiatric injury caused by stress at work but the following must be proved and each case will be decided on its own facts:
a) Whether the harm to you was reasonably foreseeable. It is an employers responsibility to consider the individual and base their actions on the knowledge they have of that individual.
b) There must have been an injury to health which is attributable to the stress at work.
c) Foreseeability depends on what the employer knew or ought to have known about the injured employee.
d) Employers are entitled to assume employees can cope with normal day to day pressures of work but where there is a known vulnerability, the employer cannot ignore it.
e) For a (reasonable) employers' duty to act to be triggered, there must be clear signs of impending ill health.
f) The employer is only required to take steps reasonable in all the circumstances.
Harassment (œto cross a boundary from regrettable to unacceptable)
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 is there to protect victims of harassment whatever form the harassment takes, where it occurs and whatever its motivation.
A person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which he knows, or ought to know, amounts to harassment.
In order to succeed you would have to be the victim of harassment and prove:
a) The bullying/harassment occurred on at least two occasions - known as a œcourse of conduct including speech.
b) The person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know it amounts to harassment of another if a œreasonable person would think that course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.
An employer can be liable for the act of an employee(s) if the course of conduct takes place during the course of employment and they may be liable if the harassment is in the form of a criminal act. (Known as vicarious liability).
A course of conduct would have to be proven against one individual for a claim for that individual to succeed.
What if I am partly to blame?
Yes. However it may be that you did something that may have caused or contributed to your injury.
If your opponent can show that you were partly to blame for your own accident, it will reduce the amount of compensation they have to pay to you. The legal term for this is contributory negligence. In other words, your own carelessness contributed to the accident.
For example, if you werent wearing a seat belt when your opponent hit your car, although he may have collided with your car because he was driving carelessly and he is to blame for the crash, if you were not wearing your seatbelt, then the amount of compensation you will receive is likely to be reduced by as much as 25%. The reason for this is that your injuries are likely to have been more serious if you were not wearing a seatbelt.
Another example is if you were using a woodcutting machine at work and the machine jams and you did not switch it off before trying to fix it. If you are then injured, you are likely to be partly to blame if it starts up while you are trying to fix it and injure yourself.
If you are found to be partly to blame for your accident, then the amount of compensation you will receive can be reduced by 75%, 50% or even 25% depending upon how much to blame you are.
How long will my claim take?
This is often a question which I am asked when I take instructions from a new client. There is no exact answer.
The length of time it takes to deal with your claim for compensation depends upon a number of factors, how quickly the client responds to requests for information, the conduct of the Defendant, what type of injury the client has suffered from and their likely recovery period and so on.
By way of an example, if someone drove into the back of your car whilst you were stationary at a red traffic light, it is unlikely the Defendants would argue liability. If liability is admitted, we would then arrange to have you medically examined and the medical report would help us to value your claim.
At the same time, we would ask you to provide details of any financial losses you have suffered and upon receipt, we would then put together a Schedule of Loss detailing those losses.
Claims for compensation following a road traffic accident where the compensation awarded is not likely to exceed £10,000 are submitted to the Defendant insurers via an external website called the RTA Portal. Under the Portal scheme, there is a set time limit for the Defendant to admit liability and for negotiations to have taken place and this enables the parties to bring a claim for compensation following this type of accident, to a timely conclusion.
Once the medical report and Schedule of Loss had been approved by you, they would be disclosed to the Defendant with our valuation of the claim via the Portal and the Defendant would then have a set period within which to respond, either accepting that valuation or making a counter offer (35 working days from the day after the medical report and Schedule of Loss has been submitted).
If liability were denied for some reason, then the claim would fall outside the RTA Portal scheme and the time limits set out in the Portal would no longer apply. However, the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims would come into play and they set an alternative timetable.
If you have been involved in an accident, please contact us on 0800 0747 644 and we will be happy to discuss things with you.
How much money will I receive in compensation?
How much money will I receive in compensation is something that I am often asked by clients?
My answer is that your compensation is divided into two parts called by Judges general and special damages.
Whats the difference between the two then is another question?
General damages compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you have suffered as a result of your accident related injuries and special damages compensate you for your accident related financial losses
Which financial losses can I claim form?
Any financial losses that you have suffered as a direct result of the accident which are not too remote or unforeseeable. An example of the type of items you can claim for would be loss of earnings, the cost of prescription charges, over the counter medicines, such as pain killers or bandages, fares to the Hospital, Doctor or to see your Solicitor, telephone bills, damage to clothing, or other belongings and any other reasonable expenses.
Its a good idea to keep wage slips and receipts for these as far as possible. Some of these items may seem trivial but can mount up as your case progresses and show just how much you have been inconvenienced as a direct result of your accident.
How are my general damages worked out?
You need a medical report by an independent medical expert which confirms that your injuries are accident related and gives a prognosis i.e. indicates when you will recover. Once this is available an experienced personal injury lawyer can work out the compensation you are entitled to by looking at past cases similar to yours and/or looking at the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines.
We have devised our own compensation calculator which may give you some idea of the sort of compensation you can expect.