Frequently asked questions
- Personal injury
I want to make a claim against my employers for an accident I had whilst at work, is there anything I should know?
Many people are concerned when they make a claim for compensation against their employer that this may cause bad feeling between the two parties or even worse, that they may lose their job. Don’t worry, your claim should be treated confidentially by your employer and should not be used to make decisions on how you are treated at work or the longevity of your employment.
How long will my case take, I want to know when I will get my money
Each and every case we handle is different, so we cannot say any particular claim will take a particular length of time. In cases where the responsible party has admitted liability, then we will be able to offer more accurate advice on when your claim is likely to be settled. We pride ourselves on keeping all our clients updated with any important developments on their case, and we also provide an online case tracking facility through our website.
How much compensation will I get?
Your Legal Friend has more than 30 years' legal experience. This means we can give accurate estimates for the amount of compensation you are likely to receive for your injuries. We will always fight for our clients to receive the maximum possible compensation for their particular set of circumstances.
Will anyone visit me at home to help me fill in the paperwork for my claim?
If you have been injured then we will send out one of our client liaison officers to help you fill in any forms that you need to progress your case. These visits are at no cost to you and we can arrange a time and place for the meeting to suit your availability.
What should I do if I have been approached by someone offering cash to settle my claim?
In our experience, you should always be wary of anyone offering to settle your claim immediately, as it is likely that the amount they are offering is much less than you would typically expect to receive by using a solicitor to make your claim.
There were no witnesses to my accident – can I still make a claim?
Having an independent witness to any accident at work can help your claim but it is by no means essential. The courts will usually believe the victims of workplace accidents unless there is anything that leads them to suspect that their claim for compensation after a slip, trip or fall is not genuine.
I have had previous accidents. Do I have to tell you about them?
It is essential that you tell us if you have been previously involved in a similar accident. Often it will not make any difference to your claim, but concealing previous accidents can damage your credibility as a witness and may make the court less inclined to believe your statement.
Will I be taking away money from the NHS?
The NHS has a budget set aside for compensating claimants for clinical accidents, which runs into millions of pounds.
Am I entitled to see my clinical records?
Yes, under The Data Protection Act 1998 you are entitled to a copy of your clinical records for a charge of no more than £50. The Healthcare provider has 40 days from receipt of payment to provide the records.
Will the Doctor or Healthcare provider alter my clinical records?
It can happen, but it is rare. Altering records is a criminal offence and our specialist team, and the experts we instruct, are trained to spot alterations after the event.
Am I able to complain?
Yes, The NHS Complaints Procedure can now run at the same time as a Clinical Negligence Claim. It is important to lodge a complaint as soon after the alleged negligence as possible. The NHS trust has to provide a response within 6 months. The response to the complaint can be helpful in your claim for Clinical Negligence.
Will I need to see an expert?
In most cases the initial expert reports are based on the records only. Once we have proved that the Healthcare provider has breached their duty of care to you (by providing substandard treatment) you may need to be examined. A current condition and future prognosis report will then be prepared.
How do I prove my case?
The burden of proof is on the claimant to prove their case. Basically, this means that you - with our help - will need to prove that negligence has taken place. The way that we do this is with expert evidence.
How long will my case take?
Clinical Negligence claims are not quick. The cases require detailed investigation, both on our part and on the part of the Defendant. It can take approximately 6 weeks to obtain your clinical records, which we will need to consider. We will then need to identify and instruct experts in the relevant speciality to comment on your case.
At Your Legal Friend, we only instruct the best experts and sometimes, this means waiting a little longer but this is beneficial. A detailed letter of claim will then be sent and the Defendant has 4 months to respond. Further experts may then need to be instructed and investigations undertaken. If the Defendant admits fault we will then consider how much compensation you are entitled to. If the Defendant’s deny they are at fault, then Court Proceedings may need to be issued.
Will I need to go to Court?
In 99% of Clinical Negligence cases the client will never need to attend at Court, even if Court proceedings have been issued. Most cases are settled in negotiations between solicitors.
How much compensation will I receive?
Your compensation consists of 2 parts:
- General damages – this is the compensation for your pain and suffering (the injury itself)
- Special damages – this is the compensation for financial losses and out of pocket expenses, such as loss of earnings, care and assistance and travel costs. Each case is considered on an individual basis, and will depend on the injury that you have suffered and how long it’s taken for you to recover.
How long do I have to bring a claim?
The claim must be registered with the Court within 3 years of the date of the alleged negligence or your date of knowledge. If the victim of the negligence is a child then they have until their 21st birthday to register their claim at Court. If the victim is under a Mental Disability then they have 3 years from the date they regain capacity.
Can I bring a claim on behalf of my deceased relative?
Yes, the next of kin, Executor of the will or Administrator of the estate can bring a claim on behalf of the deceased’s estate.
Will I get an apology?
There is no guarantee but we can try.
Will I need to come to your office?
One of our team will visit you at home at the beginning of your case. As your case progresses, if it becomes necessary, we can visit you again.
Will I need to change my Doctor/healthcare provider after bringing a claim?
No, is the short answer. Doctors are trained in how to handle complaints and it shouldn’t affect your care. However, you are entitled to request a different Doctor or to change your healthcare provider if you wish to do so.
Why should I choose Your Legal Friend?
Here at Your Legal Fried, we believe that you are more than just a case. Our Solicitors have more than 25 years of experience in this complex area of law. Their main concern is getting you back to the position you would have been in without the negligence, and getting you the most compensation.
How will I prove my financial losses?
It is important to keep a record of all financial losses and expense, including receipts from the outset of your claim. It is difficult to prove you have suffered financial losses without evidence and the Defendant will request copies at the appropriate time. Credit card receipts and bank statements may suffice in lieu of receipts.
Can I claim for loss of earnings?
Yes, we will request your loss of earnings details from your employer but make sure you keep your payslips as these will also assist. You will only be able to recover losses that are additional to the losses you would have sustained in any event, e.g. if you have surgery and you would have required 2 weeks off work but you needed 4 weeks as a result of negligence, you can claim for the additional 2 weeks.
Will Your Legal Friend automatically accept my case?
Not necessarily, we will carefully consider the circumstances of your case and advise you fully on whether we consider your case has merit. If we do not think your case has a good prospect for success we will let you know.
Who can I bring a professional negligence claim against?
A Professional negligence claim can be brought against any professional who provided you with a service. Examples of such professionals can include, but not limited to, the following: Solicitors; Barristers; Accountants Surveyors and Architects
What losses can I claim from my professional?
You are entitled to claim back from your professional any losses you have suffered as a direct consequence of the professional’s negligent conduct provided it can be demonstrated that those losses are attributable to the actions of the professional.
What must I prove to bring a successful professional negligence claim?
- You must demonstrate the following to bring a successful claim:
- That the professional provided you with a service which you relied upon, thus proving a duty of care;
- The service which the professional provided fell below the standard of what would be expected of a reasonably competent professional working in the same field, thus proving there has been a breach of the duty of care
- That as a result of the professional’s breach, you incurred a loss.
How long do I have to bring a claim?
You must issue Court proceedings within six years from the date on which the cause of action/breach of duty accrued, or three years from the date on which you learned or should have learned that you were likely to have incurred a loss. There is a long-stop period of 15 years in which you must bring your claim, this is regardless of whether you knew about the negligence or loss. Failure to commence Court proceeding within this period will mean you are likely to lose your right to claim damages and, therefore, you will run the risk of not receiving compensation from the negligent professional.
How long will my claim take?
It can be very difficult to estimate how long a claim for professional negligence will take from start to finish, as each claim is unique in relation to the parties and issues involved.
There is however a Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol which applies to most professional negligence claims, and a Construction and Engineering Pre-Action protocol which applies to professionals in the construction industry.
It can take over a year for the pre-action protocol itself to be exhausted, should further evidence or expert reports be required. In the event Court Proceedings are necessary, it may take over 2 years from when the claim was first intimated for the case to reach trial; however very few claims reach the stage of trial.
Will I need to go to Court?
Very few claims reach the stage of trial, as most matters settle pre Court hearing. Your legal representative will endeavor to settle your matter as quickly as possible prior to trial. However, as a matter of best practice, if Court proceedings do become necessary in your case, you should proceed on the assumption that the case will go to trial.
How will I fund my case?
There are multiple ways in which you may fund your case.
- Conditional Fee Agreement “No win, no fee”
A Conditional Fee Agreement means that we are able to take on your claim without having to ask you for money on account of costs. We would only be paid for the work we do if your case is successful and would earn nothing if the case is lost. If your claim is successful, in exchange for us taking the risk of not being paid for any of our work if you are unsuccessful, we are entitled to a “success fee” if you win. The success fee will be deducted from your damages should your claim be successful.
- Legal Expense Insurance Policy
If you have taken out a Legal Expense Insurance Policy, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy, this could cover your legal fees and the legal fees of the Defendants if your case does not succeed. On acceptance of your case, we advise you to check all insurance policies you have including motor and household insurance to see whether you have such cover.
- Private Funding
If you decide to fund your claim privately, we would ask for you to pay money on account of the cost of disbursements and would submit monthly bills for payment of our costs.