What is a Personal Injury Trust and should I have one?
If you receive a significant settlement, a PI Trust is a legitimate way of ensuring that this does not prevent you from recovering means-tested benefits in the future. There are pros and cons with PI Trusts but if we think they are suitable for you, we will advise you in relation to this and will put you in touch with a suitable organisation to help you arrange this.
I am I the middle of a claim but I do not think that my solicitor is doing a good job – can you help?
We certainly can. We will happily review your file for you to see if it is being progressed properly. There are a lot of poorly performing solicitors and we often take on cases for unsatisfied clients.
I can’t make calls during the day – can you contact me out of normal work hours?
Yes, no problem. We fit around you, not vice versa.
How often can I expect updates?
We will update you every 4 weeks at the most. If you want an update at any stage, just email or give us a call.
Do you always start Court proceedings against the Defendants?
Not always, no. Usually, cases settle by way of negotiations between the parties without the need for Court proceedings.
What documents do you need from me?
You should keep all documents which relate to the claim as this can help us to recover more from the Defendants. If in doubt, a good rule is to keep it.
Will I need to sign lots of documents?
Initially, we will just need you to sign the Conditional Fee Agreement which allows us to act on your behalf.
Depending how far the claim progresses, we may need you to sign:
A List of Documents – this is a list which sets out details of any relevant documents in your possession;
A Witness Statement;
Particulars of Claim – this sets out the nature and basis of the claim against the Defendants;
Schedule of Loss – this sets out details of your financial losses arising from the accident.
I have heard that Defendants deduct any state benefits people have received from their compensation awards – is this true?
Yes. Where a person has received state benefits as a result of their injuries, the Defendant has a duty to repay this to the DWP. They are usually allowed to deduct this from the settlement award (depending upon what is being claimed and which benefits have been received). We will explain to you how this works in your case.
I have been told that I am at risk of developing another medical condition in the future as a result of my accident. I am worried about this – what can I do?
Usually, a compensation claim is concluded on a one-off basis. That means that you cannot return to the Court for more in the future.
If, however, there is a genuine risk of you developing a further condition, which would make your financial needs significantly greater, we can apply for what are called provisional damages. This means that you settle your case at a certain sum but if the stated condition materialises in the future, you can return to Court for a further sum.
Can I receive a down-payment from the Defendants to help me financially?
If liability is clear-cut and the Defendants accept this, we can apply for what is called an interim payment. This is a down-payment on the amount that you are ultimately going to receive. It is often appropriate where a person’s injuries have not yet died down but they are in financial difficulty.
Will I have to see a medical expert?
Yes. Possibly more than one, depending on the nature of your injuries.
We work with a medical agency who have experts throughout the country and we will always try and arrange this with as little inconvenience to you as possible.
In addition, the Defendants will occasionally want you to be seen by their own medical experts.
How long will my claim take?
This is the second hardest question to answer – although we will always do our best to progress your claim as quickly as possible, we have to allow a certain amount of time under the Court Rules for Defendants to respond.
In addition, we will never advise you to settle your claim until your injuries have either resolved or reached a plateau. To settle earlier than this would run the risk of you not receiving adequate compensation.
When someone has serious injuries, it can take a very long time before the medical evidence and the associated financial losses can be finalised. We will always try and keep you advised on what we believe are realistic timescales for your case.
How much will I receive?
This is the hardest question to answer. Every case is different and it is very difficult to advise on the value of the claim with any accuracy until very late in the claim.
We will discuss with you as the case progresses the various items which we can try and recover for you and how much you are likely to receive. It can and often does change throughout the case as the medical evidence develops and the recovery process takes place.
My insurers have recommended that I use another firm – what should I do?
They often do this. They do so purely because they make money out of it – simple as that.
The firms are usually vast, soulless organisations full of unqualified, junior staff with little experience. We regularly receive claims from people who have started out with these recommended firms only to be totally let down by them as the case progresses.
You do not have to use any firm. You are free to choose whichever you want. So why pick one just because an insurer will make some money out of it?
I had a road accident but the other driver wasn’t insured – can I still claim?
Yes. We can normally bring a claim against the Motor Insurers Bureau. This a central fund paid for by other insurers. It provides cover for people who suffer accidents due to the fault of uninsured or untraced drivers.
Will I have to go to Court?
It is very rare for cases to actually go to Court. The vast majority of cases settle without the need for the parties to go to trial.
What will it cost me?
Please see our What does it cost? Section but the basic position is that:
If you win your case, we take a (pre-agreed) percentage from your compensation which goes towards covering our costs.
If we lose, we do not charge you anything – you walk away without any charge.
We use the Law Society-approved client agreement which we will explain to you when we take on your case.
What can I claim for?
No two cases are ever the same. We will advise you on what you can claim for when we open your case.
Usually, a claim for personal injury is made up of two areas; in legal terms, we call these general damages and special damages.
General damages – this is the amount you receive for your pain, suffering and inconvenience as well as all the difficulties which these may have caused you.
To calculate these, we look at previous cases which are similar to yours, together with guidelines which are issued to judges who decide the outcome of such claims if they go to Court.
Some firms of solicitors have a ‘Damages Calculator’ on their websites. These are irresponsible and a complete waste of time. Your case will be valued on the basis of your injuries as described by a suitably qualified medical expert or experts.
Special damages – these are any direct financial losses which you have suffered (or will suffer in the future as a result of your injuries. Typically, these may include:
- Loss of earnings up to the settlement;
- Los of earnings in the future;
- An amount to reflect the fact that your injuries may make it harder for you to find work in the future;
- The cost of medical expenses, treatment or surgery if needed;
- Items which help you cope with your injuries, for example, a wheelchair, an electric scooter, crutches, a TENS machine etc;
- The costs of care provided to you – an amount can be claimed even where no payment has been made because it has been or will be provided by family or friends
- Travel expenses;
- Prescription costs.
Who will the claim be against?
It depends on the type of case but almost always, the claim will be against an insurance company.
Who will handle my case?
Your case will be handled by a qualified, experienced solicitor.
You aren’t local to me – is that a problem?
No. With modern technology, we act for clients who are based all around the country without any problems. We try and meet all clients at some stage but it is not a problem if we cannot do so in person – we regularly have meetings by Skype.
Are you solicitors or claims-handlers?
We are solicitors. A lot of firms will use non-qualified staff and disguise the fact that they are not actually solicitors. Always ask whether they are legally qualified and how many years’ experience they have.
Who are WildWood Legal?
We are a small firm of solicitors based in Harrogate. We are professional and progressive. We only act for Claimants – we never act for Defendants. We pride ourselves on exceptional levels of customer service.