Archive for the ‘Compensation Claims’ Category

Interim Payment In Accident Claims: How Long To Receive Money?

Monday, December 6th, 2010

How long should you wait for your solicitor to obtain an interim payment on your behalf in an accident claim?

I am often contacted by accident victims asking why their solicitor has not obtained an interim payment on their behalf despite liability having been accepted.

An interim payment – is a sum of money paid upfront before your claim for compensation is concluded. This sum is in effect a part payment – on the basis that you can suffer great hardship whilst your claim is being made especially if your sources of income are limited whilst you are recuperating from your injuries.

You must remember – that it is not a given that you will receive an interim payment and even if your solicitor has promised to attempt to obtain a payment there can be quite substantial delays.

Before a court will award an interim payment it must be satisfied that you are certain to win your claim and receive compensation well in excess of the sum requested in the interim payment.

To succeed in an interim payment application the following should be shown:

1. Liability is conceded by the person you hold at fault.

In certain types of claim, such as in road traffic accidents, the driver’s motor insurance company will openly accept in letters (open correspondence) that legal liability or fault is accepted.

2. It must be accepted that the accident caused your injuries.

It might be accepted that someone was at fault for causing your accident, but this does not mean that your injuries and losses are accepted as being as a result of the accident.

This question is known as medical causation – in other words: did the accident cause your injuries?

An independent medical expert would need to review your GP and hospital notes,  examine you and give an opinion as to which of your injuries were caused by the accident.

3. You would need to be able to demonstrate to the court how much your likely claim is worth.

You might have suffered a significant injury in a RTA or work accident resulting in a potential large pain and suffering and lost income claim. The evidence necessary to prove this could take some time to produce even if liability is accepted.

A medical expert might take 6 months to examine you and might even at that stage indicate that you need to have a MRI scan, physiotherapy and then to be reviewed again in the future.

To show that you are likely to have substamtial lost income into the future you might need full medical evidence, accountant reports and even a rehabilitation expert report, etc.

4. It is up to your lawyer to get the evidence together before applying for an interim payment.

It is really in the hands of your solicitor to get all the evidence together before making an application for an interim payment on your behalf.

Should you make an application too early and that application fail due to lack of evidence in support – it is likely you will have to meet the cost of the application even if the person at fault has accepted responsibility.

Click accident claim interim payment to ask me an online question about your own accident claim.

Accident Company: Cold Call From A UK Claims Management Company Legal?

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Find out when an accident claim management company is acting illegally and the benefits of using a solicitor direct

Personal injury victim question:

Following a recent car crash an accident company called me to see if I would like to make a claim for personal injury. Are these companies legitimate and what is the difference between my claim going through them or a solicitor?

Specialist accident claim solicitor response

Accident claims management companies can be legitimate companies in the UK, but to be so they must be registered with the Ministry Of Justice and as such must adhere to a certain rules, which include:

1. No cold calling, approaching members of the public on the street or knocking at doors. This is known as an “unsolicitied” approach and is illegal. It is illegal not only for an accident company, but also a solicitor.

Solicitors however are fully aware of their duties and are bound by very strict conduct rules governed by the Law Society and enforced strictly by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

Although accident claims companies are registered with the Ministry of Justice – my experience has shown that they are not monitored to anywhere near like the same degree as a professional solicitor.

2. An accident claims management company must not hold itself out expressly or impliedly to be a solicitor. This is a criminal offence.

Employees of accident companies tend to have very little if any legal knowledge and as such are often unaware of this requirement. For example – suggesting on their website that they can give advice, have solicitors who can advise, even using the word solicitor in their titles is misleading and technically illegal.

3. A personal injury claims management company cannot run your claim – but will charge a solicitor to make your claim. The claims managment company will typically find the highest bidder for your work and not the best solicitor.

In any event an accident claims company must declare to you from the outset the fee that it will charge a solicitor to run your claim – this must be put in writing and you must be given a 14 day cool off period before you are bound by any agreement with them.

So in answer to the question – it is illegal for you to receive a cold call from an accident company following your car crash. You have been contacted without giving your permission – you must approach an accident company first and not the other way around.

The difference in approaching a specialist solicitor to make your claim compared with using an accident claims company is massive. I would say never use an accident management company as there is absolutely no advantage to you.

The staff at such companies can give you no legal help – if they attempt to advise you it is illegal and possibly even criminal. They will pass your claim to a solicitor who will pay them enough money, but this does not mean you have a good experienced solicitor.

The choice of solicitor is perhaps the single most important decision you must make when deciding to make an accident claim, so approach a solicitor direct and ensure that you are comfortable with that lawyer and can have all of your questions answered.

You will not be bound to use a solicitor until you have signed a retainer contract and as the solicitor has not paid a fee to receive your work – you will not be hurried into accepting a settlement at too low an amount and can be assured your full compensation will be recovered.

Calderbank Offer Versus Part 36 Offer: Settle Your UK Accident Claim

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

What is a Calderbank offer and how does it differ from a part 36 offer?

Claims for compensation following an accident in the UK are decided by a set of procedural rules known as the Civil Procedure Rules

Under the civil procedure rules a Part 36 offer can be made in settlement of a claim itself. However a part 36 offer will not deal with costs between the parties.

If the person at fault accepts your part 36 offer – you are entitled to claim reasonable legal cost in addition to your compensation.

There are occasions however in which a person at fault may wish to limit the amount of legal costs paid to you in addition to your compensation.

In such a case an offer known as a “Calderbank” offer is made which is a contractual offer and is made outside of the civil procedural rules. As a contractual offer the contents of the offer itself are not prescribed and can be set out by the party making the offer.

In such instances a person at fault will offer a sum of compensation and also a sum for legal costs irrespective of legal costs that you might have incurred when making your claim.

A good tactic which you can employ is to immediately offer the same amount of compensation set out in the Calderbank offer by way of part 36. You will then know that the person at fault is at risk of failing to pay a sum which in essence they have agreed is proper, but with the added benefit that your legal costs will not be limited.

Click without prejudice offer to see the page I have written explaining how your claim can be settled “without admission as to liability” in other words without accepting legal fault.