Beware of insurer referrals
People suffering injury very often face one of the crisis periods in their life as they try to manage with the pain and financial consequences of the injury. Sadly the position of Claimants is frequently made worse as they accept referral by their insurers to solicitors on the insurer’s panel. Too often we have been approached by Claimants to take over cases where they have received a second rate and impersonal service from poorly qualified advisers dealing with claims in a highly processed way.
Insurers will often try to persuade potential Claimants that unless they accept referral to solicitors on the insurer’s panel that they will be disadvantaged in relation to options for funding the claim. This is rarely the case and legal expenses insurance is often used buy insurers as simply a way of trying to persuade potential Claimants to accept referral to solicitors on the insurer’s panel.
Remember you do have a choice as to who deals with your claim.
We are confident of providing you with funding arrangements to suit you and a comprehensive and quality service based on personal care from experienced advisers.
Support for you following injury - Not just compensation
While financial compensation is clearly the key objective of any personal injury claim practical support with a number of aspects can be crucial in relieving some of the more serious consequences of injury. When choosing a solicitor consider what support they can provide with such matters as:
- securing support for urgent practical needs
- financial and welfare benefits advice
- Deputyship services
- representation at Inquests
- help in dealing with the press
Time Limits - limitation periods
If it is necessary to start court proceedings, to pursue a claim for compensation for personal injuries, the general rule is that proceedings must be started before the end of the limitation period.
The limitation period generally expires three years after the cause of action arises i.e. the date of the accident. Failure to start proceedings within the limitation period is likely to lead to the claim being statue barred and in those circumstances it would not be possible to pursue the claim whatever its merits.
Where the injury is sustained by a child the three year period does not start to run until his or her 18th birthday.
The start of the limitation period may also be delayed where a person does not have knowledge that they have sustained significant injury that is attributable to their opponent’s negligence. However, the rules on this aspect of the law are complex and care needs to be exercised in assessing when such knowledge is acquired. We can advise you further regarding the limitation period.
Court proceedings and hearings
It may be necessary to issue court proceedings if:
- liability is denied by the Defendant
- it is not possible to reach agreement on the value of the claim
- the claim cannot be concluded before the end of the limitation period
- it is thought that the discipline of the timetable set by the Court will assist in progressing the claim to a conclusion.
Most cases are resolved without resort to formal court proceedings. Even where proceedings are issued only a few cases get as far as a final court hearing. Most cases that are concluded with a payment of damages are settled by negotiation rather than at a contested court hearing.
Welfare benefits and personal injury trusts
If an injured person is in receipt of means tested State benefits or might be entitled in the future then if a large capital payment is made to them by way of compensation then there is potential for this to impact on entitlement to means tested benefits. Setting up a Personal Injury Trust is a way of avoiding these adverse consequences. Damages paid into a personal injury trust are not taken into account when assessing entitlement to means tested benefits.
Follow this link for further information on setting up a Personal Injury Trust.
Keeping a diary to record progress and expenses
It is worthwhile keeping a diary to record key stages in recovery from an injury such as the points when the injured person:
- no longer needed assistance with bathing or dressing
- no longer needed to use crutches
- was able to manage normal domestic chores
- was able to drive
- was able to return to work
The diary may also be useful as a record of trips to the hospital for medical appointments/ physiotherapy etc and to record expenses such as rail and taxi fares, car mileage, parking costs etc. Please also keep any receipts for expenses incurred.
The diary may be a useful aide-memoire if later we need to prepare a statement from the injured person dealing with the progress and recovery from their injury. We can also go through the diary and any other records or receipts to assess what losses are properly recoverable from the Defendant and if appropriate seek interim payments to cover those expenses during the course of the claim.
Please contact us if you would like any further details of the assistance we can offer.