No two claims are exactly the same; therefore we cannot always predict how long your claim will take. In general, a claim follows these six stages:
6 steps of your claim
Initial interview and arrange funding – we will arrange a meeting with you and one of our Partners will see you. We will take initial details of your accident circumstances and your symptoms. The more information you can provide i.e. vehicle details, photographs, witness details, the easier it will be for us to assess the merits of your claim. If appropriate, we will then follow up the meeting with a letter enclosing the “no win, no fee” agreement and other compliance documents that we are obliged to send you. Sometimes, the documents can seem daunting, if you need further explanation or you have questions you can always come back to us and we’ll be happy to explain them further.
Submit your claim – in the majority of claims, we now have to submit your claim through an on-line system called the Portal. The Portal scheme does not apply to certain claims. These include claims worth in excess of £25,000 (these tend to be the serious injury and head injury claims, medical negligence claims and certain industrial disease claims. In these cases, once we are satisfied that we have sufficient evidence to proceed, we write a letter of claim to your opponent with the details of your accident and injury and we invite their response.
Await response – Under the Portal process, an opponent has a prescribed number of days to respond to the claim. This varies from 15 days to 40 working days, depending on the type of accident you have had. We will advise you of the likely timescale for your claim when we meet. If your opponent does not respond within the prescribed time scale, we can take your claim out of the Portal process and if your opponent continues to not respond or denies responsibility for your accident, the next step is to consider issuing Court proceedings. If your claim is commenced by a letter of claim, your opponent can typically take up to three months to respond, or longer in medical negligence claims.
Obtain medical evidence – in order to place a value on your injury, we need the benefit of expert medical opinion. We will arrange for you to be assessed by an appropriate medical expert who will write a report on your symptoms and provide us with an opinion and any recommendation for treatment. We will endeavour to find you an expert as close to your home as possible. However, you may occasionally have to travel to see an expert if there isn’t a specialist locally. The quality of the medical report is important as it forms the basis of the valuation of your claim. In some cases, a report from more than one expert is required. In many cases, we will need your authority to obtain your medical records prior to you being seen by the expert. If you are having ongoing treatment for you injury, we may advise you to delay obtaining a report until your treatment is complete, this allows for the expert to comment on whether the treatment has been effective.
Valuing your claim – once we have final medical evidence, meaning that we hopefully have a final prognosis for your injury, we can look at valuing your claim. Putting a value on your injury is not always straightforward and we often give you a valuation range. Compensation can be made up of two elements referred to as general damages and special damages. Please refer to the Calculating compensation section of our website for more detail on how compensation is calculated.
Settlement negotiations – once we have valued your claim, we will give you our advice on putting forward an offer of settlement to your opponent. If your opponent has accepted responsibility for your accident, we simply have to negotiate with them on a figure that they are happy to offer and you are happy to accept. We will advise you throughout this process and give you our professional advice as to whether an offer is too low or adequate to compensate you fairly for your injury. If your opponent has denied responsibility for your accident, they may still be prepared to settle your claim to avoid the threat of you pursuing your claim to Court. However, in these circumstances, their offer may be significantly below the actual valuation of your claim. Alternatively, your opponent may refuse to make any offers and therefore we will advise you on whether you should continue your claim by issuing Court proceedings. Occasionally, after issuing a claim, an opponent can make an offer to settle to avoid the risk of the case proceeding.