Choosing a Personal Injury Solicitor?
A personal injury solicitor will help you through the complex process of claiming compensation. Your personal injury lawyer will support you throughout your claim, ensuring that you get the correct advice and that you receive the right compensation settlement.
Here's what you need to know about finding the right solicitor to handle your personal injury claim.
If you are looking for advice on a specific type of claim, see:
What is a personal injury solicitor?
A personal injury solicitor, or personal injury lawyer, is a trained and qualified legal professional.
The injury claims process can be complex and the best approach will vary depending on the type of claim. Many personal injury solicitors will specialise in a particular area of personal injury law, such as work accidents claims (employers’ liability) or clinical negligence claims.
What will my personal injury lawyer do for me?
During the claim process, you solicitor will:
- represent and advise you regarding your compensation claim.
- communicate with the legal representative or insurance company acting for the defendant (the person or company who caused your injury).
- gather evidence in support of your claim and build your case
- negotiate your compensation sum.
Is that all they do?
The best personal injury solicitors will do much more than handle the legal side. Depending on the nature of the injury and on your needs, good personal injury solicitors will also help with the following:
- A thorough and independent needs assessment
- Access to treatments and therapies not always available on the NHS
- Early financial assistance with treatment, support, home modifications etc.
- Co-ordination with rehabilitation providers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and other health professionals
- Ensuring that your compensation is ring-fenced by a Personal Injury Trust to protect it from tax and means-testing
- Organising welfare benefits advice
Do personal injury solicitors go to court?
Approximately 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
If the two sides cannot agree on a final compensation settlement amount, the case would go to court. Although some solicitors can represent their clients in court, most will arrange for the case to be argued by a barrister.
How will my solicitor get paid?
If your claim is successful then under a 'Conditional Fee Agreement', your solicitor's fees will be paid by the other side. In addition, a solicitor will typically receive a success fee of 25% which is deducted from your compensation.
In most cases, the solicitor will charge a success fee of 25%. Why?
Aren’t all solicitors the same?
Personal injury law is a highly-regulated profession. The regulations prohibit solicitors from making promises about getting more compensation than other solicitors. They also cannot claim to be any faster than their competition.
Given that all solicitors are restricted by what they can charge, it can be very difficult for a potential claimant to see any difference between one solicitor and another.
So how do I choose the best solicitor for me?
The personal injury process is, in essence, a negotiation. An experienced and focussed solicitor may well get a better result for a client than an inexperienced or overworked solicitor.
So how can you make sure you are getting the best solicitor for your claim?
There are some key points plus a few tricks to find the best personal injury solicitor for your claim:
|The solicitor has the right accreditations||See details below|
|The Conditional Fee Agreement+ (CFA) small print||You must check the small print before signing anything. You could ask for a specimen CFA right from the outset and ask the solicitor to go through it with you.|
|The solicitor’s specialisation||Look for a solicitor with a proven track record in your specific type of claim. If you are working with a CMC, ask them why they have recommended a specific solicitor.|
|The solicitor’s track record||Ask your solicitor if they have handled any claims like yours before, and what the outcome was. You could even ask for them to send you a case study.|
|Do you like the solicitor?||
The claims process can take several months during which you will collaborate with your chosen solicitor. It is important that you feel comfortable and are able to communicate well with the solicitor.
If you haven’t yet spoken to the individual who will handle your claim, what was the attitude of the people you have dealt with at the firm? Were they helpful, friendly and professional? The attitude of the initial claim vetters is usually an indication of the culture of the firm as a whole
|The solicitor’s reviews||Checking online reviews is a quick and easy way to confirm that your prospective solicitor offers the sort of service you are looking for. Look out for comments about communication and proactivity in particular.|
For more information see: How to find the right solicitor for your claim.
Do I need to use a local solicitor?
No. You will not need to visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?
Can’t I just do it myself?
Like property conveyancing, employment tribunals and other areas of the law, it is technically possible to handle the legal work for a personal injury claim yourself.
However, the claims process is complex and may require specialist medical evidence or expert witness statements.
It can be particularly difficult to calculate how much your claim should be worth. A personal injury solicitor can draw on their training and years of practical experience to ensure your financial compensation will be fit for purpose.
Insurance companies are (understandably) eager to negotiate as low a settlement as possible, and they are unlikely to inform you if you have missed something you could have otherwise claimed for, such as private treatment or care costs. An independent, specialist solicitor will ensure that your claim calculation includes everything you have the right to claim for.
What does a personal injury solicitor cost?
Unlike most other legal services, personal injury solicitors usually work on a No Win, No Fee basis.
No Win, No Fee means that if your claim is not successful, you will have no legal fees to pay whatsoever. Your solicitor will arrange for insurance to ensure you are never out of pocket and can pursue a claim with no financial risk.
Do all solicitors offer No Win No Fee?
The vast majority of personal injury cases are handled on a No Win, No Fee basis.
However, it may be possible to engage the services of a solicitor on, for example, an hourly basis instead. An hourly or daily rate can prove to be a very expensive option if you claim is more complex or requires a lot of work.
By law, the legal fee, or success fee, that a No Win, No Fee solicitor receives is capped at 25% of the compensation amount, or 100% of the solicitor’s costs, whichever is the lower amount. The fee cap means that, for simpler or quicker claims, the solicitor’s success fee will often be less than 25%. Even in very complex cases, the fee cannot exceed 25% of the claimant’s compensation.
Are there any cases when I should not/do not need to use a solicitor?
There are certain types of injury claim that can be pursued directly with specific organisations. These include:
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)
The CICA is a government body set up to compensate victims of violent crime. Applications to the CICA can be made directly by the claimant although some people decide to apply with the help of a personal injury solicitor.
Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB)
The MIB was established in 1946 to compensate injury victims of uninsured or untraceable drivers. If you have been injured in an accident with an uninsured or untraceable driver you can apply directly to the MIB for compensation. Some people prefer to do this with the assistance of a personal injury lawyer.
The MIB can also handle your road accident claim if you have been injured by a foreign driver.
Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)
The AFCS is the official government body that handles direct applications for compensation where service people suffered an illness or injury on or after 6 April 2005.
There are several organisations and professional awards that can help you find out if a solicitor has specialist personal injury experience:
The Law Society
The Law Society is an independent professional body that represents all solicitors, including personal injury lawyers, in England and Wales. The Society represents and governs solicitors, and also provides training and support.
The Law Society also awards accreditations to solicitors and law firms in recognition of special expertise.
Law Society Personal Injury Accreditation
This award covers all areas of personal injury work, including claims for work accidents, road accidents and accidents in public places.
Accredited solicitors must show that they have a high level of skills, legal knowledge and experience handling personal injury claims.
Law Society Clinical Negligence Accreditation
This accreditation is awarded to solicitors who have demonstrated that they can meet the high standards of competence and expertise set by the Law Society in the areas of medical and dental negligence.
Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
The Solicitors Regulation Authority, or SRA, is the body that regulates solicitors in England and Wales. Unlike the Law Society, the SRA has the power to impose sanctions on solicitors and law firms who breach its regulations.
All solicitors in England and Wales must adhere to the SRA’s regulations, which includes restrictions on how solicitors receive work and handle client money. The SRA ensures that lawyers act in the best interests of their clients, remain independent and that they maintain client confidentiality.
Solicitors in Scotland are regulated by the Law Society of Scotland.
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), is the largest association of personal injury specialists in the UK. APIL membership is a sign that a personal injury solicitor is an active member of the profession, and supports APIL’s work to campaign for reform in personal injury law.
APIL also awards accreditation to senior personal injury lawyers, and all members must adhere to the APIL code of conduct and consumer charter.
Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS)
The Motor Accident Solicitors Society is a specialist organisation of road accident claims solicitors and other experts.
MASS represents the interests of road accident victims and seeks to continually improve the skills, and expertise of its members and to lobby for improvements in the law to better protect the rights of injured people.
Law Society of Scotland
The Law Society of Scotland is the professional body that represents and governs solicitors in Scotland. Unlike the Law Society of England and Wales, the Law Society of Scotland also regulates and enforces sanctions against solicitors and law firms that breach its rules.
When is the best time to instruct a personal injury solicitor?
In most cases, you have up to 3 years after the date of injury to start a claim. The sooner you start a claim, however, the easier it will be for your solicitor to collate evidence and build a case.
It is therefore recommended that you start a claim as soon as possible after your injury.
My insurance company has recommended a solicitor...
Under European legislation, you are free to choose your own personal injury solicitor, even if your insurance company tries to persuade you otherwise.
Whoever acts for you should represent your best interests. If you are fully confident that the panel solicitor will do this, that is fine.
However, insurance companies often agree to pass all their personal injury claims to the solicitors on their panels in exchange for a referral fee paid by the solicitor. This financial relationship dictates the choice of solicitor, not whether the solicitor is the right person for your type of claim.
I was cold-called by a claims company - should I go with them?
It is now illegal to make personal injury claim cold calls in the UK. Organisations must seek your consent before calling you. If a company breaks the law they can be fined up to £500,000.
Quittance legal services is a signatory of the Ethical Marketing Charter, the Marketing Standards Charter and adheres to all applicable marketing regulations.
If you are cold-called by a company in respect of a claim, that company is acting illegally and you should find another solicitor.
How personal injury solicitors decide whether to accept a claim
Personal injury solicitors are obliged to act in the best interests of injured clients. Solicitors must also provide accurate information to potential claimants regarding their options for compensation.
If a solicitor believes that your case has poor prospects of success, they must tell you so, and they must give you an explanation as to why they won’t take on your case.
However, in most cases, it is not possible for a solicitor to guarantee the outcome of a potential case, particularly if liability is disputed or the extent of your injuries is not known. Different solicitors, with different levels of expertise or experience, may assess a claim differently.
It may also be the case that a solicitor states they cannot act for you because they don’t have the capacity to take on extra work, because they lack expertise in your type of compensation claim, or because they foresee that the case will be expensive to run, and may take a long time to reach a conclusion. Some smaller firms are unable to bankroll complex cases, particularly those involving clinical negligence and serious injury.
If your claim has not been accepted, you should always seek a second opinion.
No win, no fee
With a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make an injury claim without having to pay upfront legal fees. If your injury claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.
Our no win, no fee promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making an injury claim, even if you don't win your claim.
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any legal fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
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