making a personal injury compensation claim

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1 W E L C O M E P A C K making a personal injury compensation claim

2 T H A N K Y O U A N D W E L C O M E Thank you for instructing Colemans-ctts solicitors. We have been helping people claim compensation for over 25 years. We understand what it means to someone when they make a compensation claim, that s why we always aim to give you the highest levels of service, expertise and support the whole way through. You can be assured that we will always provide you with straightforward and expert advice whilst at the same time fighting on your behalf to get you the maximum amount as quickly as possible. This welcome pack is intended to help you understand the basic process of making a claim and answer any questions you may have. We suggest that you read all of the information in this booklet and keep it somewhere safe. If you ever need to contact us about this or any other legal issue - now or in the future - we will be able to help you straight away. C O N T A C T D E T A I L S For all enquiries: telephone: web: offices: Kingston Upon Thames Manchester London Colemans-ctts LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA No ).

3 The Agreement M A K I N G A C L A I M The four steps to making a claim Valuing Your Claim S T E P 1 Sign and return your Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), known as a no win, no fee agreement. The sooner we get this back the faster we can GO TO MEDICAL APPOINTMENT SEND US RECEIPTS If requested, go to your medical appointment. Review the medical report to make 3 S T E P progress your claim. sure the facts are right and you are Welcome Call MAKE SURE ALL DETAILS ARE CORRECT happy. Throughout the claim, remember to SIGN AND RETURN THE AGREEMENT collect and send us any receipts for money you have lost or had to spend because of your injury. S T E P 2 We will call you to go through your claim once you have all the forms from us. Admission of Fault The other side have up to eight weeks to accept or deny that it was their fault that you were injured. SEND US PHOTOGRAPHS OF ANY VISIBLE INJURIES AND THE LOCATION OF THE ACCIDENT AGREE THE VALUE GET COMPENSATION Your Compensation After we have received your medical report we will write to you with our valuation of your claim. Once we have agreed the value of your claim with you we will attempt to 4 S T E P If they deny it was their fault your claim will be passed to our specialist lawyers. negotiate with the other side to get you the maximum compensation.

4 S T E P 1 N O W I N, N O F E E Signing Your Agreement - Today No Win, No Fee Welcome Call Included in this Welcome Pack is your Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is more commonly known as a no win, no fee agreement. It is crucial that you read, sign and return this to us today in the stamped addressed envelope provided. This document is important because: It means that we can officially start your case. It means you don t have to pay us any money up front - our success fee only comes out of the compensation you receive. We will give you a call at your convenience to: Explain how the claim runs step by step. Explain what we will be doing. Explain what you need to do. Claims Notification Form You may find a Claims Notification Form included with this Welcome Pack (if not, don t worry - it is only included in some cases). This form has all the information from our initial call. If it is included let us know any changes you require. YOUR BIT CHECKLIST Sign and return your CFA agreement in the envelope provided SIGN AND RETURN THE AGREEMENT TODAY

5 S T E P 2 H A V E T H E Y A D M I T T E D F A U L T? Your Injuries and Admitting Liability - Within Eight Weeks We may ask you to send us photos of any visible injuries you sustained in the accident, e.g. scarring, cuts or bruises and of anything else that could help your case e.g. the location of where the incident took place. The insurance company for the other side has to let us know whether they admit or deny liability for your injury within eight weeks. If they deny liability and argue that your injury wasn t their fault or allege that you were partially to blame for the accident, we follow a different process. In this situation we immediately pass you on to one of our specialist personal injury lawyers. They will quickly be in touch about the next steps to fight your claim. CHECKLIST If they admit that your injury was their fault we can then move straight onto Step 3 of your claim where we will start to gather information about the value of your injury and any other losses you have incurred. Send photographs of any visible injuries, the location the incident took place etc. (if requested) SEND US PHOTOGRAPHS OF VISIBLE INJURIES & LOCATION YOUR BIT

6 S T E P 3 V A L U I N G Y O U R C L A I M Month Two to Six There are two parts to determining how much Once we have received your medical report we Recovering Your Losses: Special Damages your claim is worth: will write to you with our valuation (depending on your injuries, sometimes further medical As a result of your accident you may have It is vital that you keep a record of your losses 1. The compensation you are eligible evidence is required). already incurred specific expenses and/or as you go and send us a copy of all the receipts to receive for your injuries (General losses and you may incur additional future as soon as you can. It will slow down your case Damages). At that stage we need you to review the report losses. and may be difficult to recover your costs if you 2. The compensation for specific losses to check that it is an accurate description and don t. To help, we have included a handy form such as lost earnings (Special a true reflection of your injures. Once you are Things to consider are: to fill in as you go, as well as an envelope to Damages). happy we need you to sign and return it to us. keep all your receipts in and then return to us Loss of earnings if you had to take when we need them. Please keep a copy for Valuing your Injuries: General Damages If your injuries are more severe and a prognosis time off work or are self-employed your own records. at this stage isn t possible, we will be in contact (your employer may need to sign the To make an assessment of your injuries we will to discuss the next steps. enclosed Form of Authority). As long as your losses are reasonable and can arrange for you to be contacted by experts from Extra transport costs (petrol, parking, be attributed to your accident we will be able to a medical agency. Please see the suppliers list taxis etc). recover these for you. If you aren t sure what in this Welcome Pack for more information. Prescription, physiotherapy, medical you can claim for, just ask. And don t forget - it treatment and other medical expenses will be difficult to claim it back if you don t have They will organise an appointment with you to Cost of care - costs incurred by others the receipt. have your injuries assessed. looking after you. Your medical will: Identify and document the injury you suffered. Help assess the value of your injury claim. Assess if you need any treatment to help you recover and how much this will cost. Identify if you need further assessments by other experts. CHECKLIST Attend your medical appointment Review the report, sign and return it to us Provide your employer with the Form of Authority (if required) Clothing and any other damaged items. CHECKLIST Save all your receipts and complete your Receipt Tracker as your claim progresses and keep everything in the envelope provided Send us your Receipt Tracker along with all your receipts HAVE YOUR MEDICAL APPOINTMENT SAVE & SEND US ALL YOUR RECEIPTS YOUR BIT

7 S T E P 4 Y O U R C O M P E N S A T I O N After Six Months Throughout the entire process our job is to represent you and get you the best compensation possible. When the time comes we will negotiate with the other side on your behalf to make sure this happens. How it works:- Our team of experienced lawyers will keep you informed throughout and fight to get the best possible outcome. If the other side don t play ball we are highly skilled in negotiating - that s how we win the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible. We agree in advance what you are happy to receive based on all the evidence, the value of your claim and the opinion of the team. We send the other side an offer. The other side will either accept the valuation or come back with a counter offer. If their offer falls within the range we agreed with you we will accept it and your payment will be on the way. Otherwise we negotiate until we reach a settlement or go to court. Whilst we estimate a straightforward claim will take just over six months, it may be longer depending on the nature of your injury. If it is more complex or your injuries are more serious this may take longer. We will always try to keep you informed should the time scales of your case change and always balance speed with getting the best outcome for you. RECEIVE YOUR COMPENSATION YOUR BIT

8 G E T T I N G I N C O N T A C T In our introductory telephone call we talked you through the process of making a claim. At key stages our team will be in contact to let you know where the claim is up to and what the next steps will be. They will arrange everything and let you know when they need something. If at any stage you need to speak to us we are always happy to help. You can contact your personal file handler directly or visit our website: We also provide a number of other legal services for you, your friends and family or your business including: If at any point the other side contact you directly you should immediately inform us. If they try to settle your case it could have repercussions and you may not get the compensation you deserve. CONVEYANCING WILLS AND PROBATE LANDLORD AND TENANT EMPLOYMENT DISPUTE LITIGATION PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS TRAVEL CLAIMS

9 T E R M S A N D C O N D I T I O N S O F Y O U R C O N T R A C T ( C F A ) Full terms and conditions are available at We can provide this information to you in a number of formats. Please contact us if you have any specific needs. Conditional Fee Agreement We have agreed to deal with your case under a Conditional Fee Agreement ( no win, no fee agreement). The Conditional Fee Agreement document sets out the percentage of your damages that you may have to pay towards our success fee. The conditional fee agreement is not a contentious business agreement within the terms of the Solicitors Act Your Obligations You must: Give us instructions that allow us to do our work properly; Not ask us to work in an improper or unreasonable way; Not mislead us; Co-operate with us; Go to any appointment, meeting, mediation, court hearing or other appointment we ask you to attend; Give us any documents, information or other evidence that we ask for when we ask for them; Preserve all documents (including electronic documents) which might be needed for the proceedings (this includes documents which might help your case and documents which might help your opponent s case. Make sure that we can always contact you and that you provide us with up to date contact details for you if these change; Not try to reach any settlement or agreement directly with your opponent or contact them whilst we are instructed; Not do anything which would prejudice your claim (including making a settlement in any related proceedings) without our authority; Permit us to issue Court proceedings if we believe that issuing Court proceedings is necessary to resolve your case; Not exaggerate your case or instruct us to claim sums which cannot be justified by clear evidence; Not put any information or material into the public domain (particularly on social networking sites) which may affect your case; At all times act proportionately and in accordance with the section on Proportionality, fixed costs and co-operating with us on the next page. What Do I Pay If I Win? If you win your claim you are liable to pay our basic charges, our disbursements and a success fee. The Government changed the law (in April 2013) so that you cannot recover the success fee from your opponent. You pay the success fee yourself if you win your claim. The success fee (including VAT) is capped at 25% of your Damages. This is set out under the heading Success Fee including how the success fee is calculated. What Do I Pay If I Lose? If you lose, you do not pay our Costs. You pay your own disbursements. You may be able to take out an insurance policy against the risk of paying your own disbursements. You do not pay the opponent s costs unless you lose the protection of Qualified One Way Costs Shifting. You may be able to take out an insurance policy against this risk. Basic Charges These are for work done from the date of our first contact with you until this agreement ends, and are subject to review. They are calculated for each hour engaged on your matter. Routine letters and telephone calls will be charged as units of one tenth of an hour. Other letters and telephone calls will be charged on a time basis. The hourly rates are: Partners: 400 per hour Grade A or 1 (Solicitors and Legal Executives with over 8 years experience after qualification): 300 per hour Grade B or 2 (Solicitors and Legal Executives with over four years experience after qualification): 250 per hour Grade C or 3 (Other solicitors, Legal Executives and staff of equivalent experience): 200 per hour Grade D or 4 (Paralegals, Trainee Solicitors, Trainee Legal Executives and other staff of equivalent experience): 175 per hour We review the hourly rates in January each year and we will notify you of any changes in writing. If the case is one to which fixed costs apply, our basic charges will be the greater of the fixed costs or the costs calculated on the basis set out above. Disbursements Disbursements are the payments we make on your behalf such as Court fees, Barristers fees (if the Barrister is not on a Conditional Fee Agreement), Experts fees, accident report fees or travel expenses. Estimates of disbursements in a typical personal injury case where damages are under 15,000 are: General practitioner and Hospital Records: per set Medical report from a General Practitioner: Medical report from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon: If Court proceedings are required Court fees will be payable. Please note that the above are estimates only. The figures exclude VAT. Success Fee The Conditional Fee Agreement sets out the maximum amount of the success fee. Damages for future loss (like future loss of earnings or future care) are not taken into account in the calculation. Sums repayable to the Compensation Recovery Unit (for benefits received as a consequence of your injury) are also excluded from the calculation. Example:- Your settlement is: 10,000 which is made up of 2,500 General Damages for pain suffering and loss of amenity, 2,000 for past loss of earnings, 500 for past care and 5,000 future loss of earnings (the figures are examples and are not intended to have any bearing to your actual claim). You have received deductible state benefits of 1,000 which are repayable to the Compensation Recovery Unit. The success fee in this example is assumed to be 25% of Damages. Our success fee in this example is 833 ( + VAT of 167 = 1,000 gross). This is calculated on a figure of 4,000 ( 2,500 General Damages + 2,000 past loss of earnings past care - 1,000 repayable to the CRU. The future loss of earnings are not taken into account). Appeals are relatively rare. If there is an Appeal we will notify you and set out a separate success fee for the Appeal. The success fee is set at 100% of your Basic Charges subject to the overall cap of 25% of Damages. Procedure on Settlement You agree to pay into a designated account any cheque received by you or by us from your opponent and made payable to you. Out of the money, you agree to let us take the sums due to us. You take the rest. We are allowed to keep any interest your opponent pays on costs and disbursements. Gross Settlements If your claim includes claims for future losses and your opponent makes an offer of settlement but refuses to break down the offer, we will set out our best analysis of the breakdown of the settlement between past and future loss so that we can calculate the success fee. We will do so by reference to the other documents prepared in the case and explain our calculation. It is not possible to be completely accurate in this assessment (for example because there is a range of possible values for General Damages and other risk factors may apply to specific parts of your claim). We have a professional duty to treat you fairly and this will apply to our assessment. If you think our analysis of the breakdown is wrong you can ask us to look at it again. If you still think it is wrong you can ask us to instruct an independent barrister to advise on the breakdown. You pay the cost of the barrister as a disbursement. This may be recoverable from the opponent depending on the type of case and the circumstances of the settlement. Value Added Tax (VAT) VAT is payable on our charges at 20% or such other rate as may be in force at the relevant time. Our VAT Number is Interim Damages, Interim Hearings, Provisional Damages and Interest If you receive interim damages, we may require you to pay part of the Success Fee on account. We may also require you to pay our disbursements at that point as well as a reasonable amount for our future disbursements. If on the way to winning or losing you are awarded any costs, by agreement or by court order, then we are entitled to payment of those costs and to retain these costs whether or not you go on to win your claim. We are allowed to keep any interest your opponent pays on the costs or disbursements. If you receive provisional damages, we are entitled to payment of our basic charges and disbursements at that point. We are also entitled to payment of the success fee at that point in respect of the provisional damages. Proportionality, Fixed Costs and Co-operating with Us The costs which we can recover from your opponent are limited by the Court rules on costs, which are proportionate or in some cases the costs we can recover from your opponent are fixed. This means that it is very important that: You give us information promptly when we ask you for information; You respond promptly to any correspondence from us; You limit your communications with us to those which are necessary for us to progress your case. There will be times during the case when we have to wait for things to happen which are outside our control and you must be patient. We will tell you when there are material developments; You do not ask us to investigate issues or pursue parts of a case which have no reasonable prospect of success or are not supported by clear evidence; You agree to let us disclose expert evidence which has been obtained if we recommend that an expert s report is disclosed. Experts are independent from us and their duty is to the Court. They have to form their own objective opinion which you may not always agree with. We cannot tell experts what opinions they should give; You give us Authority to deal with the main issues which arise; You follow our advice about settling your case; You follow our advice about whether to pursue particular parts of your case; You follow our advice about tactics to adopt. In turn we will try to limit the basic charges to the amount we can recover from your opponent. If you do not keep to your obligations as set out above we reserve the right to charge the full costs we have incurred even if these exceed the costs recoverable from your opponent. Fixed costs cases are generally those cases where the damages are likely to be less than 25,000. In all cases we need to act proportionately. Terminating the Conditional Fee Agreement Paying us if you end the agreement You can end the agreement at any time. We then have the right to decide whether you must:- Pay our basic charges and our disbursements including barristers fees but not the success fee when we ask for them; or Pay our basic charges, and our disbursements including barristers fees and success fees if you go on to win your claim for damages. Paying us if we end the agreement (a) We can end the agreement if you do not keep to your obligations. We then have the right to decide whether you must:- Pay our basic charges and our disbursements including barristers fees but not the success fee when we ask for them; or Pay our basic charges and our disbursements including barristers fees and success fees if you go on to win your claim for damages. (b) We can end the agreement if we believe you are unlikely to win. If this happens, you will only have to pay our disbursements. These may be able to be claimed under the insurance policy. These will include barristers fees if the barrister does not have a conditional fee agreement with us. (c) We can end the agreement if you reject our opinion about making a settlement with your opponent. You must then: Pay the basic charges and our disbursements, including barristers fees; Pay the success fee if you go on to win your claim for damages. If you ask us to get a second opinion from a specialist solicitor outside our firm, we will do so. You pay the cost of a second opinion. (d) We can end this agreement if you do not pay your disbursements or insurance premium when asked to do so. Death This agreement automatically ends if you die before your claim for damages is concluded. We will be entitled to recover our basic charges up to the date of your death from your estate. If your personal representatives wish to continue your claim for damages, we may offer them a new Conditional Fee Agreement, as long as they agree to pay the success fee on our basic charges from the beginning of the agreement with you. Complaints Procedure We are committed to providing high quality legal advice and client care to all our clients. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about a bill for our fees please refer in the first instance to the person dealing with your file. At that stage we will send you a copy of our Complaints Procedure. Alternatively, you may request a copy of our Complaints Procedure at any time. If you are not satisfied with the way we handle your complaint you can contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ, tel , The Legal Ombudsman can deal with individuals or certain charities, clubs or microbusinesses. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman may also consider complaints within six years of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it). Qualified One Way Costs Shifting When may I be liable to pay the Opponent s Costs? Qualified One Way Costs Shifting (which we refer to as QOCS ) applies to personal injury cases only. It is designed to limit the circumstances when you might be liable to pay your opponent s costs. If you lose (i.e. recover no damages) you will not be ordered to pay any costs to the opponents unless: the Court finds that you have been fundamentally dishonest; the Court strikes out your claim because it discloses no reasonable cause of action, it is an abuse of process or because your conduct (or that of someone authorised on your behalf and with your knowledge) is likely to obstruct the just disposal of the proceedings. The Court will hold a hearing to determine whether one of these exceptions applies. If you win some damages and the opponents are awarded some costs (for example if you fail to win more in damages than a Part 36 offer made by the opponent), they can deduct their costs from those damages but you will not have to pay more than the amount you are awarded unless an exception applies.

10 G l o s s a r y Advocacy Basic charges Claim Claims Notification Form (CNF) Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) Counterclaim Costs CRU Damages Disbursements (or Our Disbursements) Future Loss General Damages Gross settlement Interim damages Interim hearing Lien Lose Part 36 offer Past Loss Provisional damages Qualified one way costs shifting or QOCS Special Damages Success fee Trial We, Us, Our Win Appearing for you at court hearings. Our charges for the legal work we do on your claim for damages. Your claim as set out on the covering letter of this Welcome Pack. The form we completed after our initial telephone call which started your claim. This is more commonly known as a no win, no fee agreement. A claim that your opponent makes against you in response to your claim. Our basic charges and success fee. Compensation Recovery Unit. If you have received state benefits your opponent has to pay these back to the government. Money that you win whether by a court decision or settlement. When calculating the success fee, we take into account your general damages and damages for past losses only. Damages for future losses such as future loss of earnings or future care are not taken into account. Amounts repayable to the Compensation Recovery Unit are also excluded from our calculation. Payments we make on your behalf such as Court fees, Barristers fees, Experts fees or Accident report fees. Claims for Future Loss are claims for losses which have not yet been incurred at the point when a settlement is agreed or when the Court gives judgment. Examples include items such as future loss of earnings or future care needs. The damages agreed or awarded for pain, suffering and the injury itself. A settlement or award which is not broken down into separate elements. Money that a court says your opponent must pay or your opponent agrees to pay while waiting for a settlement or the court s final decision. A court hearing that is not final. Our right to keep all papers, documents, money or other property held on your behalf until all money due to us is paid. A lien may be applied after this agreement ends. The court has dismissed your claim or you have stopped it on our advice. An offer to settle your claim made in accordance with Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules. This is an offer which has consequences if you reject it. We will advise you at the time any offer is made. The part of the damages for actual losses which have already been incurred at the point when a settlement is agreed or when the Court gives judgment. Examples include items such as past loss of earnings or past care needs. Money that a court says your opponent must pay or your opponent agrees to pay, on the basis that you will be able to go back to court at a future date for further damages if: you develop a serious disease; or your condition deteriorates; in a way that has been proven or admitted to be linked to your personal injury claim. Provisional damages claims are rare. The Civil Procedure Rules dealing with Qualified One Way Costs Shifting in personal injury cases. The compensation for specific losses such as lost earnings, extra travel expenses, medical treatments etc. Your share of the cost of running your successful claim. See Success Fee section of the terms and conditions. The final contested hearing or the contested hearing of any issue to be tried separately and a reference to a claim concluding at trial includes a claim settled after the trial has commenced or a judgment. Colemans-ctts LLP. Your claim for damages is decided in your favour whether by a court decision or an agreement to pay you damages or you recover damages or in any way that you derive benefit from pursuing the claim.

11 colemans ctts Kingston Office High Street Kingston upon Thames Surrey KT1 1LL t Manchester Office 100 Talbot Road Manchester M16 0PG t London Office 182 High Street Acton London W3 9NN t e wwwcolemans-ctts.co uk Colemans-ctts LLP Colemans-ctts LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales, registered under OC Colemans-ctts LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA No ). WP-PI ATE

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