Personal Injury. How we can help

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1 Personal Injury How we can help

2 This information relates to the law and procedures in England and Wales. Please contact us if you need advice about the law and procedure in other legal jurisdictions. The family are delighted that you have been able to achieve this result for us. It is a huge relief. Thank you very much for your skilful and sensitive handling of the situation. We have felt very well cared for by you through a very stressful time. - Jean 2

3 We understand personal injury and illness. At Irwin Mitchell we appreciate the dramatic and sometimes life changing impact they can have on people and their families. Introduction If you have a personal injury claim we will help you access the best available medical care, rehabilitation and support, funded through a successful compensation claim where possible. We will also fight fearlessly to help you receive the earliest possible support with any financial stresses and strains that may arise following an injury or illness because you are not able to work. 3

4 Expertise and sensitivity Our personal injury team includes many of the country s leading lawyers in specialist areas including: Accidents and illnesses abroad Asbestos related diseases Defective products Head, spinal and other serious injuries Medical negligence Neglect, abuse and criminal injury Rail, sea and air related claims Road traffic collisions Work related illness and accidents Other accidents and injuries. The best advice We represent people throughout the UK and in over 80 countries around the world. Our depth of experience covers every type of personal injury case and you can be sure of the best legal advice, regardless of the size of claim or degree of injury. More than compensation We are seen as the voice of authority on personal injuries. As such, our team of experts will work with you, your family, health professionals, social agencies and other interested specialists to identify all the issues affecting your particular circumstances. So as well as compensation, other factors that we consider include rehabilitation, ongoing health care, suitable accommodation, mobility and any kind of other specialist equipment that might be available to help you recover. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on: or visit: you can also follow us on 4

5 Our promises to you There is no financial risk if your claim is unsuccessful* You will talk to friendly and caring professionals who are specialists in personal injury You will receive understanding, empathetic and professional advice We will undertake immediate investigations to determine who was at fault We will obtain interim payments wherever possible to help fund private healthcare, rehabilitation and your financial security Our approach will take into account any worries that you may have such as dealing with financial needs, state benefits and asserting your employment and other rights We ll see you at a place convenient for you. 5

6 Your very own team We believe in putting our clients at the centre of everything we do. By building a special relationship based on openness, trust and honesty, we are better placed to provide the expert advice you need. Dynamic professionals Specialising in personal injury for many years, we are able to attract, train and develop the country s most dynamic, exciting and effective lawyers. By arranging the best professional expertise into specialist teams and encouraging a culture of care, we always take the emotional aspect of your injury into account whilst using the law to secure the best outcome for you. More specialists We have more than 500 dedicated personal injury specialists nationwide. They are assisted by support workers from a range of professions including midwives, road traffic police, nurses, paramedics and client liaison managers, who provide expert opinion and insight to ensure that everything is taken into account when considering your long term needs. Irwin Mitchell s commitment Our first commitment is to you. We are committed to securing compensation for those entitled to claim for personal injury or illness and will ensure that you are well cared for throughout your claim. We have a long history of campaigning with leading organisations in numerous personal injury fields. Together with these organisations we seek improvements in health and safety, prevent accident and injury where possible and improve the quality of life and levels of compensation for those who have suffered injury. Often seen as innovative and unconventional, our teams are encouraged to search out new solutions where the usual formula doesn t fit. We are confident, willing to take on a challenge and we will fight fearlessly for what we think is right for you. 6

7 Taking care of you and your family Making a claim and going through the legal process can seem very daunting on top of everything else you may be experiencing related to your illness or injury. Everything explained We understand your anxiety, so right from our first conversation and every step of the way we will ensure that everything is explained to you fully and support you throughout your claim. Key contact When you become our client you will have a team of professionals working on your case. You will be assigned a dedicated lawyer who will act as your key point of contact and be responsible for making sure your team achieves the best outcome for you and your family. No compromise Every case we deal with is unique and every client we see has different needs, so it is difficult to estimate how long your claim will take to resolve. Many simple claims can be resolved within months but more usually they take a year or even longer. The timeframe really depends on how complex the claim is. Your claim cannot be settled until medical experts are able to assess what the future is likely to hold for you in respect of recovery or any residual problems you may suffer. Unfortunately there is no short cut to resolution. Good work takes time and we will never compromise where quality of life and your future is at stake. A positive outcome Our unique approach provides the assurance that your case is completely understood. Any advice is based on the facts and we are committed to making a positive difference to you and your family. 7

8 I would like to thank you personally for your hard work, which was at times beyond the call of duty, Irwin Mitchell as a company have been outstanding, as was the whole legal team that worked on this case. - Jason 8

9 Ongoing support and assurance Providing high quality personal injury advice requires a close relationship based on honesty and openness. Over the years, we have come to learn that the award of compensation is just one part of the picture. Support network We have a lot of experience of working with voluntary organisations such as charities, support groups and other specialist professionals who can provide an extended and often crucial programme of assistance beyond the law. As a result we have developed strong relationships with a range of groups and individuals who we know play a significant part in your recovery and rehabilitation process. We are involved in many charities but to name just a few, these include: Headway the brain injury association SIA the spinal injuries association Brake Child Brain Injury Trust Mesothelioma UK June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund Scope SANDS Bliss. Maintaining the highest standards Our high levels of legal expertise are recognised and reflected by the accreditations we hold from bodies such as: The Law Society - the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales. It acts in a representative capacity to promote solicitors who can demonstrate specialist skills and high standards of practice The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) - an independent organisation providing accreditation to lawyers specialising in the area of personal injury law. APIL also campaigns for better laws to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own The Legal Aid Agency - looks after legal aid in England and Wales. They also make sure that people get the information, advice and legal help they need to deal with a wide range of problems. They work in partnership with solicitors and notfor-profit organisations to provide services to help people in need. 9

10 Frequently asked questions We fully understand that you may have a number of questions which need some answers. We often hear similar questions from our clients at the beginning of the legal journey so to help, below are answers to some of the most common questions. When can I make a claim? There are strict time limits in personal injury claims within which you must have started court proceedings in your claim. However, these time limits vary and depend on a number of factors (not all of which are listed here) including the nature of your accident or injury, where the accident happened and who you intend to bring the claim against. For these reasons it is important that you seek advice promptly from one of our specialist personal injury solicitors on the precise time limits that apply to your case. Under English law, in most cases the time limit is three years from the date of the accident or incident giving rise to your injury. This means that court proceedings must have commenced within: Three years of the date of an accident, or If you have an illness caused by your work, three years from the date which you became aware of your illness If you have a medical negligence claim, three years from the date on which you became aware that you had suffered harm as a consequence of your medical treatment. These time limits do not apply to children, who can proceed at any time before their 21st birthday, or people who are unable to manage their legal affairs because of mental incapacity. Also, there are different time limits if your accident or injury occurred outside England and Wales, during the course of international travel or if a defective product is involved. Time limits and legal procedures vary from country to country but often the time limits for taking action are much shorter than three years. In some very limited circumstances the courts may allow a claim to continue beyond the time limit period but you should not assume any discretion will be applied. However, even if you believe the time limit for bringing a claim may have expired it is worth seeking advice from a solicitor on whether the court may allow the claim to proceed. When you contact us, we will give you clear advice about the time limits that apply to your claim. 10

11 Contacting us promptly also enables us to begin our investigations into the circumstances of your injury or illness. This is crucial to securing the evidence and documents needed to give your claim the best chance of success. What are my chances of winning? The law offers good protection in most personal injury cases but we re realistic in our assessments, so when you contact us we will give you honest, straightforward advice on the chances of winning your case based on the information you provide. However, in many cases it is not possible to give clear advice until further information or evidence is available. How much will it cost me? Please do not worry about legal costs. Contacting us for initial advice about your claim will cost you nothing. If we advise you to pursue a claim with us, we will review with you all the options for funding your claim, including No Win No Fee. We will advise you clearly and impartially on the best options to fund your claim. What is No Win No Fee? A No Win No Fee agreement, which is also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (or CFA) gives you security and peace of mind when making a personal injury claim. We will assess the prospects of winning your case, review all the funding options available to you and consider if you are best supported with a No Win No Fee agreement. If we are able to offer you a No Win No Fee agreement for your case and you decide to accept that offer you can be reassured that there is no financial risk to you if you are unsuccessful.* If you win your claim, your opponent will pay the majority of your basic legal costs and disbursements (e.g. court fees, medical reports). If you win, any of the legal costs not paid by your opponent will be deducted from any compensation awarded to you so you won t have to pay a penny out of your own pocket until your claim has successfully come to an end. Any disbursements reasonably incurred but not recovered from your opponent will be covered by insurance. Please note: This does not apply to mesothelioma claims which are exempt from the above arrangements. 11

12 How much compensation will I receive? Unfortunately, as a result of the changes introduced by Government in April 2013 as to how personal injury cases are funded this now means that although you can still recover the majority of your basic legal costs you will no longer be able to recover all of your legal costs from your opponent. There is no tariff of compensation but please be assured that we shall do everything we can to ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled. In most cases you will keep the substantial majority of your compensation and we will work to keep your liabilities for legal costs to a minimum by recovering as much as possible from your opponent. Every case is different and the consequences of the same injury will vary from person to person. The amountof compensation you will receive will depend on how seriously you have been injured, how that injury has affected your work and your home-life, how much money you have lost or will lose as a consequence and whether you will need extra support in the future. Sums of compensation awarded are affected by the quality of preparation of a claim and our track record is outstanding. If you have pursued your claim under a No Win No Fee agreement and you win, then there will be a payment from any compensation awarded to you to cover any shortfall in our costs which are not recovered from your opponent, the success fee and the cost of your insurance premium. Those costs not paid by your opponent will be deducted from any compensation awarded to you so you won t have to pay a penny out of your own pocket until your claim has successfully come to an end. As well as securing the financial compensation, we will help you and your family with the practical issues and day to day impact of your injury as well as ensuring you get access to the best medical care and rehabilitation. Remember, there is absolutely no financial risk to you or your family if you are unsuccessful.* Please note: This does not apply to mesothelioma claims which are exempt from the above arrangements. * Subject to entering into a No Win No Fee agreement in conjunction with our Allianz Litigate insurance policy and complying with your responsibilities under its terms. 12

13 How will my claim be progressed? Firstly, we investigate your claim thoroughly by gathering witness statements, incident reports and any other relevant documents about your injuries or illness. Once we have all the information, a full investigation of the events leading to your injury or illness can be made and we will be able to advise you on the chances of winning your case. We would then put forward the claim to the party who was at fault and their insurance company. Most claims are settled before they go to court. However, some will go to court and if that happens it is nothing to worry about; we ll be there to support you every step of the way. Can you take over from my current lawyer? If you are using a lawyer, we understand that: You want to know that you are using the best in the business, with the experience needed to bring your claim to a successful conclusion You may have previously experienced poor quality service, such as delays or periods of inactivity, and are concerned about whether you are receiving the right advice You want the very best award of compensation that can be obtained to provide for any long-term needs you may have. I just want to thank you for all your support and patience in dealing with the complexities of my claim your positive approach and reassurance kept me going at the times when I just felt like running away from it all I am sure others are now benefitting from your expertise and caring manner. - Marianne If you are concerned about the way in which your claim is being handled you can raise your concerns with your lawyer. If you are not satisfied with their response you are perfectly entitled to consider a second opinion from another law firm. We have helped many people who have been dissatisfied with the advice or service they have received from their initial lawyers and with us they have gone on to achieve the best possible outcome, taking into account all aspects of their claim including access to medical care, rehabilitation and compensation. If you do decide to move your case to us you don t have to worry about how this happens or how you will deal with your current lawyer. This process is very simple and we will take care of all the necessary arrangements for you. All you have to decide is whether you wish to stay with your current lawyers or move your case to us. 13

14 A law firm for life Everyone needs a lawyer at some time in their lives. It may be that you need advice on a legal problem or dispute that has arisen. You may simply be moving home, need to prepare your will or require specialist advice to claim compensation for a personal injury. Whatever your requirements, you need a law firm that can provide you with the best advice and handle any legal issue quickly, efficiently and at a reasonable cost. In short, you need a law firm that is committed to you and providing for your lifetime legal needs...a law firm for life. That s where we come in. Irwin Mitchell offers a diverse range of legal services and is passionate about providing the best legal advice and guidance. We can provide guidance and support in all areas of personal law including: Divorce, relationship breakdowns and child care Moving home Questioning social and health care provision, education, planning or environmental decisions Support on making decisions about personal welfare and healthcare matters and how the Court of Protection can assist Personal injury or illness Wills, trust and probate Having difficulties with your employer Taking care of your financial outlook with tax and trusts advice. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on: or visit: you can also follow us on 14

15 All the support you need We understand that contacting us might seem like a big step especially if you haven t contacted a lawyer before. Don t be worried about picking up the phone to us. We understand the real impact of a personal injury or illness and our friendly team of specialists have the skills and experience to give you the greatest chance of winning whilst supporting you every step of the way. I know I could not have come this far without your support and guidance. Through all those tearful conversations your patience with me never wavered. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget you and the kindness that you bestowed on me. - Val 15

16 Freephone For a list of our offices visit our website To see a list of our offices please visit our website. Irwin Mitchell LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. PLS-PI-0004-B

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