2 Contents What you can expect from Goldsmith Williams 1 Medical Reports 7 Types of Road Traffic Accidents 2 Frequently Asked Questions 9 Whiplash Claims 3 Testimonials 12 Common Causes of Accidents 4 The GW Account 13 Uninsured / Untraceable Drivers 5 Everyday Legal 14 The Personal Injury Claims Process 6 Premier Client Club 15 General Terms and Conditions Acceptance of Instructions to Act Data Protection Regulation Copyright Law and Jurisdiction Electronic ID Your File Call Recording Copies of Calls Using your Information Confidentiality Money Laundering Outsourcing Interest Electronic Communication Rights Distance Selling Your Right to Complain Banking Crisis Client Balances Assessment Personal Injury Terms and Conditions Ending the Relationship Introducers and Your Best Interests Ambermedico Limited Conflict of Interest Financial Services - Insurance MIAFTA - Motor Insurance Anti Fraud and Theft Register Marketing
3 What you can expect from Goldsmith Williams 1 If you ve had an accident on the road that wasn t your fault, we will help you make a claim for compensation. With over 30 years of experience dealing with personal injury claims, Goldsmith Williams has the right people in place to deal with your claim quickly and efficiently. We deal with thousands of road traffic accident claims every year, from minor wounds to severe injuries, and aim to make your claim as stress-free as possible. Our Personal Injury department is headed up by Senior Partner, Simon Cottrell and specialises in road traffic accidents as well as accidents at work and public liability claims. The department is made up of solicitors and experienced legal executives, each of whom, unlike some other firms, have low case loads allowing them to complete cases more quickly and efficiently. Trust your personal injury claim to Goldsmith Williams and you ll get the whole process explained in plain English and regular updates by phone and/or in writing as your case progresses The first section explains what kinds of road traffic accidents we specialise in and what happens in the compensation claim process. It explains what you need to do, what we ll do for you, and what you can do to speed up the progress of your case. The second section, Terms and Conditions of Service, details specific information that as a regulated business, we are required to tell you about us and your claim process. We appreciate there is a lot of information to take in, but please take the time to read it all. It could be instrumental in helping your claim reach a conclusion more quickly.
4 Types of Road Traffic Accidents 2 With some of the busiest roads in the world, it s no suprise that there are so many accidents on our roads each year. But it s important to remember you don t need to be in a car to have an accident. Ca r Accidents Cycling Accidents Bus Accidents It s not surprising that with cars making up most of the traffic, car accidents account for the majority of casualties on our roads (approximately two thirds). Motorbike Accidents With many of us trying to do our bit for the environment as well as a great, cheap way to keep in shape, there are a growing number of cyclists out on the roads. Pedestrian Accidents Whether you re a regular bus user on your daily commute, or on a one-off journey, if you have been injured as a result of a bus crash, you could be able to make a claim. Passenger Accidents Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable road users. They are more exposed to the elements, more prone to skidding and often fall into other drivers blindspots. Given the lack of protection, pedestrians involved in road traffic accidents, understandably often come of worst and sustain the most serious injuries. If you are a passenger in a road traffic accident, caused by either the driver of the vehicle or by another driver, you too are able to make a claim for compensation.
5 Whiplash Claims 3 Whiplash is the most common injury sustained in road traffic accidents. While it has received a lot of bad press of late, the fact remains it can be a very debilitating injury which can last several months. Whiplash is caused by a vigorous jolt of the head. Such a sudden and involuntary movement, typically occurring when a vehicle has been hit from behind, can damage the ligaments and tendons in the neck. Many sufferers complain of headaches and stiffness in their neck, head and shoulders. They often find it uncomfortable to sit or stand still for a long period of time. The severity of whiplash can be dependent on: The weight and speed of the cars involved The angle of impact The position of the seats.
6 Common Causes of Accidents 4 Road traffic accidents can happen for all sorts of reasons. However, in our experience, here are some of the most common causes of road traffic accidents.
7 Uninsured / Untraceable Drivers 5 Many people presume if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, or if the other party drives off before you get their details, that you cannot make a claim. This is not the case. Uninsured/ Untraced Motorist If you suspect that a third party has provided false details or if the third party has failed to provide you with insurance details you must report this to the police immediately and obtain a police reference number. The Motor Insurers Bureau can compensate victims of uninsured or untraced motorists however you must have reported the accident to the Police within 5 days of it happening or as soon as reasonably possible. The Motor Insurers Bureau can refuse to deal with your claim if you have not reported the matter to the police within the requirement timescales. Your claim will be dealt with under a Conditional Fee Agreement however, if it turns out that the other driver cannot be traced and we have to apply to the MIB to compensate you, then this cannot be done under a Conditional Fee Agreement and it will be terminated. Whilst the MIB contribute towards our costs, the sum is much lower than our usual fees and we may have to look to you to pay any shortfall from an award that is made. A more detailed explanation of how this works will be sent to you under separate letter before we take this course of action. Fully Comprehensive Insurance If you have fully comprehensive insurance policy but decide to ask the third party s insurers to pay for the repairs/total loss value of your vehicle you must be aware that this is very likely to take longer than if you used your own fully comprehensive insurance policy. The third party s insurers will not deal with your claim until the third party has filled in a claim form, they are satisfied that the third party has a valid policy of insurance with them and that the accident is completely their insured s fault. They have three months to investigate this and are not legally obliged to provide any interim payments to you. The third party s insurers will not be responsible for any unreasonably incurred hire/ storage or other charges that you incur whilst waiting for them to deal with your repairs/ total loss if you have a fully comprehensive policy that you could use instead. You should always report an accident to your own insurance company immediately, even if you do not intend to claim from your own policy. You could invalidate your insurance if you fail to report an accident to them. If you have not reported the accident to them immediately but then later try to make a claim on your own policy you may find that your insurers will refuse to deal with your claim. You should check your policy document thoroughly as you may find that if you do not report an accident to them within a certain time this invalidates your insurance.
8 The Personal Injury Claim Process: In a Nutshell 6 At Goldsmith Williams, we like to keep things simple and not bombard you with legal jargon and unnecessary information. We also understand you ll want to know what s going on with your claim, what we re doing for you and what you need to do to ensure your claim is not delayed in any way. Please follow this simple journey diagram, marking off each step (Yellow circles) as you go. If the defendant does not admit liability, we will review all documentation and reassess your claim. If we still remain confident in your claim, we will continue with the same process as if they had admitted liability, sending you for a medical examination, receiving a medical report and sending this through to the defendant to try and settle the claim. If they still do not admit liability, it is possible that legal proceedings will be issued in the event that settlement cannot be reached. Please Note: This scenario is based on admitted liability. Receive your claim, either directly from you or from an Introducer such as a claims management company. Assess your case and open your file. Send you the paperwork for your claim. Includes our no win, no fee agreement, GP and hospital forms and our PI questionnaire. Complete and sign all the paperwork and return to us as quickly as possible. Send out the letter detailing your claim directly to the defendant (e.g. highways authority, supermarket). Wait for acknowledgment of the letter within 21 days. Defendant then has 3 mths to investigate from the date of the acknowledgment letter. If defendant admits liability, we ll instruct a medical expert. You attend a 30 minute medical examination. We send the medical report to you. If you are happy with the contents of the medical report, approve this and return to us. We send it to the defendant for them to agree and to make any offers. We then take instructions from you. (If we do receive your claim from an Introducer, please read the Introducers and Your Best Interests clause in our Terms and Conditions section for information on this relationship). Receive your compensation.
9 Medical Reports 7 Our aim is to reach the best possible settlement for you. To help us do this, we ll need to obtain a medical report from a specialist. Choosing the right medical specialists who not only have the required expertise but can provide a report without unnecessary delay requires knowledge and experience. The process of arranging (and rearranging!) appointments and acquiring all the necessary information, such as hospital notes and doctor s records, can be time-consuming which could in turn delay your claim. It is for these reasons that solicitors engage the services of a separate medical agency to organise all this. The agency charges an administration fee in addition to the direct cost of the doctors and hospitals fees, but this is recoverable from the other sides insurers. We recommend the services of Ambermedico Limited. If you have made a full recovery from your injuries or all of your injuries will resolve over time, we may only need to obtain one medical report from a specialist in order to reach a settlement of your claim. If you have suffered a much more severe injury where recovery is incomplete or further treatment is required, there may be the need for more than one report by different specialists as you progress towards recovery. Ambermedico Limited is a separate company that was set up by Goldsmith Williams and is owned by the partners of the firm. Ambermedico Limited regularly monitors the market place to ensure that medical agencies and medical reports are fully competitive in quality, efficiency and price. The other advantage of using Ambermedico Limited is there s no requirement to pay anything in advance, even to the doctors. That way, we don t have to ask you to pay any up-front fee either. Should any part of the fee charged by Ambermedico Limited not be recovered from the other side, Goldsmith Williams will absorb that loss and you ll not be required to pay any part of it.
10 We understand making a Personal Injury claim can be confusing so here are some of the questions we get asked regularly; hopefully they ll answer your questions too. If not, don t worry. You can call our dedicated Personal Injury team on and they ll answer any questions or worries you might have.
11 Frequently Asked Questions 9 How long have I got to make a claim? If you suffered a personal injury, your claim must be settled or issued at court within 3 years from the date of your accident. If you have not suffered a personal injury but have sustained other losses, then your claim must be issued at Court within 6 years from the date of your accident. If a child has suffered an injury, their claim must be issued at Court within 3 years of their 18th birthday. If these periods are missed it will mean that you will lose your right to claim damages and you will receive no compensation for your injuries and losses from the other party. How long will my claim take? At this stage it is impossible to give a realistic estimate of how long it will take to settle your claim. A straightforward claim can be settled within 6-8 months, but others may take a lot longer. A claim can take longer to settle if liability is disputed or if you have suffered complicated injuries. If your claim has to go to court it will probably be listed for a final hearing within 9 months of us issuing the proceedings. How much am I likely to get? It is impossible to say how much you will get until the medical report and all aspects of the claim have been looked at. When any offer of settlement is made we will let you know the amount and give you advice as to whether this amount is too low or just right. Whilst there are no fixed amounts for injuries, there are past reported cases and judicial guidelines which we consult to give us a good idea of what you should receive. When will I receive my compensation? It usually takes up to 6 weeks for the other side to pay your damages from the date you accept their offer. This is not a definite period, merely a guideline. It may be possible for interim payments to be made sooner, e.g. for repair costs, write off values, medical treatment. How can I speed up my claim? You can help things move quicker by returning any paperwork and providing any information we request in full. A common problem is that we have to wait for clients National Insurance details. Please let us have this information at the outset. Will I have to go to court? The most common reasons why a claim is issued into Court is that the other side is reluctant to admit fault or they admit fault, but fail to make a reasonable offer to compensate you. The Court proceedings involve the issue of official court documents which then have to be served on the other driver or parties. Once a case is issued all parties must stick to a strict timetable laid down by the Court. We will fully explain these procedures to you when we issue proceedings and as your case progresses. It is our policy to issue Court proceedings at the earliest opportunity if it is clear that the third party is disputing the claim. We have found that simply issuing a case can prompt a settlement by the other side. Over 95% of claims never go to a Court hearing. It is very common for issued cases to be settled at some point prior to the hearing date.
12 Frequently Asked Questions 10 I ve had a road traffic accident. What happens if the third party is not insured? If the third party is not insured, we will let you know immediately. In most cases it is possible to redirect your claim to the MIB (Motor Insurers Bureau). The MIB is an organisation set up to help the victims of untraced, uninsured and foreign drivers. The MIB do charge an excess of 300 which is deducted from your special damages i.e. compensation you get which is not for personal injury or arising from the personal injury. The MIB pay nominal costs to us if the third party is untraced. In these cases we would charge you a reduced fixed fee for our services and would propose to deduct this amount from any damages that you recover. We would then write to you as soon as we knew the third party was untraceable. What are uninsured losses? It is our job to recover your uninsured losses from the party who caused your accident. These are the losses that your own motor insurance policy does not cover. We will attempt to recover these losses quickly, whilst causing you as little disruption and inconvenience as possible. However, we do need your help to let us have as much necessary information as possible. What are typical types of insured losses? Compensation for your personal injuries. Your vehicle repair costs. If you are insured 3rd party only or 3rd party, fire and theft then we can recover the cost of repairs to your vehicle. If your vehicle is rendered a total loss we will ask the other side to pay the pre-accident value as determined by an independent motor engineer. Replacement car hire charges whilst your car is under repair or off the road. The reclaim of your insurance excess. Storage and towing charges of your damaged vehicle. Loss of use claim whilst you are without a vehicle. Compensation for damaged belongings, clothing and medical expenses. Compensation for any loss of earnings whilst you are unable to work. Please note we will require documentation for proof of the above such as payslips and bank statements.
13 Frequently Asked Questions 11 They have three months to investigate this and are not legally obliged to provide any interim payments to you. The third party s insurers will not be responsible for hire/ storage or other charges that you incur whilst waiting for them to deal with your repairs/ total loss if you have a Fully Comprehensive policy that you could use instead. If you have not reported the accident to them immediately but then later try to make a claim on your own policy you may find that your insurers will refuse to deal with your claim. You should check your policy document thoroughly as you may find that if you do not report an accident to them within a certain time this invalidates your insurance. Can I get the third party s insurer to pay for any losses? You can, yes. However, if you have a fully comprehensive insurance policy but decide to ask the third party s insurers to pay for the repairs/total loss value of your vehicle, you must be aware that this is very likely to take longer than if you used your own fully comprehensive insurance policy. The third party s insurers will not deal with your claim until the third party has filled in a claim form and they are satisfied that the third party has a valid policy of insurance with them and that the accident is completely their insured s fault. NB: It is essential in respect of all these losses that you keep any copies of any invoices and receipts etc. Should I report the accident to my insurance company? You should always report an accident to your own insurance company immediately, even if you do not intend to claim from your own policy. You could invalidate your insurance if you fail to report an accident to them. Remember, if your question has not been answered here, you can contact our team of road traffic accident claim specialists on or via our website -
14 Testimonials 12 We are committed to providing excellent service and are continually looking for ways to improve. We monitor our service using client satisfaction questionnaires and feel that the amount of positive feedback we receive from our clients reflects our high standards. You took the time to explain things in English to me, a nonlegal person, a service much appreciated Mr Gee, London I would like to congratulate you all for your hard work of which you were successful and so deserved Mrs Humphrey, Surrey You dealt with the claim quickly and were helpful at all times. It s nice to talk to someone who knows what they re doing Mr Lander, Nottinghamshire
15 The Goldsmith Williams Account Stay up to date with your case as well as upload documents, make payments and ask any questions you have even when the office is closed with your own Goldsmith Williams account. By creating an account, you ll be able to: 13 View and update account details View case progress Send messages relating to a case Upload documents View previous quotes Make payments relating to a case Leave feedback Earn money by recommending family and friends We believe that by enabling you to have access to your case and understand the key milestones which have been or need to be completed will not only improve your experience but also help speed up your case. The GW Account will be available for Road Traffic Accidents cases only from February Get the App Get instant access to your case by downloading the free Goldsmith Williams App. What s more, enable the push notifications and you ll receive immediate updates as your case progresses. You ll also have access to Everyday Legal, our free legal advice service, offering help and information on a number of everyday legal issues. Available on Android and iphone, simply search for GW Solicitors in the App Store or on Google Play.
16 Everyday Legal Free legal help from Goldsmith Williams 14 Whilst you need our assistance in your current case, not every legal issue needs the professional advice of a solicitor. Often you can handle the situation on your own you just need a few pointers. That s what Everyday Legal, our free advice service, is all about equipping you with the right information so you can solve the problem yourself whether it s reclaiming unfair charges, resolving disputes or wanting to know your consumer rights. Topics include: Energy bill refunds How to claim for pothole damage Resolving property boundary disputes Your legal rights when buying a used car Dealing with noisy neighbours. Everyday Legal is available on our website - as well as through our free mobile app. Simply search GW Solicitors in the App Store or Google Play.
17 Premier Client Club At Goldsmith Williams, we value loyalty. This is why we created our Premier Client Club to reward customers who, having already benefitted from our services, come back when they need a solicitor again. 15 As a member, you ll benefit from all this: Standard fees for any future conveyancing or remortgage work* Fees for any Wills and Power of Attorney services* But it isn t just you who can benefit from these discounts! Recommend family and friends to us as we ll extend these discounts to them too. Now you can t say fairer than that! Premier Client Club costs just 40 (+VAT) and could more than pay for itself in just one future transaction. You ll be given the opportunity to join during your current case with us. Please visit for more information. * not including VAT/Disbursements
18 Recommend a Friend Impressed by our service? We sure hope so! Then why not recommend us to your friends and family and earn up to 100 for your effort. How much could you earn? Service You get Conveyancing Up to 100^ Remortgage 25 Wills 20 Financial Claims (PPI) 50 Care Home Fees 75 It s so easy to recommend us to family and friends. Simply log on or create a Goldsmith Williams account by visiting login. Click on the Recommend a Friend button and simply enter your friend s address and the service you are recommending. Hit send and off it goes to your friend s inbox. You can then keep an eye on if they follow your recommendation and take up our services, and ultimately if and when you ll get paid, through your own personal dashboard. Don t forget, if you re a Premier Client Club member, your relative or friend will also be entitled to discounts on our services*. Might be worth mentioning that to them as an extra incentive! ^Earn 50 for a single sale or purchase case and 100 for a combined sale and purchase case *Premier client club members and their family and friends are entitled to 25% of our conveyancing and remortgage fees and 10% of our Wills service. Not including VAT and disbursements
19 Terms and Conditions of Service 16 General Terms and Conditions Acceptance of Instructions to Act We can decide whether or not to accept instructions from a client. If we receive a recommendation/nomination from an Introducer, this does not mean that we have to accept the instruction to act for the client(s) recommended. If we refuse instructions we do not have to give a reason, though we will never refuse instructions for unlawful or discriminatory reasons. Goldsmith Williams is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our Equality and Diversity Policy. Data Protection We will control and process your personal information in accordance with the Data Protection Act We will use the personal information that you provide to deal with your case and carry out our duties to you. We may disclose your personal information to other companies should the need arise during the progress of your case. We will also use your personal information for administrative, accounting, monitoring, research and marketing purposes; statistical analysis; security vetting and client services. By providing your personal information to us, you expressly authorise us to process that information for the purposes set out in this paragraph. You can at any time request from us a copy of all information that we have regarding you (for which we may charge a fee of ) and correct any inaccuracies in it. If you provide information to us about another party, you confirm that such party authorised you to do so and consents to our processing that personal information. Regulation Goldsmith Williams is authorised and regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority under number We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, so we cannot give you investment advice nor can we advise you about mortgage products. Using your information we will process any data that we have about you in accordance with the Data Protection Act Copyright We retain copyright in documents that we provide to you or a third party on your behalf. You can use the documents solely for the matter that you have asked us to deal with and not for any other purpose. Law and Jurisdiction Our agreement with you to provide legal services and these terms of business are governed by and construed in accordance with English law. Electronic ID You may see a charge for carrying out an electronic ID search mentioned in your Terms of Business letter. We may do this because we have to be sure that you are who you say you are and by using the technology available we can search a number of online registers to satisfy ourselves of your identity. You should know that we make a profit on these searches which cost us currently 80p per name. You will appreciate however that we have a fair degree of administration to do to submit a search, receive the result and consider the result (quite often we need to resubmit some outstanding information
20 17 or make a judgement if the result is not as clear as it could be). The fees that we charge as outlined in your Terms of Business letter therefore covers all the administrative cost to us of making sure that we deal with the question of your ID as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Your File Your file is confidential and we will not let anyone see it without your permission. However, your file may be requested in some circumstances. We are proud to be registered as an ISO 9001:2008 quality assured company and as part of this, it may be necessary for us to allow inspectors to view your files. The inspectors will simply check that we gave your case the appropriate attention. They will not disclose any confidential information to anyone else. You may write to us at any point to say that you do not wish your file to be made available for assessment. This will not affect the service you receive from us in any way. External firms or organisations may conduct audit and quality checks on our practice. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files. If you wish us to send you a copy of your file to you at any time after your matter has completed please let us know. Such requests must be in writing. Please be aware we are entitled to make a charge that is fair and reasonable taking into consideration the time and effort involved in complying with your request. We can, of course, provide you with a breakdown of our charges for doing. We keep our files for six years in electronic format only (except Wills & Probate or files relating to minors which are kept in paper format indefinitely) and will destroy them thereafter unless you ask us not to. If you do not go ahead with your case, we may destroy your file at any time. Call Recording All inward and outward telephone calls are recorded. This is for two reasons: 1. It helps us to have a record of your instructions to us and any information that we give to you over the telephone 2. We can also use this to monitor the level of service being provided to clients, which assists us in developing our service to clients by providing staff training where necessary.
21 18 Copies of Calls If you want a copy of a recording please ask the person dealing with your matter. It is not always possible to provide a recording as there can be technical problems which lead to calls not being recorded or where we are unable to trace the call. Using your Information We will use all information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services. However we may also use it for related purposes including updating and enhancing our records, analysis to assist in managing our practice, statutory returns, legal and regulatory compliance. Confidentiality We have a duty to keep information about you confidential. However, we may be required to allow outside organisations access to our files, such as our Regulator, bankers providing funding for your case, the assessors for our ISO 9001:2008 accreditation, any After the Event insurers, your introducer and Ambermedico Ltd. Money Laundering We comply with the Money Laundering Regulations Act 2007 and associated legislation (Terrorism Act 2000 and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002). Outsourcing We may require external third party companies to undertake work in connection to assist in the smooth running of your matter, such as instructing witness statement takers. We will have an Agreement in place with any such outsourced provider to ensure that we are confident of their ability to work to a certain standard, have the necessary expertise, data security processes and resources to carry it out. Interest In accordance with the requirements of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 2011, any money received on your behalf will be held in a client account. We will pay a sum in lieu of interest on monies held in line with the terms of our payment of interest policy. It is important to note that interest will not be payable in all cases and that the rate received will be lower than that available to you had the monies been invested privately. The written policy is available on request. Electronic Communication We are happy to use as a way to communicate with you, but you should be aware that confidentiality cannot be ensured nor is delivery of such mail. If you prefer us not to use , please tell us in writing. Rights Any advice that we give is for your benefit, as our client. Third parties may not use or rely on our advice. Distance Selling We may not have met with you, in which case the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 apply. This means you have a right to cancel your instructions to us within fourteen working days of our receipt of your instruction.
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