Here, we review how to obtain legal advice and representation in personal injury cases. Personal injury can mean a physical injury, an illness or disease, or a psychological trauma – whether work-related or caused by accidents and hazards. Medical treatment or becoming a victim of crime, discrimination or harassment are other causes.
To obtain help and compensation, legal action is taken in a civil court. There is a time limit for issuing court proceedings, typically three years from when one first became aware of the injury. It may be advisable to avoid claims management companies, as these can sometimes charge high commissions in ‘no win no fee’ deals.
A specialist solicitor is best placed to advise properly. Sometimes legal aid may not be available and in such cases, home insurance policies may include legal expenses cover. Some lawyers also operate ‘conditional fee’ schemes, sometimes referred to as a no-win no-fee agreement (although there may sometimes be costs to pay). The UK Law Society has a ‘find a solicitor’ scheme, which can help to find a good solicitor or attorney.
The solicitor will also help in dealings with insurance companies, providing effective representation and ensuring that the claim is correctly considered. Documentation such as details of medical diagnosis and treatment received may be required, along with any insurance or trade union membership details if they cover fees.
If an accident caused the injury, details of the date and any witnesses should be provided. The solicitor should be able to advise on the probability of the case having a successful outcome and how much any eventual compensation might be. Written confirmation of fees and any other points agreed should be provided by the solicitor.
Finally, choosing a law firm with solicitors who are members of the Law Society’s special accreditation scheme means that the client will be properly attended by an experienced specialist, who is insured and regulated.