Our solicitors are accident compensation claim specialists, with accredited members of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel
We can see you at any one of our four offices – Salisbury, Fordingbridge, Andover and Amesbury – and we also offer home and hospital visits to those unable to travel.
The team handle claims for accident compensation throughout Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, Berkshire and Gloucestershire.
Our team are also happy to make home or hospital visits if you are unable to travel.
We always offer FREE initial phone advice, and a FREE initial interview (face-to-face,by phone or by zoom) for all personal injury claims – so call us now and find out where you stand.
I’ve seen personal injury lawyers advertised on TV – should I use them?
To many people’s surprise, the companies you see advertised on TV are in fact often claims handling companies and not law firms. Whilst they may seem appealing, we strongly advise that you instruct fully qualified solicitors who specialise in personal injury claims. Here at Bonallack and Bishop, we are a long-established law firm with a team of injury claim experts. and our team includes an accredited member of the Law Society’s own Personal Injury Panel – the leading specialist panel for accident claim lawyers.
What information will my accident claims solicitor need from me?
The following documentation and information should be gathered together and kept in a safe place as evidence for your claim;
- diary of events – keep a diary of events and make notes about the circumstances causing your injury
- if your personal injury was sustained in a road traffic accident, inform your insurance company as quickly as possible.
- injuries at work should be recorded in the workplace accident book
- if your injury was caused by a criminal act, you should report the incident to the police and get a criminal report number
- contact details for any witnesses
- hospital appointment cards
- prescriptions for medications
- expenses receipts
- receipts for any equipment or services rendered for your injuries
- copies of your wage slips.
If the accident happened at work then you need to keep a copy of your employment contract.
Speak to your doctor and ensure that you give permission for your solicitor to have access to your medical records.
How much evidence do I need in order to make a claim?
Ultimately, to win your accident claim you will need enough proof to show that your injuries resulted from someone else’s negligence. To show this, we advise that you keep evidence detailing the extent of your injuries, any medical or other expenses, and the loss of any earnings.
Is it best to negotiate a settlement or take my case to court?
The best route to take will depend upon the particulars of your case and your solicitor will be able to determine which path you should choose. However, in the vast majority of cases it is sensible to avoid court and accept a settlement. Court is costly and often time consuming and it is always possible that you could lose your case.
It’s been years since I sustained my injury – am I still eligible to claim compensation?
Strict time limits apply to the accident claims procedure and in most cases you must claim within 3 years of sustaining the injury. However, if you only become aware of your injury at a much later date, this deadline can be extended, as is often the case with diseases which do not become clear until weeks or months afterwards.
What are the consequences of losing my accident compensation claim?
Losing your court case would normally incur hefty legal costs. You would not only have to pay your own legal fees but your opponent’s legal fees in whole or in part as well. However by using “no win no fee” agreements and by taking out what is known as “after the event insurance” means you don’t have to worry about paying legal costs and can focus on recovering from your accident. Our experienced team can help you with the paperwork.
Click here to read more about no win no fee and how they can help you claim compensation.
No. In most cases claiming compensation will have no impact on your employment. Your employer has in place insurance to compensate victims of accidents in the workplace. If your employer did not act appropriately, we will help to make the process as straightforward as possible, dealing with any issues raised and advising you appropriately. If your employer does act inappropriately and sacks you, we can advise you on how to claim for unfair dismissal.
Click here to read more about making a Work Injury Claim
Will an independent doctor need to examine me?
It is likely that you will need an examination from an independent doctor. Depending on the circumstances of your particular claim, this could be a doctor chosen by you and your solicitor, or by the party, you are claiming against. Being examined by the defendant’s chosen medical expert can sometimes be useful to counteract any bias that may be shown by your own doctor, however unintentionally, in their own examination of you.
The independent medical examination helps to show the truth of your claims and assess the extent of your injury – which can be used as part of the evidence to support your right to claim compensation.
What compensation could I win?
Sorry, but despite the so-called ‘claims calculators’ you may find elsewhere on the web, there is no way that you can instantly work out what you should claim for, and how much the insurance company will pay. The financial value compensation for any accident claim will depend entirely on both the circumstances of the accident and your individual circumstances.
In general, however, if your claim is successful, you will be awarded a sum of compensation which is made up of two types of damages.
• ‘General Damages’ – will cover your pain, suffering and loss of amenity
• ‘Special Damages’ will compensate you for any financial losses you have sustained.
The level of compensation is usually negotiated between your solicitor and the other side.
Can I claim extra help at home?
As you recover from your personal injury, you may require extra help at home from friends, family or even professionals. Domestic chores such as shopping or cleaning and even personal care such as bathing and dressing can become very challenging when injured.
If you pay for the professional assistance you should keep any receipts but if you require the help of friends or family, the loss will be quantified on a standard hourly basis instead.
You may also be able to claim for additional costs involved in adapting your home or in getting hold of any specialised equipment you may need. Speak to your solicitor about this.
Will I need to go to court?
The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled without the need for a final contested court hearing or trial – not least because it isn’t in the interests of either party for the case to get that far. In fact, only around 5% of personal injury claims end up being fought at court – which highlights the importance of building a strong case early on in order to negotiate.
Going to court is costly, stressful and immensely time-consuming. However, partly to protect your right to compensation it is very common for an initial claim to be made to court – not least because failure to do so within the appropriate time limit [normally three years from the date of the accident] could mean you lose your right to claim compensation entirely.
My Accident Compensation Claim – What is Before-The-Event Insurance?
Before-the-event insurance (BTE) is a policy that people can take out to cover them against the possible legal costs which they might face after a future event. These costs can include fees paid to barristers, solicitors or expert witnesses, fines or fees imposed by the court, and any legal costs which are due to the other side. The cost of a before-the-event insurance policy is usually paid annually to the insurance company.
Many people have this sort of insurance as an add-on to their home or car insurance, and others may have it as a benefit of being a member of a trade union or other association.
Is After-The-Event Insurance different?
Yes. After-the-event insurance (ATE) is taken out after an event such as an accident to cover the policyholder against costs that they may face if they lose their case in court.
ATE insurance policies are usually only taken out by people who do not have a BTE policy. If the holder of a BTE policy loses their case, then the insurance company pays not only the policyholder’s own expenses but also those of the opponent. Lawyers who take on accident compensation claims on a “no win no fee” agreement might ask their clients to take out ATE insurance if they lose their case, whether they be defendants or plaintiffs. It may also be the case, especially with no win no fee funding agreements, that the insurance premiums for the ATE insurance are not paid until the case is decided, so the premium itself is covered.
Most solicitors and claims management firms will offer ATE insurance.
If the ATE insurance policy started before 1st April 2013, the cost of the policy can usually be recovered from the losing party as part of the costs awarded to the winner. In cases where the ATE policy started after this date, the policy premium cannot be recovered from the other side. The cost of before-the-event insurance can never be recovered from the opposing side.
The other side has offered to settle with me directly – should I accept?
Not without seeking legal advice first. Offers of the direct settlement are usually an attempt to buy you off cheaply, and will almost certainly not be in your best interests. Of course, fair offers are sometimes made too, so get your injury claim solicitor to look at what’s being tabled before making a decision.
What happens if my injury comes to light outside the claim limitation period?
Sometimes an injury may not emerge until quite some time after the accident was caused or illness inflicted. In situations where it is a latent illness [ for example somebody who suffers illness as a result of asbestos at work], the limitation period may be extended to three years after the person (Claimant) acquires the ‘relevant knowledge’.
However, any delay in getting advice is still dangerous because there is currently a final time limit of fifteen years after the accident regardless of the circumstances. This is known as a long stop – after which time you simply can’t make any injury compensation claim – regardless of your particular circumstances.
Relevant knowledge could be a positive action or a failure to do something (an omission). The Claimant must know that they have suffered ‘significant damage’, i.e. damage that is ‘more than trivial. A cause and connection (known as a causal link) between the significant damage and the negligent act of somebody else) must also be established by a two-stage test.
1. It must be established that somebody owes you a duty of care and
2. It must be proven that this duty of care has been breached.
In road traffic accidents, for example, this is usually a simple process such as failure to check the brakes of a car at a garage but other situations can be more complicated.
If you have knowledge of significant damage and of a causal link, then the last piece of information you need is the Defendant’s identity.
Is Legal Aid available for accident compensation claims?
Legal aid has been removed from almost all compensation claims.
In general, Legal Aid is no longer available for any personal injury claims – and it’s only available for medical negligence claims in very limited circumstances – where a child has suffered a severe brain injury during pregnancy or birth or in the first eight weeks of life.
Only law firms with a legal aid franchise can represent clients using legal aid. As a direct result of the removal of medical negligence from most cases, we gave up our franchise and therefore cannot represent any client using legal aid.
However, our solicitors run virtually every personal injury and medical negligence claim using no win no fee agreements – that means you don’t need to worry about paying your legal costs and can concentrate on your physical recovery.
Click here to find out more about making a Personal Injury Claim.