Do I need a solicitor to make a personal injury claim?

If you have suffered from a personal injury and are considering making a claim against the party that you believe to be responsible for it, you can take them to court in search of compensation. If you are looking to make a personal injury claim, although most people get a solicitor to handle their claim, it is not compulsory that you do this.

Everybody has the right to access justice and this means that doing it through a solicitor is not technically a requirement. However, most people choose to use a solicitor because they have the relevant knowledge and are unlikely to even take the case on if they do not believe that you have a good chance of winning it.

If you are considering making a personal injury claim without a solicitor, there are a number of factors that you should think about.

Time limit

Under the Limitation Act 1980, the law imposes a time limit on making a personal injury claim. This is known as ‘limitation’ and in the case of personal injury claims for adults, the law stipulates that a “claim must be commenced within three years from the date of the accident or three years from the date you became aware of your injury”.

If the claim is not made within the three-year limit, it can be barred. There is, of course, the potential for exceptions to this rule, but it is unusual and completely at the discretion of the court. If for example, you have noticed that you have suffered an injury resulting from repetitive strain at work and wish to make a personal injury claim, you should ensure that you start the proceedings within three years of having noticed the injury or potentially having found out that the injury was related to your work. The best option is to always seek legal advice as limitations can be a very tricky area to navigate.

Likeliness of Success

One of the most important benefits to getting a solicitor to take on your personal injury case is that they have the knowledge and expertise to know whether you have a case that you are likely to win. Solicitors must act in the best interests of their clients at all times, and will, therefore, close the file if they look into your case, the other party denies any responsibility, and the solicitor believes that you are unlikely to be successful.

It can be difficult to see these things from afar, especially if you are involved in the case, and this is why it can be useful to have someone who will look at your claim from an objective point of view. If you make an unsuccessful claim, you will still likely incur high costs without getting the outcomes that you are looking for.

No win no fee

You will no doubt have heard of ‘no win no fee’ deals – whereby solicitors are only paid if the personal injury claim is successful. This is formally known as a Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA) and is a legal funding agreement that is supported by a policy of After-the-Event Insurance.

If you have a CFA in place, you do not need to pay any fees in advance. Instead, if your claim is successful, you will be paid your damages and the legal fees will be paid for through the defendant’s insurers. Your solicitors will be able to charge a fee to compensate them for the risk that they are taking when they take on your case.

Pre-action protocols

When it comes to proceeding with a personal injury claim, there is much more to the process than just turning up at court to present the facts. There is plenty of additional work that needs to be carried out and some of this is the pre-action protocols.

Pre-action protocols are essentially the paperwork that is needed to effectively communicate details relating to your case before it gets to court.

Referring to legal knowledge

If you have suffered from a personal injury and are looking to make a claim from the party that you feel to be responsible for it, it is important that you go to court armed with the appropriate knowledge and understanding to fight for the compensation that is fair and just.

When a solicitor makes a case for their client, they will look at factors such as medical evidence and ways of measuring and proving the impact of the injury on their client. They will also look at precedents (where similar claims have been made) to help the court to decide what the best outcome is.
This is also the case if you receive an offer of an out-of-court settlement. It could be that you are offered money, but have nothing to compare it to, and, therefore, accept a lower offer than you could otherwise get.

It can be difficult for people who do not have the legal training and experience and knowledge to do this.

When it comes to making a personal injury claim, you may, of course, decide that you would like to handle the case yourself – and represent yourself in court if it gets that far. However, there are many ways that you can get tripped up and not get the outcome that you deserve, especially if you have no experience of the legal system.

It is recommended that you employ a solicitor to help you to make your claim to ensure that you get a fair outcome and the best result for you.

Contact Waldrons Solicitors

Here at Waldrons, we have a team of experienced personal injury solicitors who can help you to recover the compensation you deserve if you’ve sustained a personal injury at work. Contact us today to discuss your circumstances.

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