What do Accident Solicitors Do?
An accident solicitor (or “personal injury solicitor” as they are also known) can help you to bring a claim for financial compensation if you have suffered an injury as a result of a third party’s negligence i.e. if the accident and your resulting injury are not your fault. Your accident solicitor will investigate your claim and if it has merit then your accident solicitor will try and negotiate a settlement with the third party’s insurance company. If a settlement cannot be agreed then they will represent you at court.
Some accident solicitors only deal with specific types of claims such as clinical / medical negligence, whilst others are more general and will deal with all types of claims. The most common claims dealt with by accident solicitors are:
- Accidents at Work
- Road Traffic Accidents (RTA)
- Public Liability (including slips, trips and falls)
- Accidents on Holiday
- Sporting Accidents
- Criminal Assaults
- Military Injuries
When choosing your accident solicitor it is important that they have experience in dealing with your type of claim. Litigation can be stressful and time consuming, so it is important to instruct someone that is competent and that you can trust. It is also important that you instruct the accident solicitor as soon as possible as there are time restrictions for brining a claim in place. In general a claim has to be brought within three years from the date of the accident, although this is less for certain types of claims such as with some holiday accidents.
Bringing a claim can be very expensive and so there are funding options available to a claimant to ensure that everybody has access to justice. Accordingly, regardless of the claim you are brining, your accident solicitor is likely to deal with your case on a no win no fee which is also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA. This means that if your case is unsuccessful you will not pay any of your legal fees and if it is then your legal fees will be paid for by the third party’s insurance company in addition to any financial compensation. Under a CFA your accident solicitor will also have a provision for a “success fee”, the purpose of which is to compensate the solicitor for the risk of taking on your case. If you enter into a CFA with an accident solicitor you will also require some form of insurance which will cover any disbursements (such as court fees, barrister’s fees or expert medical reports) and the third party’s costs if your case is unsuccessful.
Compensation is awarded to injured parties because the law places a duty of care on certain people i.e. doctors to their patients or road users to each other. Any breach of that duty (such as a speeding driver) resulting in injury entitles the innocent party to bring a claim for compensation against the guilty party. The amount of compensation you can receive will of course depend on the seriousness of your injuries and their long term implications. If however you are partly to blame for your injuries (for example, by not wearing a seatbelt in a road traffic accident) then the amount of compensation you are entitled to may be reduced under the principle of “contributory negligence”.
As well helping you to reclaim your legal fees and getting you financial compensation for your injuries, an accident solicitor will also help you to recover any expenses that you have paid out (such as medical bills) and any future losses (such as income if you are unable to return to work for however long).