EXPERT LEGAL ADVICE from normal people
We make the process of claiming compensation as worry free as possible
Personal Injury claims can include but are not limited to:
- Accidents at work
- Fatal Accident Claims
- Slips trips and Falls
- Road Accidents
- Claims involving animals
- Holiday accidents
- Food Poisoning
- Accidents in shops
- Falls in the street
- Sports accidents
- Skiing accidents
- Accidents on public transport
- Medical negligence
Our Commitment to you
If you have suffered an accident and it wasn’t your fault, we can help. We know it’s a sensitive time for you and your loved ones so we try to make the process of claiming personal injury compensation as worry free as possible.
We understand that you could have suffered life changing injuries or a serious injury due to someone else's negligence that has affected your daily life and you might wonder how much compensation you could claim for.
Making a compensation claim after you've suffered an accident can feel daunting, especially if you are going up against an employer or big business, but we have years worth of experience and we will be by your side every step of the way. We assess what you might need including rehabilitation treatment, travel expenses, medical care, financial losses and what compensation awarded would cover all of this for you.
We will assess your claim at the outset. If we believe your claim is unlikely to succeed we will tell you there and then. You can then decide not to continue to seek compensation and there will be no charge to you whatsoever.
We have a vast amount of experience in personal injury cases and have brought successful claims against some of the largest organisations in the country including:
- Princess Yachts
- Plymouth City Council
- Co Op
- Becton Dickinson and many others.
We can see clients at either of our offices or arrange home visits if more convenient for your free initial consultation.
To find out more on how to make a claim, contact one of our lawyers as soon as possible.
To find out more contact one of our lawyers
Your Questions Answered
No Win, No Fee
We can look at dealing with your personal injury cases under a Conditional Fee Agreement. This means that if you win your case you must pay our costs but you should be able to get the majority of your costs paid by your opponents. If you lose, you pay nothing.
We recommend that the agreement is backed by insurance and our Personal Injury Specialist will discuss this with you in more detail during your first appointment.
But taking Legal Action can be Expensive
There are various ways of funding your case. You may already have legal expenses cover through your household or motor insurers and this may meet the cost of pursuing your claim. Alternatively if you are a member of a Trade Union they may be prepared to fund your case.
If you do not have any of the above you can pay the legal costs yourself as the case progresses. However most of our clients prefer to fund the case by way of a Conditional Fee Agreement, often known as a "no win no fee" agreement.
We would be pleased to discuss any possible claim with you. If your claim has a reasonable chance of success we will be happy to represent you and we will guide you through the whole process.
We have offices in Plymouth and Ivybridge and we are happy to see you at the office which is most convenient to you.
In the event that you cannot travel to one of our offices due to your injuries we may be able to visit you at home.
Personal Injury Compensation – What you are entitled to
An injured person is entitled to be put in the position they would have been in had the accident not occurred. It is impossible to turn the clock back so instead an injured person receives financial compensation or “damages” as it is referred to in law.
The two main types of compensation:
- General Damages
This is compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Loss of amenity refers to the impact that the injury has had on a person’s life, such as being unable to engage in normal activities which could include being prevented from enjoying sporting activities or hobbies, gardening, dog walking or even as something as basic as picking up a child or grandchild.
No two injuries are the same and there is no fixed ‘tariff’ for specific injuries. However, the Judicial College Guidelines set out the broad parameters for most types of injuries and set upper and lower brackets for each type of award. The Courts will also consider what awards have been made in the past for similar types of injuries in an attempt to achieve some consistency.
In order to carry out this assessment, it is often the case that a Medical Expert’s Report will be required to carry out a diagnosis – to identify precisely what happened during the accident – and also a prognosis – what the long term consequences of the injury may be.
- Financial Loss – Special Damages
Financial loss directly attributable to the accident is usually recoverable. An obvious example would be loss of earnings when an injured person has had to take time off work and has lost income as a result. Other common claims include:
- Damaged clothing;
- Travelling expenses for medical treatment;
- Payments for things the injured person would have normally done themselves – gardening, dog walking, DIY.
- Future loss of earning
In more serious injuries with long term effects, a claim can include the loss of future earnings if the injured person is unable to return to work or can only return on a limited basis. In those circumstances, the Court’s approach is to award a lump sum rather than monthly or weekly payments. This can involve a fairly complex calculation based on the annual loss multiplied by the number of years the loss is expected to last for. Other matters have to be factored into the calculation to reflect the fact that the compensation is to be received in a lump sum rather than in instalments. There are a set of actuarial tables published so as to ensure an element of consistency when calculating future losses.
- Future Financial Loss – Periodical Payments
In more complex cases often involving brain or catastrophic injury, the Court does have the power to make periodical payments as opposed to a lump sum and in those circumstances a compensator can be ordered to make annual payments.
- Provisional Damages
This is another exception to the ‘lump sum’ award. Again, all provisional damages will normally only be awarded in cases involving very serious injuries, usually brain or spinal injuries where there is a possibility that the Claimant will go on to develop an illness or disability which they currently do not suffer from. An example of this would be the risk of developing epilepsy at some time in the future following a brain injury. This, in effect, allows a Claimant to get around the issue of a ‘full and final settlement’ which would otherwise mean that a Claimant cannot return to a Defendant to ask for further compensation if their condition deteriorates beyond that originally contemplated at the time of the settlement.
- Costs of Care … Care and Assistance – Gratuitous Care
It is often the case that an injured person requires help around the home immediately after their accident, particularly if there has been a hospital admission. This assistance is usually provided by family or friends and involves help with getting around the house, washing, dressing and driving to the shops and carrying bags. The family member or friend will not usually charge for their time but nevertheless the Courts will allow a claim in respect of time spent for family and friends, referred to as gratuitous care and is broadly equivalent to nursing care rates less VAT, National Insurance and Tax. For this reason it is often a good idea to keep a diary of the time spent by the carer, recording what was done, for how long and how often.
- Nursing Care
In more serious cases, a professional Nurse may be required to give assistance. In very serious cases, twenty-four hour care may be required for the rest of the Claimant’s life, in which case this element of compensation can be very significant.
- Compensation and Benefits
In circumstances where an injured person has taken time off work and has received state benefit as a result (such as incapacity benefit, ESA or sickness benefit), compensation for loss of earnings may be reduced as a result. A Claimant will be provided with a Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) Certificate showing what benefits have to be repaid to the Department of Working Pensions. It is for the Defendant to make the deduction not the Claimant.
- Preserving your entitlement to benefits
If a Claimant receives compensation in excess of £6,000, this may affect their entitlement to receive certain types of benefit. To avoid this problem, it is possible to have compensation paid into a Personal Injury Trust, which means that compensation is disregarded when assessing eligibility for benefits.
- Compensation and taxation
Any award for compensation under £500,000 is automatically exempt from taxation.
Any amount above £500,000 may, in certain circumstances, be treated as a capital gain for capital gains tax purposes. Currently, the HM Revenue and Customs apply an extra statutory concession (ESCD33) which would extend the exemption, but only after an application to HMRC. In recent years there has been discussion about extending the exemption limited to 1,000,000, but currently it is not known when or if this change will become law.