Personal Injury

Accidents do happen, very true. However not all accidents produce compensation for the victim who is injured. Talking to an expert solicitor at Bennett Richmond will soon tell you if you have a case.


For you to be compensated there must be someone who can be identified and who is to blame for the accident because of their negligence or failure to put appropriate safeguard(s) in place and who has financial backing from insurance or other funds out of which to pay you compensation.

An initial appointment with an experienced solicitor at Bennett Richmond will give you free of charge:-

1.   Advice on the merits of your claim.

2.   Help to avoid taking a claim any further if it will stand no chance of success.

3.   Help to avoid the pitfall of costs being paid out of your compensation.

Over the years our firm has had successful experience with just about every type of accident including falling off a mountain, falling through the roof of a building, accident with a jet ski also the usual everyday type injuries involving accidents at the workplace and also slips, trips and falls in the street, car parks, shops and stores.

Give us a call on 01207 504141 to help you recover something from an event that could have been avoided.

How your solicitor can help:

When you have told us about your injury, the date the injury received or the date of diagnosis and who your claim is against we will be able to tell you if your claim is likely to succeed and how much you will be able to claim in compensation.

We will tell you the legal process involved.  Usually this will involve trying to achieve a settlement by negotiation with the defendant or the defendant’s insurers, but it may involve having to take the claim to the court.

If your case is likely to succeed Terms of Business will be discussed and agreed with you and a written agreement setting out the basis on which we will be acting for you will be drawn up and signed.

Making your claim:

The next step is usually for us to send a solicitor’s letter to the defendant.  This is the person who is responsible for your injury.

The letter of claim sets out in detail your injury circumstances so far as they are known to you and what the claim is about and how medical evidence will be obtained to explain your injury and to set a level of compensation payable.

This letter of claim puts the defendant on notice that your claim is going to be against the defendant and requires a response from the defendant by way of requiring a reply saying whether the defendant accepts or denies liability for your injury.

If the defendant accepts liability for your injury then the claim will be settled out of court and the amount of compensation negotiated direct between your solicitor and the defendant or between your solicitor and the defendant’s insurers.

What your claim is worth:

Further advice on this will be given to you when there is a medical report describing the injury, the prognosis and explaining a doctor’s opinion as to the long term prospects of a full recovery.

The medical report obtained for this purpose will usually be copied over to the defendant or the defendant’s insurers and negotiations will take place to see if it is possible to settle the amount of compensation you will receive out of court.  If that is not possible then the matter will have to go before the court.

Court settlements:

If compensation cannot be agreed by way of negotiation between your solicitor and the defendant or between your solicitor and the defendant’s insurers then the claim will have to go to the court and the value of your compensation if the court agrees that you should be paid compensation will be determined by a judge.  We will give you further advice at that stage particularly about the prospects of success with your claim and the costs involved.

Going to court:

If your case has to be presented to the court one of the first steps involved with this is that the papers will go before a judge who will set a timetable for progressing your claim through the court process to a hearing before a judge.  No one likes to go to court.  However, it is important for you to remember by this stage your case will have been fully and properly prepared and negotiations with the insurers have been unsuccessful.  It is just then a question to hear from the judge if you have won the case in which case the judge will deal with the assessment of compensation.  In some cases the issue of liability will already have been accepted by the insurers and on that basis the case will be before the court purely for the judge to access the amount of compensation payable.

Funding your claim:

Naturally you will be concerned with covering the costs of the legal expenses involved in taking your claim as far as is necessary.  Legal aid for claims of this sort is no longer available.  It may be a no win no fee agreement can be agreed.  If it can the first part of this will be with a view to trying to negotiate settlement of your claim and the compensation with the defendant or with the defendant’s insurers.  If it is not possible to have successful negotiations then a further no win no fee agreement may be entered into with a view to taking matters before the court, or the earlier agreement may simply be continued with.  

On occasions the client will pay privately for the costs of the case.  We are happy to consider payment of costs by instalments.  We will always keep you closely informed as to the level of costs incurred so you know exactly where you stand.

Paying the other side’s costs:

If you lose the claim you run the risk of paying, not only your costs which are the fees incurred by us as your solicitor, but also fees for disbursements such as medical reports etc.  Not only that but you also, on losing the case, will be liable to pay the defendant’s costs.  This is obviously something that you would very much wish would not happen.  However, some cases do not succeed and if your case does in these circumstances then you can end up with a costs order against you in respect of the other side’s costs.  We will keep you regularly informed as to the chances of success and also with your position as to your own costs and the other side’s costs so far as we possibly can.  If you win your claim then the majority of costs will normally be recoverable from the defendant.  We will help you to pursue that claim to make sure you get paid back everything possible.

Legal expenses insurance:

There are policies available and it may be that one can be negotiated for you.  This type of insurance is to cover the risks of running the case. If you need this kind of insurance it will be checked out whether you have any access to legal expenses insurance through your union if you are a member of a union, or through your household, or any other kind of insurance that you have, or with your involvement with any organisation where the organisation allows you benefits such as free or help with legal expenses.

Disbursements:

These are expenses that are part of the costs of your case.

They can include for example:-

1.         Fees paid to your own doctor and to the hospital to gain access to your medical records.

2.         A doctor’s fee for a medical report as to your injury.

3.         Court fees.

4.         Barrister’s fees.

5.         Other expert witness fees, expenses etc.

Fatal accident claims:

Compensation in these cases can include:-

(a)        Pain and suffering of the deceased.

(b)        A bereavement award.

(c)        Financial losses such as funeral expenses, pension loss, loss of earnings.

(d)       Care costs.

Work place injuries:

An accident at work may show that your employer has failed to carry out the responsibility of any employer to maintain a safe place at work and to keep you safe.

When accidents happen in the work place making a claim against your employer can be worrying, it is the employer’s responsibility to keep you safe at work and also to properly train you and to carry out risk assessments on a regular basis in order that you are not put at risk.

It may be that the Health and Safety Executive will need to be told about the accident.

You will also wish to have expert legal advice to make sure you are not putting your job at risk by making a claim.

Road traffic collisions:

An accident when driving can have serious consequences.  If another road user was careless, reckless or negligent then you should have a claim.  Having any driving accident is a very unpleasant experience and the aftermath of the accident on you and other family members can add to this anxiety.  Trying to assign liability to a reckless or careless driver or prove you were not at fault can be difficult and you need an experienced solicitor.

Slips and trips in public places:

No matter how careful you are when out and about accidents can happen and a slip or trip incident is fairly common.  The slip or trip may not be your fault.  If you have slipped or tripped because someone failed in their duty to keep you safe you could be able to claim compensation.  Such accidents can happen any where inside a shop or supermarket, outside on a footpath or in a car park and many other places.

Life changing injuries:

If the injury has life changing consequences then you need an experienced solicitor who can  assess the claim and do so quickly.  Even simple accidents can result in injuries of the most life changing and distressing type, if that type of injury could and should have been avoided and a permanent disability or major condition impacting on quality of life has resulted then you need expert advice.

Faulty products:

When you buy a product or products you put your trust in the retailer and the manufacturer of the item that the product/products will work correctly and safely.  Sometimes products fail to work as promised and on rare occasions the item itself or defects in it can cause illness or injury.

Criminal injuries or assault:

Being attacked or assaulted is an upsetting and distressing experience.  This type of injury can result in physical or psychological consequences.  If you have been the target of an attack then we have solicitors at Bennett Richmond who can assess and advise on your claim.  This type of claim can be successful even if the person who attacked you cannot be identified or has not been caught and is not in a position to pay damages.  Claims like this are through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.  This was set up by the government to make payments to victims of crime.

Fatal injury claims:

When the accident or incident has caused or the consequences result in fatal injury caused by the negligence of another person or company then an experienced solicitor is essential to assess and advise on possible claims. 

Compensation:

The law allows compensation under three separate headings.  These are:-

1.         Pain and suffering.

2.         Loss of amenity, and

3.         Financial losses.

The compensation you can expect will depend on a number of issues one being the seriousness of the injury, another how your life has been affected and the impact overall on your life and rehabilitation issues and finally financial matters such as money lost in terms of expense that you have been put to and possibly even loss of a job etc.

Pain and suffering is assessed with reference to decided cases.  These cases have over the years been decided by judges and in effect what they do is to say for example with a wrist injury that the amount you will receive will depend on whether the injury is classed as severe, moderate or minor.

Over and above that your compensation will include matters which are entirely related to you as an individual and everyone is different in this respect in terms of depending on what the injury is and if it reduces, say your mobility, then it will depend on your financial losses, say having to organise for someone to drive you, or to tend to your garden whilst you are unable to do these things yourself also rehabilitation costs.

Rehabilitation:

Compensation may include the costs associated with support and rehabilitation.

How long will the claim take?

Some cases are dealt with quickly because they can be negotiated say with the insurers acting for the person you are claiming against.  Cases like this can involve a fairly quick settlement by negotiation between your solicitor and the insurers.  Other cases of course take longer, perhaps a lot longer particularly those that have to go before the court for a decision.  Another factor which has a lot to do with how long your claim will take is how quick, or how long it takes for you to recover from the injury, or if a full recovery is not possible then to achieve the point at which you are likely to be the best you are going to be following the injury.  Nature can often take a lot longer than your solicitor could take and the point is that the full value of your compensation cannot be assessed by your solicitor until with the help of nature you have recovered to that extent.

Time limit on making claims:

There are time limits (usually 3 years) but each case is considered on its own facts and merits and the circumstances involved including the nature of both the case and the person(s) involved in it.  Time generally starts to run from the date when the accident or the injury occurred, or the diagnosis confirmed.  The court can use some discretion about this.  Time limits are longer for children or people who are mentally incapacitated.