Eight common myths about personal injury claims

Tue 16th Nov 2021

There are many myths and misunderstandings about personal injury claims. Catherine Hyde of Coodes Solicitors’ Personal Injury team debunks eight of the most common.

1. Pursuing a personal injury claim is expensive, so it’s not worth the money

Many people who have suffered a personal injury are put off from seeking advice because they are concerned about legal fees. In fact, most law firms – including Coodes – work on a no win no fee basis and offer a free initial consultation with a lawyer.

Acting on a no win no fee basis means that you will pay no legal fees if your case isn’t successful. If your case is successful, the contribution you make is capped at 25 per cent from the award you receive for the personal injury claim.

2. I’d have to go to court

Understandably, the prospect of going to court and talking about their accident is a big deterrent for people making a personal injury claim. However, the vast majority of personal injury cases are settled outside of court. In fact, fewer than one per cent of cases end up in a full hearing.

Claims go to court only in one of the following situations:

  • A settlement can’t be agreed in the early stages.
  • The other party is unresponsive.

Even in these cases, it is not always necessary for the claimant to attend. If you do have to go to court, your solicitor will be there to represent and support you.

We’ll make sure that all of the possibilities are discussed and agreed with you before any court proceedings take place.

3. I have insurance so I don’t need a solicitor

Many insurance companies will offer to deal directly with you and might tell you that you don’t need a solicitor. This is especially true in road accident claims. Dealing directly with your insurers might seem like the easier option.

However, unlike solicitors, insurance companies often don’t consider the extent of any injuries you have sustained or any other special damages. It might be that you’re entitled to more compensation than the amount being offered.

In the majority of cases, if you instruct your insurer to deal with your claim, they’ll probably instruct a firm of solicitors to deal with the matter on your behalf. It is always in your best interests to instruct your own law firm, independent of any insurance company. That way you can ensure you choose the lawyer that you feel is best placed to handle your case.

4. It’s just a way of people trying to cash in

Unfortunately, there is sometimes an assumption that people who make a claim are just looking for a quick and easy way to make money. This can be extremely hurtful to those with genuine injuries and might make them feel guilty about making a claim.

The vast majority of the people who contact us have been injured in accidents that were not their fault. In fact, we will not represent anyone who we feel does not have a valid claim.

The purpose of making a claim is to help get you back on track, so you can start living life to the full. Compensation – whatever the amount – can be extremely helpful for people suffering from physical and emotional difficulty following an accident. For example, it covers any medical bills, damages to your property, loss of earnings if you were left unable to go to work.

5. I’ll get a better settlement if I go with a bigger law firm

Just because a law firm is larger, doesn’t mean it will get you a better result. Smaller firms tend to be able to be more hands-on and don’t have the large caseloads that bigger firms have to deal with.

The important thing is to ensure your law firm has experienced personal injury specialists. Here at Coodes, we pride ourselves on being able to spend time with each of our clients. We work together to make sure you get the result you need.

6. I’ve got plenty of time to submit a claim, so there’s no rush

The standard cut-off date for making a personal injury claim is three years from the date of the accident. This is called the limitation period.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule, including:

  • Mental Capacity – if the person involved is incapable of making a claim themselves, there’s no cut-off date until they regain full ability to do so.
  • Children – claims involving children under the age of eighteen have until their 21st
  • Criminal Injuries – if your injuries were caused deliberately (i.e. the vehicle was used as a weapon), you may have a separate right to claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The cut-off date for creating a claim through the CICA is two years from the incident.

Whatever your situation, we would always advise you to seek legal advice as early as possible. Pursuing a personal injury claim is a time-consuming process, that includes gathering evidence in order to put together a case. Starting early will also give you the best chance of getting more reliable witness statements.

7. Personal injury claims are a hassle and take up a huge amount of time

Many people have concerns that making a claim will be too complex and stressful. In fact, the claims process is fairly straightforward. If the guilty party admits liability, any claims can be settled in a short period of time.

Serious injury claims are usually more time consuming. Your lawyer will need to determine the extent of the injuries and how they impact on your life. This also applies to claims where liability or negligence is in dispute. Your solicitor will explain all of the legal terminology to you so that you are made aware of what is going on at each and every step of the claims process.

8. I’ll have to pay tax on my compensation money

There is a misconception that those who make a personal injury claim have to pay tax on their compensation. This is not true. If you receive financial compensation after an injury, there are laws in place to make sure you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case whether a compensation settlement is received as a lump sum or in staggered payments.

It also doesn’t matter whether your case was settled in or out of court. In either situation, your compensation will be exempt from tax.

For further information or advice on making a personal injury claim, please contact Chartered Legal Executive Catherine Hyde on 01326 214032 or Catherine.hyde@coodes.co.uk.

Tue 16th Nov 2021

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