If you’re thinking about starting a claim, you might be feeling unsure where to get started and what type of solicitors’ firm to choose. There are a lot of different options, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, you also need to watch out for inexperienced or incompetent injury lawyers fighting for your claim. We’re here to let you know what to look out for, and to guide you through the process of finding the right personal injury solicitor.
A personal injury lawyer (also known as a personal injury solicitor or legal executive) is an accredited legal professional who’s able to represent people who have been injured through no fault of their own, and negotiate on their behalf. This means they specialise in helping people get fair compensation following an accident that was someone else’s fault.
An injury lawyer can also help you get the rehabilitation and medical advice you need for your recovery; and will advise you on how to protect your money once you’ve received your compensation.
An injury lawyer specialises in helping people after they’ve been injured in an accident. This means they often work with claimants who are feeling anxious about their recovery and finances.
While other lawyers and solicitors also deal with people at times of need and vulnerability, a personal injury lawyer has the experience of helping people get access to the medical and care services they need.
Can you make a claim? Call free on 0800 234 6438 or submit your details using the online claim form.
If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. When you get in touch with a legal adviser on 0800 234 6438, they will be able to let you know whether they think you’re likely to be able to make a compensation claim – they’ll tell you this on the same call.
After your initial conversation, they’ll pass you on to one of their partner solicitors. They’ll also talk through some of the details of your accident and injuries and will weigh up your chance of success based on whether the other side is likely to be liable (responsible) for your injuries.
Your solicitor will never take a claim forward if they don’t think there’s a chance of success – that wouldn’t be fair on you and could also be costly for them.
There are lots of different types of personal injuries that you can claim for:
If you’re unsure, you can contact a trained legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438 or fill in the online form. They’ll be able to tell you whether you have a potential case or not.
Compensation is looked at in two ways: general and special damages. General damages look at the direct costs and suffering caused by your injury. Special damages involve things like loss of earnings due to being unable to work, or funeral expenses.
Some cases take longer to settle than others, and some are more complicated than others. Your solicitor will do their best to win the compensation you’re owed, so listen to them and work with them.
Only around 5% of personal injury claims go to court, so the chance of you having to go to court is low.
Normally, you have three years after an accident, or from the ‘date of knowledge’, to start your compensation claim. The ‘date of knowledge’ can be when you find out you have a condition which may have been caused years before, or when you realise the severity of your injury or illness.
There are different time limits for children and for those who lack mental capacity. You can find out more about time limits here.
There are a few ways to find out whether the solicitor you’re working with is accredited and experienced, which we’ve outlined below. Our partner solicitors will meet many (if not all) of the standards mentioned.
You should avoid starting your claim with a company that has cold called you or sent you an email or text out of the blue.
These companies are using unethical ways to contact injured people, and this behaviour may show you how they’ll treat you during your claim. This type of marketing could mean they’re simply out to make a profit on your claim, rather than keeping your best interests in mind.
Some solicitors might try to pressure you into claiming with them – this is totally unacceptable, and you should never be lured into starting a claim by some type of gift or offer. If this happens, we’d recommend looking for a solicitor elsewhere.
When you speak to a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438, they’ll never pressure you into starting your claim. You can rest assured that you’ll have your questions answered without having to commit to taking it any further with them.
There are several professional accreditations that can help you identify whether your personal injury lawyer is experienced, trustworthy and reputable:
The Law Society is the biggest organisation overseeing the work of personal injury lawyers in England and Wales (there are separate organisations for Scotland and Northern Ireland). The Law Society only provides accreditation to lawyers who uphold high standards of service and care.
The presence of either of these two logos show that the injury lawyers in question have been accredited by The Law Society and provide an excellent service in their chosen field.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is the main body that regulates solicitors in England and Wales. It was created by the Legal Services Act of 2007. All solicitors must be regulated by the SRA.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) is a not-for-profit organisation which has been fighting for the rights of injured people for over 25 years. They’re a smaller organisation than The Law Society, but their lawyer members only practice personal injury law, and must follow a strict code of conduct.
APIL’s accreditation scheme recognises injury solicitors who can demonstrate their expertise in personal injury law, so accredited lawyers should provide an excellent service.
Your injury lawyer is there to guide you through the process of making a claim, and to provide the support you need during a very difficult time in your life. They’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have but will never pressure you into starting a claim.
To get the best possible understanding of how they can help, they’ll need to ask you some questions about your accident and injury. Once your solicitor is confident they can help, they’ll then:
If you’re thinking about starting a personal injury claim, you’re probably looking for a lawyer who is particularly experienced in your type of injury.
Most injury lawyers have chosen their specialisms, which means a trained legal adviser will be able to find and put you in touch with the most suitable solicitor for your case. In some cases, their experience and dedication in helping particular injury victims stems from their own personal experiences and they’ll have the expertise to be able to help you with your specific injury or accident type.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
When you submit your details, you'll be in safe hands. Our partners are National Accident Helpline (a brand of National Accident Law, a firm of personal injury solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority). They are the UK's leading personal injury service. Their friendly legal services advisers will call you to talk about your claim and give you free, no-obligation advice. National Accident Law may pay us a marketing fee for our services.
By submitting your personal data, you agree for your details to be sent to National Accident Law so they can contact you to discuss your claim.
If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.