Work Claims Bureau explain the typical stages a work accident goes through and how we help our clients within these stages.
Every claim is different, and the path each takes depends on a few different factors. So while we don’t have a crystal ball to know exactly how and when a claim will be completed, there are general stages in the process we think it is important to explain. And of course, we’re the ones you can trust to progress matters diligently for you and keep you informed every step of the way.
1. Instructing us
The first time you speak to us we’ll usually take full details of what happened in your accident and the current situation with your injuries. If you have difficulty speaking English, we have some staff who speak other languages, including Polish, who can help explain things for you. If it helps you, you might want to make notes about the accident circumstances, location, time and who was there; you can send this to us later. Of course, we’ll answer any questions you have for us where we possibly can.
If we’re happy that your claim has good enough prospects to proceed, we will set up a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement for you to read and sign. This is an agreement between us on how the claim will work, and complying with the agreement means you won’t be liable for any legal costs in the event your claim is unsuccessful.
2. Submitting the claim
Once you’ve agreed for us to act on your behalf and are happy for us to send off the claim, we will draft a claim form that sets out the full details of the accident and why we believe you are entitled to compensation. You will be able to check this before we send it to your employer’s insurer; we will make sure that the technical legal terms in this document are correct, including the specific regulations that we believe your employer failed to meet.
3. The consideration period
The insurer usually has an initial period of 30 working days to investigate and provide a decision on whether your employer accepts or denies responsibility for the accident. Sometimes, the insurer will not be able to complete their investigations within this time; if this happens, they will have another couple of months to provide their decision. However, if you are later successful, the other side will usually have to pay slightly higher legal costs.
We’ll let you know as soon as we have the liability decision. We’ll review the basis of your employer’s decision, whether the documents they provide have any impact on the prospects of your claim.
4. Medical evidence and expert recommendations
At an appropriate time, we will instruct an independent medical expert in the appropriate field to arrange a consultation with you. The expert will talk to you about your accident, injuries and symptoms and examine you. This is not the same as you going to the doctors or hospital for treatment; the aim of the consultation is to produce a medical report in the correct legal format that discusses how the accident relates to your injuries.
If it’s possible at this stage, the expert will give a prognosis for how long they expect your symptoms to last before you get better, or advise of any permanent symptoms. Sometimes, especially if you have multiple injuries, you might need more than one report from experts in different disciplines.
We’ll discuss the report with you and you will get to check it before we disclose it to anyone. We’ll also put together a formal document listing all your other losses (eg loss of earnings, travel costs, medical expenses, care costs etc) related to the injury. Again, you will be able to review and approve this document.
We can look at if we can help to arrange any private investigations or rehabilitation recommended by the medical expert (physiotherapy for example). Your employer’s insurer may also offer to arrange this on a ‘without prejudice’ basis (meaning they will fund it without it having any bearing on who was liable for the accident).
5. Where Liability is Admitted
If your employer admits liability for your accident, provided we have all the supportive medical evidence we need, we can begin to value damages in your claim. We base our valuation of damages on the medical report, industry guidelines for different types of injury and where possible, published reports on settlements in cases with similar injuries. We’ll also incorporate your other losses and expenses (known as ‘special damages’) into any valuation we make.
When it is appropriate to proceed with settlement, we will speak to you before making an initial offer to your employer’s insurer. Both sides then have a few weeks to negotiate with offers and counter offers. If we can’t reach an agreement then, if appropriate, we will take further steps to seek resolution of your case.
6. Where Liability is not admitted
If liability is not admitted or no decision has been forthcoming and we consider your case has sufficient prospects of success, we will obtain further evidence and consider if it is appropriate to issue your claim through the Court. We’ll advise you accordingly and take your instructions.
If the prospects are sufficient to continue to fight your case for you, our specialist team have years of experience in pursuing, and winning, work accident claims through the Court. Sending your Claim to the Court does not necessarily mean it will proceed to a final Hearing; many more claims than not settle before hearing. There will be a timetable of around 12 months for both sides to exchange evidence and hopefully resolve any dispute.
Legal proceedings must be issued within 3 years of the date of accident (or date of knowledge of a condition arising from your occupation). For those under age 18, the Claim Form has to be issued before the Claimant’s 21st birthday.
Either side can make offers to settle the claim at any time in the process, even when a claim has been listed to be heard in Court. We’ll discuss any offers we receive or intend to make with you and take your instructions, or if there is need to discuss your case at any important stage. The whole claims process is a team effort.
We have access to reputed barristers in the field who can advise and represent you if your Claim goes to a Hearing.
Work Claims Bureau’s specialist solicitors have a proud record of achieving the best possible results for clients, and we take pride in offering you outstanding support throughout the claim process.
Call us today on 0161 813 2132 or get in touch online.