What do Personal Injury Solicitors do?
If you have suffered an injury or developed an illness due to someone else’s negligence, you may wish to make a claim. The best course of action is to seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor, who will assess your case and gather evidence to fight to get you the compensation that you deserve.
When handling your claim, personal injury lawyers will:
1. Initial assessment
The first thing they will do is to carry out an initial assessment of your case. This will typically be a phone call with yourself, where they will ask you a series of questions to establish the circumstances of the accident.
Your solicitor will then assess the information that you have disclosed in the conversation to determine who was responsible for causing the accident and establish if there is a good chance of building a case against them. They will let you know either way if they can take on your case. You will also be given the opportunity to ask any questions.
2. Explain their terms of service
If you choose to instruct a solicitor after the initial assessment, they will then explain their terms of service, explain how personal injury claims are funded and outline the next steps.
They will also explain what your legal rights are and how these are relevant to your case. For example, which health and safety regulations have been breached if you have been injured at work or developed an industrial illness.
3. Gather evidence
The next stage is to gather the evidence needed to support your claim. This will include the following:
- Photographs from the scene of the accident.
- Photographs of any injuries, bruising and scarring.
- Photos showing damage to your vehicle and/or personal property.
- Request copies of your medical records.
- Witness statements.
Your solicitor will also ask you to keep the following as evidence when supporting your loss of earnings and out of pocket expenses:
- Travel receipts to and from medical appointments.
- Payslips from the 3 months prior to the accident and to present – showing the loss of earnings.
- Prescription charges.
- Private rehabilitation charges.
4. Arrange medical assessment
Your personal injury solicitor will arrange for you to attend an independent medical assessment. This is to determine the extent of your injuries and to determine how long your recovery period is likely to take. The medical professional will also advise if rehabilitation is needed to aid your recovery.
Read our guide: ‘Will I need to attend a medical assessment?’ for further information on what happens at the assessment.
5. Arrange rehabilitation
If the medical assessment uncovers that rehabilitation is needed to aid your recovery, your solicitor will arrange for this. This could include:
- Speech and language therapy
- Occupational therapy
The cost of which will be factored into your compensation settlement.
6. Negotiate with third party insurers
After your solicitor has gathered all of the evidence needed, they will quantify your claim and start negotiations with the insurer of the defendant or organisation.
They will start by presenting the evidence to the insurer to prove how it was their client’s negligence that caused the accident. It will then be up to the insurer to accept or reject liability.
If the third party accepts liability, they may start by making a compensation offer that is lower than the one quantified by your solicitor. They will then inform you of this offer and it will be up to you if you would like to accept this or not. If it is believed that you should be entitled to a higher amount, your solicitor will explain this to you, and if you agree they will continue with negotiations.
It is important to note that as soon as you have agreed to accept a settlement amount, you will not be able to renegotiate for a higher amount.