Making a personal injury claim with Waldron & Schofield is simple and straightforward. We are prepared to take on all of the hard work so the process is as stress-free as possible for our clients. We understand that people who make a claim have often been through a difficult time, especially if their circumstances relate to a very serious matter, such as suffering a personal injury or being the victim of clinical negligence.
We wanted to provide you with all of the information you need to know, explaining why claiming through Waldron & Schofield is the best step to take. This page therefore details what you can expect when dealing with us, both during a claim and after.
What should you first do when making a claim?
Potential claimants should speak to an expert for a no obligation, free initial consultation. Waldron & Schofield is an accredited specialist practice following recognition by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). We are now one of only 171 firms nationally recognised (out of many thousands of firms) by the country’s leading organisation in bringing claims for injured persons. Therefore, we have extensive experience in pursuing personal injury claims – far more than most law firms.
Indeed, Head of Department Malcolm Horner is one of only 153 fellows of the association (out of more than 100,000 solicitors nationally).
What makes Waldron & Schofield different to other firms?
One thing that makes us stand out is that we are willing to fund private physio treatment upfront, which most firms do not. This is in the hope that the client will recover more quickly.
We have offices in various locations – Heywood, Altrincham and Stretford – ensuring we are accessible to most. We are not a factory firm, and your claim will be handled by or with the supervision of a highly qualified solicitor.
What are the early steps of the claims process?
Each claim is different, but the initial step in all cases is to get full accident / incident circumstance and then obtain the insurance details from the potential defendant:
- In road traffic accident claims this is simple, as all cars should be insured. If they are not, a claim will proceed through the Motor Insurers Bureau
- Employers have compulsory insurance for accidents at work
- Most tripping cases relate to incidents on the pavement, and the council is usually self-insured
- Most supermarkets have public liability insurance for slips and trips
- Hospitals are insured through the NHS for clinical negligence claims
Does the process vary depending on the type of claim?
Over 90% of personal injury cases proceed under the MOJ Portal (where the value is less than £25,000), which is an electronic system designed to speed up the claims process. Once the insurance position has been established in personal injury cases, allegations surrounding the incident are sent to the defendant’s insurance company, along with details of injuries. The insurance company has a certain number of days to respond; 15 days for road traffic accidents, 30 days for employers’ liability claims and 40 days for public liability claims.
If liability is admitted by the defendant, the claimant will then be examined by an independent medical expert. Once the report is finalised, we make an offer to the defendants to settle the claim, asking for several heads of loss such as compensation for injury, amounts for vehicle losses, loss of earnings, medication costs, travel expenses and many more potential items. The defendant then has 15 business days to make a counter offer. If an amount cannot be agreed, we have a further 20 days to reach a settlement before the matter is then referred to a court hearing, where a judge will then decide an appropriate amount.
What is typically required of the claimant during the claims process?
Claimants simply need to provide proof of financial losses and turn up to the medical appointment – we do the rest!
Claims involving children
Claims involving children have to be approved by the court. A child is not in a position to pursue a claim on his/her own behalf, so someone is appointed to be that child’s litigation friend – usually a parent.
A child has until his or her 21st birthday to start a child accident claim (an adult normally has only three years from the date of an accident to start a claim). The infant settlement approval hearing takes place at a local court and is necessary for all children’s accident claims that are going to be settled for under 18s. The purpose of the court hearing is to ensure that the amount being awarded to the child is adequate compensation for the injuries sustained.
The hearing is short and informal and generally quite relaxed. It is not like a trial or a contested hearing. It is usually held in a smaller court room and the judge is very informative to the litigation friend and the child, who both are asked to attend. The main purpose of the hearing is to make sure the child has recovered from the incident, and then the judge can determine if the agreed settlement is sufficient.
The compensation will be invested until the child is 18 years of age. This is because the court recognises that before then, children are unlikely to be mature and responsible enough to make the right decisions on what to do with the money. However, if some of the money is required to purchase something that will be beneficial to the child, such as equipment for advancement of their education – a computer, for example – this may be permitted by the judge.
The post settlement procedure completely depends on what type of case it is and is mainly determined by the client’s needs. We are happy to continue to be contacted at any time, whether it is about the case or any other legal matter. We will always be available for any further questions the client may have, and hope that we have earned their trust so that we retain the client for the various other services that we can offer.
If the claim is successful, compensation will be paid to the client, along with advice on personal injury trusts if the award is over £6,500, so that any existing benefits are not jeopardised. In most instances, the client will be very happy with the award. We often find the client is surprised firstly by the amount we have managed to get them, and secondly by how quick we have obtained it.
Once a settlement has been achieved, the client then goes about their daily life and we often hear updates as to how they are doing. This is usually through colleagues who have been instructed in other departments, as once we have acted for a client we tend to keep that client for life, satisfying all the legal needs they have.
If the claim is ultimately unsuccessful, then it will not cost the client any money. However, we are still happy to be contacted about the case or any other legal matter.
Get in touch
If you would like to know more about how our tailored services can best suit your needs, do not hesitate to get in touch. Although based in Greater Manchester, we can provide high-quality legal assistance to those who need it around the UK. Call us today on 01706 624 029, or fill in the online contact form.