Uninsured loss

Uninsured loss

Uninsured losses are those items of expense which are not covered by your own insurance policy. They usually crop up after a road accident.

If you have third party cover you only have cover for the damage you do when you are at fault. That means everything else is an uninsured loss. If you have comprehensive cover the uninsured losses will be every expense except the vehicle, subject to payment of any policy excess.Expenses add up after a car or motorcycle accident Continue reading “Uninsured loss”

Liability is admitted

Liability is admitted – can I relax?

The defendant has admitted liability, or the insurance company for the Defendant has admitted liability.

Admitting liability is quite common in personal injury compensation case. The Claimant and their representatives relax as the fight is cancelled, and all that is necessary is to sort out the compensation.

What might surprise you is that an admission made before Court proceedings can be withdrawn. Court rules are in place to mange the position where the parties do not agree to the withdrawal of an admission of liability. A further surprise is that a Defendant withdrawing does not have to show that new evidence has been discovered. Continue reading “Liability is admitted”

Referral fees – the truth

The truth about referral fees

This page is only of historical interest now, as referral fees cannot now be paid by solicitors for personal injury cases since 1 April 2013.

There are so many headlines and so few facts about referral fees in personal injury compensation cases.

Payment of fees and commissions for the introduction of business have always been a fact of business life in general. A referral fee is a payment for the introduction of a client.

Referral fees really took off in the personal injury field after legal aid was replaced by conditional fee agreements, or no win no fee as they are called. To “compensate” for removing legal aid solicitors were allowed to charge a success fee to reflect the risk they ran of not being paid if the case lost. Continue reading “Referral fees – the truth”

50/50 50:50 50-50 fifty fifty

50/50 50:50 50-50 fifty fifty

50/50 is a term used where it is thought the blame for an accident is equally shared between those involved.

The term is often used by insurance companies who want to reduce the payment they should make. In law very few cases are truly 50/50, but it is a term too often used in negotiation.

A 50/50 settlement might be suggested where there are no independent witnesses, where it is your word against the word of someone else. You might well be believed in Court, and the other person’s evidence rejected, but the insurance company are not keen to pay the legal costs of finding out. In truth, if you risked paying the legal costs, you might feel less strongly about the fight. Continue reading “50/50 50:50 50-50 fifty fifty”

Gratuitous care in compensation claims

Gratuitous care

If you have cared for the victim of accident or injury and the victim is entitled to recover compensation then a claim may be made for gratuitous care.

Gratuitous care means care and attention above and beyond what might usually be expected within your existing arrangement. Gratuitous care does not mean nursing, it means looking after someone, being there to fetch and carry, visiting at hospital, and driving or travelling with the accident victim to medical appointments. These are examples of things you might reasonably do for someone else. If that someone else has a claim for compensation then the gratuitous care you provided can be added to that claim. You cannot make a claim in your own right, so the care has to be compensated through the claim of the injured person. Any compensation recovered is held for you by the injured person after their claim for compensation is successful.

How is gratuitous care calculated? Continue reading “Gratuitous care in compensation claims”

Compensation recovery scheme – recoupment

Compensation recovery scheme

State recovery of benefits paid after accident or injury – recoupment of benefits

The State can recover benefits paid after accident or injury if the person injured brings a successful claim for compensation. Recovery is only possible if the compensation case is successful, as the Government cannot bring a separate action.

The benefits are recovered from the “compensator” which means the insurance company or Defendant who has to pay compensation. Let us explain how this works. Continue reading “Compensation recovery scheme – recoupment”

Interim payment in personal injury

Interim payment in a personal injury case

An interim payment is a payment on account of the compensation you are likely to receive in your claim for compensation.

After an accident your earnings may be reduced or even stopped. You may have to incur expenses to ensure recovery from injury, or to repair a damaged vehicle or property. Personal injury cases can take time and an interim payment could be the difference between feeling you have to accept a quick low settlement because you are broke and getting a proper compensation payment. If you have a good case for compensation after an accident you should not be in this position.

You should not be forced to settle your case too cheaply because you are short of money as a result of an accident. The purpose of an interim payment is to level the playing field  between you and the Defendant, often backed by an insurance company, who has caused your accident. Sometimes insurance companies will try to drag out a settlement to increase the financial pressure on you to accept a low offer. You should not be in this position and let us tell you how interim payments are meant to work.

Continue reading “Interim payment in personal injury”

Legal expenses insurance according to Consumer Focus

What does legal expenses insurance mean to you?

Consumer Focus set out to see what legal expenses insurance means to you.

Legal expenses insurance, sometimes called before the event insurance, is sold very effectively, but not explained well in my opinion. Most people are sold this insurance when they insure vehicles, and you often see it included in other insurance sales, household insurance being a good example. Look for it in your next policy renewal, as you usually have to deselect it if you do not want to buy. We will explain how legal expenses insurance works. Continue reading “Legal expenses insurance according to Consumer Focus”

Motor insurance premiums rising

Motor insurance premiums are rising sharply

On Tuesday 9 November 2010, the House of Commons transport committee is to ask the insurance companies why insurance premiums are rising.

The media reported premiums have risen 51% in the past 12 months. This is the biggest increase since records have been kept in 1994. The effect depends on your risk profile, the greatest rise being in premiums for young males. Ian Crowder of the AA is reported to say “For every £100 taken in premium over the past year, £123 has been paid out in claims.”

There is a war of words and statistics raging at the moment. The Government is soon to make up its mind how it feels about compensation, insurance companies, their premiums, and the fees of personal injury lawyers.

My position on any such debate is you must tell the whole story. Lobbying on the basis of sound bites does not allow a true understanding, and will not produce the right balance. Let me explain the whole picture for you. Continue reading “Motor insurance premiums rising”

Local authority care

The Court of Appeal was asked to decide if a public authority exercised its decision making powers correctly.
The point at issue was whether the Council could change the help it gave without a change in a person’s circumstances.

Should local authority pay for care?

Understanding how local authorities make decisions as to entitlement to care is not easy. So a case before one of our higher Courts which examines the question is a great help. An important case about local authority and payment for care came before the Court of Appeal through an application for judicial review. The Court was asked to decide if a public authority exercised its decision making powers correctly.

The point at issue was whether the Council could change the help it gave without a change in a person’s circumstances.

The case involved Elaine McDonald, 67, a former Scottish Ballet principal. We would like to tell you more. Continue reading “Local authority care”

Complaints and the Legal Ombudsman

How the Legal Ombudsman will approach resolving complaints

From 6 October 2010 the Legal Ombudsman will play a significant role in resolving complaints about legal service, and solicitors must tell their clients about the right to complain.

The Legal Ombudsman has stated that they will take a different approach to resolving complaints from their predecessors but what will this mean in practice? The guide we have set out provides a summary of the rules under which the Legal Ombudsman will handle complaints, the remedies available to it and the fee it will charge for handling complaints. This guide is based on the Legal Ombudsman’s scheme rules. Continue reading “Complaints and the Legal Ombudsman”

Complain about a solicitor

Complain about solicitor

You might think this an odd topic for a solicitor’s website. I take the view we should be as open as possible about problems, and the Law Society seems to agree. I will set out why complaints are made, and how they ought to be dealt with.

Sometimes the job does not go right, but the usual reasons for complaining are caused by poor communication. At the outset of work a solicitor must set out in writing what is to be done, with an estimate of the time and cost involved. That should not be difficult, but it can sometimes be vague. The client goes away from a meeting thinking everything is clear, the letter is vague, and immediately you are on course to an unhappy relationship with your solicitor.

We are not a nation of people who complain, but sometimes you have no choice. Continue reading “Complain about a solicitor”

Choose a solicitor

When choosing a personal injury solicitor you should make a personal choice. Your personal injury solicitor will have to understand how an accident has affected your life, your family life, and your work. Your finances will have to be discussed, and more than likely your medical records. All quite personal stuff, so a personal choice has to be made, not an internet comparison.

Choose a solicitor

Choosing a solicitor to represent you is an important decision.

Like so many areas this decision is helped by information you can gather on the internet. Comparing insurance quotes is now pretty quick and straightforward. Finding the cheapest television is now so much simpler. Before choosing a solicitor in this way you should think about what you are actually looking for. Continue reading “Choose a solicitor”

Contributory negligence

Contributory negligence

Contributory negligence or partial fault is such an important subject and worthy of its own section.

You can prove your case by showing you were injured by someone who did not take reasonable care for your safety. They might be able to show you were partially to blame, and therefore contributed to the injury. Your contribution is assessed as a percentage, and that same percentage is knocked off your compensation. That may sound fair enough, but the effect can be tough. Losing 50 per cent of a £2,000 claim may not be the end of the world, but in a larger case, where most of the compensation is ear-marked to pay for long term care, losing even a small percentage for contributory negligence, can be very expensive indeed. Continue reading “Contributory negligence”