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Time Limits for accident claims

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If you are unfortunate enough to have an accident and want to bring a personal injury claim, one of the first things to consider is how long you have before you have to start court proceedings.

There is very rarely anything to be gained by delaying; small, everyday documents such as receipts can easily be mislaid, your witnesses may change jobs or addresses and be more difficult to find and other developments at work could make your claim worth less than it was originally.
Making a claim is, despite what the insurance industry suggests, not the first thing on most people’s minds after they have an injury. If you had an accident some years ago you need to take the following into account.
Generally, you have only three years to start court proceedings in your claim. That means that all paperwork, contact with defendant and all evidence needs to be prepared and ready to be presented to court after three years. The solicitor you do instruct is likely to require some time to put the paperwork…

If my claim goes to court what do I have to do? What happens and who are all these people?

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Civil cases are dealt with by a judge.There is no jury. You will be represented by either a solicitor or barrister and you will normally need to attend court at least an hour before the time of the hearing to go through the case with them.

When it's your turn to speak... The judge and both sides will have a bundle of documents relating to the case which will be prepared by your solicitor. Included in these documents will be your witness statement and when you are called to give evidence you will simply be asked by your lawyer to verify that that is your statement. He will then sit down and the defendants have the opportunity to ask questions of you. You will need to answer their questions clearly, making sure you ask them to rephrase or repeat the question  if you don’t understand it. Each witness goes through the same procedure of verifying the statement and then answering questions from the other side. 

Once all the witnesses have been heard....Once all the witnesses have been hear…

Which is easier; settling in or out of court?

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It's probably easier to settle out of court... It is obviously always easier to settle the case before you get to court. It removes any uncertainty about what the court may decide in your case and avoids you having to go through the stress of appearing in court.  However, sometimes the other side refuse to make any offers of settlement or any offers they do make are so low that you feel you should refuse and go to court. This isn't easy, but it may be necessary for you to get the outcome that you want.




Sometimes the only way to get what you deserve is to take the case to court.Your solicitor will advise you on whether the offer is too high or too low based on what the case would be expected to get if you went to court. The ultimate decision is up to you, the client and sometimes a client may want to take an offer even though the advice is that it is too low because they need the money at that particular time. Insurance companies know this so often make relatively low offers at…

Lawyers in Literature and Film; Jake Brigance

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A post by the Office Ninja; all views expressed are entirely her own and not that of the firm.

This one covers both literature and film.

When John Grisham published his first book, A Time to Kill, in 1988 he was working 60 or 70 hour weeks as a criminal and personal injury lawyer in Mississippi. He was inspired to write his first book after witnessing the testimony of a twelve-year old rape victim and wondering what would have happened if her father had set out to murder her attackers in revenge. He wrote before work and during lunchtimes and, after several rejections, A Time to Kill was published in the USA in 1988 and in the UK a year later. His second book, The Firm, set him on the path to global stardom, being made into a film with Tom Cruise. I'm doing Mitchell McDeere in a future post, but today is about the young protagonist in A Time to Kill.


Jake Brigance is a 32 year old lawyer, happily married with a 4 year old daughter and a beautiful old house he is fixing up. At the…

I'm so disorganised, I don't know where my medical records would be. Can I still make a claim?

Don't worry if you don't know where your records are.Medical records are generally held in the UK by your doctor or by the hospital where you were treated. If they are required for the claim your solicitor will be able to obtain these records for you, so you don't need to have your own copy. You have a legal right to ask for your own medical records, and your solicitor has the ability as your agent to request them on your behalf. Doctors are aware of these circumstances and usually cooperate with your solicitor fully. The Medical Protection Society sets out this position clearly.

Other records that may be useful for the claim can also be obtained from other sources. If you are bringing a claim against a previous employer then the National Insurance office in Newcastle will provide a history of your employment with a list of each employer and the tax year that you worked for them.

If you want to bring a loss of earnings claim and you’ve lost all your wage slips it is normal…

Why You should Write a Will.

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Why make a will?


Your will tells everyone what should happen to your money, any property you own and all your possessions after your death. Altogether the things you own are called your estate. 
If you die without a will, which is called dying intestate, then the state decides how your property is passed on, according to laws set out. You and your family get no say in the matter. Under current laws, an unmarried partner may not inherit anything from a partner after death unless he or she is named in their will, no matter how long they have been together.
Leaving a will simplifies the after death process, known as probate, for your family or friends. Leaving them to sort it out without a will can be time consuming and more stressful A will may also reduce the amount of any inheritance tax payable on the estate, if any (inheritance tax only applies to estates above £325,000 for a single person and £650,000 after both members of a married couple have died. A surviving spouse will inherit wit…

My child has had an accident. What do I do to claim on their behalf?

Claims for children are generally like any other claim, although there are few significant differences. Firstly, someone has to make the decisions for the child about the case. This is usually one of the parents or the child’s legal guardian and they are appointed as a litigation friend. Secondly, the rules about time limits are different for a child who, assuming the accident happened while they were under 18, has until their 21st birthday to start court proceedings, no matter how many years have passed since the accident happened. The final difference is that if you reach a settlement on behalf of your child there will normally have to be a short court hearing for a judge to check independently that the settlement is for the right amount. You will find the child normally needs to attend this brief hearing which would last less than 30 minutes. It is the final safeguard for you to be sure that you have got your child the right amount of compensation. Once the claim is settled the court …