February 1, 2022
When you’ve suffered personal injury in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may decide that you want to pursue a compensation claim. If you haven’t been in the position of needing to use a personal injury solicitor before, you are most likely to try and find one by searching on the internet.
You will find some excellent personal injury, no win, no fee solicitors’ websites, with lots of information on them. Make a list of those that you want to follow up with.
After you have put together your list of firms, what’s next?
The best way to ascertain what is involved in making a personal injury claim, is to ask a solicitor about it. Likewise, the best way to find out if a particular personal injury solicitor’s firm is the right one for you is by asking them some questions to find out whether they are as experienced in dealing with personal injury claims, as their website suggests.
Talking to them will also confirm whether you think you will feel comfortable with them dealing with your claim. Going with your gut instinct is a crucial factor in making the right choice.
Here are our top tips for what questions you should ask when you phone a personal injury solicitor’s firm.
1. Make a note of what you are going to ask
Before making the call, take a moment to sit down and gather your thoughts. Jot down a list of the questions that you want the solicitor to answer. That way, you’ll have a set of items that you can refer to without worrying about forgetting what you want to ask, as the call proceeds.
2. Jot down a brief description of the accident
When you call the solicitors practice to have your consultation, they will ask you to briefly explain how the accident happened, where it happened, and what injuries you sustained as a result of it. To put this across in the best way, it is a good idea to jot down the main points you want to get over, such as:
- Accident date
- If you are calling the solicitor about a road traffic accident that you’ve been injured in, make sure you to have to hand the details of the other party involved and their vehicle registration number, if you have them.
Doing this will help you to explain the accident circumstances concisely, but without missing any essential issues.
3. What experience do they have in this particular area of personal injury claims?
Assuming that the solicitors firm believe that your claim has reasonable prospects of success, ask what experience the firm has in dealing with the type of claim you are making enquiries about.
4. Do they have any industry recognised accreditations?
Ask them whether they have any appropriate accreditations, such as official recognition from a suitable independent body of their expertise in personal injury law or in the particular area of injury law that applies to your claim. For instance, Spencers Solicitors are a leading Legal 500 firm and are recognised as having "expertise in catastrophic injury cases and motor-related litigation".
We also have a host of other specialist certifications and awards. It’s important to know that the solicitors’ firm you choose to act for you, has the required expertise.
Perhaps most important of all, as a solicitors firm, we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This means that we have to conduct our business in line with standards, regulations, principles and a code of conduct, set out by the SRA. If we fail to live up to the high standards that they set, the SRA can take action against us.
Contrast this, with some types of claims firms who do not have to abide by such a heavy weight of regulation.
5. How does the firm deal with personal injury claims?
Will one specific solicitor, legal executive or litigator deal with your claim all the way through? Alternatively, if your claim will be handled collectively by a team, ask how precisely that will work? Having the matter dealt with by a ‘team’ can be beneficial at times, especially if yours is a serious injury claim, with several people carrying out specific tasks at any one time.
6. How much relevant experience will the person dealing with my claim have?
Whichever method as in 5 above, is employed, ask how much relevant personal injury experience the individual who will be dealing with your claim has. If they suggest the team method of working for you, ask the same questions about whoever leads the team. Ask to make an appointment to speak with the relevant person, if you think it would help you decide whether to instruct this particular firm or not.
7. How will my claim be funded?
Ask how they will fund your claim. Most personal injury claims are funded using a No Win No Fee arrangement. Usually, the agreement is based around the principle that if your claim is not successful, you will have nothing to pay.
However, if you are successful, you will have to pay a success fee which will be capped at a percentage of the compensation that you receive i.e. if the cap is 25% of your compensation (damages) then that is the maximum you will have to pay, but it may be less.
Unlike some other firms, if there is a shortfall in the amount of costs that we are able to recover from the defendant (the other party), we do not seek to recover this from our client.
Ask too, whether there will be other deductions from your damages such as, an "After the Event" insurance premium. It’s important stuff, so ask away until you are satisfied that you understand the position.
8. Will you be able to keep in regular contact with your solicitor?
This is possibly one of the biggest complaints that disgruntled clients tend to level against their solicitor. They don’t let them know what’s happening enough or at all.
Ask how easy it will be to reach your solicitor should you have any queries. Ask what happens if they are in court, on holiday or ill. Will there be another person who is available that will have up to date knowledge to speak to?
9. One final point – ask whoever you speak to what they will do with all the personal details you have provided them with, in the event that you decide not to use that firm? You may find that some companies, particularly some claims companies, may end up selling your data to other claims firms. That is something that we definitely don’t do!
If you are reading this because you or a family member has suffered personal injury in an accident that wasn’t your (or their fault), then call us here at Spencers Solicitors. Why not ask us to answer the questions we have suggested above? We’d be only too happy to do so.
Call us on 08000 93 00 94 or leave your contact details and we’ll call you back.
About the author
Carol is a Paralegal within our Serious Injury Team.
Carol, who joined the business in December 2000, has worked in various client facing roles during her tenure, all of which have provided Carol with valuable insight and experience for her role within the Serious Injury Team. Carol assists the team on a wide range of integral tasks involving complex injury including cases involving amputations, serious spinal injuries resulting in permanent disability, brain, head injuries and fatal accidents.
Carol can be contacted on 01246 266749.