Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the common questions which are asked by people wishing to, or are in the process of making a personal injury claim.

Nick Tunnicliffe

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Our legal team at Spencers Solicitors are experienced in all types of personal injury claims, from road traffic accidents to workplace injuries. If you can't find the information you need call us on 08000 93 00 94 or submit an online enquiry form for no obligation injury claim advice.


In some accident claims it may be appropriate to agree with the other side an apportionment of liability on a split basis. Examples of split liability agreements may be referred to as: 'a 50/50 split' or 'a 75/25 split'.

'50/50' are not 'knock for knock' settlements, where both parties bear their own losses.

Split liability agreements may be advised upon for a number of reasons, these could be based on evidence or upon commercial reality.

Sometimes a split settlement is proposed where there is no clear evidence of who was at fault for the incident and neither party are willing to accept full liability.

If a split settlement is agreed, each party receives a proportion of their claim. e.g., in the case of a 50/50 split each party would receive 50% of their damages for injury and for their losses.

Do remember that the decision to make such an agreement is yours. Such an agreement will never be imposed upon you.

For more details please see our guide to split liability agreements.

We can't answer that until we know about your individual accident claim.

However we can say that an undisputed, relatively straight-forward injury claim may be finalised in a matter of a few months. More complicated injury claims may take as long as your injuries take to stabilise.

Factors which can affect the timescale are things like:

  • Disputes - The question of who is to blame or whether the amount of your claim is reasonable may be argued by the other party. Should this happen, we will always give you the best advice and lead you through any dispute to reach an acceptable outcome.
  • Insurance companies - Can be notoriously slow at dealing with claims, be that by answering correspondence or releasing settlement monies. We will strive to ensure that they deal with your case within the time limits allowed by relevant Protocols and/or Court Rules.
  • Medical experts - Unfortunately are high in demand. From time to time there may be delays in receiving appointments or written reports. Rest assured we will also endeavour to use the swiftest and highest quality of medical experts.
  • Courts - The court process can sometimes be a slow one; it can be daunting too. We will support and guide you through this as quickly and efficiently as possible, fully explaining each step of the process.

While speed is good, quality is better. A thorough claim may gain higher compensation than a quick claim, and will make sure you get the quality and level of damages you need and deserve.

For more information, see our Accident Guide How long will a personal injury claim take to settle?

When you pursue an accident claim, your compensation settlement is usually made up of two distinct elements. First there is compensation for your pain and suffering and secondly there is compensation for the financial losses that you have suffered. The financial impact is often more important than the damages for injury.

We treat you and your claim as individual. The same injury can affect people in different ways. The specific type and seriousness of the injuries you have sustained and the time over which you have, and will suffer, are all factors which we take into account.

We support our advice by using a combination of expert medical evidence, latest court cases and judicial guidelines. We will not give you a valuation until we have all the evidence required.

Common injuries in road accidents are to the neck and back, usually in the form of whiplash. As a general guideline, such injuries lasting for a month or so will attract an award of around £1000; those lasting for up to approximately two years may attract around £5000.

Once your acceptance of a compensation offer has been received, we will write to the other side and request prompt payment. As it is usually an insurer who actually pays out your damages, we could experience some delay. We usually receive payment within approximately 21 days.

We will do our best to ensure that settlement is agreed on the basis of a cheque being received within a stipulated period of time. If payment does not arrive we will advise you on the next most appropriate steps.

A general rule for adults is that you have three years from the date of the accident in which to pursue a personal injury claim. In the case of children this is three years from the date of their 18th birthday.

However this can differ depending on the type of claim, for more in-depth information, visit our How long do I have to make a claim for personal injury compensation? accident guide.

Liability can simply be described as 'fault'. To establish liability, three factors have to be proven:

  • The other party owed you a duty of care;
  • That duty was breached;
  • Damage resulted from that breach;

Using a road traffic accident as an example. All road users have a duty of care when driving; whether that duty was breached is sometimes a matter of dispute between the parties, and the damage that may have resulted may relate to injuries and financial losses.

The law exist to provide redress and compensation for people injured through no fault of their own. People often incur additional expense after an injury such as loss of earnings, damaged personal property, treatment costs etc that can all have a significant and unexpected financial impact.

The stigma attached to claiming compensation for personal injury is largely driven by the insurance industry which has a specific agenda to reduce the number of claims that they pay out on. You should not feel embarrassed or ashamed to claim for compensation when you have been adversely affected by the negligent action of someone else

No, generally this does not form part of your own motor insurance policy. However, a personal injury claim would be made against the 'at fault party' (the other driver) or their insurance company.

Send through details of your claim by completing our Claim Enquiry form or call us on 08000 93 00 94 to discuss your claim, and then leave us to do the rest.

No matter the level of severity, so long as medical evidence supports the injuries you have sustained, and links your injuries to the accident, a claim for compensation can be made. See a list of common personal injury claim types we regularly deal with.

Any relevant pre-existing medical conditions will be considered by the independent medical expert who will be instructed to provide a report on your injuries. The presence of a pre-existing injury will have no bearing on whether a claim can be pursued, and may only effect the experts opinion on how the much the accident has exasperated your condition or injury.

We will instruct an appropriate medical expert who is as close as possible to your home or workplace, so that travel is kept to a minimum. If you do incur travel costs in attending an appointment or in respect of treatment, this can be included in your claim. We have also written a dedicated guide on attending a medical examination as part of a personal injury claim.

This will involve you meeting and being examined and/or questioned by an appropriate doctor or surgeon. You may perhaps have to complete a pre-examination questionnaire, which will aid the doctor at that meeting. Your appointment will usually last about half an hour. After this the doctor will produce a detailed report which we will share with you for your approval before sending to the other side. Do remember that the doctor's job is to give his opinion as an expert and not to become involved in any way in your treatment.

As well as compensation for injury, other losses which commonly arise from accidents are:

  • Loss of earnings;
  • Vehicle repairs, hire, storage and recovery charges;
  • Medication, prescription, treatment (physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, counselling etc) fees;
  • Travelling expenses e.g. taxis, buses, trains or car mileage;
  • Domestic care and assistance e.g. help with everyday tasks received from family, friends or a professional.

This is not an exhaustive list. So long as a loss is reasonably incurred as a direct result of the accident and can be supported with evidence, you should be able to recover it.

Due to a recent change in the law it is no longer possible to recover success fees from an opponent, so in most claims this is now payable by the client. For more information on success fees and funding arrangements please visit our no win no fee page.

Occasionally, an opponent may present you with a tempting offer: "We'd like to settle this quickly for you. Here's a nice sum of money, sign here and we're done." Don't do it! Well don't do it until you have talked to us. The offer made may or may not be appropriate.

Based on the claim type of your accident claim, the lawyer dealing with your case will take you through the various steps required to finalise a claim.

If medical evidence or treatment is required, we will arrange the necessary appointments.

Throughout the duration of your claim our lawyer will keep you advised of developments and you can call or email us at anytime.

Our team system means that if your assigned lawyer is unavailable, you have choices. You can ask for your lawyer to call you back, or if you prefer you can talk to another member of the team. It means there's always someone that can take a call from you or answer a question.

Whiplash injuries are caused when the soft-tissue and ligaments in the neck are stretched beyond their normal range of movement, so it is entirely possible to suffer whiplash at relativity low speeds. You can found out more in our guide whiplash injuries in low speed collisions.

There are two main insurance cover types; 'comprehensive' and 'third party fire and theft' (or TPFT). With TPFT cover, your insurers will compensate the other driver if it transpires that you are partially or fully at fault for the incident. However they will not deal with the damage to your vehicle.

With comprehensive cover, you get the same cover as with TPFT but your insurers also lessen the impact on you, usually by arranging the repair of your vehicle through an "approved repairer" and paying for repairs themselves. This is then included in your claim against the other party. Some insurers also provide courtesy cars.

Comprehensive insurance usually has an excess applicable. For example, an excess of £200 on your policy means you pay the first £200 towards the cost of the repairs. We include this excess as part of your claim.

You will also have a no-claims bonus on your policy. This is affected as soon as your insurers pay anything out against your policy, and will only be re-instated when your insurers receive 100% of their outlay back.

The first thing to bear in mind with credit hire vehicles is that they are NOT courtesy cars. You have to be aware that you are legally liable for the cost of the car. The reason that you are not invoiced immediately for the hire car is that credit hire is dealt with on a deferred payment basis. This means that you are given time to pay the hire vehicle, which gives us the opportunity to claim the hire from the third party before payment becomes due.

Court proceedings are usually issued if there is a dispute between the parties, or where one of the parties does not respond to the claim put to them. However the vast majority of accident claims do not go to a final court hearing as they tend to settle beforehand. It is not unusual for settlement offers to be made once proceedings have been issued or once a hearing date has been set.

Whilst court proceedings might sound daunting, you do not need to panic. We will carefully support and advise you all along the way. You can also find additional details in our guide Will my injury claim go to court?

If a final hearing is necessary to decide the matter, it is likely that you will have to attend Court to give evidence. You may however be represented by an appropriately skilled barrister or other representative carefully instructed by us.

Your attendance at court may be critical and provide you with the strongest chance of obtaining the right outcome.

  • Litigator
    The lawyer who is dealing with your case for you here at Spencers Solicitors.

  • Liability
    Whose fault the incident was. Not all incidents are the fault of just one party; sometimes there can be several parties involved and, on occasion, liability may be split between the parties.

  • Quantum
    How much your claim is worth. 'Special' damages are specified amounts (e.g. vehicle repairs). 'General' damages are damages which cannot be specified and need to be evaluated (e.g. damages for injuries).

  • Third Party or Defendant
    The other person involved in the incident.

  • Case Law
    Cases which have already been decided by the court, and are often used as guidelines for a similar other case going through the court process or being valued/settled.

  • Litigation
    A case becomes litigated when court proceedings have been commenced. The start of the court process is often known as "issuing proceedings".

  • Claims Management Company
    Essentially 'middle men' who are neither insurers nor solicitors. They will often sell cases to lawyers for what was known as a 'referral fee'.

  • Brokers
    Companies which try to find the best insurance deals and sell insurance products to customers.

  • Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB)
    The MIB (Motor Insurers Bureau) is a public organisation set up to compensate victims of uninsured and untraced drivers. Therefore, if the driver who caused the accident is uninsured or cannot be identified, a claim can still be made via the MIB. Where the driver who caused the accident is uninsured, the MIB will consider claims for all accident related losses as normal. Where the other driver is untraced the MIB will still consider claims for injury and injury related losses (wage loss, medication costs etc) but will place some restrictions on what they will pay for the non-injury part of the claim. In respect of claims against both uninsured and untraced drivers, the MIB will also not pay any 'subrogated' claim. This means any item of claim for which you have already been paid by another party e.g. your insurers' outlay in a comprehensive claim.

If you can't find the information you need call us on 08000 93 00 94 or submit an online enquiry form for no obligation injury claim advice.

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