How to make a Compensation Claim following a Catastrophic Personal Injury
At Barr Ellison we focus on survivors of serious injury. Many of our clients are amputees or have
sustained serious brain or spinal injury. If you choose to make a claim through us
we will guide you through the process. This video is a brief overview of the main steps.
The first step is the initial legal consultation. This is to establish the
likely success of your claim and will guide your decision on how to proceed.
Catastrophic personal injury cases can last for years, so it's important to appoint a specialist
lawyer. It's also important to meet your lawyer as you will be working closely together. Your lawyer
will go through the major steps of the process and advise you on the likely value of your financial claim.
They will also go through your options for funding your case. This initial consultation should
also focus on the need for early rehabilitation as well as any other issues or questions you may have.
At Barr Ellison this initial consultation is always free and will last as long as you need.
The next step is sending a Letter of Claim. But before sending a Letter of Claim, all Defendants
must be correctly identified. Key information and evidence must be compiled in accordance with the
Pre-action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims. Once everything is in order the Letter of Claim
can be sent to the Defendants. They then have three weeks to acknowledge its receipt. Following that
the Defendants have three months to investigate. The next step is to consider rehabilitation,
including interim payments. This step overlaps with and continues in parallel to all the other steps.
Obtaining funding for rehabilitation treatments is an immediate top priority.
The goal is to enable you or your loved one to live as full a life as possible. Early
rehabilitation is essential to this and interim payments are likely to be needed to fund it.
Whether to appoint a case manager and commission expert reports is considered.
Medical needs after a serious injury are often complex and long term. Intensive
recovery therapies, and the need for carers and physiotherapists, must be factored in.
For many, it might not be possible to return home without at least some adaptations to the
home. Or, to enable as much independence as possible, it may be necessary to move home.
Other issues to be considered are education needs - for example to enable a return to work -
or prosthetics care and maintenance. Ideally these needs are met through interim payments whilst
the claim is ongoing. For more, see our article Early Rehabilitation is Critical in Catastrophic
Personal Injury Cases. The outcome of the final step will depend on whether the defendant admits
liability, or denies some or all of liability for your injury. Where liability is admitted,
the main work to be done is to ensure that you receive a fair and just settlement. Your lawyer
will provide advice and clarity on the level of compensation you should receive, including medical
costs, loss of earnings, the need for care and assistance, rehabilitation treatments and therapies,
and legal costs. There are likely to be intense negotiations over the level of compensation,
especially when calculating the future cost of rehabilitation and care, as well as loss of
future earnings, and any adaptations to the house that might be needed. If the parties can agree the
level of compensation, the case will settle and there is no need to go to court. Where liability
is only partially admitted or fully denied there will usually be negotiation to review liability
and the level of damages. It is possible that the Defendant may allege contributory negligence,
meaning that they believe that you or others contributed to the cause of your injury.
Before discussing the details of a potential settlement, the Defendants will be asked to
provide a 'disclosure of evidence' which details why the Defendants believe they are not liable or only
partially liable. For more details see our article How is Personal Injury Compensation Calculated?
If the parties can agree a new position on liability and damages, the case ends and the Defendants
pay the agreed settlement. If terms cannot be agreed, you may decide to issue proceedings against
the Defendant (your solicitor will advise you on this). At this point either you or the Defendant
may decide to make an offer to settle, known as a 'part 36 offer' under the Civil Procedure Rules.
If this offer is accepted, the case will end and the Defendants will pay the agreed settlement.
If the offer is not accepted, you have the option of taking the Defendant to court.
The courts will then determine liability and level of compensation.
Get in touch if you or your loved one have suffered a serious injury and believe you
may need legal assistance. There will be no charge for the initial legal consultation.