We’ve tried to answer the most common accident and injury questions, from assessing your eligibility through to making a claim with us.
Q. How long will my claim take?
A. This will depend on the circumstances of your case. A straightforward road traffic accident can be settled within months, whilst more serious injuries may take longer. Once we have carried out initial investigations, we will be in a better position to anticipate how long it will take. You can be assured that we at Atha & Co will not delay your claim, it is simply not in our interest to do so.
Q. What if my injury occurred a while ago?
A. Generally, you have 3 years from the date of your injury to make a claim. If the accident involved a minor (under 18), the three years does not start until the minor’s 18th birthday. There are other exceptions to this three-year rule, which your solicitor can explain if you send an enquiry or make an appointment.
Q. I am not sure if I have a genuine claim?
A. Every case is different, so we assess each claim on an individual basis. If you have no case, we will tell you. It is not in your interest, or ours, to proceed with a case we do not feel will succeed. To get advice about your claim, send an enquiry or make an appointment.
Q. Will my claim really cost me nothing?
A. You will not have to pay your own lawyer or, in most cases, the cost of the other side. Before exposing you to any risk, whatsoever, of having to pay any costs, we will explain these risks thoroughly to you and ensure that you are covered, where necessary, by insurance. We provide a genuine No Win No Fee service.
Q. What is the difference between and lawyer and a claims management company?
A. A lawyer is a qualified legal practitioner, either a solicitor, barrister or legal executive, who is regulated by the Law Society, the Bar Council or the Institute of Legal Executives respectively. Claims management companies are not regulated by any of these bodies and often act as middlemen, not actually handling claims themselves. They usually take a cut from either your damages or your Solicitors costs – we don’t have anything to do with them.
Q. Will I have to go to court?
A. The vast majority of injury claims settle out of court. Court action may be necessary to ensure that you are properly compensated if settlement negotiations break down.
Q. Can I receive help with treatment costs?
A. These days you do not have to wait for the end of your case before receiving financial assistance to help you get better, faster. Where responsibility is accepted for your accident, we can negotiate early payments for approved treatments and any other expenses.
Q. How much will I receive for my injuries?
A. If your claim is successful, you will receive compensation for your injuries and the effect of the accident on your way of life. The amount of money payable will be decided in line with published tariff guidelines and previously decided cases similar to your own. In addition, we will aim to recover any financial losses that you have incurred as a result of your accident (e.g. cost of private medical treatment, out of pocket expenses such as travel and painkillers and loss of earnings etc.), as well as losses you can expect to incur in the future. We can only predict the likely amount when we receive an independent medical report. We will then give you our informed opinion of how much your claim is worth.
Q. What if my claim fails?
A. You will not have to pay your own lawyer, but may have to pay the costs of the other side. Before exposing you to any risk whatsoever for having to pay any costs we will explain these risks thoroughly to you and ensure that you are covered by insurance. If necessary we will even organise and pay for insurance on your behalf. Unless you decide otherwise, we shall make sure that you have no costs to pay even if your claim fails. We provide a genuine ‘no win no fee’ service.
Q. Can I claim compensation?
A. If you have suffered an injury which wasn’t your fault in the last three years they you may be entitled to compensation. If the accident happened when you were below 18 years of age you have until you are 21 to register your claim.
Q. What if the other driver is NOT insured?
A. If the driver is not insured then the claim will be met by the Motor Insurance Bureau which is an organisation set up by the Insurance Industry to compensate the victims of uninsured drivers or those injured in hit and run accidents where the driver cannot subsequently be traced. The position is therefore the same as if the driver was insured and compensation is paid on the same basis.
Q. What to do if i have a complaint?
A.Our Complaints Procedure is set out in our Client Care Letter and is as follows:-
i) If you have any complaint, at all, about the service you receive, then please direct it initially to the person dealing with you claim. Our experience is that many claims arise out of simple misunderstandings and the vast majority are easily resolved by discussing your concerns directly with the person involved.
ii) If it is not possible to resolve matters in this way, then please submit full details of your complaint, in writing, to Mr Charles Atha, either via e-mail or post. Mr Atha will acknowledge your complaint within 7 days and invite you to a discussion to enable us to understand the issues involved. If the matter cannot be resolved at that meeting, then a full investigation will be conducted, and Mr Atha will advise you as to the conclusion of that investigation within 28 days.
iii) If you are not satisfied with the ultimate conclusion and investigation, then you have the right to refer matters to either the Legal Services Ombudsman or to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We shall provide full contact details upon request.