frequently asked questions
Our team of specialist personal injury solicitors have answered the questions that they are most commonly asked by clients. Click the questions below to view the answers.
How to bring a claim?
There are three ways to lodge a personal injury claim with a Defendant and the nature and value of the claim determine which way the claim is advanced.
If a claim is for a road accident and the injury is whiplash predominantly with less than two years symptoms, the new Original Claims Portal is the one to use and people usually deal with these themselves as damages are relatively modest and costs are only payable by the Insurer.
A claim which doesn't involve whiplash or has a different type of injury such as a fracture and has a likely value of up to £25,000 is usually dealt with under the so-called Low Value Personal Injury Claims Portal. This covers road accidents, work accidents and public liability such as trips, slips and falls. Some legal costs are recoverable, and solicitors often deal with these claims. If the value can't be agreed, there is a specific method of issuing the claim in the Court for a Judge to decide how much compensation you should get.
In a claim worth over £25,000 the Personal Injury Protocol applies and you or your solicitor will write a Letter of Claim to the Defendant/their insurer.
The three types largely follow the County Court Tracks - Small Claims Track (up to £2500 for Road Traffic Accident (RTA) and £5000 for whiplash), Fast Track up to £25,000 and Multi Track over £25,000.
The best thing you can do, if you've had an accident is talk to a specialist to find out what your options are. Call Fraser Dawbarns today and ask for Neil John.
Who should I instruct to represent me in a personal injury claim?
Let's get one thing straight from the outset; you have a perfect right to choose which person or firm acts for you in a personal injury case. Your insurers, your friends or the powers that be at home, cannot force you to use their favourite lawyer.
You should ideally look for a specialist, qualified and experienced practitioner. This can be either a solicitor, or a legal executive accredited by CILEX who has experience of personal injury claims and in particular, the type of claim you are bringing. The funding of the claim and what it will cost you, should be clear and straight forward.
We are obviously biased and will say we have the best solution for you – we would be mad not to - but Neil John qualified as a solicitor in the last century and has acted for personal injury claimants ever since. He co-founded and ran a national call centre specifically to accommodate bikers' needs with our Managing Partner Iain Grimes, as well as working as a trade union solicitor dealing with factory and other work accidents. Neil and Iain both ride - as you have probably already seen - and understand you.
OK, if we are being totally honest, you should use Fraser Dawbarns for your personal injury claim whatever form it takes. The first appointment for personal injury claims is free and without obligation so you have nothing to lose by speaking to us first, either by telephone, in person, or on a meeting platform.
Why should I use Fraser Dawbarns?
In case you skipped the answer above, put simply we have 25 years' experience dealing with personal injury claims from whiplash and fractured ribs to life changing injuries and sadly even fatal accidents (the hardest part of the job).
Look hard enough and you will find another solicitor with more cases and higher average settlement figures - probably because they are referred only the more serious cases or they only take on certain winners.
What you won't find anywhere else is a solicitor who understands more what it feels to be injured or one who cares more about winning your case for you. Neil John, head of civil litigation at Fraser Dawbarns and our Personal Injury Specialist, has sat in your position having suffered a brain haemorrhage as a teenager. His experience as a Claimant, with a lawyer provided by his insurers, pushed him into the job he has done since starting his training contract in 1997 and qualifying as a solicitor in 1999.
How are damages calculated?
There are two ways damages are awarded; a successful Claimant gets General Damages for the injuries attributable to the accident and Special Damages for expenses or losses suffered due to the accident.
The old definition for General Damages is pain, suffering and loss of amenity. This loosely translates to the discomfort experienced initially and then on an ongoing basis including permanent symptoms and scarring and the frustration and inconvenience of injury.
Special Damages are things such as loss of earnings, pain killers, prescription charges, travel expenses to medical appointments, or searching for a new vehicle, care provided, lost uninsured holiday costs or any other expense incurred as a result of the accident.
Will I pay anything?
You won’t be asked to pay anything up front and if the claim fails you won’t be charged for my time. If you ask us to get a medical report not suggested by the expert we instruct, we may ask you to pay for this additional report. If you miss an appointment with the expert we instruct without good reason there may be a cancellation charge you will have to pay.
If your claim succeeds, we do charge a success fee under a Conditional Fee (No Win, No Fee) Agreement we usually work under. Many firms charge a percentage of your damages as part of the agreement with you. This could be as much as 35% of your claim.
We will agree a fixed maximum success fee at the outset of your case so you know exactly how much you can expect to pay. The success fee is deducted from the damages and the net sum is sent to you. If we need to get a Barrister involved, we do so on a No Win No Fee basis. This means you don’t have to pay for the Barrister either before settlement, but they charge a success fee too. We will tell you their likely charges as soon as we can and those fees will be deducted before the final sum is sent to you.
What you get you therefore keep.
If you instruct us to get an insurance policy to protect you against adverse costs, the premium will also be deducted from damages received – we are required to pay this on your behalf and it will show on the receipted bill we send you.
We like to think so. As a former partner of my old firm once said, solicitors are people too. Iain and Neil both ride, have both crashed and in Neil’s case been badly injured and suffered a long slow claims process in the bad old days of litigation
We get why you ride and the risks involved, both having passed our tests in the 1990’s. We’ve both been on bike tours and taken additional training, and know the feeling of freedom associated with bikes. It’s in our blood too.
Do we understand you?
Do Fraser Dawbarns understand the claim?
In a word yes. In his 23 years as a qualified solicitor, Neil has specialised almost exclusively in personal injury law in one form or another. From a decade of founding, managing, and dealing with enquiries and claims under the banner of the BMF Biker Legal Line, to 10 years as a trade union solicitor, Neil has covered road:
• traffic claims
• accidents and assaults in the workplace
• public liability
• noise induced hearing loss
• repetitive strain injuries
• claims for injury or sickness on holiday
• clinical negligence claims.
These claims have been dealt with in many forums, from the claims portal online, the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Protocols, the County Court fast and multi tracks and even cases where injury occurred at sea – the time limit rules are different.
If you have been injured and want to bring a claim, it is fair to say we have a pretty good idea how to do it.
What is Fraser Dawbarns’ experience and track record?
The above answer is a good starting point for our experience. Including his training contract, Neil has 25 years’ experience of injury claims litigation. His personal experience goes even further dealing with his own claim as a student in the mid 90’s following a broken elbow. He used part of the settlement to fund his bike training and test.
As for track record we win far more than we lose and will give you straightforward advice if liability is denied by the defendant. We will try to secure a favourable settlement in every situation, but not every claim can succeed. Sometimes it is necessary to issue Court proceedings to get a claim settled and we can do this providing the claim has the requisite prospects of success, usually over 51%.
Every claim is unique, as is every injury and every Claimant. To us, you aren’t just a number or statistic, we invest our time into each case to get you the best possible settlement for your claim.
How long will my claim take?
‘How long is a piece of string’ is an understatement. We have been saying for years, if liability is accepted early and we only need one medical report, 12-18 months. If a second report from another discipline of doctor is needed, that timeframe will increase. If we need to issue Court proceedings, we are at the mercy of the Court system which is suffering significant delays, running to many months in certain circumstances. There is also a risk if a Court hearing date is set that the day could be lost if the Court has no Judge available to hear the matter – we are not joking, it happens.
Many of the claims firms advertising online, look to get people seen by a doctor within a couple of months of the accident and the claim settled in 6-9 months. The real risk in that is injuries or symptoms could be missed and not properly identified/treated. That in turn could seriously undervalue your claim.
Speed of settlement is not always the best for you.
Why Choose Fraser Dawbarns to Help You?
Free, No Obligation Consultation
You may be unsure about whether your motorcycle claims are valid in your circumstances or you may be wary about being pressured into making a claim if you see a solicitor. The team at Fraser Dawbarns will be happy to listen to your situation and advise you on whether we think you have a claim and whether we think you have a reasonable prospect of success. We will give you our opinion and an idea of any potential costs but will not put you under any pressure to proceed if you are not ready to do.
Free Initial Appointment
We offer a free initial consultation for personal injury work so that you can find out more about the process as no cost to yourself and we can establish whether you have a claim. During the free consultation, our solicitor will advise you on the best way to proceed.
In cases where personal injury claims are not undertaken on a no win no fee basis, we offer a choice of pricing options to our clients. By offering the choice between undertaking work on either a fixed fee basis or at an hourly rate, we give you the freedom to select the pricing option that best suits you.
An Experienced Team
Fraser Dawbarns are ideally situated to help you with any legal claims you may have. Our team of civil litigation experts have years of experience handling a wide range of claims and disputes and the team is ranked in the Legal 500 guide to the top law firms for our Debt Recovery, Employment, Personal Injury and Contentious Probate work. With offices in Wisbech, King’s Lynn, Downham Market, March and Ely we are close at hand when you need to see someone to discuss your case.
If you would like help with any legal dispute, please contact us to see how we can help you.
Jenny Nolan was efficient, helpful, friendly and adding just the right amount of humanity - important when the cline tis dealing with a difficult situation.Client - Kings Lynn Office
Contact Us Today
Our team will help you from the beginning of your case to the end, giving you total peace of mind. If you would like friendly, client focused advice on a wide range of legal issues, get in touch and see how we can help you.
Call or email us today and find out how we can make your life easier.