Q&A with Ian Kay, Partner and Solicitor in our Personal Injury Department

Question: Which of your offices deal with personal injury and what areas of personal injury do you cover?

Answer: Whilst our personal injury department is based in our Garston and Liverpool City Centre offices, we are able to take personal injury instructions from any of our other locations. Over the last four decades we have served the communities of South Liverpool, from our offices in Penny Lane, Allerton Road and Garston.

We specialise in all areas of personal injury. These include, but are not limited to, accidents at work, road traffic accidents, slips and trips, accidents abroad and industrial disease. We also have a specialised clinical negligence team based in our Penny Lane office.

Our case handlers are members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and we were the first member of Accident Line in Liverpool: the only personal injury service endorsed by the Law Society.  We offer a free initial consultation and ‘No Win, No Fee’ arrangements in suitable cases.

Question: Once I have instructed you what are the next steps?

Answer: We will commence investigations and set about obtaining damages for pain and suffering, as well as any financial losses, whether incurred to date or likely to be incurred in the future.

We will direct the claim to the third party and their insurance company who must then confirm whether or not liability is disputed.

If liability is not disputed, negotiations will take place with a view to concluding settlement of our client’s claim. In the event that liability is disputed, the third party must disclose all relevant documents, which allows us to further advise our clients as to the prospects of their case succeeding.

Question: How long does the process usually take?

Answer: Anybody who has suffered a personal injury knows that the effects can be devastating. Beyond the injury there can be psychological consequences, impacts on work and family life, and long-term expenses.

Our expert personal injury team specialise in helping clients get their lives back on track, by gaining the maximum amount of compensation quickly and with the minimum of fuss.

Whilst the length of the process is very much determined by the circumstances of each case, personal injury claims are usually resolved within no longer than 12-18 months.

We do all we can to ensure the process is much quicker than that. Much depends on whether liability is disputed and the prognosis for our client’s recovery, but cases such as straightforward road traffic accidents usually take no longer than 6 months to conclude.

Question: Will I need to be medically examined?

Answer: Whilst this is not compulsory, it is normally in the best interests of our clients to be medically examined.

There has been a trend in recent years for insurance companies to attempt to settle cases without the evidence of a medical expert. This is seen by some as an attempt from insurers to settle claims for less than they are actually worth.

Our case handlers are resistant to such tactics and will usually always advise clients to be medically examined. This allows us to properly advise our clients as to the true value of their claim, before entering into negotiations with the insurance company.

Question: What is split liability?

Answer: This is when the third party does not accept full responsibility for the accident but is prepared to pay a percentage of the value of the injury and losses.

There are always two sides to any accident and sometimes it can be one party’s word against the other. In those circumstances it can be difficult to predict what a Court would decide, as often this depends on how well a witness performs on the day.

Even with the most straightforward of circumstances, there is always what is known as a ‘Litigation Risk’ i.e. a risk that the case could lose. Our expert case handlers will take all of this into account and carefully assess all of the evidence when advising our clients in respect of any ‘split liability’ offers.

Question: What is ‘No Win, No Fee’ and will I have to pay anything?

Answer: This is the agreement between us and our clients which allows us to pursue cases, even where the prospects of success are less than certain.

Despite the best efforts of our case handlers, for various reasons not all cases can succeed. In the event a claim is unsuccessful, the ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement confirms that we will waive our fees, conditional upon the terms of the agreement.

In the vast majority of our cases we are successful in obtaining damages for our clients. In such circumstances, our client will only pay a contribution towards our costs from the damages obtained. Whilst costs vary from case to case, depending upon the amount of work done, the deduction in this regard will never exceed 25% of damages obtained.

Question: Is my case likely to go to Court?

Answer: As already mentioned, it can be very difficult to predict the outcome of a case that proceeds to Court. Our case handlers will therefore always strive to bring matters to a swift and amicable conclusion, avoiding Court if at all possible.

If, however, we consider that settlement is not in the best interests of our clients, we are not at all afraid to vigorously pursue cases as far as it takes, in order to secure the very best outcome.

In such circumstances, consideration will be given to issuing Court proceedings. This can ultimately mean that a Court will have to decide a case, but this is relatively unusual. Our client’s wishes will of course always be foremost, and we find that in most cases Court can be avoided.

If you would like to enquire about an accident you have had please do not hesitate to contact Ian Kay, Partner in our Personal Injury department in Liverpool or another member of our Personal Injury team who will be happy to help. You can email us at info@gadllp.co.uk or contact us on 0151 236 5000.