Public and third sector information services
GOV.UK provides information on reporting crimes and getting compensation, which covers claiming compensation if you were the victim of a violent crime, after an accident or injury, for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking, for victims of terrorist attacks abroad and for victims of uninsured or hit and run drivers.
Citizens Advice provides extensive information on claiming compensation for personal injuries, as well as information on dealing with the consequences of work accidents, accidents and illness whilst travelling, insurance claims following accidents etc (search for “accidents”).
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has been fighting for the rights of injured people for almost 30 years. A not-for-profit campaign organisation, APIL’s 3,500 member lawyers (mainly solicitors, barristers and legal executives) are dedicated to protecting and enhancing access to justice, improving the services provided for victims of personal injury, and campaigning to change the law wherever appropriate.
Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) is a non-profit making organisation set up by solicitors specialising in road accidents and compensation claims. Members are bound by a charter setting minimum service standards. The site offers extensive information on what do do if you have an accident, how to make a claim and how fee insurance works. You can locate a local member of the society from the site.
Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) is an independent charity which promotes better patient safety and justice for people who have been affected by a medical accident. A ‘medical accident’ is where unintended harm has been caused as a result of treatment or failure to treat appropriately. This includes where the care has been negligent, but does not necessarily mean that it was. AvMA believes that whatever the cause of a medical accident, the people affected deserve explanations, support, and where appropriate, compensation. The site includes a directory of firms of solicitors they have assessed and approved.
Mesothelioma UK is a national specialist resource centre, specifically for the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. The charity is dedicated to providing specialist mesothelioma information, support and education, and to improving care and treatment for all UK mesothelioma patients and their carers.
Making a personal injury claim
There are thousands of businesses offering information online and seeking to help you with your personal injury claim. It’s best to be clear who they are.
Claims management companies (CMCs) are businesses which manage personal injury claims. Generally they act as middle men between the client (injured party) and a solicitor or law firm.
CMCs simply offer a claims management service. They take details of your claim and sell these onto a solicitor. They provide a minimal service and there is no need and certainly no benefit in using a CMC at all.
If you want to make a personal injury claim then it is far better to contact solicitors directly, rather than paying a CMC to do this. To check if an organisation are solicitors, see if they state they are “Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)”.
Use the Law Society’s Find a Solicitor page to find a solicitor who is a member of the Law Society’s personal injury accreditation scheme or clinical (medical) negligence accreditation scheme, depending on the nature of the injury.
Use the Law Society of Scotland’s Find a Solicitor page.
Use the Law Society of Northern Ireland’s Solicitor Directory.
You can also use the APIL site to find an injury lawyer.
Paying for a personal injury claim
It need not cost you anything to pursue a personal injury claim as most personal injury cases are funded by way of conditional fee agreements. If you win your case, your solicitor’s fees and expenses will normally be paid by the other side. The CFA will provide that your solicitor will receive no fees if you lose your case. You may, however, have to pay the legal fees and expenses of the other side, so you should be asked to take out insurance to cover that situation.