For most of us, legal procedures and processes aren’t everyday occurrences: we see more of a courtroom through our TVs, as per Collider.com, than we ever do in person. Some of the most common circumstances in which people find themselves actually represented by solicitors and lawyers in courtrooms are for divorce and custody hearings. Even so, court proceedings are massively mystified by TV portrayals and, for the average layman, they’re guided through the process with no prior knowledge of what to realistically expect.
Particular lawsuits, including some of those detailed in AllLaws’ article on personal injury claims, are certainly up there in terms of commonality, but are also equally highly unfamiliar to the average person. Experienced law firms will typically specialise in areas of law like personal injury because of the sheer amount of nuance they involve.
For someone going through recovery, and likely still experiencing the symptoms of their misfortune, these sorts of cases can be extraordinarily difficult to go through. At the heart of the issue in a personal injury claim is proving the presence of negligence, therefore, evidence and witness testimony is highly sought after to have a chance of winning a case. As you can imagine, the defendants are likely to push back, too, resulting in potentially lengthy cases featuring a lot of arbitration and negotiation. Therefore, understanding some of the most common queries claimants have can offer some peace of mind to those unfamiliar with the process.
Do I have a time limit to claim?
In almost all cases, yes. The time periods applied to raise a claim differ from country to country, but a few years is typically the absolute limit. This is for a number of reasons – number one being the need to accurately quantify and record the pain and suffering of a claimant. While it’s a necessary concept to apply, it does also make it more difficult for a claimant to know when to actually claim. Too soon, and they might develop new symptoms later. Too late, and they could miss out on compensation due to a lack of fresh evidence.
How long do claims take?
It can naturally differ from case to case, but a few weeks to months is the normal length of a claim’s resolution. Most solicitors and firms will aim to wrap up a claim as quickly as possible. Different types of injury also contribute to the length of a case. For example, mental injuries or chronic conditions might need more medical information to prove legitimacy. More detailed explanations of different claims can be found in resource sections on firm websites. For example, personal injury claims cover both actual types of injury and how different institutions like dentists, hospitals, or GPs can affect the process of making a claim. Being aware of timescales is instrumental to the process as it sets expectations and allows us to plan.
Do I have to pay for services if I don’t win my claim?
Again, it can differ, but many firms use ‘no win, no fee’ policies, meaning clients aren’t required to cover any legal fees if their claim is unsuccessful. There’s also another side to this question, and that’s to do with contributory negligence. Effectively, if negligence can be found in the claimant’s own story, you can also lose out on some compensation you’re owed, too. Courts and lawyers aim to be fair in all sorts of ways, payments for services and compensation calculations are no different.
Can you claim against an entity or business that no longer exists?
This is a surprisingly common question but it makes some sense as to why. A particularly disreputable business that’s more likely to cause someone injury is typically also more likely to go bust. However, it’s absolutely possible to claim against defunct businesses. If the insurers of the business can be identified, there’s no reason you can’t still secure compensation.
We’ve scratched the surface by answering the above questions, but personal injury claims have a lot of other complexities. Having a great lawyer you can trust and believes in your case is vital to a strong case. Some of the basic knowledge you can pick up here is a start to knowing what to look for when finding and selecting great lawyers and firms to represent you.