West Yorkshire, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/13/2012 -- Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors, a national law firm with over 11 offices throughout England and Wales, has just released a substantial amount of in-depth information regarding the Pre-Action Protocol for personal injury claims. The educational guidelines will help clients understand more about the process and what steps they should follow when pursuing personal injury claims.
Overall, the set of guidelines encourages parties to adopt a “cards on the table” approach when getting ready to file a claim. The intent of the Protocol is to allow early, but well- informed settlement of claims and to genuinely provide a satisfactory conclusion to all involved in the dispute. For anyone who was injured in an accident, being familiar with this Protocol will be extremely helpful and lessen the stress they are experiencing.
In general, the Protocol aims to increase pre-action communication between the parties involved in the claim; encourage better and earlier exchange of information to allow both parties to fully investigate the claim and to conduct better pre-action investigations; put the parties in a position to settle the claim fairly and early without resorting to litigation; and enable proceedings to run efficiently and to the Court timetable if and when proceedings become necessary.
As the newly-released article explained, there are a number of elements to this Protocol that the solicitor will have to follow. First, the solicitor must send to the Defendant a letter of claim as soon as possible, notifying him or her of the personal injury claim.
“The letter of claim must include a brief summary of the facts on which the claim is based, an indication as to the injuries sustained by the Claimant, including details of any hospitals attended as a result of the accident, and details of any financial losses sustained by the Claimant,” the article noted, adding that it should also provide the Defendant with details of how the personal injury claim is funded—for example, if it is by a “no win no fee” agreement, by insurance, or by other means.
Second, the Defendant should receive two copies of the letter of claim, one for himself or herself, and one to be passed to the insurers. The Defendant/Insurer should acknowledge the letter of claim within 21 days of receipt. The Defendant/Insurer will then have 3 months to investigate the injury claim and to provide the decision on liability.
“The Defendant must inform the Claimant’s solicitor if they admit or deny liability and, if liability is denied, they must provide reasons as to why it is denied and provide documentary evidence in support of the denial,” the article noted.
Where the Defendant admits liability, the Claimant’s solicitor should provide a list of possible experts to instruct to prepare the medical report. The solicitor must also provide the Defendant with a Schedule of Special Damages as soon as possible.
Because the court has the power to impose sanctions on any party that has breached the Protocol, it is imperative that the Pre-Action Protocol is followed as closely as possible. Once court proceedings have been issued, the Court can impose sanctions on those who did not comply with the guidelines. These sanctions include staying/suspending proceedings until the Protocol is followed; ordering that the party in breach of the Protocol pays the other party’s costs; where the Claimant has breached the Protocol but succeeded at trial, deprive the Claimant of any interest which may have been awarded on their damages; and where the Defendant has breached the Protocol, ordering that the Defendant pay the Claimant a higher rate of interest on any damages awarded.
“All parties should seek to comply with the Protocol,” the article noted.
“It is in both parties’ interests to ensure that personal injury claims are settled in a quick and cost efficient manner, when possible, and the Protocol aims to assist in achieving this.”
About Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors
Simpson Millar LLP is a national law firm with over 11 offices in England and Wales who have been successfully acting for personal injury clients for over 150 years. For more information, please visit http://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk