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What should I do if I think I might have a good claim?
You will need specialist legal advice to make your claim, whether or not it is settled out of court, or goes to court.
- If you are a union member, your union should be your first point of call. Most unions have a great deal of expertise in settling personal injury cases, and the solicitors they use are recognised as experts in this field, which puts them in a good position to negotiate an out-of-court settlement with your employer (or their insurance company).
- If you are not a union member and are thinking of becoming one, you can ask whether your prospective union will help even though you suffered the injury before becoming a member. Different unions will take different approaches to this, but you must understand that unions exist to serve their members and may well say that they cannot provide help to anyone who is not a member.
- If you are not a union member but a close member of your family is, it may be worth seeing if their union can help as some unions provide benefits to close relatives of their members.
- Solicitors can take cases on a no win/no fee basis, where they will take a proportion of any damages they win as their fee and not charge you fees if they do not win. However since April 2013 the success fees charged by lawyers if you win are no longer payable by the losing side: this will now have to be paid out of your own compensation and can amount to as much as 25% of damages. There may also be some initial charges. Make sure you choose a solicitor who is a personal injury specialist, and read all the information on this site very carefully. You may want to contact a number of solicitors to compare the terms they offer. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers website is useful and can help you find a local specialist. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau may also be able to help.
- In recent years, a number of companies have been set up to take claims on a no win/no fee basis. Many of them advertise extensively. Some have rapidly gained a poor reputation or have collapsed. Employing your own solicitor is probably a better option, for example, using the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, a not-for-profit organisation, to help you find one.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.