RSS Feed

Posts Tagged ‘personal injury’

What Exactly is Accident and Injury Compensation For?

October 28, 2016 by Kelly No Comments »

wet-floor-signIt is quite widely-known that people who have been injured are entitled to claim a financial settlement if another party was at fault. However, a lot of people never claim the compensation they are legally entitled to, and often this is down to a general lack of understanding on any deeper level. One thing that many people are often unclear on is exactly what a compensation payment is for, and what it represents.

The answer to this works on two different levels, because compensation payments are designed to represent two different forms of justice for the injured party. Both of these will be taken into account when calculating the total amount that should be awarded as a result of an accident at work claim or any other kind of personal injury case.

Reimbursement for Expenses

Part of the purpose of compensation is to reimburse you for expenses that have been incurred as a result of your injury, as it is considered only fair that these expenses are met by the person who caused your injury and was at fault. Examples of expenses that might be incurred in this way are any costs associated with medical treatment, such as the cost of having prescriptions filled, and losses incurred as a result of being unable to work. More serious and longer-term injuries may also require you to make adaptations to your home in order to accommodate a reduced level of physical ability, or assistance from private carers. These are also expenses that could be considered for reimbursement when calculating the amount of compensation that is due to you.

Compensation for Suffering

The other purpose of financial compensation is to serve as, quite simply, compensation. In other words, it is designed to make up, at least on some level, for the suffering that your injury has caused. Of course, in many cases no financial settlement could really make up for this, particularly in cases where accidents have resulted in a long-term or permanent disability or even death. Nonetheless, a compensation payment is designed to go some way – as far as reasonably possible – towards making amends for pain and suffering. In some cases, such as where a household’s major wage-earner is permanently unable to work or even deceased, this aspect of the compensation payment is also intended help ensure the financial security of the claimant or claimants in a more general way than the part of the settlement that relates to specific expenses.

 

AA Leaving Legal Sector

January 20, 2016 by Kelly No Comments »

The AASince Alternative Business Structure (ABS) licenses allowed non-legal businesses to branch out into legal services, a number of major businesses have taken advantage of the opportunity to enter the legal sector. A number of large corporations and household names continue to move into the law, most recently major insurer LV=. However, one of the first major businesses to enter the legal market under an ABS license – motoring organisation the AA – has now announced that it is withdrawing from the sector.

AA Law was first launched in December 2013, just weeks after the business first obtained its license with an initial focus on offering personal injury services. The creation of a legal arm for the motoring services firm was brought about through a partnership with national law firm Lyons Davidson. The goal of the new business was initially to offer legal services that would be of interest to its existing customers and a complement to its motoring services, notably personal injury and other kinds of litigation that might arise from traffic accidents. It was indicated that other services, such as contract services and employment law, would also likely be introduced in the future as a “natural evolution” of AA Law’s services.

At first, the AA’s move into legal services seemed to be a successful one. An annual report, covering the year to 31st May 2014, showed pre-tax profits of around £613,000 and turnover of nearly £2 million. However, while AA Law benefited from a rush of business in its early days, the influx of new work for the ABS has since slowed significantly and this seems to have led its parent business to question the value of continuing operations in the legal sector. It has now been confirmed that AA Law ceased accepting new clients in November.

The company said that: “Following a strategic review the AA decided that the level of customers it was introducing did not justify the maintenance of a standalone business.” The spokesperson delivering this statement went on to clarify that Lyons Davidson was continuing to work on existing cases that had been started with AA Law before the effective closure. It was also said that the firm would “[continue] to work with the AA and on a number of other initiatives for the provision of legal services to the AA and its customers.”

Following the early success of AA Law, a separate legal arm – AA Home Conveyancing – was launched. Whether this part of the AA’s legal operations is also going to cease operating is not currently clear.

 

Personal Injury Funding in a Post Jackson Era: CFA vs DBA

September 10, 2015 by Kelly No Comments »

Recent years have seen the question of legal funding very much under consideration, and under public and government consideration.

2013 saw the Jackson Reforms. Under Lord Jackson’s changes, in many areas of law, legal aid all but disappeared. Many in the legal sector were concerned regarding the cut in funding, as that limited access to justice to those that could afford it. Further, many lawyers and firms working in areas of law that relied upon legal aid funding suddenly found themselves struggling as a business, with fewer clients and less government funding.

Aside from that, 2013 also saw a change to another aspect of funding- the humble Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA). In existence since 1998, more colloquially referred to as the ‘no win, no fee’ avenue of legal funding, the CFA all but disappeared in 2013.

Since the beginning, a CFA has been a particular favourite way of funding personal injury claims, and accident claims, be they at home, out and about, or in the workplace. Despite increasing efforts and care taken regarding health and safety in the workplace, and stringent health and safety requirements and obligations imposed upon employers, accidents at work still happen on a regular basis. According to HSE figures, 2014 saw an estimated 629 000 in the UK workplace suffering from a workplace accident of whatever nature. Of that, 203,000 injured employees needed over three days of work to recover, with an additional 138,000 requiring more than seven days off work.

According to UK law, those that have a workplace accident, and suffer a personal injury from that, are entitled to make a claim against their employer for the negligence or breach of health and safety that caused the accident to happen. However going to court is often expensive; that is where the CFA funding structure came into its own.

Under a CFA, litigants did not pay their lawyers for their representation, or the work done on their case. Instead, the lawyers will only be paid by the litigant if their case is successful. If unsuccessful, the litigant will not pay the lawyer’s fees. If successful, then the lawyers will also get a ‘success fee’ from any compensation awarded. As such, lawyers undertaking personal injury cases (such as accidents at work) have to ensure that the case will be successful if brought to court.

With that funding structure, many thousands of litigants have been able to seek justice following an event that resulted in a personal injury, be it at work or elsewhere. However, to bring such funding arrangements in line with modern law, the CFA was altered in 2013.

In its place a practically identical method of funding personal injury cases was established- the Damages Based Agreement (DBA). DBA’s have been in existence for a long time, and in 2013 they were allowed to be used to fund personal injury cases. Under a DBA, the rules are more complex, and different. Putting the terms of a DBA in very simplistic terms, lawyer and client agree prior to any work being done that a pre-arranged percentage of any compensation awarded will be paid to the lawyers. This will cover the lawyer’s fees, costs, and ‘success fee.’ This is a fixed, pre-arranged percentage, payable from any compensation awarded, and is capped at 25% of the total awarded to the client.

The structure of the CFA was altered slightly along with the introduction of DBA’s for personal injury cases. However, from the litigant’s perspective, the CFA remains virtually the same. Amongst the subtle changes, many personal injury firms will require the litigants to pay a pre agreed sum to their lawyers at successful resolution of the case, taking into consideration the work and billable hours put in by the lawyers. Such a payment would come out of any compensation awarded, and is again capped at 25% of any financial award made. Further, compensation payments were increased by 10% to reflect this extra payment. As such, the CFA remains virtually the same.

Many personal injury lawyers are unsure regarding DBA’s. Although the DBA is ‘safer’ financially for the lawyer and more guaranteed than a CFA, many feel that it is slightly more complex for the client, and slightly unfair to them. As such, many personal injury firms, such as CompensationClaims.co, taking on an accident at work claim or similar, prefer to use a CFA- but also offer and explain the terms of a DBA additionally.

Amidst the Jackson reforms making getting access to justice harder and more costly, the introduction of DBA’s to personal injury cases was welcomed. Along with the restructuring of CFA’s, personal injury litigants suffering from the effects of accidents in the workplace or elsewhere can still get access to justice, at little or no financial risk to themselves, and with more methods of paying their lawyers now available to them.

 

What is a Statute of Limitations on a Personal Injury Case?

August 14, 2015 by admin No Comments »

Personal injuries are injuries suffered because of another person’s negligence or intent to cause harm. When this kind of injury happens to you or a loved one, then you have a few options for making a case. It’s important to avoid running out of time to do so, since the statute of limitations in some places like Oregon USA could result in you being unable to claim compensation if you wait too long.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is essentially a limit that has been placed by the state for the length of time you’re allowed to file a claim after you’re injured.

An action or claim must be made within the statute of limitation’s time frame to make it legal. If after the limited time runs out a patient still hasn’t filed a lawsuit, then the case will most likely be unable to be taken to court.

Typically, the state of limitations begins from the moment of injury. With medical injuries, the law is slightly different and states that the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until a person realizes he has been injured.

How Long Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Oregon?

After you suffer an injury, you have a limited time to file your lawsuit; in Oregon, the limit is two years for most injuries unless they’re based on fraud or deceit, in which case the limitation only begins once the patient discovers the fraud or deceit.

With most typical injuries, you’d know you were hurt right away. That means from the moment of injury, you’ll have two years to file a claim. In medical cases, patients have two years following the discovery of the injury, but most cases must be launched within five years. There is a loophole in which patients can file a case after five years has passed if there was fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. In that case, the patient has two years from the date when that was discovered.

This could result in claims decades after an injury and makes it possible for those injured years before to file claims when they’ve been mistreated or lied to. An Oregon personal injury attorney would be able to look at a case and see how it falls within the regulations of a statute of limitations.

What Are the Lawsuit or Settlement Options?

Once you’re in a position to file a claim within the statute of limitations, there are generally two kinds of options. You’ll likely either receive a settlement offer or take your lawsuit to court.

A formal lawsuit requires you to present your proof of negligence and other information to help a judge decide on your right to compensation. You may have a trial with a jury in some cases, but it’s up to you to make sure your complaint is clear and entered into court. Unlike a criminal case, which is filed by the government, you must file a personal injury lawsuit on your own.

With an informal settlement, your attorney and the defendant’s attorney may discuss the case and propose a settlement. In reality, most disputes for injuries are resolved without heading to court through this process of negotiation.

You don’t have to accept a settlement, but if you do go to court you need to remember that it’s up to the judge to decide how much money you’ll be awarded, while a settlement is designed to be straightforward without a judge or jury’s input.