Bereavement – Do I need a solicitor, and other frequently asked questions
Jackie Linehan, legal director answers the most common FAQs on bereavement.
1. Do I need a solicitor?
When someone close to you has died and it may be someone else’s fault the last thing you may want to do is speak to a solicitor. You may need a solicitor to deal with the Will but a separate specialist injury solicitor may help you with an Inquest and a claim. A successful compensation claim can provide much needed financial security for the future.
At Enable Law we are very used to dealing with people who are grieving and who need help steering through the legal process. If you contact us one of our expert solicitors will provide advice to you without any cost. We can advise about an Inquest or a claim for compensation in a compassionate, genuine and understanding manner.
2. What is clinical negligence?
Most people are aware that you can bring a claim following a road traffic accident or an incident at work. This is Personal Injury work.
Clinical negligence, also known as medical negligence, is when you suffer an injury (physical or psychiatric) as a result of substandard medical treatment. This treatment may be provided privately or on the NHS by a range of medical professionals, such as GPs, hospital staff, community nurses, dentists etc. You can bring a claim for compensation if you have suffered from medical negligence.
3. How long will the case last?
It very much depends on a number of factors including whether liability is admitted, the level of cooperation on the part of the Defendant in settling your claim, the extent and complexity of your injury and rehabilitation needs. It is rare for a case to take less than a year to conclude, and is more likely to take several years. However, we will endeavour to see your case through to conclusion as quickly and effectively as possible.
4. How long do I have to bring a claim? What are the time limits?
With all personal injury and clinical negligence claims there is a three year period (known as the limitation period) within which you have to commence Court proceedings by issuing a Claim Form at court. This period begins from the date of the negligence or the date you were first aware of the negligence. For example, if you underwent a substandard operation on 12 March 2015 (and knew or should reasonably have known it was substandard at that time), Court proceedings would need to be commenced by 11 March 2018 to prevent your claim being statute barred (out of time). However, if you were not aware that the operation was performed in a substandard way until 15 April 2016 when (for example) further medical investigations revealed this to be the case, Court proceedings would need to be commenced by 14 April 2019.
There are exceptions to these rules. If someone dies as a result of negligent treatment or as a result of an accident then the 3 year period stars on the date of death.
5. How much will it cost me to bring a claim? How will I be able to fund my claim?
Clients are often worried about making a claim because of what it might cost. Concerns about the cost should not put you off seeking advice about your claim in the first place. When you contact us we will give you straightforward advice about how your claim could be funded and answer any questions. There is no charge for this enquiry and advice.
There are a number of ways to fund your claim. The basic principle is that if you win your case, the Defendant will pay you compensation and cover the majority of your legal costs. If you lose, we will make sure that you have an appropriate funding arrangement in place to cover your costs, (except if you fund your case privately).
Lots of people have legal expenses insurance that will fund a claim. This will usually be included in a household buildings or contents policy and provides an amount of money that will cover the legal costs whether you win or lose.
Many cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) often referred to as a “no win, no fee” agreement. Under a CFA, if your case is unsuccessful you will not have to pay any of our legal fees. If your case is successful you will have to pay a proportion of your compensation towards legal costs and insurance. If you lose, there is nothing to pay.
6. Do I have to choose a solicitor near where I live?
You do not need to choose a solicitor near to you, although in some circumstances it may be helpful. There will be occasions during the course of the claim when we will need to meet you. We have offices in London, Southampton, Bristol and throughout the South West so often there will be a convenient office where we can meet. If you live at a distance from one of our offices or are unable to travel, we can normally offer a home visit.