Compensation Jargon Buster

Free No Obligation Advice

If you’ve been involved in an accident or suffered an injury, you probably have many more questions than answers.  Contact Hayward Baker on 01329 227 986 or complete our On-Line Form today to discuss the potential for a Personal Injury Claim.

Have you had an accident or suffered an injury?

You may be entitled to claim compensation.

Awards of compensation for children

Special rules will apply when personal injury compensation  is awarded to a child.

In relation to  personal injury, whether the client is an  adult or a child, terms of settlement can either be agreed through negotiation between the parties or, if agreement cannot be reached, ordered by a Judge at the trial. Whether the terms of settlement are agreed before the trial or are decided by the Judge at trial, the Court has to approve the award on behalf of the child. The Judge has a responsibility to look into the terms of settlement and ensure that it is a reasonable and proper settlement for the child. Usually there is a hearing at which the lawyer for the child will explain the case and proposed settlement to the Judge.  The Judge will read the papers and then ask questions. If the Judge is satisfied that the settlement is reasonable in all the relevant circumstances, the judge will make an order approving it on behalf of the child. The Court will also  decide how the child’s compensation fund should be invested. This can be complex in higher value cases, the money will remain in Court and be managed for the child. In cases where the award of compensation is only a small sum, the Judge may simply order that it be paid direct to the Litigation Friend to be put into a building society account (or similar) for the child’s use. Once the fund is invested and managed by the Court, the Court will allow payments to be made from the money held for the benefit of the child from time to time if an application is made and the Judge considers it a reasonable request. This could be a new computer for the child’s school work for example. When the child reaches the age of 18 years and  has capacity to manage their own affairs, the Court will make arrangements to send the full amount and interest accrued to him or her. If the young person concerned is not able to manage his or her property and affairs when he or she reaches the age of 18, the money will remain invested in Court and the Court will order the Litigation Friend to apply immediately to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy.

Advocacy

Advocacy refers to the process of a solicitor appearing in court to present your claim on your behalf.

ATE Insurance

After the event (ATE) insurance is an insurance policy that you can take out after an accident has happened and you have decided to make a claim. If you lose your claim the insurance company will pay your opponent’s legal costs and disbursements.

Barrister

A lawyer who specialises in attending Court hearings, drafting legal documents and providing advice on the claims value or on liability. We use Barristers based in London and all the regions.

BTE Insurance

Before the event (BTE) insurance is often added to motor and household contents insurance policies either free or for a small fee. Some credit cards have BTE insurance but it can also be taken out as a separate insurance too. BTE Insurance may pay for your legal costs when making a claim whether you win or lose. Your solicitor will be able to check the terms and conditions of any BTE insurance you have and inform you of what it can and cannot cover.

Claim

This is your demand for compensation for the injuries you have suffered.

Claiming benefits

When an accident causes you to have time off work, you are likely to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer, who may ask for proof of your illness/injury such as a self-certificate or doctor’s certificate. If you are disabled because of an accident at work, then you could claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit immediately. Alternatively, you may be entitled to benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which is a government benefit for people who are unable to work due to illness or disability.

Claims Notification Form (CNF)

In certain types of personal Injury cases, those typically valued between £1000.00 and up to £25,000.00, the CNF is the form completed at the start of the claim process.

Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU)

This is part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). If your personal injury claim is successful, then the Defendant has to notify the CRU of any state benefits you have received because of your injuries, deduct them from your compensation and repay them to the DWP. You may be asked to check a “CRU certificate” setting out the benefits you have been paid.

Conditional Fee Agreement

This is a contract between you and your solicitors under which your solicitor will not get paid for their work unless you win your case. However, you will still need to cover your opponent’s fees if you lose. You can protect yourself against this possibility with ATE and, possibly, BTE insurance. If you’ve suffered an accident at work Hayward Baker is here to help. Contact us today to find out how we can take your personal injury claim forward.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence refers to situations where the injured person is partially at fault for (or has contributed to) the accident which caused their injuries.

Counsel

Another name for a Barrister

Counterclaim

A claim your opponent makes against you in response to your claim.

County Court

This is the Court where the majority of personal claims are heard and where possible, would be the Court nearest to our client.

Court Order

Court order agreed between both sides.

Damages

This is the money you receive as compensation for your injuries. This is either awarded by a court at a hearing or through a settlement agreed with the responsible party before getting to court.

Defence

This is a document created by the Defendant setting out their formal response to the claim made against them. It can accept or deny any fault/liability.

Defendant

The defendant is the person against whom the action is brought. In a personal injury case it is therefore the person you are blaming for the accident.

Directions

These are a timetable of dates created by a Judge to say when certain steps are to be taken by Parties in legal proceedings. A Judge would aim to be fair to the Parties but not allow a matter to drag on too long.

Disbursements

Money paid out on your behalf while the claim is ongoing. This can include court fees, experts fees, accident report fees, travelling expenses.

Fast Track

The Court track for cases where the damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity are valued between £1,000 and £25,000.

Finally

‘Finally’, means that your opponent:
  • Is not allowed to appeal against a court decision; or
  • Has not appealed in time; or
  • Has lost any appeal.

Formal offer to settle

A formal offer to settle your claim is when your opponent offers to pay a compensation sum rather than have the case decided by the court. You can accept this and end the case or reject and let the court come to a decision.

Future losses and expenses

It is possible to claim compensation for future financial losses you are likely to suffer as a result of your injury. This can include being unable to return to work or having to take a job with lower pay. Any ongoing medical costs will also be considered in this part of your claim.

General damages/pain, suffering and loss of amenity

General damages is compensation awarded to reflect the pain, suffering and decline in quality of life caused by your injury. In some cases, this will be extended to compensate for any disadvantage you may have in getting a job following the injury and to cover the disappointment of having to give up a job you enjoyed, if your injury makes it impossible to return. The amount of compensation awarded is largely based on the medical evidence to support your injury. Each case is assessed on its unique circumstances, but previous cases can be used to help estimate what you can expect.

Hearing

A meeting before a Judge which can be by phone or in person in the Court, where evidence and arguments relating to a claim are presented and a Judge decides the outcome.

Infant Approval

A person under the age of 18 is considered by the Courts to be an ‘infant’ and no settlement for an infant can be valid without the approval of the Court. This is to protect the child and ensure the damages awarded to a minor are properly invested. An infant approval hearing takes place before a Judge so that the Judge can make sure the settlement is fair and reasonable.

Interim damages

Money that the court orders your opponent to pay, or they offer to pay, while awaiting settlement or the court’s final decision.

Interim hearing

A court hearing that is not final and will be followed by a final hearing once all of the necessary evidence/information is available.

Issue

The matter to be decided in a court action.

Issue Proceedings

This is the start of formal proceedings in Court, and this is done by lodging a Claim Form at the Court and paying the required Court fee.

Judgement

A decision made by a Judge in Court after a hearing.

Liability

Proving liability is the core element of any personal injury claim, and refers to the process of proving another person or organisation was responsible for your injury. In some cases, the other party is only partly responsible, meaning a smaller amount of compensation is payable.

Limitation date

If you have suffered an injury that was someone else’s fault, you must start court proceedings within three years of the accident occurring. If you make a claim after this period, the court is likely to consider it as out of time and reject the case. It is possible for exceptions to be made, but you would need to consult your solicitor for further information. Compensation for criminal injuries has a two-year time limit and there are various different time limits for injuries abroad.

Litigation Friend

You can be appointed as litigation friend to make decisions about a court case for either:
  • an adult who lacks the mental capacity to manage their own court case either with or without a solicitor
  • a child
You will have to go to court if there’s a hearing, but you can’t act as the other person’s lawyer.

Lose

To lose a claim means it has been dismissed by the court or you have stopped it on your solicitor’s advice.

Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is a ministerial department of the UK Government headed by the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (a combined position). The department is also responsible for areas of constitutional policy not transferred in 2010 to the Deputy Prime Minister, human rights law and information rights law across the UK.

Multi Track

The track for more complex and higher value cases and for any case not allocated to the Small Claims Track or Fast Track in personal injury claims over £25,000.

No Win No Fee

The correct term for No Win No Fee is called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is an agreement you make with your lawyer/solicitor so that you can make a claim without paying any fees upfront. If your claim is unsuccessful then you will not need to pay your solicitor any money as stated in the No Win No Fee agreement.

Negligence

Carelessness.

Other side/opponent/third-party defendant

These are terms used to describe the organisation or person against whom you are claiming compensation.

Personal injury

In legal terms, a personal injury is a physical and/or psychological injury for which a person, company or organisation is fully or partly to blame. When you suffer such an injury, the party at fault is legally obliged to provide compensation.

Personal Injury Claims Portal

This is a web based IT system used for personal injury claims valued between £1,000 and £25,000. The CNF (see above) is completed and registered on the portal to start a claim for personal injury damages.

Personal injury compensation

Compensation is money given to compensate for the effects of an injury – physical or psychological – that wasn’t your fault. Money can be awarded to cover specific costs, such as medical treatment and money you have lost out on through not being to be work, and also to compensate for any damage to your quality of life.

Provisional damages

This refers to money that the court orders your opponent to pay, or they agree to pay, on the basis that it allows you to go back to court at a future date for further damages. This is normally if your condition deteriorates or you develop a serious disease that is proven to be linked to your personal injury claim.

Quantum

The amount of something such as the value of damages.

Reduction in damages

If the accident that led to your injury was partly your fault, it is still possible to make a successful claim, although the amount of compensation will likely be lower than if another party was fully responsible. For example, if you had a car accident and were not wearing a seatbelt, the amount of compensation might be reduced if wearing a seatbelt would have meant the injuries suffered were less serious. This is known as contributory negligence.

Rehabilitation

This is treatment that helps with an injured person’s recovery. The Defendant insurers can offer this treatment or be asked to pay for such treatment. Compensation can also be reduced if your opponent can prove that you did not take steps to minimise your losses when possible. This could include something like not getting the recommended medical help or failing to return to work when capable.

Settlement

Prior to the issue of Court papers and possibly going to Trial, we try to negotiate with the Defendant (other side) to try and reach a negotiated settlement of the claim. This is usually successful where liability has been previously accepted. It is important that all parties work to a fair and reasonable settlement as quickly as possible as it brings the matter to an end for our clients and reduces legal costs. On our side, our client would be taking advice from their legal team while on the other side the Defendant would be doing likewise with their insurers/lawyers. This negotiation will be done by the legal team and not by the client and Defendant directly. However, our client is the one who has the final say as to whether they accept any offer and settle.

Special damages/expenses and losses

Special damages is compensation awarded to cover direct costs you have been forced to pay or money you have missed out on as a direct result of your injury. This can include the cost of medical treatment, travel expenses and loss of earnings if you’re unable to work. The aim of this money is to try to ensure your finances are in the position they would have been had the accident not occurred.

Statement of Truth

Any legal documents that you will be required to sign will contain a Statement of Truth confirming that the facts included are true and accurate. A false or untrue statement can lead to proceedings being taken against you for contempt of Court. It is always helpful to keep receipts or other documentary evidence for any of these costs, as this evidence makes it much easier to prove the loss and claim the money back.

Success fee

A success fee is a percentage of basic charges that your solicitor will add to your bill if your claim is successful.

Third Party

Another individual or organisation involved in the legal proceedings such as the driver of another vehicle involved in a Road Traffic Accident.

Trial

The final contested hearing for your claim. A reference to a claim concluding at trial can include those settled after a trial has commenced or a judgement has been given.

Whiplash

Whiplash injury is one of the most common side effects of a road traffic accident. It is caused by the rapid deceleration experienced when a car crashes, which causes the head and neck to jerk violently. In the case of a road traffic accident, the neck and head are forced forward into hyper extension as a person’s body is held tightly by a seat-belt. As the body recovers the head and neck are then placed in a hyper flexed position. This movement can cause damage to the soft tissues, such as the muscles, tendons and ligaments which help the neck move. Whiplash is therefore often considered to be similar to a sprain. Many people are under the impression that whiplash injuries only occur when a car is hit from behind, however the same damage can occur when the head is jerked to the side. In other circumstances whiplash injuries can also be sustained because of rapid acceleration, a fall from a horse or bicycle or a sudden blow to the head sustained when taking part in a contact sport.

Win

To win a case means the judgement has been made in your favour. This could be by a court ruling or reaching a settlement with the other party.

Witness

This could be someone who saw your accident happen, who could help prove a breach of duty or someone could help prove what injuries were caused by the accident for example your firm’s first aider. These people may be contacted and asked to provide a statement, containing a Statement of Truth. They may also be asked to attend a court hearing before a judge.
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