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Winning Compensation Claims
Our goal at Thompsons Solicitors is to obtain the maximum amount of accident, injury or disease compensation for you in the shortest possible time. We will take the case on and we encourage our clients to get on with their lives while we get on with the legal process.
What do I need to know about the compensation claims process?
You may have many questions about the compensation claims process, but the main ones you probably need answered immediately are:
Do I have a claim for accident compensation or other work-related diseases?
When should I claim accident, injury or disease compensation?
How long have I got to make an accident, injury or disease claim?
How much compensation will I receive?
Why choose a specialist accident, injury or disease compensation solicitor?
What do our previous Clients think about Thompsons?
This guide has been designed to give you basic advice about the personal injury claims process. It is not designed as a substitute for speaking with an accident lawyer. You can contact us for more information on our 24 hour number 08000 224 224. Alternatively you can complete our online personal injury compensation claim forms if you think you have suffered an accident or injury, or developed a disease through exposure to hazardous substances, for which you are entitled to compensation.
For other questions you may have about Thompsons Solicitors or the accident and injury compensation claim process please visit our Questions Answered section.
Unfortunately, it is a fact that lots of people are injured every day in various different types of avoidable accidents, at work, in the home, or just going about their daily activities. If you suffered an injury in an accident which was not your fault, you may be able to make a claim for the pain and suffering caused to you, together with any losses and expenses such as medical costs or loss of earnings.
With all personal injury compensation claims, you need to prove that your injury, illness or disease was caused as a result of the negligence of another party (for example your employer, another driver or a local council). Once you appoint an accident solicitor, they will help you to compile your evidence and present it to the third party insurers.
Accidents at work, for example include instances where an employee has received inadequate training for a job, there may have been a lack of safety equipment provided by the employer or there may have been faulty or dangerous machinery involved.
It is quite common for people to develop an illness or disease after coming into contact with harmful substances in their workplace. If your employer has exposed you to a potentially harmful substance, such as asbestos or latex and you have developed an illness or disease, you may be able to make a personal injury claim for compensation.
Other accidents that may give rise to a claim include:
It is always advisable to make your claim as soon as you feel able to do so. To help your case, you should report the accident to any appropriate authority, such as the local Council, your employer or the owner of any property where the accident took place. If possible, make a note of your accident in the accident book and also take names and addresses of any witnesses to the accident. Where possible, we would also recommend that you take photographs to demonstrate any defect or hazard which was responsible for your accident or injury (use a ruler if necessary to show depth or height of the hazard).
There are other good reasons why you should submit any claim quickly:
• You are more likely to recall the circumstances of your accident while it is still fresh in your mind
• The sooner we have the details of your claim, the sooner we will be able to advise you whether you have a claim and if you do, start the work of gathering evidence and negotiating a settlement with the insurance company of the person or organisation that harmed you
All legal proceedings in accident and personal injury claims should be started within three years of the date of the accident. After this, it will almost always be too late. The three year limit is often referred to as the limitation period.
However, in some circumstances the three year deadline would start from the date the injury was identified, rather than the date the accident occurred.
The cases where it is possible to ask the court to waive the initial three year limit, are those where the claimant is suffering from a mental disability, is under 18 years old or cases involving diseases which take a long time to develop after the initial exposure.
If someone is part of the way through dealing with their accident injury compensation claim when they die, the three year deadline will begin again from the date of their death to allow their family time to continue with the claim if they decide to.
If you are concerned that you may not be able to make a claim for an injury you suffered more than three years ago or the three year time limit is fast-approaching, contact Thompsons Solicitors today. We will discuss your particular circumstances with you and we will let you know whether you are still in time to make a compensation claim.
The amount of personal injury compensation awarded varies depending on the seriousness of the injury and the financial losses involved.
Compensation is awarded for pain, suffering and your inability to do things after your accident that you could do before. The award is made based upon medical evidence, normally specialist reports, of the injuries suffered. The amount of compensation takes account of how your injuries or disease affect you now and how they might affect you in the future.
Accident compensation is also paid to cover financial losses suffered as a result of the accident. The aim of this type of compensation is to put you back in a position, financially, as if the accident had never occurred. You should keep receipts and invoices for any expenses associated with your accident, e.g. for prescriptions and the cost of travelling to hospital.
Accident compensation will cover any loss of earnings since the accident and any future loss of earnings. In more serious cases personal injury compensation will extend to alterations to property or vehicles and on-going care costs, including those provided by the family.
Additional damages will be awarded where the case involves a fatality. These will be for funeral expenses and compensation to any living relatives, who were dependent on the deceased for their income and time. These will include spouses or children of the deceased.
It is important to choose a solicitor who has specific experience in dealing with accident, injury or disease claims.
Recent figures on compensation amounts released in Parliament show Thompsons Solicitors as the law firm on the list securing the highest averages for claimants with respiratory diseases and vibration white finger. The cases were won over 10 years and our commitment to winning the highest damages in the shortest possible time is proven. We fight for our clients legal rights.
At Thompsons Solicitors, someone will always be happy to talk you through the compensation claim process. We will answer any questions you ask and will offer our advice in plain English. We are experts in personal injury matters and will be able to advise whether you have a valid claim for compensation.
In some cases the insurers will want to settle and if the amount is reasonable, this is what we advise. If not, we will take the claim to court.
Thompsons Solicitors secure over £200 million in personal injury compensation every year and have a reputation for taking aggressive legal action to recover as much as possible for injuries sustained by our clients.
Workplace accident results in back injury and £32,000 compensation
With the help of Thompsons, Mr Wright recovered £32,000 compensation for a workplace accident which injured his lower back. Before being asked to operate a particular machine Mr Wright, a machine minder, was given only one week of training. Mr Wright tripped and fell when stepping down from the machine onto the floor. He stepped onto a bundle of pipes which caused him to trip and fall. His thank you letter said "It is with great pleasure that I write to thank you for all your hard work in dealing with my case, I would like to say that throughout the whole time you have been very very kind, honest, polite and professional when discussing the case with me."
Compensation of £175,000 awarded to widow of firefighter who was exposed to asbestos
As a firefighter, Robin Cambell was exposed to asbestos and went on to develop the fatal asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. Mr Cambell subsequently died and the insurers hoped that Mrs Cambell would settle the claim she then made for less than she deserved. Determined to obtain justice for Mr Cambell she instructed Thompsons Solicitors to proceed to court where she received £175,000 in compensation for the loss of his income. Her thank-you letter read “I want to thank you for all your help and guidance during Robin’s case and I am very grateful for all you did for me. I’d also like to thank Clare for being with David (her son) and I on April 5th when we came up to London for the Court case. She was very kind and looked after me so well”.
Lady hit by car on pedestrian crossing recovers £14,000 compensation
A lady who was crossing the road using a pedestrian crossing was hit by a car just before reaching the opposite pavement. Thompsons Solicitors were able to recover £14,000 in compensation for her injury as a pedestrian which resulted in a broken left radius as well as some soft tissue damage to her left ankle. Her thank you letter read ”I wish to thank you for your services and the amount you negotiated. I trust that you will have many more successful cases in the future and wish you all the very best".
Compensation of £2,875 recovered for woman who sustained facial injuries after being hit with a bottle
Jane Price was hit in the face with a plastic bottle which had been thrown by someone in the audience at a Pop concert. Ms Price recovered £2,875 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, with the help of Thompsons’ specialist personal injury solicitors. Her thank you letter read "I would like to thank you very much for your attention and persistence in this case. I have always found you very supportive and I appreciate the fact that you kept me fully informed of the case's progress."
For more examples of successful cases, go to our Comments from our Personal Injury Clients page
For other questions you may have about Thompsons Solicitors, or the claims process please visit our Questions Answered section.
Testimonials we have received following successful personal injury compensation claims
Accident compensation for site supervisor injured at work
A site supervisor for the London Borough of Newham successfully secured damages with the help of GMB and Thompsons Solicitors after being hit by window moulding which had not been properly and safely fitted by 1st Saxon, a property servicing company.
Keith Montgomery, a GMB member, was inspecting some windows at the JFK School, Tollgate Road, London, when a section of cover moulding broke away and fell.
"I already had arthritis in my hand and the moulding fell directly onto it from around six metres," explains Mr Montgomery. "I was in a lot of pain for a few days afterwards and looking back it could have been a lot worse.
"At first, I didn't think about claiming, but then when no-one seemed to care that this accident had happened, I talked to my union branch manager. He put me in contact with Thompsons Solicitors who said that I had a case against the contractor, 1st Saxon.
"Thompsons also arranged for a rheumatologist to look at my hand and he explained that the injury would accelerate the arthritis by five years.
"1st Saxon admitted liability, but they weren't prepared to pay the right amount of compensation until Thompsons stepped in to negotiate a more satisfactory payout. To be honest, I'm just happy that the company has been held accountable.
"Thompsons, and my solicitor Angela Smart, were terrific. Not only did they help me to secure compensation, but they did it quickly."
Royal Mail pays Cardiff man £15,000 workplace accident compensation
Michael Cleary, a Royal Mail employee from Cardiff, secured £15,000 in compensation following an accident on the loading bay which left him with multiple injuries and scarring.
Mr Cleary, aged 48, works at Cardiff's Mail Centre in Penarth Road. In June 2005, he was standing on a scissor lift in order to pass empty containers from a loading bay onto the back of a TNT lorry. He slipped into a gap between the bridge flap and the TNT lorry and sustained injuries to his knee, back, chest and groin.
Mr Cleary explains: "As a result of the accident I injured my knee, my torso, as well as my chest and ribs. The pain inside my left knee has not really eased since my accident and I've had to have physiotherapy. A few days after my accident I had to go to my GP as I had pains in my groin; he confirmed that I had a hernia and I eventually had an operation in February 2006.
"I have a little bit of knowledge of the law and so I turned immediately to my union Unite (Amicus section) and to their solicitors Thompsons who have a great reputation. They were absolutely brilliant and so professional. They kept me briefed all the way through and we had so much contact by phone which really helped. If I had a question or something was niggling me they were really responsive. Too often you hear about solicitors simply writing letters to clients and being very distant and impersonal.
"Above all, they worked very hard to get the right level of compensation, given my injuries, and the outcome was fantastic!"
Fabricator awarded substantial accident compensation
Mr Mark Stewart, who worked as a fabricator in Sunderland, has secured substantial damages following an accident at work which has left him with long term knee injuries.
Mr Stewart is a GMB member and was employed by local firm Magna Kansei. His accident resulted in a ruptured knee ligament which has affected his future working capacity. To add insult to injury, the firm is also making him redundant at the end of May.
Mr Stewart explains: "Sadly the accident has really impacted the kind of work I can now do as I have difficulty with heavy duties that involve lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying. The surgeons also said that I might need a total knee replacement in around 20 years time. Although a number of new positions are available at Magna Kansei, I'm not really suitable as I’m under qualified.
"I waited 3 years before I made a claim but I'm so pleased that I eventually did. Thompsons were fantastic and so professional. They kept me well informed and answered all my questions. From the start, Thompsons pressed for the right level of compensation, which included getting the right medical evidence to support my claim. They were persistent until the very end; my case was actually settled on the court room steps on the day of my trial!
"I've now been awarded substantial damages which I'm really pleased with, bearing in mind the insurers first offer to settle was for just £9,500. This will help to secure my future."
Child awarded compensation after losing part of his finger
"My son was involved in an accident when he lost part of his finger trying to climb over a locked gate. It happened two years ago when my son was 10 at the time. He was with his friends and they were trying to reach some public swimming baths, but unfortunately their route was blocked by a locked gate which they decided to climb over. Parents had forbidden the children to take another route which was by a busy main road. As my son climbed over he caught his finger on a spike which resulted in his injury.
"I wasn't going to do anything at first because I really didn't think we had a case. I spoke to a friend about the incident, who is a GMB union member, and he urged me to seek professional legal advice. It didn't occur to me that I should speak to a solicitor, but when I was referred by GMB and had initial contact with Claire Strettle at Thompsons Solicitors, it felt like the right thing to do. She believed that the defendant, Sunderland CLC Schools Ltd, was in the wrong.
"They denied liability, arguing that the gate was not an accepted public access route to the school and that it always remained locked and that my son was a trespasser! However, Thompsons obtained witness evidence from neighbours who said that the gate was always unlocked and used regularly by children. It went to court and the judge decided in our favour.
"Claire felt that we had a case to fight for. I wasn't sure myself, but Claire persuaded me to continue and I'm glad that I did, both for my son's benefit and that of others. Claire worked really hard for us, helping us to take Sunderland CLC Schools Ltd to court. Having secured a successful outcome, I would like to thank her for all her help and support, and indeed everyone else who helped us."
Wife of trade union member contacts Thompsons after accident at bottle bank
A woman whose goodwill trip to a recycling bottle bank resulted in a bad injury to her leg has won compensation after the local authority, the London Borough of Lewisham, admitted liability for her accident. With the help of her husband's union, PCS, and Thompsons Solicitors, the claimant, 46, of Melfield Gardens in South East London, secured compensation of £7,000.
The accident occurred when, in March 2004, the claimant took a small box of clear and green bottles to public banks on Westwood Hill, Upper Sydenham. Having deposited the clear bottles in one of the banks, she turned to her right to walk to the green bottle bank and her foot entered a large pothole causing her to fall heavily. Medical evidence confirmed that the claimant had suffered a leg injury and aggravation of a pre-existing knee condition.
Discussing her experience, the claimant said: "I'm a keen recycler and have always tried to do my bit for the environment. I didn't expect though to end up with a bad leg injury as a result of my contribution.
"I didn't do anything at first, I just expected my leg to get better. After two weeks I realised there was a problem and I wanted to take action. I talked to a personal injury firm but they weren't interested in pursuing my claim, saying that they would take over a year. Then my husband suggested that we talk to his union, PCS, and they put us in contact with Thompsons Solicitors.
"My personal injury lawyer at Thompsons explained that the Borough owed a duty of care to ensure that people using the bottle banks were free from any danger of injury. As well as explaining the law to me, they arranged for an independent medical examination to prove that I'd suffered as a result of the fall.
"Given that the first legal firm I contacted wasn't interested, I've been really pleased with the support of Thompsons throughout my case. The borough admitted that it was largely responsible for the accident and eventually made an offer to settle the case quickly. I would thoroughly recommend Thompsons Solicitors in the future."
Senior Child Care Officer receives compensation after physical assault at work
"I was working as a senior child care officer for West Sussex County Council at the Greenacre Childrens Unit in Crawley, West Sussex, and in February 2003 was physically assaulted by one of the teenagers. It wasn't the first time that such an incident had taken place and I honestly feared for my life. Despite the admission of children who were violent and had substance abuse problems, we didn't receive sufficient training to handle difficult situations.
"In the beginning it was a pleasure to work there, but over time it changed for the worse. Other members of staff had been attacked by this teenager, and despite several incidences of violence and repeated requests by staff to senior management, no steps were taken to improve our situation. Members of staff were isolated from each other whilst working which made it all the more dangerous.
"The attack on me was the final straw – as well as suffering from physical injury I suffered with post traumatic disorder. I decided to take action through my union. Thankfully I was able to speak with my UNISON representative who was there when I desperately needed support. I was put in contact with Thompsons Solicitors who took up my case.
"Gerard, my solicitor at Thompsons, was absolutely brilliant. Even when things were really bad for me, he was always on hand, giving me the time I needed and always there to help me out. Thompsons argued that I had been subjected to a foreseeable risk of injury and yet my employer was not prepared to do anything about it. They never formally admitted liability, but they agreed to compensate me.
"I'm extremely grateful to the union and to Thompsons for their expert advice and guidance. I would thoroughly recommend them to anyone who felt they were in a similar situation."
Below, you will find a number of links to the websites of other organisations which may be of further help.
HSE (The Health and Safety Executive) - Their mission is to protect people's health and safety.
Direct gov - Information on rights and responsibilities related to health and safety issues.
DWP (The Department for Work and Pensions) - Information about benefits you can claim after suffering an accident.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) - is actively involved in the promotion of safety and the prevention of accidents in all areas of life.
Brake - is a National Road Safety Charity.
Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) - compensate the victims of negligent uninsured and untraced motorists.
Your Local Police Force - if you need to report a non-emergency road accident to your local police force, you can find contact details here. Obviously, in cases of emergency you should dial 999.
The Financial Ombudsman - if you have a complaint about your motor insurer which you have been unable to resolve directly with them, you can contact the ombudsman for impartial assistance.
Citizens' Advice Bureau - the Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free information and advice from nearly 3,400 locations, and by influencing policymakers.