Frequently Asked Questions - Personal Injury

We understand that approaching a solicitor and making a claim may seem complicated. We'll do everything we can to explain everything to you in clear terms and make the experience as stress-free as possible.

Many of our clients have similar questions about what happens when you make a claim, so we've provided answers to help you:

What Is No Win No Fee?

A ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement (also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) gives you security and peace of mind when making a personal injury claim.

We will assess the prospects of winning your case, review all the funding options available to you  and consider if you are best supported with a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement.  If we are able to offer you a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement for your case and you decide to accept that offer you can be reassured that there is no financial risk to you if you are unsuccessful*.  

If you win your claim, your opponent will pay the majority of your basic legal costs and disbursements (e.g. court fees, medical reports).  If you win, any of the legal costs not paid by your opponent will be deducted from any compensation awarded to you. You won’t pay anything until your claim has successfully come to an end. Any disbursements that we can’t recover from your opponent will be covered by insurance.

Please note: This does not apply to asbestos related diseases and mesothelioma claims which are exempt from the above arrangements.

Can You Take Over From My Current Lawyers?

You may already have a lawyer but if you’re not happy with their approach, we can offer a free review of your case. If we decide that your case isn’t being handled correctly, we can guide you through the process of changing solicitor quickly and with a minimum of fuss.

Find out more about changing lawyers.

When Can I Make A Claim?

There are strict time limits in personal injury claims within which you must have started court proceedings in your claim. However, these time limits vary and depend on a number of factors (not all of which are listed here) including the nature of your accident or injury, where the accident happened and who you intend to bring the claim against.

For these reasons it is important that you seek advice promptly from one of our specialist personal injury solicitors on the precise time limits that apply to your case.

Under English law, in most cases that time limit is 3 years from the date of accident or incident giving rise to your injury. This means that court proceedings must have commenced within:

  • 3 years of the date of an accident, or
  • if you have an illness caused by your work, 3 years from the date on which you became aware of your illness and that it might be related to your employment;
  • if you have a medical negligence claim, 3 years from the date on which you became aware that you had suffered harm as a consequence of your medical treatment.

These time limits do not apply to children (who can proceed at any time before their 21st birthday) and people who are unable because of mental incapacity of managing their legal affairs (may differ for a defective product).

Also, there are different time limits if your accident or injury occurred outside England and Wales or during the course of international travel or if a defective product is involved.

Time limits and legal procedures vary from country to country. In many countries the time limits for taking action are much shorter than 3 years. Furthermore, for example, for many air accidents, marine accidents and criminal injury claims, the time limit is shorter and is often 2 years.

For defective products the time period is either:

  • three years from the date that an injury or illness was caused by the product, or
  • from the date you became aware of that injury or illness caused by the product, limited to a maximum of 10 years from the date of supply of the product concerned.

This includes products given as a result of medical care and applies to children and to people who are incapable of managing their legal affairs.

In some very limited circumstances the courts may allow a claim to continue beyond the time limit period but you should not assume that any discretion will be applied for your claim. However, even if you believe the time limit for bringing your claim may have expired it is worth seeking advice from a solicitor on whether the court may allow the claim to proceed.

When you contact Irwin Mitchell, we will give you clear advice about the time limits that apply to your claim. Contacting us promptly also enables us to begin our investigations into the circumstances of your injury or illness. This is crucial to securing the evidence and documents needed to give your claim the best chance of success.

How Much Will It Cost To Claim?

Don’t Worry About Legal Costs

Contacting us for initial advice on your claim will cost you nothing – even our phone number is free to call.

If we advise you to make a claim with us, we will review all the options for funding it.

Options For Funding Your Claim

There are a number of ways to fund your case.  These include:

  • Conditional Fee Agreement, commonly known as a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement.
  • Legal Expenses Insurance – as part of your household or car insurance you may have legal expenses cover to help with legal costs
  • Trade Union – if you are a member of a trade union they may provide help with some legal issues.
  • Public Funding – this is now only available in cases for children with brain (neurological) injuries resulting in severe disability, which arises during pregnancy, childbirth or up to 8 weeks postnatal.

If you don’t have legal expenses insurance or trade union help, your best option is to consider a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement. Even if you do have access to other funding options, a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement may still be the best option for you.

When we discuss your claim in more detail we will tell you if the ‘No Win No Fee’ option is available or if we need to look at the other funding options.

New Legislation

Government changes to how legal costs and funding for personal injury claims will work come into effect from 1 April 2013. These changes mean you will no longer be able to recover all of your legal costs from your opponent. It is likely however that you will still recover the substantial majority of your basic legal costs.   

How A ‘No Win No Fee’ Agreement Can Work For You

If after reviewing all of the funding options with you and we recommend that our ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement, in combination with an insurance policy designed to protect you is your best option there is no financial risk to you if you are unsuccessful*.

If you win:

  • Your opponent will pay the majority of our basic legal costs and disbursements (e.g. court fees and medical reports)
  • If you win, your opponent will not pay:
  • The premium for your insurance policy to protect you against any risk of legal costs
  • Some of your basic legal costs which cannot be recovered from your opponent
  • A ‘success fee’ which compensates us for the risk that we would not recover any legal fees if your claim was unsuccessful
  • If you win, you won’t have to pay a penny out of your own pocket until your claim has  successfully come to an end
  • Any of the costs not paid by your opponent will be deducted from your compensation
  • Any disbursements that cannot be recovered from your opponent will be covered by your insurance policy
  • There are no hidden costs. We will give you regular updates about the costs being charged to your case and any costs not recovered from your opponent will be deducted from your compensation
  • To help you with your legal costs, the Government has ordered a 10% increase in the amount awarded to you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity

If you lose:

  • We can promise you,  there is no financial risk to you if your claim is unsuccessful*
  • You won’t have to pay anything out of your own pocket whilst your claim is being pursued
  • We would make no charge whatsoever to you
  • You will be fully covered by your insurance policy for any disbursements
  • Your insurance policy protects you from any of your opponent’s legal costs
  • There are no hidden costs. 

We will do everything we can to protect and support you during your claim and we will keep you updated at all times.

Remember, there is absolutely no financial risk to you or your family if you are unsuccessful.*

Please note: This does not apply to asbestos related diseases and mesothelioma claims which are exempt from the above arrangements.

How Much Compensation Will I Be Awarded?

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on a number on factors, including:

  • The seriousness of your injury or illness
  • How it has affected your life
  • How much money you have lost or will lose as a consequence
  • Whether you will need extra support in the future

We Will Assess Your Case

We will let you know at the beginning of your claim how your opponent’s insurers and the courts work out how much compensation you may receive. It is important to bear in mind that everyone is different and the consequences of the same injury in terms of working life and home-life will vary from person to person. We will assess all of your individual circumstances to make sure your compensation settlement meets your particular needs.

Keeping You Informed

As we learn more about you and your circumstances, we will be able to provide you with a more accurate idea of how much compensation you could receive. We will do everything we can to recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you. We will also advise you on the best payment terms to suit your immediate and ongoing needs. Interim payments may also be a possibility. Download our free factsheet on this for more information.

As well as securing financial compensation, we will help you and your family with the practical issues and day-to-day impact of your injury as well as helping you to access the best medical care and rehabilitation.

How Will My Claim Be Progressed?

Firstly, we investigate your claim thoroughly by gathering witness statements, incident reports and any other relevant documents about your injuries or illness.

Once we have all the information, a full investigation of the events leading to your injury or illness can be made and we will be able to advise you on the chances of winning your case.

We would then put forward the claim to the party who was at fault and their insurance company. Most claims are settled before they go to court. However, some will go to court but we will keep you informed and support you every step of the way.

How The Claims Process Works

Stage 1 - Gather required information

Starting a claim is simple - just contact us

Talk to us about whether you could claim. This first chat is free and there's no commitment to do anything at this stage.

If we think you have a claim

We look into what happened, establish who is responsible for your injuries and get expert medical reviews on your injuries/illness.

Stage 2 - Medical care and rehabilitation

Do you need rehabilitation or specialist medical care and support?

We will work with you to find out what care you need, both now and in the future. Find out more about how we help clients with their rehabilitation.

Stage 3 - Negotiating compensation

Work out how much compensation you need

For your injuries, your losses (past and future) and for any medical care and support you need now and for the rest of your lifetime.

Negotiate and agree

We negotiate a settlement with your opponent who agrees to the compensation settlement.


Use court proceedings

If your opponent does not agree to pay any compensation we may use court proceedings. This is rare as most cases do not go to court.

Stage 4 - Your claim concludes

You win your claim and are awarded compensation

Find out why 9 out of 10 clients would recommend us


You lose the case but there is no financial risk to you*

Find out more about ‘No Win No Fee’

How Can You Help Me With Rehabilitation And Support?

We view support and rehabilitation as being just as important as financial compensation. Our specialist personal injury teams will work with you to understand what rehabilitation you need and help you to access it.

Rehabilitation will help you and your family deal with the difficulties caused by your injuries or illness. You’ll also be shown strategies to make your life easier and help you overcome practical day-to-day hurdles.

When calculating how much compensation you should receive, we will take all of your rehabilitation needs into account. We will consider a range of needs, including the kind of support you need to help you travel, return to work and live as independently as possible.

Learn more about how we can help you access rehabilitation and specialist medical support

Go to our personal injury homepage

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The above information relates to the law in England and Wales.

* Subject to entering into a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement in conjunction with our Allianz Litigate insurance policy and complying with your responsibilities under its terms.

All Scottish cases will be handled by the Scottish law firm with which we are associated, Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP. The law relating to funding is different in Scotland and you will receive separate advice about what that means as well as a separate funding agreement.

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0800 056 4110

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