Frequently Asked Questions

Glossary of Terms

We often find that people can become confused by a lot of the legal terms that are used every day in respect of claims and accept that solicitors can be regarded as talking in another language.

The following explanations will hopefully assist you in deciphering any legalese you come across.

Advocacy

Appearing for you at court hearings, whether in person or by telephone.

Case handler

The person dealing with the claim at the third party insurer or solicitors.

Claim/Case

Your claim for damages for personal injury and other losses.

Claimant

The person bringing the claim before the court. Should the other side issue proceedings first then it would be the other party who is referred to as the claimant, even though you may be pursuing your own claim.

Conditional Fee Agreement ("CFA") (sometimes also referred to as a "no win, no fee" agreement)

An agreement whereby the client only pays his/her solicitors costs if the client wins the case. It should be noted that despite being called "no win, no fee" the client may still be liable for the cost of e.g. experts, police reports, medical records etc….

Contributory negligence

Where neither side is totally to blame the damages are reduced to take account of any apportionment of liability. For example, if liability is resolved on a 50:50 basis you would only receive 50% of the value of your damages claim.

Counsel

A barrister practising at the independent bar. They are usually used either to advise on a case or conduct advocacy.

Counterclaim

A cross-claim which is sometimes brought by a defendant against a claimant.

CRU Certificate

The DSS/DWP keep a record of any and all benefits paid to an injured party and are entitled to recover these through the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) where damages are paid to that person - the paying party applies for a certificate of benefits paid and deducts this directly from the damages.

Damages

Money that a court says that you or your opponent must pay (or money that you or your opponent agree to pay) in settlement of the case.

Default judgment

Judgment which may be entered against the defendant when no defence is lodged within set timescales.

Defendant

The person against whom the claim is brought (also known as opponent).

Disbursements

Costs for legal work which is not done by us, such as payment for medical reports, police reports, accident reports, court issue fee etc...

General damages

Losses you have suffered which are not fixed e.g. your injury, future losses, loss of use of your vehicle etc...

Full & final settlement

This is the last payment that you will receive for your claim (save for reimbursement of any disbursements you may have paid). This covers both general and special damages and an acceptance of such a payment means that you can not ask for more, even if you later find your injuries to be more serious than originally thought.

Interim damages

Money that a court says your opponent must pay or your opponent agrees to pay while waiting for a settlement or the court's final decision.

Interim hearing

A court hearing that does not finally dispose of the case.

Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI)

An insurance policy to cover your opponent's costs. Policies are also available to cover our costs.

Limitation

Claims are supposed to be brought within the "primary limitation period". It is sometimes possible to bring a claim after this. Primary limitation period for a claim for personal injury in a traffic accident is three years and for property damage six years from your knowledge of the latest of:

  • the accident;
  • that significant injury was suffered; or
  • your 18th birthday/achieving legal responsibility for your affairs

Lose

The court has dismissed your proceedings or you have stopped it on our advice.

Particulars Of Claim

A statement of the case which is sent to the court with the summons when proceedings are being issued.

Personal injury panel

A specialist panel, accredited by The Law Society on having satisfied rigorous tests as to experience and expertise in personal injury law and practice.

Special damages

Out of pocket expenses arising from the accident e.g. loss of earnings, damaged clothing, additional travel etc. - you should try and keep all receipts in this respect.

Summary judgment

Where there is no real defence to the claim then judgment can be asked for by the claimant and puts an end to issues on liability.

Summons

The claim which is being brought before the court.

Third party insurer

The insurance company for the other party involved in the accident.

Win

  • The case is finally decided in your favour, whether by a court decision or an agreement to pay your damages, or
  • We successfully bring or defend an application before the court upon your behalf resulting in a costs order against the other side.

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Accreditation and Regulation

  • The Legal 500
  • Chambers UK
  • Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
  • The Law Society
  • Solicitors Regulation Authority
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