Starting a claim
With the availability of no win no fee it is generally advisable to consult with specialist personal injury solicitors, and at Payroll Heaven we can certainly help. We specialise in helping with personal injury claims in Essex. If you still decide you want to go it alone, below is the basic starting point for making a claim.
When making a claim for an accident which is not your fault the first step of proceedings is to request a claim form from the court. Once a court issues a claim form following a request then proceedings have officially begun. The next step is to fill out the claim form. This is then lodged with the court and given to the other party to litigation. Even when suing a number of people or the same person for a number of things a single claim form can be used so long as the claims are linked in some way.
How quickly do I need to act?
Once the claim form has been issued by a court the Claimant must complete it and serve it on the other side to proceedings within 4 months. The time limit is strict and by midnight on the calendar day four months after issuing the form, the Claimant needs to have either:
- Posted it, first-class, to the Respondent;
- Left it with the Respondent;
- Delivered it to the Respondent;
- Had it collected by a delivery service;
- Completed a fax transmission containing it;
Sent it by e-mail to the Respondent.
If the time limit has expired an application needs to be made to the court to extend the time limit.
What to include?
There are certain things that a claim form must include, they are:
- A concise statement of the nature of the claim – This must include whether the claim is bought under negligence, e.g. where another driver fails to brake and hits the back of your car causing whiplash, or breach of a statutory duty, e.g. where a local council fails to maintain the pavements as they are required to do by law.
- The remedy sought – This needs to specify what you want to get out of the claim, usually this will be compensation for the damage caused. In appropriate cases, it will be possible to state the exact amount sought but this is not necessary. If you are able to specify the precise amount then if the other party does not engage in litigation you might be able to get the money without fighting it out in court (a default judgment). A court can grant a remedy if they feel the claimant is entitled to it even if it is not specified on the claim form.
- A statement of value if the clam is for money – The Claimant should state the amount of money sought or whether they expect to receive under £5,000, between £5,000 and £25,000 or over £25,000. Where the claim is for pain, suffering and loss of amenity the Claimant should state whether that component is likely to be worth more or less than £1,000.
- The interest accrued on a specific sum sought – Where a quantifiable sum is sought the amount of interest on that sum should be included.
- Other matters required – There are lots of little rules about how to fill certain parts out. These include that a Claimant should provide their full address and the names of both parties are to be contained in the claim form heading. Consult your solicitor to ensure that all rules have been abided by.
- A particulars of claim or statement that this will follow – particulars of claim are a concise summary of the facts on which a Claimant relies. They have their own separate rules. A copy must either be served with the claim form or within 14 days, but if so a statement to that effect should be included.
- A statement of truth – This is essential and is a declaration by the Claimant that the contents of the form are true which is signed by either the Claimant themselves or their legal representative. A failure to include a statement of truth could spell the end of a claim.