Wolferstans has a specialist team looking after clients who have suffered severe injuries as a result of an accident. This ensures that those clients are advised by people who have the necessary skill and experience to deal with these complex claims. The team has particular expertise in dealing with both head and spinal injuries and understands the unique challenges that these bring.
We offer a comprehensive service to clients who have suffered a catastrophic injury, working to ensure that, where possible, a rehabilitation programme is put in place early to provide support and professional care to the injured person and their family. We know that when a member of a family suffers a serious injury, it has a profound effect on not only the injured person but also the whole family. From the start we focus on the immediate needs of the injured person and their family in terms of physical and psychological support and also financial support.
We will work with insurance companies where appropriate to enable our clients to receive the best treatment throughout the various stages of their rehabilitation to make sure that they make as full a recovery as possible. Where liability is not in dispute we will also obtain interim payments to help with the financial pressures which often accompany a very serious injury. This can be vitally important in circumstances where the injured person is unable to work or needs a formal care regime to be set up.
When there has been a serious injury it is important that the best evidence is obtained to provide as accurate a picture as possible of what the future needs of the injured person and their family will be. We use our expertise to ensure that the appropriate experts are involved in the claim and will work to recover the maximum amount of compensation to provide financial security for the future.
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Partner, Solicitor, Head of Personal Injury Department
When there has been a serious injury, it is important that the best evidence is obtained to provide as accurate a picture as possible of what the future needs of the injured person and their family will be. We use our expertise to ensure that the appropriate experts are involved in the claim and will work to recover the maximum amount of compensation to provide financial security for the future.
We are specialists in dealing with specific types of injury that occur as a result of many different causes.
The types of injury that we provide expertise and assistance for are listed below.
At Wolferstans we understand the enormous courage and determination it takes to overcome and deal with the trauma of amputation. We know that the impact is not just physical but psychological too and we pride ourselves on our understanding and compassion, but that is not enough.
We have established relationships with the experts necessary to help you, not only rebuild your life but also, come to terms with the huge changes any amputation brings. We will put together a team of experts to ensure you receive appropriate advice on the latest prosthetics, if required, and other aids and equipment or techniques to make your changed circumstances as easy as possible.
We understand the needs of amputees and are proud to offer services that provide real and immediate benefits.
Hearing that a loved one has suffered brain damage can send a shiver of fear and apprehension through most of us, but the effects can range from minor to extremely severe. Those effects can be physical and/or psychological including personality changes, speech problems, difficulties with concentration and memory loss. When a member of the family suffers severe brain injury, it often has distressing and life-changing consequences for not only the injured person but also the whole family as well as close friends. We pride ourselves on our understanding and compassionate approach in helping people struggling to come to terms with such upheaval. We are included in the Headway – The Brain Injury Association Head Injury Solicitors Directory as well as The Child Brain Injury Trust UK Legal Services Directory.
To find more information about brain injuries please go to Headway’s site at http://www.headway.org.uk/home.aspx.
At Wolferstans we have the expert legal knowledge required to handle cases in this highly specialised area. This ensures that our clients receive first class management of their claims. We know that early and effective rehabilitation is essential to secure the best possible outcome and improvement in quality of life for all involved. A compensation claim can be key to this. We aim to obtain early interim payments to pay for the care and support needed before the conclusion of a claim and payment of final damages, and, through the use of the very best medico legal and other experts, we also ensure that the best financial outcome is achieved.
If our client is unfortunate enough to have suffered injuries resulting in them becoming incapable of dealing with their affairs, our Wills and Trust Department has extensive experience of working with the Court of Protection and can help with the appointment of somebody to look after our client’s affairs in their place. Such a person is known as a Deputy. Indeed, we are a Panel Deputy for the Court of Protection which means that we can, if that is what is wanted, act as a Joint Deputy or Sole Deputy to take over this responsibility.
Where an accident causes damage to the spinal cord, the effects can be temporary or permanent, partial or complete paralysis. This is because the spinal cord is the means by which all messages are sent to and from our brains. The higher up the spine the damage occurs, the more parts of the body are paralysed. Someone who has completely severed their spinal cord at the neck will be tetraplegic. Someone who has completely severed it further down their back will be paraplegic. Both will have lost feeling and muscle control below the point of injury. Both will need wheelchairs to move around and both will need different amounts of care and adaptations to their accommodation. On the other hand, where only partial severance of the cord has occurred, some degree of functioning below the level of the damage will be retained. This is a complex area requiring in depth knowledge and understanding.
We appreciate how devastating such an injury can be and we work to ensure that you and your family obtain the knowledge, guidance and expert intervention necessary to enable you to adapt to your changed circumstances, whilst at the same time progressing your legal claim to a successful conclusion. We will obtain interim payments, wherever possible, not only to tide you over the early stages when you are unable to work and have additional expenses but also, to secure the equipment, accommodation and care that you will need as time goes on.
If a member of your family or someone you depended on financially has been killed through someone else’s fault, you will usually be able to claim compensation from the person who was at fault.
This may not be something you immediately think about, but when you are ready we will help guide you through the legal process and make our involvement as unobtrusive as you need it to be. We will be on hand for advice and support at this tragic time and will help you to recover the compensation to which you are entitled and which you will need in the future, particularly where you were dependent on the deceased.
Compensation falls into two parts: damages that the deceased would have claimed for the accident, had they survived, and damages that you can claim in your own right as dependant of the deceased, including a fixed sum representing damages for bereavement.
If someone was to blame for the accident which led to your injury you may be able to make a claim for compensation/damages.
Damages fall into two main categories: general damages and special damages.
General damages include compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured and will endure as a result of the injury as well as loss of amenity (the ability to enjoy certain aspects of your life). They also cover anticipated future financial losses and expenses/outlay (including items of special damage which will continue or arise in the future).
Special damages cover financial losses and expenses suffered as a result of your injury and its consequences up to the date of settlement or trial. These include loss of earnings, medication and treatment costs, travelling expenses, care costs (even care provided voluntarily), accommodation costs, the cost of aids and equipment and really anything that reasonably and directly flows from the accident which gave rise to your injury.
We will help to identify all past and future losses for which you can claim and put together a comprehensive summary of those losses.
Who Can Claim?
In order to recover compensation (damages), the injured person (Claimant) must prove that it is more likely than not that someone else is at least partly to blame for the injuries suffered i.e. that someone else has been negligent or has breached a statutory duty.
In order to prove negligence you must be able to identify the person you blame for your accident (Defendant). There may be more than one person potentially at fault, in which case blame might be apportioned between them. If we cannot identify the person at fault, you will usually be unable to make a claim, although there are limited exceptions to this rule, for example, after a road accident it is sometimes possible to obtain compensation from an organisation called the Motor Insurers Bureau where the driver at fault cannot be traced.
Once we have identified the Defendant we need to establish that they owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty and that the breach of duty caused the accident and the damage for which you want to claim compensation. A duty of care can also be imposed by statute, for example, many of the duties owed by an employer to its employees stem from legal Regulations.
By law, unless the injured person is a child or lacks capacity to manage their own affairs, a claim must be brought within three years of the date of the accident i.e. court proceedings must be commenced by that time, which means registering the claim with the court. However, before that step can be taken a good deal of work has to be done and the sooner your solicitor is instructed the better so that preparation of the case can begin, including gathering evidence, taking statements from witnesses and obtaining expert evidence.
Very large claims, for example, those involving serious brain injury commonly take several years to bring to a conclusion because it is necessary to make sure that we know how the injury is going to affect the Claimant’s future and what his/her future needs will be. Only then can we value the claim properly.
Letter of Claim
We have to write to the Defendant setting out your case against them and why they are to blame for the accident. They then have a period of time to investigate and respond, either admitting liability (that they were to blame) or denying it. If they deny liability, they must give us reasons, but we will then prepare your case against them in more detail.
At the same time as we are preparing the case on liability, i.e. putting together the evidence to show that the Defendant was to blame for your accident, we will gather the evidence we need in order to determine the value of your claim. This will include asking medical experts to examine you and produce reports setting out the nature and effects of your injuries (now and in the future) as well as other experts who will report on what care needs you have and whether you need any specialised equipment, adapted accommodation and any other needs.
Most improvement following a serious injury usually occurs in the first few months and so early intervention/rehabilitation is very important in improving the longer term outcome. Initially, rehabilitation will often consist of the provision of various therapies, as well as teaching new strategies to help you cope with your altered circumstances and what aids and equipment are necessary/beneficial. This will develop to involve the family and those close to you to help them to help you continue to improve. We will ensure that you receive appropriate support and input from the right specialists to help you return to as fulfilling and independent a life as possible.
Schedule of loss and damage
We will put together this document which sets out all financial losses and expenses which have resulted from your injury, supported by receipts and other evidence. We will add to the schedule as time goes on to include all losses up until your case goes to court or a conclusion is reached by agreement. It will also incorporate expected future losses, for example, loss of earnings, future treatment and care costs, accommodation costs and other future expenses.
Settlement or Court?
The Court rules which apply to these kinds of cases aim to ensure that as many cases as possible are settled (agreed) without the need for a trial. Indeed, Defendants’ representatives will usually want to avoid a trial because trials are extremely expensive and the outcome unpredictable. They are likely to make an offer to settle your claim out of court and will sometimes make increasing offers. We will help you to decide whether any offer should be accepted and whether you should, yourself, make an offer to settle.
In the unlikely event that we could not reach agreement with the Defendants’ representatives, there would be a trial but these do not tend to be as dramatic or acrimonious as they might be portrayed to be on TV.
We consider it important to secure early interim payments to tide people over at a time when their finances have often been significantly affected or when treatment, care or housing costs have to be paid for. If liability has been accepted, the Defendant’s representatives will usually agree to make such a payment. If not, we would arrange for the commencement of court proceedings so that we could ask the court to make the Defendant’s representatives pay.
We are a local firm with a local touch but with clients throughout the country and contacts with experts in all regions. We will travel to see clients as required. We have years of experience and expertise in dealing with high value, complex cases. We aim to be personal, professional and prompt in our work, being motivated by the wish to do our very best by our clients and enable them to rebuild their lives and move forward.
We are recognised as experts by Headway – The Brain Injury Association and the Spinal Injuries Association. Our team is represented on the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) Panel in recognition of their expertise.