Q;How long do I have before I have to bring a claim?
In order to avoid being time barred an action for a breach of contract or professional negligence must be begun, in general, before 6 years have elapsed. To calculate how this period begins, we would normally look at either a) the negligent act or b) your knowledge of the negligent act. Limitation normally runs from the date of negligence or the breach and this would be for a maximum period of 6 years, however, if we are reliant on the date of knowledge (ie when you knew or reasonably could have known about the negligent act) then the maximum the law extends is 3 years from that date. This area of limitation is one which is in constant flux in the Courts and decisions are being revised and reviewed all the time, so, it is best to raise this during consultation. It may be that investigation is necessary to be able to understand where the date of limitation would be set.
Q;How long will it take to conclude the claim?
It is inevitable that once an action has begun all parties wish it to conclude as rapidly as possible. Typically, you should allow for a 2 – 4 month period of investigation by your lawyer followed by a legally binding period of 4 months for the defendant to investigate. After this the matter could settle rapidly as long as there is no dispute over facts or damages (compensation) however, should the Defendant raise a dispute even if there is a partial admission then the matter could take several more months to bring to resolution and if there is still no progress then court actions could take over a further year to bring to trial.
Q;Should I complain or try and sort it out myself first?
There is no short answer to this. Very few disputes, save the simplest, are easily rectified by a letter and often a complaint that is not properly thought out can bring only a partial resolution. If a letter will assist, we will tell you so in our initial interview but ultimately, these actions are not about sub-standard service they are about pure negligence and as such often a simple complaint is nothing more than stating the obvious. What professionals are often waiting for is a letter before action from a Solicitor, that they can pass to their indemnity insurers.
Q;Will it go to Court?
This is a difficult subject to broach as a great deal depends on the behaviour of the Defendant. If the matter is disputed then it might be that court proceedings are likely. They are not however, mandatory. In of these actions, more than many others, extensive use is made of mediation or arbitration to solve disputes and this can often lead to a very effective and speedy resolution.
Q;How involved will I be?
Ultimately this is up to you. There will be times in which we need to see you, particularly when something needs to be discussed such as: a report, an offer to settle or a point of evidence. We, as part of our service level agreements will update you frequently and usually at signposted intervals in the action. Needless to say, we need you there, should we ask for your input but other than that the intensity of your involvement is dictated by you.
Q;How is this claim funded, am I expected to pay?
Normally we fund these actions with a No Win No Fee agreement. For more information on this click here. In these actions the way that agreements are constructed are usually more complex than others but we maintain a jargon free approach and this is usually something that we will cover in full at our first interview. All of the agreements we offer have a maximum capped cost to you of 15% of any damages that you recover. If you don’t recover, then there is no cost at all.
Q;What Should I do to begin?
Make contact, we will go through the details with you and explain the process and the funding in more detail. We have won substantial accolade from clients by being open and friendly and this is our approach throughout. We want your business and we want you to recommend us we have found again and again, that such recommendation is far and away the best advertising that money can’t buy.