Solicitors in Essex, Colchester, Chelmsford, London – Fisher Jones Greenwood
Services for you

Our solicitors offer friendly and professional legal advice over a wide range of areas and issues. From our network of offices across Essex and London we are able to help you and your family in all walks of life, no matter when it is that you are in need of a solicitor.

Accident & Injury

Personal injury claims can be awarded for injuries sustained in a wide range of situations from road traffic accidents, accidents in the workplace or perhaps medical accidents resulting in personal injury.

At FJG we understand that contacting a PI lawyer might seem like a big step and we appreciate the real impact of a personal injury. Our specialists have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process of making a successful compensation claim.

A successful personal injury claim can provide the financial support that allows you access to the best possible medical care, rehabilitation and support.

We can act for clients on a “no win, no fee” basis (also known as a “Conditional Fee agreement”) supported by the Law Society’s approved accident line insurance scheme and underwritten by Abbey Legal Protection.

With offices in Central London, Colchester, Chelmsford, Clacton on Sea and Billericay, our specialist lawyers can see you in the location that best suits your needs.

Why choose us?

We are Law Society accredited and provide a totally independent and professional service to ensure that you receive the maximum possible award for any injury you have have suffered.

When entering into an agreement with us it is important to know what you are letting yourself in for so that you can compare our service with that of the many unqualified “claims assessors” who hold themselves out as capable of pursuing a claim for compensation for you.

We will agree an hourly rate for the work with you but will not expect to be paid until the end of the case or you receive an interim payment.

At the end of the case we will ask the other party to pay the majority of our costs (and any fees paid out by you to the Court or for medical reports) on top of your compensation.

Since April 2013 you have to contribute towards your own costs but you are only responsible for the shortfall between what we can get back from them and 25% of your compensation. Our costs and disbursements payable by you will never exceed that 25% and are usually much less.

No Win - No Fee

All of the following cases were dealt with personally by Chris Yemm in recent years.

  1. Mrs C received £375,000 following the death of her husband in a road accident
  2. Mr W received £446,000 following the death of his wife in a road accident
  3. Mrs C obtained £45,000 from Essex Rivers Healthcare Trust following an operation which left her infertile
  4. Mrs G recovered £7,000 from Essex Rivers Healthcare Trust as a result of their failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy
  5. Mr A obtained £17,000 from his employers for a back injury sustained at work
  6. Mr C obtained £5,000 from his employers for a knee injury sustained at work
  7. Mr S obtained £40,000 from his employers for a broken thigh sustained at work
  8. Mrs M recovered £850,000 against the a Hospital Trust for negligence which left her paralysed.
  9. Miss H recovered £43,000 for multiple injuries sustained in a road traffic accident
  10. Mr H recovered £26,400 for a whiplash injury sustained in a road traffic accident
  11. Mr P obtained £15,000 against a Healthcare Trust for an unsuccessful cataract operation
  12. Mr C recovered £45,000 for a neck injury sustained in a road traffic accident
  13. Mr C recovered £65,000 for psychiatric problems arising out of a road accident
  14. Mr W recovered £15,000 for a back injury arising out of his employers failure to provide a safe system of work
  15. Mr D received £50,000 for psychiatric and other injuries arising out of a road traffic accident
  16. Mr W received £1,721,596 following a serious head injury sustained in a RTA.
  17. Miss M received £34,000 for injuries arising out of a motorcycle accident.
  18. Mr H received £6,000 for witnessing friend’s death in a road accident.
  19. Mrs B received £210,000 for the death of her husband in a routine operation that went wrong.
  20. Mr R received £175,000 for deliberately inflicted leg injuries.
  21. Mrs G received £160,000 for injuries sustained in a motorcyle accident
  22. Mr H received £160,000 for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  23. Mr H received £145,000 for leg injuries sustained in an accident at work.

Conditional Fee Agreements

When should a CFA be chosen

You should enter into a CFA if you do not have Legal Expenses insurance or Trade Union support. You should not enter into a CFA unless you are sure that you understand its meaning and implications and then only with a solicitor who is either a member of APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) or a member of the Law Society’s approved panel of Personal Injury solicitors. Chris Yemm of Fisher Jones Greenwood is a member of APIL and the Law Society panel.

Click here to see an example of a conditional fee agreement.

What is covered by a CFA

A CFA covers your own solicitors’ fees and VAT only. It does not cover “disbursements” incurred in pursuing and proving the value of your claim which may include Court fees, medical report fees, expert fees and the fees of a barrister employed to advise and assist with your case. In many cases we can pay those disbursements for you, subject to being reimbursed by you at the end of the case.

We can also enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement with a barrister on your behalf so that his or her fees are also only payable if your claim is successful.

What are my alternatives

You may have the benefit of Legal Expenses insurance to cover the cost of bringing a claim. This is usually an add-on to your buildings or contents policy. Check your policy details. If you have legal expenses insurance your insurer will pay for the solicitor of your choice to act for you. Contact Chris Yemm to discuss how we, as your local solicitors, can help.

You can pay us on a private basis to act for you. In this case you will be required to pay for work as it is done and for court, Barristers’ and experts’ fees as they occur. Solicitors’ charges outside London vary depending on the skill and experience of the individual solicitor. This majority of this sum is usually recoverable if you are successful. Chris Yemm will normally charge you £240 per hour plus VAT for making a personal injury claim.

You can finance your claim through an “After the Event” Legal Insurance company who, for a one off premium, will cover your opponent’s fees and disbursements if you lose and additionally will pay for your own disbursements (but not solicitors’ fees) if you lose. The premiums vary. We will obtain quotations for you.

You may be a member of a Trade Union or Trade organisations such as the AA or RAC that is willing to pay for your Legal Advice. Check your policy for details.

What is the success fee & who pays it

The success fee is a “win bonus” which is paid to your solicitor by you out of your compensation. It is a reward for us taking a risk and paying for your case over a period of several years. It is payable on top of any costs recoverable by us from your appeal.

Since 1st April 2013 it is payable by up to a maximum of 25% of your compensation.

It is a % increase on our normal fees. The amount of the % in any particular case is based on a number of risk factors such as your prospects of success, the strength of the evidence in support of your claim and the length of time the case will take to come to Court or settle. We will discuss these factors with you at the outset. Contact us for more information

Just had an accident?

If you have an accident and suffer some personal injury or damage you may be able to claim compensation. It might be a road traffic accident, involving another vehicle, pedestrian or animal or it might happen where you work, on the street or in your home.

You may have insurance which covers you against such personal injury risks as part of a homeowner’s policy – and it is a good idea to be fully insured. If the accident took place in the last three years and involves another person, either directly or indirectly, and he or she is wholly or partly to blame for what happened, then you may be able to make a claim.

Who is to blame?

In order to make a claim you normally need to be able to identify the person or persons who were directly or indirectly responsible.

Even if you cannot tell who caused the injury, it is sometimes still possible to make a claim against the Motor Insurers Bureau or the CICA. Legally it is for the person bringing the claim (known as “the claimant”), to prove that the other party was to blame for the accident.

In some cases, you may not know who was to blame; perhaps the injury was the result of uneven paving stones or of badly constructed scaffolding falling down; or you may feel that you were partly responsible for events yourself. Even in such cases, it is still possible for you to proceed with your claim.

We will be glad to advise you on whether your damages might be reduced because of the fact that the accident was partly your fault (contributory negligence). You must also prove that the accident directly caused your injury.

Usually this is clear enough, but what about a long term problem (such as a bad back) made worse by the accident? Although you may not know precisely to what extent your injury can be attributed to the incident, it is still possible to claim.

We will be happy to advise you on this and help you prepare and pursue your claim in the most effective way possible by taking appropriate action.

What immediate action should I take?

When an accident happens you should make notes of the place where it happened, the time, the details of any other parties involved, and the names and addresses of any witnesses. It may also be useful to take photographs of the cause of the accident, for example an uneven paving slab following a fall, or of any damage caused by the accident, such as the vehicles involved in a road traffic accident. You may need this information at a later date to prove the way in which the accident happened and what actually took place.

As the claim progresses we will collect other important factual information for you such as police reports of a road traffic accident, witness statements, expert evidence and medical reports.

How serious does it have to be?

The injury you suffer as the result of an accident does not have to be very serious before you can claim.

Most injury claims are worth a minimum of several thousand pounds; more serious ones can run into hundreds of thousands. But there are occasions when it will not be worth proceeding, for example:

  • When you are solely to blame for the accident.
  • When the resulting injuries are too small to be significant.
  • Where any award is likely to be less than £1,000

It is not easy to identify when a claim is too small without knowing the specific circumstances. Small blemishes that an ordinary person would disregard might ruin the career of a top model. Even a twisted ankle could prevent a manual worker from earning a living for a considerable time.

As soon as have an accident and suffer an injury or damage you should consult us. We will be able to advise you whether or not you have a claim worth pursuing

What is the procedure?

It is not an easy task, to pursue and win a claim for compensation.

It can be a complicated and lengthy process, especially when the defending party or his insurance company contests the case or makes offers of settlement that are less than you are entitled to.

However, most cases are not seriously contested and are usually settled out of court. Depending upon the seriousness of the injury and the time that you take to recover, the simpler cases may be settled in a matter of months.

The first thing to do after you have suffered an injury is to contact us.

We will advise you whether it is worth making a claim. We will then contact the person or persons you are holding responsible. (If of course you find yourself defending a claim made against you, you should ask us for advice on how best to go about this straight away. There are strict time limits for responding to letters from solicitors and to Court summonses and cost penalties for failing to do so).

There then follows a period of time in which medical reports are prepared and both sides look for a way of reaching a negotiated settlement of the claim without going to court. During this period you will be asked for documentation to back up any claims you are making and will be required to attend one or more medical examinations.

Sometimes it is just not possible to agree a settlement, in which case a Claim Form or a summons will be issued at your local Court and served on the other party (the Defendant). The Court will then issue directions so that all of the evidence is gathered together within the specified time periods, and the case made ready for going to court.

The Courts aim to deal with claims worth up to £25,000 within 32 weeks from service of the summons.

Larger more complicated claims may take much longer particularly if your injuries are slow to heal and further medical investigation is required. If no agreement is reached the case will be heard by a Judge in your local County Court. The Judge will listen to what both sides have to say and then decide the outcome of the case making an award if appropriate

It is never too late to reach a settlement, even after the hearing has begun and we will continually look for ways to shorten the proceedings for you.

If many cases responsibility for the accident is not in dispute, only the size of the award. In such cases it may be possible to arrange for interim payments to be made to you whilst waiting for a final Court hearing to determine the value of your claim. The value of your claim is known as “quantum” from the Latin word for amount.

What can I claim?

You can claim two types of compensation:

  • General damages
  • Special damages

“General” damages are paid for the physical aspects of the injury itself: shock, pain and suffering, and loss of amenity.

‘Loss of amenity’ means the ways in which your life may have become less agreeable, for instance by your domestic or social life being restricted in some way as result of the accident.

Awards under this head of damage are based on previous awards in similar cases and by “guidelines” issued each year to Judges by the Judicial Studies Board the aim of which is to ensure consistency of awards around the country. The award will depend upon the full extent of your injuries but we will give you some idea of the compensation to which you are entitled at our first meeting.

“Special” damages will vary in every case. Their purpose is to reimburse you for the financial losses you suffer as a consequence of the injury, such as lost earnings, and any additional out of pocket expenses you incur.

Interest is added to both General and Special damages at different rates.

State benefits received by you during time off work are notified to us by the DSS Compensation Recovery Unit and have to be deducted from your claim for lost earnings. Those earnings are usually paid net of income tax. Compensation awards are tax-free.

The judge will expect you where possible to do everything you can to minimise or “mitigate” any losses arising from your accident. You are not allowed to sit back and do nothing to improve your position and will be criticised if you do.

How much will it cost?

We cannot say in advance exactly how much a claim might cost, since lawyers fees are based on the time spent on a case, and this is hard to predict. Recently a scale of ‘fixed’ costs has been agreed between Claimants and Defendants representatives which will apply to most road traffic and employment claims settled before Court proceedings.

At Fisher Jones Greenwood, initial telephone advice is free of charge and does not commit you to proceed, so it is certainly worth your while checking with us to see if you might have a claim.

The Law Society has a specialist panel of solicitors who undertake personal injury work. Chris Yemm at Fisher Jones Greenwood is a member of this panel and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). The firm is also a member of the Law Society’s approved Accident Line Scheme, so that an initial 30 minute diagnostic interview is free.

We will also undertake personal injury work on a “no win, no fee” basis. This is not quite what it sounds however since although in some cases we will fund these for you, normally you will still have to pay for Medical reports and Court fees yourself as the case proceeds or when you receive an interim payment.

Insurance is available to cover you if you lose and are ordered to pay the other side’s costs. At FJG we have a Law Society approved arrangement with Accident Line. Contact us for more information.

If your claim is successful the other party, or their insurers, will have to pay the majority of your legal costs. We will charge you a “success fee” which has to be paid by you since it is no longer recoverable from them as part of your legal costs.

Do's and Don'ts

  • Do not admit liability. Even though an accident may have been partly your fault, you may not be wholly responsible. Indeed, once the full facts are known you may turn out not to have been at fault at all. You may quite naturally, feel sorry for an injured party, but you should not admit liability until you have taken our advice.
  • Don’t accept any payment immediately or offer to pay damages yourself. You may compromise the claim you are making or defending.
  • Come and see us before you go to your insurance company and we will advise you on whether you have a potential claim – or on the best way to deal with a claim made against you.
  • Keep a record of all conversations with the other party and of all expenses that you incur as a result of the accident. Some cases go on for several years and memories fade. It is up to you to prove your case and you may have to do so in Court!
  • If you are injured you must start Court proceedings within 3 years of your accident or injury or else you will lose your right to claim compensation.
  • Always instruct a qualified solicitor who is approved by the Law Society to deal with accident cases. That way you can be sure of professional and independent advice. Many companies now deal with accident cases using unqualified “claims managers” who are paid on commission. They will not necessarily act in your best interests.