The first step in the process of claiming compensation for a public place injury is for you to lodge a Notice of Claim with the owner (and generally their public liability insurer).
The Notice of Claim must be in the approved form. It is absolutely critical that the information in the Notice of Claim and the technical aspects of injury claim (such as the particulars of negligence) are completed accurately from the outset.
Failure to properly complete a Notice of Claim and/or provide adequate detail and technical information can have a catastrophic impact upon your compensation claim.
The Respondent (generally their public liability insurer’s Lawyer) must provide you with a response within six months of receipt of the correctly completed Notice of Claim advising:
- Whether they accept liability for your injury
- Whether they deny liability for your injury
- Whether they accept partial liability for your injury.
Once the public liability insurer’s response is received, it will generally be necessary for you to be independently medically examined. The examination will be by one of our panel doctors to obtain a medico-legal report. This details the nature and extent of injuries and the impact of your injuries on your day-to-day work and home life.
This report, along with all other information relevant to your claim (including financial information, personal information, statements from family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones, and any other relevant information), is then provided to the Respondent’s insurer and/or their Lawyer through a process known as disclosure.
Once disclosure has been undertaken by both sides and all independent medical legal reports are obtained, the compensation claim progresses to a compulsory conference.
At the compulsory conference, you (either you personally, or through your lawyers or a Barrister that they retain on your behalf) present your case in the best possible light to the Respondent’s representatives.
The purpose of the compulsory conference is to seek to negotiate a settlement of your compensation claim without the need to commence formal legal proceedings. In the event that you succeed in negotiating a settlement of your claim, a Deed of Settlement is entered into and compensation is usually paid within 30 days.
In circumstances where it is not possible to negotiate a settlement of your claim at the compulsory conference, formal legal proceedings are commenced. Your public liability case then progresses to a mediation.
A mediation is another meeting like a compulsory conference. However, in a mediation, both parties engage a senior Barrister (often a Queens Counsel) to act as an independent mediator who seeks to broker a settlement agreement between the parties. In the very unlikely event that a claim is not settled at mediation, it will proceed to be determined by a Judge in the appropriate court who will determine:
- Whether compensation is payable; and
- How much compensation is payable.