Below are some of the questions we are most commonly asked about making a claim for compensation. Please click on a question to see the answer. If the questions you want to ask is not listed, please contact us for more information.
Should I speak to a solicitor?
Abuse claims are very complex cases and require the special expertise of somebody who has experience in dealing with such cases and knowledge of the relevant pre-action protocols and court procedures. When instructing a firm of solicitors you should ensure that the person handling your claim has a specialist interest and experience in dealing with abuse claims and is ideally a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).
How will I pay?
If you have the benefit of any legal expenses insurance you should contact them and ask them for a claim form. Once you have completed your claim form you should forward it to us with any supporting documents. We will then approach your insurance company on your behalf to ask whether they would be prepared to indemnify us to act on your behalf.
If you do not have the benefit of any legal expenses insurance we would then consider entering into a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA - also known as ‘no win - no fee’ Agreement) with you. Your legal representative will discuss it with you during your initial consultation and assess whether you qualify for a ‘no win - no fee’ agreement and explain to you how it works.
If you enter into a no win - no fee agreement with us we will act on your behalf and if the claim is unsuccessful we will not charge you anything. If the claim is successful then we would recover our legal costs and expenses from your opponent and charge you a success fee. The success fee is calculated according to the amount of time we spend working on your file and is charged at the legal representative’s hourly rate. The success fee is usually capped to a maximum amount by agreement.
How long will it take?
It is not possible to give an exact timescale of how long it would take to process your claim. Abuse claims often involve many complex issues and sometimes the need to trace and go through many years of records dating back to childhood.
The timescale is also dependent on whether your opponent admits or denies liability. If they admit liability then the matter is unlikely to go to a trial. If they deny liability, then more time is likely to be spent gathering more evidence and going through the civil court process.
Your legal representative will guide you throughout the process and will be able to give you an estimated timescale according to the circumstances of your claim and as matters progress.
How much compensation will I get?
Damages may be awarded for physical and/or psychological harm. The amount of damages awarded to you will depend on a number of factors such as the length of period of abuse, the level of injury and psychological harm suffered, how it has affected your life and whether you have relied on and will continue to rely on support in the future.
Once we have obtained all the necessary evidence in support of your claim we will then be able to give you an indication of the likely amount of compensation you are likely to be awarded.
Will I have to tell you everything that happened to me?
We will need to ask a lot of information relating to your abuse and understand that it will be difficult for you to talk about over one meeting or telephone conversation. We are sympathetic and will allow you as much time as you need and often find ways to work with you at your own pace.
Will I have to go to Court?
It is very rare for abuse cases to go to court and most settle out of court.
We understand that the prospects of having to go to court can put some people off and in the event that your claim does have to go to court we will provide you with support and guidance throughout the whole process.
Is there a time limit on when I can claim?
It can take a long time for survivors of abuse to speak out about their abuse. Regardless of how long ago your abuse took place you should still speak to us and we will be able to advise you as to whether you are eligible to claim and any further steps you may need to take.
The Police are still investigating my abuse.
If the police are still carrying out their investigations or a criminal hearing is still pending we can still take on your civil claim. We will also provide you with guidance and support throughout the criminal proceedings. Your legal representative will be happy to discuss this with you further during your initial consultation.