What is a Common Law Claim? and how to proceed to Common Law
A Common Law claim is basically when you require an amount for damages sustained for past, present, and future expenses.
In relation to a workplace injury, before you can commence a Common Law Claim you are required to carry out requests from the insurer so they can assess your permanent situation. An insurer will usually have a plan put in place with a time frame to seek rehabilitation for an injury. Physiotherapy is common along with further investigations by radiologists, and depending on the injury a specialist of some sort. During this period it is policy to consult your doctor and provide the insurer with updated medical certificates stating your capacity to work on light duties or not work at all.
This rehabilitation period varies depending on the injury and the treatment requested. Once the insurer has reviewed all of the treating practitioner’s reports they will conclude the claim. The means that the insurer has met their requirements and found the injured person has adequately been treated and is now ‘stable and stationary’. Sometimes the insurer will just close up a claim, and you will be able to return to work. In this case, if the insurer does not request a final independent examination from a doctor, you can request this. Once an ‘independent medical examination’ is carried out the insurer will finalise the offer with a ‘Notice of Assessment’. A Notice of Assessment will provide you with a breakdown in percentage (%) form, of the permanent impairment and work related impairment. The percentage is calculated and a small lump sum offer will be made. At this stage you do not want to accepted any off nor sign off at any point on this document. If you accept this amount, you will not have any additional rights, even in the future for further compensation.
To proceed to Common Law you should consult a solicitor, preferably a No Win No Fee firm who can provide you with free legal advice and a free case review. A solicitor will usually want to investigate the claim further by reviewing the insurers claim file and advising you of the prospect of your claim. If you decide to commence the claim you will be required to file a Personal Injuries Proceedings Act claim form, which your solicitor will request you fill out and return to them so they can direct to form to the appropriate department. You will attend different medical examinations with specialists, who will provide detailed reports to support your claim. The defendant’s representatives will also require visits to specialists to review and prepare their own case. The time frame for a Common Law Claim varies also and limitation periods can be protected with a solicitor representing you. When running a Common Law Claim a lot of solicitors will recommend and choose to settle the claim outside of court as court procedures are costly and could take you backward not forward. A settlement conference will be held with the aim to finalise a sum to compensate you for past, present and future, economic loss, medical treatment, out of pocket expenses and also pain and suffering.
Each matter does vary, so please seek legal advice for your individual case and personalised advice.