Personal Injury Pre-Action Protocol
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About the letter of claim
The claimant must send two copies of a letter of claim to the Defendant as soon as enough information is available to substantiate a realistic claim. One copy of the letter is for the Defendant, the second for their insurers.
The letter should contain a summary of the facts along with an indication of the injuries suffered and details of any financial losses. If the matter has arisen as a result of a road traffic accident, the letter should include details of the hospital where treatment was received.
If the case is being funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, this information should be included in the letter along with details of whether there is a success fee and/or insurance premium.
It is recommended in the protocol that solicitors use a standard format for a letter of claim - an example, shown below, is even included in Annex A. Clearly, it is intended that it is amended to suit the facts of the case.
Sample letter of claim to defendant
To: (defendant's details)
Re: Claimant's full name
Claimant's full address
Claimant's Clock or Works Number
Claimant's Employer (name and address)
We are instructed by the above named to claim damages in connection with an accident at work/road traffic accident/tripping accident on day of (year) at (place of accident which must be sufficiently detailed to establish location).
Please confirm the identity of your insurers. Please note that the insurers will need to see this letter as soon as possible and it may affect your insurance cover and/or the conduct of any subsequent legal proceedings if you do not send this letter to them.
The circumstances of the accident are:- (brief outline)
The reason why we are alleging fault is: (simple explanation e.g. defective machine, broken ground)
A description of our clients' injuries is as follows:- (brief outline)
(In cases of road traffic accidents) Our client (state hospital reference number) received treatment for the injuries at name and address of hospital).
Our client is still suffering from the effects of his/her injury. We invite you to participate with us in addressing his/her immediate needs by use of rehabilitation.
He is employed as (occupation) and has had the following time off work (dates of absence).
His approximate weekly income is (insert if known).
If you are our client's employers, please provide us with the usual earnings details which will enable us to calculate his financial loss.
We are obtaining a police report and will let you have a copy of the same upon your undertaking to meet half the fee.
We have also sent a letter of claim to (name and address) and a copy of that letter is attached.
We understand their insurers are (name, address and claims number if known).
At this stage of our enquiries we would expect the documents contained in parts (insert appropriate parts of standard disclosure list) to be relevant to this action.
Please note that we have entered into a conditional fee agreement with our client dated in relation to this claim which provides for a success fee within the meaning of section 58(2) of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990. Our client has taken out an insurance policy with [name of insurance company] of [address of insurance company] to which section 29 of the Access Justice Act 1999 applies. The policy number is and the policy is dated . Where the funding arrangement is an insurance policy, the party must state the name and address of the insurer, the policy number and the date of the policy, and must identify the claim or claims to which it relates (including Part 20 claims if any).
A copy of this letter is attached for you to send to your insurers. Finally we expect an acknowledgment of this letter within 21 days by yourselves or your insurers.
The Defendant's Response
The defendant should reply within 21 calendar of the letter being posted. If there is no response within 21 days, the Claimant can then issue proceedings.
The defendant and/or their insurers will have a maximum of three months from the date of acknowledgment of the claim to carry out their investigations. At the end of that time, the Defendant must reply, stating whether liability is admitted or denied. If the Defendant denies liability, reasons must be given for doing so.
Extensions are available if either the event took place outside England and Wales or the Defendant himself is outside the jurisdiction. If this is the case, the time periods are usually increased to 42 days and six months.
Once an investigation into the claim has taken place, it may be the case that the value increases from the initial estimate. If the Claimant's investigation reveals that the value of the claim has increased to over £15,000 after the letter of claim, was sent the Claimant must inform the Defendant that this is the case.