FAQ

General

Do I have to hire Stonehewer Moss Solicitors after the free initial consultation?

No. The initial free consultation is just that, but we hope that having advised you initially you will allow us to help you should you decide to pursue the matter with professional help.

Why do I have to present documentation to prove my identity?

This means that before a solicitor can proceed with your case, you will need to show them certain documents. These will include a current passport, utility bills and the like. Solicitors need to see the original items and need to retain copies for their file. We recommend that you do not send valuable items such as passports and driving licences through the post. For full details please call Stonehewer Moss Solicitors.

What is a Conditional Fee Agreement?

You may have been asked to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement. This is an agreement that is used when you do NOT have the benefit of an existing legal expenses policy. It allows the Solicitors to claim some of their costs back from the Defendants at the conclusion of the claim along with a success fee which is payable by the client. Whilst in principal the Client is responsible for their fees from the outset of the claim, in reality these fees will be capped so that you receive at least 75% of the compensation you are awarded.

I live a number of miles away from Northwich, can Stonehewer Moss still help me?

Yes. We like to offer all our clients the friendly personal service you expect from a local solicitor combined with the quality of service you expect from a specialist personal injury lawyer. To achieve this Stonehewer Moss serve clients throughout Cheshire from our head office in Northwich; including Chester, Warrington, Runcorn, Crewe and Macclesfield. We can arrange to visit you at home or make an appointment outside normal office hours at a time that suits you. It is not essential to visit our Northwich office or meet in person, we are experienced dealing with clients from further afield. We usually find we can build a better relationship with clients when we meet face to face so we focus our services on the Cheshire area.

Employment

Can my employers legally dismiss me if I make a claim following an accident at work?

No. If your accident occurred at your workplace your employer is not legally justified to dismiss you if you make a claim for compensation. If he does so you may well be able to claim for unfair dismissal.
It is important that you remember that employers are legally bound to take out insurance specifically to cover accidents at work.

Any compensation that you are awarded will be paid for from that insurance and will not have to be paid for by your employer(s).

Please see our Employment section.

I have been dismissed – can I bring an unfair dismissal claim?

Possibly. This will depend entirely on your circumstances. You may well have a case if you have been unfairly dismissed, constructively dismissed or dismissed on grounds of prejudice or discrimination. Please see our Employment section.

You will need to appeal the decision to dismiss you, in writing, before you can bring an unfair dismissal claim at employment tribunal.

You should also be aware that there are certain time limits that apply to the bringing of employment tribunal claims. Employment Law is complicated and you should seek advice on your particular circumstances.

What is ‘constructive’ dismissal?

Simply put, this is where an employer forces you to resign through breach of contract or unreasonable behaviour. Please see our Employment section.

Is it illegal to discriminate against me because of my age?

Yes. You are protected against direct and indirect age discrimination. It would be unlawful for your employer, on the grounds of age, to:

  • decide not to employ you
  • dismiss you
  • refuse to provide you with training
  • deny you promotion
  • give you adverse terms and condition
  • retire you before your usual retirement age (if you have one) or retire you before the default retirement age of 65 without proper justification

Please see our Employment section.

Do I have to attend a disciplinary hearing?

It would be wise to, unless you have a genuine reason for not being able to attend, but you should notify your employer of this. You are entitled to be told the subject matter of the hearing and to be given reasonable notice of the time it is to be held. If your employer has not complied with this you would be within your rights to ask that the meeting be postponed until such time that you can attend and that the employer has given you sufficient information about the reason for the hearing.

You are entitled to be accompanied to a disciplinary hearing by a work colleague or a trade union representative. Your employer should be reasonably accommodating about scheduling the meeting so that your chosen companion can to attend.

Please see our Employment section.

My employer wants to change my terms and conditions of my employment contract – can they do this?

This depends on the nature of the change they want to make and the way in which the contract of employment is drafted. It is not usual for important terms such as rates of pay, working hours and job titles to be changed without the employee specifically agreeing to it.

In certain cases, you should consider what the alternative is if you do not agree. For example, if the business is in trouble and changes are required in order to avoid dismissals, any unreasonable refusal to agree to changes may give the employer scope to make dismissals that a tribunal would find to be fair.

Please see our Employment section.

I am being bullied at work. What can I do?

Bullying behaviour is not in itself a matter that you can take to an employment tribunal. To do this the bullying would need to be of discriminatory nature, such as on the grounds of race, sex, disability, religion or sexual orientation.
If you feel bullied at work there are a number of practical things that you are advised to do:

  • Tell the person firmly, but not aggressively, that they should stop the behaviour because it makes you feel uncomfortable. If you cannot face the person(s) yourself, speak to someone in HR and ask them to intercede on your behalf.
  • If things do not improve you should raise a formal complaint, in writing and with specific details.
  • Keep a full diary of incidents – detailing dates, times, what occurred, and names of any witnesses. Keep copies of any relevant documentation.

Please see our Employment section.

Other Services

How much does it cost to take someone to court?

The cost of taking someone to court  will depend entirely on the circumstance of the individual case. Costs for this can run quite high but you may be able to claim these back from the person you are taking to court. In these cases it is advisable to seek professional advice before proceeding. At Stonehewer Moss Solicitors we will be able to tell you whether or not you have a viable case before you take any action.

Please see our Other Services section.

If I ignore my overdraft or credit card debt, will they eventually give up and go away?

No. That is unlikely. It is much better to tackle the problem by contacting them and making an agreement on how to resolve your situation. There are cases where credit interest and other charges are unreasonable or excessive and you may wish to seek advice about dealing with those circumstances.

Please see our Other Services section.

What is the Claims Procedure?

Once you have instructed us and we have taken down all the relevant information with regard to the circumstances of the accident we will write a letter of claim to the other party’s insurers. Under Court Rules the insures have up to 3 months in which to investigate the claim and either admit fault or deny liability.
In many cases where the circumstances are clear cut, for example in a rear end shunt road traffic accident, and the insures admit liability straightway without the need for further consideration. If the blame for the accident is less clear-cut they may wish to investigate the matter further.
Once liability is admitted we will arrange for you to undertake a medical examination. The instructed doctor will be independent and one who is agreed by both parties. The report will be binding.
We will send you a copy of the report when it is available and then discuss its content with you to ensure that you are completely satisfied with it.
Only then we will negotiate settlement of your claim with the insurance company at a level of compensation previously agreed with you.

Please see our Other Services section.

Will I have to go to Court?

The vast amount of claims are settled without the need for attendance at Court.
On the rare occasion where a dispute exists and Court proceedings are issued we will carefully go thorough the whole procedure with you and address any concerns you may have.

Please see our Other Services section.

Personal Injury

What is a personal injury?

A personal injury can be physical or a psychological, it can be an injury or an illness and it could result in death. Examples of personal injuries include: injury at work, work-related illnesses a psychological illness caused by stress at work, injury caused in a traffic accident or injury received as a result of faulty goods or services.

Please see our Personal Injury section.

Is there a time limit for a personal injury claim?

This will, to a large extent, be determined by the nature of the injuries you have sustained and whether the defendants have conceded liability for the accident.
In road traffic accidents where liability is not at issue and the injuries sustained are not serious we would expect matters to be settled in a matter of months. More complex cases can take longer. The vast majority of all cases are settled within 12 months.
It is important to realise that whilst we will act speedily and efficiently we need to ensure that you have fully recovered from your injuries or that the doctors have determined an accurate prognosis.
Once a claim is settled you cannot claim more later on so we need to ensure that you receive the proper compensation for your injuries and any complications that may arise in the future. We will never pressurise you into settling your claim, we want you to be entirely satisfied before it is finalised.

Please see our Personal Injury section.

How long will my personal injury claim take?

This will to a large extent be determined by the nature of the injuries you have sustained and whether the defendants have conceded liability for the accident.
In road traffic accidents where liability is not at issue and the injuries sustained are not serious we would expect matters to be settled in a matter of months. More complex cases can take longer. The vast majority of all cases are settled within 12 months.
It is important to realise that whilst we will act speedily and efficiently we need to ensure that you have fully recovered from your injuries or that the doctors have determined an accurate prognosis.
Once a claim is settled you cannot claim more later on so we need to ensure that you receive the proper compensation for your injuries and any complications that may arise in the future. We will never pressurise you into settling your claim, we want you to be entirely satisfied before it is finalised.

Please see our Personal Injury section.

Will a medical examination be necessary?

Usually to progress a personal injury claim you will need to be examined by an independent doctor. We always endeavour to make this as stress free as possible for you and arrange a mutually convenient appointment as close to your home as possible.

Please see our Personal Injury section.

Can I still bring a personal injury claim if the victim has died?

Yes, injury compensation cases are commonly brought by the widow/widower of the victim, or by the executors who are named in the victim’s will.

Please see our Personal Injury section.

What compensation will I get?

There are two types of injury compensation that you may be entitled to. The first, called ‘general damages’, and is awarded to compensate the victim for the pain and suffering caused by the injury. The second type of injury compensation, called ‘special damages’, covers actual financial losses and expenses arising from the injury. This can include lost earnings, care given to you by your friends and family, costs of treatment, travel costs and various other expenses.

Please see our Personal Injury section.

What should I look for when I choose a Personal Injury Solicitor?

You need to find a company you can trust who cares about your interests. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) is a not-for-profit association of solicitors, barristers and academics who specialise in personal injuries work. Look for a lawyer who not only belongs to APIL but is also part of their accreditation scheme. The accreditation scheme guarantees members are competent in a particular field of personal injury. Accredited lawyers from Senior Litigator level upwards have at least five years’ experience of dealing with personal injury claims. All APIL members promise to follow a code of conduct and a consumer charter. Demonic Moss of Stonehewer Moss is a Fellow of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

Please see our Personal Injury section.

Where can I get further independent advice?

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers is very helpful and they have a Dictionary of personal injury terms and acronyms. The Citizens Advice Bureau also has more information.

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Stonehewer Moss Family Solicitors, Citadel House, Solvay Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 4DP

Family and Corporate Solicitors Northwich covering Chester, Crewe, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Middlewich, Northwich, Runcorn, Sandbach, Warrington, Winsford, and across Cheshire.

Stonehewer Moss Solicitors is a trading style of the Stonehewer Moss Limited, Registered in England No. 542 6583
which is a firm of solicitors authorised and regulated by the the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 471159