Emmott Snell have extensive experience in helping abuse victims to achieve successful personal injury claims. When you first contact us we will ask you to tell us what happened to you, who was involved, and when and where your abuse occurred.
We will then assess your options and advise you on the best way forward. We will also advise you on how your case can be funded, and set up the best form of funding for you.
Your claim may fall into two categories. We may be able to help you pursue compensation through the courts, by suing your abuser or their employer or responsible body. Alternatively, or in addition to this, you may be able to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
If you have not reported your abuse to the police, it is likely we will recommend you do this as soon as possible. We can assist you in making initial contact with the right police station and support you in your complaint and any subsequent criminal proceedings.
We will immediately address any time limit problems if necessary. We will then gather as much evidence as possible which may include asking for a copy of police statements, your social services records, your GP and counselling records, and witness interviews.
This evidence will inform our 'letter of claim' which is the first notification to any potential defendant of the nature of, and reasons for, your claim, explaining why they should accept they are responsible for the harm caused to you.
To substantiate how your abuse has affected you, we will arrange for you to be seen by a suitably qualified doctor who will prepare a report. We will also prepare a document setting out your financial losses as a result of your abuse. We may also arrange a meeting with a barrister.
If the defendant is not willing to resolve your claim, court proceedings will be issued. However most abuse claims settle 'out of court' and it is rare for claims to go all the way to a full trial before a judge.
Successful sexual abuse claims result in the award of damages or compensation. While this can never put back the clock, it is an important validation that you have been wronged.
Many clients see the civil process as one in which they get formal recognition for what has happened to them. Payment of compensation can also be seen as a form of admission of wrong-doing.
The nature of abuse is that it often remains suppressed for many years. Victims of abusers are often silenced by threats from their abuser, or by the guilt and shame associated with the abuse. The civil process is a way of 'speaking out'. Many people who embrace the civil process see it as a form of catharsis, and an important step in their recovery.
The process of seeking compensation is also about making the transition from 'victim' to 'survivor'. It can be about taking control of the effects of abuse and over the abuser, which may be empowering.
Compensation can be used for expensive counselling or cognitive treatment for the abuse, not readily available on the NHS.
Civil claims can lead to improved social work standards and practices and ultimately to ensure better safeguarding.
No win no fee
If you do not qualify for legal aid, we may consider a 'no win, no fee' arrangement. If you are successful your opponent pays your costs and you pay a limited "success fee" from your compensation. If you lose your case you do not pay anything. We will need to assist you in taking out an insurance policy to protect you against losing your case, which would mean you may have to pay your opponent's costs. Insurance policies for abuse claims (particularly historical) are becoming more readily available on the market. If you are not successful we do not charge you at all. Learn more here
Your existing insurance policies
It is possible you may find you have 'legal expenses' insurance in an existing personal insurance policy for example in your buildings and contents policy. We can help you investigate whether any existing policy will assist you in your legal claim.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority funding
We can represent you in a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) application under a contingency fee agreement. This is a 'no win, no fee' type agreement, so if you are successful, our fees are an agreed percentage of your compensation. If you are not successful we do not charge you at all.