Accident Claims Jargon Buster

The legal world is full of terminology that some people may find difficult to understand. Have a look through our jargon buster for a simple explanation of some of the most common terms used during an accident claim.

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Personal Injury Jargon Buster – A breakdown


This is the person on whose behalf the claim is brought for compensation.  If you like, the innocent victim.

Compensation Recovery Unit

In all personal injury cases it will be necessary to obtain a Certificate from the Department for Work and Pensions to ascertain as to whether as a result of your accident you have been paid benefits. In normal circumstances those benefits will be deducted from your claim for loss of earnings and the cost of home care.

Conditional Fee Agreement

This is an agreement drawn up between solicitors and the client prior to the solicitor taking on the case and handling it. In normal circumstances if the case succeeds then the client will receive his/her damages without any deductions being made from it.

Contributory Negligence

This means that the other party accept that they are partly responsible for your accident and injuries and will usually give a percentage of blame i.e. 75/25% in your favour.


A practising barrister.

Counsel’s Opinion

A barrister’s advice to the solicitor – usually regarding the merit of a claim.


These are sums paid by the solicitor to third parties as necessary expenses in progressing your claim.  Typical disbursements in personal injury claims could include the cost of medical reports, barrister’s fee, engineer’s report and other experts opinion.

Employer’s Liability

The liability of an employer to pay damages to employees for personal injuries sustained in the course of employment if liability is established

Fast Track

A system used by the Courts designed to cover the majority of injury and other claims.  It is a series of rules and procedures that solicitors have to follow to bring a case through the courts as quickly as possible.  It applies to the majority of cases.

Fee Earner

This is the term used by law firms to describe the person who is carrying out the work on your personal injury claim.

Future Losses

Losses that are likely to continue for the foreseeable future because of your accident.

General Damages

This term is used to value your claim for the pain and suffering which you have sustained as a result of your accident and which will be set out in a medical report.



This term can be used in two different ways:

a) If liability is accepted then this means that the other party accepts that they are to blame for your accident and your injuries.

b) If there is a denial of liability then this means that the other party do not accept that they are to blame at all for your accident or your injuries.


In all personal injury claims where the person who has been injured is over the age of 18 years there is a 3 year period from the date of accident in which to settle the claim or alternatively issue Court proceedings to prevent the claim from becoming statute barred.

Limitation in Infant Cases

Where a person under the age of 18 years suffers injuries then the 3 year limitation period will expire on that person’s 21st Birthday.


The duty upon you (the Claimant) to keep your losses to a reasonable level.  For instance, do not hire a Ferrari whilst your Fiat Punto is being repaired!


The area of civil law governing personal injury claims.  If someone has been careless or at fault then they are said to have been negligent.

Special Damages

This term means any additional expenditure i.e. loss of earnings, cost of home care, travel expenses, medication expenses etc.

Statutory Time Limit

The time you have to make a claim before it becomes statute barred.

Third Party

This is the party who it is considered to be at fault for causing the accident.  There may be more than one potential third party in certain accidents where there has been a multiple collision between vehicles.  The Claimants claim would be intimated against the third party and also the third party’s motor insurance company.

Third Party Insurers

They are the motor vehicle insurers who have been issued the policy of insurance covering the third party.  In a successful claim it will ultimately be the third party’s insurance company that will be responsible for payment of damages and legal costs awarded to the Claimant. Moreover, if the claim fails or the Solicitor decides not to proceed with it then again there will be no charge made to the client.

Insurance Premium

Sometimes it is necessary to have your claim insured particularly where liability is in dispute. In certain cases it will be necessary for the amount of the premium plus interest to be deducted from your damages but this depends on how the case is being funded.


Legal expenses insurer.  An insurance company that provides legal fees insurance.  The term usually refers to before the accident insurance companies but increasingly is used to cover after the event insurers too.

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