We specialise in personal injury claims on behalf of injured people, and nothing else.
This expertise means that we are used to taking on defendants and insurance companies, standing up for you and winning.
But as well as securing your compensation for you, we also aim to help you to get back on your feet both physically and financially. Accidents, even straightforward ones, can mean both you and your family being hit hard. Getting money at the end of a case is often not enough if hardship strikes straight away. We work with insurers to get funding for medical treatment and rehabilitation, and early payments towards your eventual damages to replace lost income.
We deal with cases of all sizes, from straightforward injuries to catastrophic and fatal accidents. We have a particular specialism in psychiatric injuries and chronic pain conditions.
Amongst the types of cases we deal with are road accidents, accidents at work, accidents caused by defective premises, trips and slips, and criminal injuries. For more details, see below.
We believe that solicitors should only offer to take on cases where they are expert enough to do them well. We do not "have a go" at cases, and you should be wary of solicitors that do. For this reason, we do not do clinical negligence (claims against doctors and other medical professionals) or long-term disease cases such as for asbestos exposure. These types of cases need a solicitor who specialises in them, and we would recommend you search for a specialist using the Law Society's Find a Solicitor service.
We hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions about what we do, or whether we can take on your case, feel free to contact us on 01733 807407 or by using the contact form at the bottom of the page.
Road Traffic Accidents
Road accidents are the most common cause of personal injury claims, making up about 50% of the total. They include injuries suffered by drivers and passengers in cars, lorries and buses. They can also be claims on behalf of other road users such as pedestrians, motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders.
It is often said that a car can be a deadly weapon if used wrongly. Injuries caused in road accidents can be the most serious and life changing ones. For this reason courts will expect drivers and riders to take great care and to follow the Highway Code. If they don't, and you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, motorists have to have insurance to pay for the damage they cause.
Even where the defendant is uninsured, the victim is protected by the Motor Insurers' Bureau. This covers incidents where the motorist has breached the terms of their insurance, or where they never had insurance in the first place. The MIB also covers victims of untraced "hit and run" drivers.
Since 2010, claims following road accidents below a certain level (currently £25,000) have been dealt with using an online 'portal'. This aims to speed up the claims process for cases where the defendant's insurers admit liability.
New government changes due in 2021 aim to reduce the number of compensation claims for whiplash and other more minor injuries by reducing compensation levels. They also encourage accident victims to deal directly with defendants' insurers without using solicitors.
Our experience is that insurers are keen to look for reasons either to refuse claims, or to offer settlements for less than their true value. How does an someone without a good lawyer know whether an insurer's reasons for refusing a claim, or making a particular settlement offer, are fair? We will continue to support road accident victims, working with you so you have an expert on your side, fighting your corner.
Accidents at Work
Workplaces can be dangerous. Factories, building sites and farms have obvious dangers, but even places like offices and shops can have their hazards if they aren't run properly. Nobody deserves to go to work and come back injured. Making a compensation claim makes an employer sit up and take notice, and can help make sure the same thing doesn't happen to someone else.
The law requires employers to make workplaces as safe as they reasonably can. That way, when someone makes a mistake - and sooner or later, someone will - the chances of someone suffering an injury are reduced. Employers can't usually blame one of their employees for having done something they shouldn't, even if that employee is the accident victim.
Specific health and safety regulations cover things like safe tools and equipment, the physical condition of workplaces, lifting and carrying, providing proper training and supervision, work at height and exposure to hazardous substances. Other regulations cover specific activities like building sites or work at sea.
Businesses are usually legally responsible for what their employees do. This means that if you suffer an injury because someone doing their job has made a mistake, not followed instructions or even deliberately caused it, either through a joke getting out of hand or an assault, you may be able to bring a case against the employer.
Public liability claims generally means accident claims not arising from road accidents or accidents at work. Where someone is legally responsible for an accident because they have been negligent or because they have broken a specific law, there may be a public liability claim.
Examples include injuries caused by poorly maintained pavements, footpaths and roads; accidents due to the condition of premises people visit, such as shops and other premises; and claims where activities or events have led to an injury, for example in schools or sporting activities.
One of the most common of these is when someone has tripped and hurt themselves on a pavement, often because of a raised paving slab or a pothole. Most roads and pavements are the responsibility of the local council, who are required by law to keep them in a reasonable state of repair. How good a condition it should be kept in depends on the circumstances, so for example you would expect a well-used pavement in a city shopping street to be in a better condition than an unsurfaced country footpath.
A council may have a defence if it can show that the accident happened despite it taking reasonable care. Councils have many miles of highways to look after, and cannot know the moment one of their pavements is broken. If they can show that they have inspected their highways often enough, and acted upon any reports of damage, they may not be to blame for the accident. Councils also have to take reasonable care to deal with ice and snow on their roads and pavements.
Similar issues apply to accidents elsewhere. For example, if you go to a shop and slip over something on the floor, you may have a claim unless the shop can show it was actively looking out for hazards and your accident happened despite it taking reasonable care. If you go somewhere like a museum or a station, or even someone's house, if you are injured by a hazard that shouldn't be there you may well have a valid claim. On the other hand, if the accident was caused by something you might expect to find, it may be a pure accident for which nobody is to blame.
Finally, accidents can be caused by people who have taken responsibility for an activity, and who should ensure it is done safely. Examples can include accidents to children in schools, claims arising from things like sports or other activities, and the organisers of events such as festivals and shows. Those in charge are usually expected to consider the risks, think about what might go wrong, and do what they reasonably can to make things safe.
Serious Injuries, Psychiatric Injuries and Fatal Accidents
Although most accidents cause injuries from which the victim will eventually recover, sometimes they can be life changing or even fatal. In such cases, it is vital to have an expert solicitor on your side.
We try to ensure all our clients get access to support to recover from their accident where possible, but this is all the more important where the injuries are severe. We use the Rehabilitation Code to work with the defendant's insurers to get medical, social and financial support arranged as soon as possible.
Serious injuries can leave people unable to work, and sometimes family members have to become their carers and the family loses income from their job too. Financial stress is very common. Alongside that, the injured person may find the mental challenge of coming to terms with their disability, or perhaps the effects of a brain injury lead them to become changed people. This, and the sheer effort of looking after someone with disabilities can put relationships under real strain.
However, the right support can go a long way to picking up the pieces. We work with professional case managers who can assess what someone needs, in terms of medical and psychological support, physiotherapy, help with day-to-day activities and any necessary disability aids or changes to accommodation. In the longer term, we often try to help people back to work, either their previous job if that is possible, or getting expert advice on a change of careers.
Nobody wants to be injured, and when they are it is more important to act to try to minimise the effects of a serious accident than it is to sit back and wait for the compensation.
One of our specialities is in dealing with psychiatric injuries. These can happen as a result of the shock of experiencing a life-threatening accident (such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD), or it can be a more gradual process where someone struggles to come to terms with their physical disabilities or the changes to their life. Sometimes the psychiatric injury can be even more serious and disabling than the physical one. Sometimes they can combine to produce chronic pain conditions in which a victim's mental health causes them to experience their physical symptoms more severely, which in turn damages their mental state, in a kind of vicious circle.
Sadly, sometimes accidents cause fatal injuries, with the victim either dying immediately or later from their injuries. If the victim has lived on beyond the initial accident they may have a claim for the effects of their injuries and financial losses, but the main part of most fatal accident claims is compensation for the family they leave behind. Most of this is for the value of their financial contribution to the family in terms of things like earnings and pension, but it can also include the value of their services to the family (such as child care, DIY and everything else someone might do for a family), a fixed amount of damages for the bereavement suffered by family members, and a contribution to funeral costs.
Criminal injuries can include injuries suffered due to physical assaults, robberies, physical and sexual abuse and other crimes of violence. Most of the time there is no insurance to claim from and the assailant usually does not have enough money to pay for a compensation claim, so instead a claim is made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
The CICA is an agency providing government compensation for the innocent victims of violent crimes. To make a successful claim, you must have been the innocent victim, so for example you must not have become involved voluntarily in a fight. Compensation can also be refused if you have a significant criminal history yourself, or if you fail to help the police and the criminal court in prosecuting your attacker by going to court as a witness. In certain cases, especially if you were a child when the crime took place, or in cases of domestic violence or sexual crimes, the CICA can make allowances for how difficult it is to report crimes at the time.
Sometimes it is possible to bring a claim against the employer of an assailant, if the crime they commit has some connection with their work. Examples have included claims against schools and religious orders for abuse in boarding schools and care homes; claims against nightclub door staff or security guards who carry out attacks; and claims against employers of staff who carry out assaults at work or at work events.
Other Legal Work
We do accident compensation claims on behalf of injured people, and nothing else. We believe solicitors should specialise in the work they offer, so we don't take on cases that we can't do well. We don't take on clinical negligence or long-term disease cases, both of which require particular specialist expertise, so if you want advice on these types of cases, please use the Law Society's Find a Solicitor search.
Moons Solicitors was set up in April 2020 after Hunt and Coombs, where Richard Moon was a senior solicitor, decided to stop taking on personal injury cases. Hunt and Coombs is a leading Peterborough firm offering a wide range of legal services, and for any non-personal injury work such as conveyancing, commercial business, wills and probate, crime or family law, we are happy to recommend them.
You can visit Hunt and Coombs' website for further information.