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How to make a personal injury claim against a company in liquidation, insolvent or closed down

Even the most established business can fall into financial difficulty, and this was recently witnessed with the sudden and high-profile collapse of Britain’s oldest travel company, Thomas Cook. It highlighted the dramatic fallout that occurs when a widely-used business becomes insolvent. While much of the media coverage centred around job losses and helping the 150,000 customers stranded overseas, there are travellers who may have suffered an injury on holiday and are left wondering whether they can claim compensation.

Matters like this are not limited to the collapse of Thomas Cook, but are frequently experienced by those who have suffered an accident at work or in a public place, such as a supermarket or gym. In this article, we look at the process involved in claiming against a business that has ceased trading or entered into administration or liquidation.

Understanding the legal position of the business

Companies can stop trading for various reasons, but to make a successful claim, understanding the legal status of the company can be helpful. This can include:

  • Ceased trading – This is when the business is no longer trading, whether it has been struck off the company register or simply closed. It does not necessarily mean the company is in financial difficulty, so you may still be able to bring a claim against the directors (where it is a company) or the owners (for an unincorporated organisation).
  • Administration – The purpose of administration is to allow a company to ‘recover’ financially. Often this will mean selling assets and closing unprofitable ventures to raise cash to pay creditors.
  • Liquidation – Liquidation can be voluntary or compulsory. Where liquidation is compulsory, the company will cease to exist.

How do I claim against a business in liquidation?

Making a personal injury claim against a company that has gone into compulsory liquidation has its own set of unique challenges compared to regular personal injury claims. If the company has been liquidated, then legally, the entity no longer exists. At this point, there are two key issues to take into consideration:

1.    Who do I contact?

You may have attempted to speak with the company, but it is unlikely you will receive a response using the usual channels of communication. The best course of action is to get in contact with the company’s administrator or liquidator (depending on the company’s specific legal position). This can be challenging as the company may have creditors and claims to deal with as a priority. Under these circumstances, you may wish to contact the company’s insurers instead.

2.    Who do I claim against?

If the company has been liquidated, you could get in touch with the company’s insurers. However, it may be difficult to find the name and details of the insurer you should contact. Generally, all personal injury claims against businesses involve insurers, so if your accident occurred when the company was still trading, or you have an existing personal injury claim against them, the claim will likely be covered.

Making a claim with Lawford Claims

With every personal injury claim we deal with, we strive to get you the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible, regardless of how complex your case may be. Our process can be broken down into five stages:

  1. During the initial discussion, we will gather details about the circumstances that led to your accident or injury, the parties involved, dates and the loss you have experienced as a result.
  2. We will then get in touch with the most relevant party for your case. This could be a business, your employer or an insurance company.
  3. We will arrange for you to have a medical examination for the report, which will be used to support your claim.
  4. We will begin to negotiate your claim with the party you believe to be at fault, or their insurer.
  5. We will fight to negotiate a fair settlement for you. The other party may wish to investigate the accident, which can take some time. If there are unnecessary delays or they deny liability, we will consider whether court action would be appropriate.

Will my claim be successful?

If a company has gone into liquidation, the company’s liabilities are substantially higher than their assets. Although public liability insurance is considered a necessity to cover claims, it is not a legal requirement for business owners. A further problem can arise when your injury occurred as a result of the negligence of a business after the company has ceased trading. Businesses typically will not have post-liquidation insurance in place, which means the insurer will not cover your accident or injury.

If a company does have the relevant insurance, the chance of a successful outcome will depend on the strength of your case. Your solicitor will contact the company’s insurer directly and pursue a claim against them on your behalf. They will gather and present evidence to support your claim, and most often, claims are settled efficiently outside of the courtroom.

My employer has ceased trading, can I make a claim?

You can still claim against a former employer even if they are no longer trading. This is common in cases of occupational disease where symptoms and diagnosis can occur many years later. The company should have had Employee Liability Insurance in place to cover employee illness, accident or injury. In these circumstances, you will bring your claim to their insurer. Here at Lawford Kidd, we have a proven track record of success in this area, particularly in mesothelioma cases.

Contact Lawford Kidd Claims Against Insolvent Companies Lawyers, Scotland

For advice regarding claims against insolvent companies, call us free today on 0808 163 7219 or complete our online enquiry form, and we will call you back right away.

If we take your case, you will get 100% compensation with our no win no fee policy. We look forward to hearing from you and to helping you claim the maximum amount of money you deserve.

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