WHAT DOES AN ACCOMODATION EXPERT DO?

As Expert Witnesses we prepare reports in respect of the accommodation needs of people who have suffered injury or trauma and who are seeking compensation through the Courts.

In doing so we are governed by the requirements of the Civil Procedure Rules which set out the duties of an Expert Witness, these are:

– to assist the Court
– to give an impartial opinon
– not to make a judgement which is for the Court
– to attend Court as a witness if required

As Accomodation Experts, we always endeavour to visit and meet with you or a close relative, carer or guardian, in your own home to assess first-hand the scale and nature of your needs.

HOW THE VISIT/INTERVIEW WORKS…

Prior to a visit, we will send you a questionnaire requesting details of your current fuel costs, council tax costs and property insurance costs. These are used in calculating the additional costs incurred as a result of your disability. During the visit we will interview you or, where appropriate, a close family relative, to help understand your needs in relation to your particular disability, personal circumstances, and details of your current and future accommodation needs, including the needs of other family members.

We will carry out a measured survey of your property when appropriate. To do this it will be necessary to access all areas, both within the property and outside. From the survey, a plan is produced for inclusion in the Accommodation report. This plan will help to demonstrate the challenges you may face in your home. We will also photograph the property. This is done to assist in the production of the plan and a number of photographs, normally a dozen or so, will be included in the report to help illustrate areas of your home. With your permission, we would also like to take a head-and-shoulders photograph of you for inclusion in the report.

All information gathered during the visit and through the questionnaire is treated in the strictest confidence and disclosed only to our instructing solicitor who may disclose it in support of the case as required.

After the case has settled we always destroy all paperwork arising from the case using a certified confidential shredding company.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Following the visit our expert will prepare an Accommodation Report.

This report will contain a description of your needs, using evidence taken from the reports of others, primarily any medical, care and occupational therapy reports which have been made available, as well as evidence gathered during the interview and home visit.

The report will also contain:

– A description of your current accommodation
– An audit of your current accommodation to determine if it has the potential to meet your requirements
– An opinion on potential solutions to address your accommodation requirements
– Details of the type of property which is likely to provide you with suitable and the most appropriate accommodation
– The likely cost of this property, based on a search of currently available properties available in the area
– A plan of the property
– Photographs of the property

An estimate of:

– The cost of adapting and, if necessary, extending the property
– Relocation costs
– Any additional furnishing costs
– Any additional running and maintenance costs
– Any additional insurance and council tax costs

We will also identify any betterment costs arising out of the adaptation and extension of the future property, together with an estimate of the cost of removing any adaptations which would be likely to affect the market value of the property at the time of any future sale.

On completion of the report it is issued to the Solicitor who instructed us. The Solicitor will treat the report as confidential until all the evidence on the case is sent to the opposing legal team in a process known as “disclosure”. Following disclosure the Experts from both teams may be instructed to meet to produce a “Joint Statement” which draws together, for the Court, all the areas of agreement and any items on which the experts still disagree.

* Ask your Solicitor for a full explanation of these terms.