Interim Payments in Personal Injury Claims – First of all What are they?
Interim payments are an up front payment for part of your personal injury claim where compensation is made available to you before the claim has concluded. Interim payments can be used to pay for medical expenses or lost earnings while your solicitor continues to progress your claim….
- The idea is that the interim payment is used to provide much needed financial support to the injured party.
- This means the Claimant can obtain, for instance, any private medical treatment or funding if the Claimant is finding it difficult to survive financially.
- There needs to be a good reason to to get an interim payment from the other side so each prospective interim payment request needs to be carefully assessed and requested in a the right way from the other side.
- Interim payments can be extremely helpful as a means of accessing vital support for lost earnings, urgent medical care, necessary equipment and any extra rehabilitation requirements.
- In the context of personal injury claims interim payments can help to cover the costs of all sorts of bills that can arise out of the accident through no fault of the injured person.
- These compensation payments can provide the accident victim with at least some peace of mind during what can be an extremely difficult time.
When can Interim Payments be Requested?
Interim payments can be requested at any stage of the legal process.
If there is an urgent need for an interim payment then an immediate request to pay could be made to the solicitor or insurance company acting for the defendant.
Whether the defendant’s Solicitor agrees to the request will depend on a number of factors which we discuss below. If they disagree to make the payment it is still possible to seek a remedy from the court.
What if the Defendant Denies Liability?
If the defendant insurer refuses to make a voluntary interim payment then there is still the option for the Claimant’s Solicitor to apply to the court with a view to securing an order for an interim payment.
The court will then need to decide whether if the claim proceeds to trial it would be successful and the claimant would be awarded “substantial” compensation.
It seems the term “substantial” is relative so the court decides each case on its facts and looks at the overall value of the claim and decides if the interim payment is substantial in this context.
In these circumstances there will be an examination of the liability evidence by the court so that the court can be satisfied, on the balance of probabilities (which is the civil burden of proof) the compensation claim will succeed.
Again the court will in practice only want to find for the Claimant in circumstances where the liability evidence is comfortably in the Claimant’s favour.
The court will clearly want to ensure that any initial decision to award an interim payment is not ever going to be overturned by the trial judge. The Court will want to avoid the prospect of the Claimant ever having to repay an early interim payment which will in all likelihood have been spent.
How Long do Interim Payments Take to Receive?
The timescale in relation to receiving an interim payment will vary from one compensation claim to another and may range from just a few weeks to several months.
As personal injury solicitors dealing with personal injury claims each and every day we always ensure if an interim payment is required the request to the defendants insurers is made at the earliest possible opportunity.
In the first instance liability is probably the most important consideration of all when deciding whether an interim payment may be forthcoming in a personal injury claim.
If the defendant’s insurer accepts their client was at fault then generally speaking there will be an agreement in principle to make a personal injury interim payment.
The insurer will still have to agree there is a need for an interim payment as well as agree the proposed amount.
Insurers Hate Interim Payments!
Many insurers are generally reluctant to agree making an interim payment as they much prefer to finalise claims on a once and for all basis and especially in circumstances where they know liability has to be conceded. This means that their financial exposure is kept to a minimum.
When dealing with a serious injury claim where a number of different medical reports are required to be able to assess the claim over a long period of time the insurer has to accept that an early final resolution is not going to be possible.
In general terms interim payments are designed for the more serious injuries where there are often immediate rehabilitation and financial needs.
Personal Injury Solicitors know that in order to be able to get an interim payment you need to be able to qualify for one so the rules governing interim payments are an important part of the process.
How Much can be Claimed for an Interim Payment?
Interim payments in personal injury claims vary depending upon the severity of the injuries and the needs of the accident victim.
Interim payments for a compensation claim can therefore vary enormously from several hundred pounds to several thousand pounds or more for a serious injury.
The court is not able to make an order against a defendant for an interim payment which is more than a “reasonable proportion” of the likely amount of the final award for injury compensation. So in practice the court will exercise its discretion conservatively to make sure any interim payment claim awarded is not going to be in danger of exceeding the total compensation payable.
How do Interim Payments effect the Final Compensation Figure?
If you receive an interim payment then this will need to be taken into account upon the conclusion of the claim when the total amount of injury compensation has been determined.
Any interim payments that have been made by the defendant will generally, depending upon the exact nature of the payment, need to be deducted from any final compensation payment.
All the interim payments that have been paid during the course of the personal injury claim will be calculated and deducted from the final amount of compensation.
Solicitors that You can rely upon…
Please do get in touch with us if you have any questions or would like to discuss your claim with us.
We would be delighted to answer your questions about interim payments or any aspect of your claim on a personal basis.
If you choose to let us help you with your claim you will benefit from all our legal experience and you can just leave us to look after you 🙂
Carter & Carter Solicitors
Hear a few words from one of our happy clients
“We helped Ms Chandler with her RTA claim and she said to us: "Very efficient service, gave me hope when my own car insurance company failed me and Carter and Carter saw things through to the end and gave me reassurance throughout. I was kept up to date at every stage of the process."
Ms Claire Chandler from Newcastle