How Long will My Personal Injury Claim Take?
This question is one of the most common questions we ever get asked and the truth is……?
In reality it really does depend upon the circumstances as each individual settlement is unique and every claim is different for all sorts of reasons.
It’s a fair question and we understand why anyone thinking about bringing an injury claim would want to know the answer.
Below we discuss some of the factors which can affect the length of personal injury claims.
WHAT FACTORS INFLUENCE HOW LONG MY CLAIM TAKES?
Is the Defendant Cooperating and Notifying their Insurers?
The personal injury protocol timescales vary according to the nature of the claim being brought. Even before insurers get involved there is sometimes a reluctance on behalf of the other party to pass on the letter of claim and advise the insurers about the injury claim.
Technically, under the pre action rules for personal injury claims the clock only starts to run once the insurer has acknowledged the letter of claim.
It is therefore easy to see how matters can become protracted where the defendant fails to cooperate by notifying their insurers and it is necessary for the solicitor to chase the defendant for their insurers details. (By the way we are very good at eliciting a response if the defendant has ideas of being evasive!)
Whether your claim arises out of a public liability accident, a road traffic accident, a medical negligence claim or an industrial disease the claim could take some time to settle but the exact length of time all depends upon your injuries and the individual characteristics of your claim.
What’s the Severity of Your Injury?
This is a significant factor which can be very influential in terms of affecting the length of time of your personal injury claim.
- Clearly for a serious personal injury it is important that your solicitor takes the time to settle your claim on the best terms and to make sure you have all the relevant independent medical experts commenting in relation to the different aspects of your injury.
- This means that the medical evidence will then provide a comprehensive account of your injuries ensuring that your accident claim can be properly valued.
- In circumstances where the experts are unable to provide reports which give a final prognosis then settlement needs to be deferred so your injuries can be monitored and until such time that a final medical report is capable of being prepared.
- Although it is possible for claims to be settled earlier and without all the necessary medical evidence this is generally not recommended as there is then a real danger your claim might be prematurely settled for the wrong compensation.
- In practice Personal Injury Solicitors want to be absolutely sure that all the medical evidence which is required to fully quantify a claim is available together with all the financial losses before considering the settlement of a claim.
- Personal Injury Solicitors have a clear duty to look after the best interests of their clients and settling the claim before it can be properly quantified is generally not the right approach to achieving the best compensation.
- In situations like this it will be for your solicitor to explain the potential of coming away with less compensation than the claim is worth.
- By proceeding the claim may well take longer to settle but the overall result may result in significantly more compensation.
Can Interim Payments Plug the Financial Gap?
In circumstances where liability has been admitted your solicitor may be in a position to explore an early interim payment from the defendant’s insurers.
If an interim payment can be agreed this will hopefully help to ease any financial difficulties.
Interim payments are a useful tool in circumstances where there is a pressing need for an early financial payment from the other side.
The court rules relating to interim payments mean that in practice liability must be admitted or, if not, the court accepts that if the claim reaches a final hearing the claim will succeed against the defendant.
For this reason an interim payment may not be possible and your solicitor may decide to explore outright settlement.
Is Liability in Dispute?
Liability can clearly be a major obstacle in terms of early settlement. If the defendant’s insurers do not believe there is merit in a claim then if they stand firm the claim could potentially run all the way to a final court hearing. This means it will take longer to obtain accident compensation unless the insurer has a change of mind and looks to settle.
In our experience this is unusual as insurers (eventually at least) will realise that there are merits in relation to the claimant’s liability arguments and there are risks of allowing the claimant to pursue matters by litigation.
Claims very rarely need to go to court and more often than not the responsible party ultimately accept they were responsible and in the end settle the claim.
It’s fair to say that even the insurer involved can have a real influence in relation to how long a personal injury claim will take.
Some insurers deal take a sensible and pragmatic view and fully engage with the process meaning the compensation claim doesn’t need to get any where near the court. Other insurers can be awkward and obstructive which means the whole claim takes that much longer.
Our approach has always been to go from “A” to “B” in a direct line which means settlement is always in our sights.
On the other hand if there is no dispute on liability then the parties can look to immediately finalise the claim once the medical evidence and financial losses have been investigated and the necessary evidence disclosed.
Is the Identity of the Defendant Known or is there more than One Defendant?
In certain circumstances it is not always clear in the first instance who caused a particular accident.
It may be that there are one or more individuals or companies who were responsible for a dangerous set of affairs.
In this situation investigations will need to be carried out to establish which party caused the accident or it may be that the claim has to be directed against more than one party if it transpires that there is more than one party who contributed to the accident.
It is easy to see that with factual complexities such as these, where it is not immediately obvious who was to blame, the claim will take longer to resolve.
In practice if there is more than one potential party to blame and all parties deny responsibility for the accident and blame each other then the Claimant’s solicitors will often pursue the claim against all defendants.
In this way, once proceedings are issued against all of the defendants, the Claimant’s solicitor will hope to be able to establish through the disclosure of evidence the main culprit.
We’re here to Help You Whatever Type of Compensation Claim you have.
- If you need help with your compensation claim then all you need to do is to contact us or fill in the Online Compensation Claim Form and we will be in touch so you can make a claim.
- We know from chatting with our clients that very often the hardest part of all is making the first step by reaching out to us. We pride ourselves in being receptive to our clients needs and we always do our best to be sympathetic and understanding when clients first contact us. The last thing that anyone needs is a cold and unfriendly call in circumstances such as these.
- Why not give us a call now or complete the online compensation form?
- We are specialists in the field of personal injury claims and we are sure that whatever the circumstances of your accident or type of injury you have sustained we will be able to help you.
So the question how long does a Personal Injury Claim take to process is not necessarily an easy one to answer.
As discussed Injury Claims vary according to the extent of your injuries, the type of accident, the amount of compensation involved, if court proceedings are necessary, whether your claim has to go to court and various other factors.
One thing is for sure that if you:
- instruct a solicitor who is experienced in accident compensation,
- committed to your claim
- and is prepared to fight to get you the results you deserve
- then the time it takes to settle your claim will be kept to a minimum.
We look forward to hearing from you so we can settle your claim at the earliest opportunity 🙂