How Long Does a Personal Injury Claim take to Settle?
Every personal injury claim is individual and no two cases ever run exactly the same. This article outlines some of the different factors that influence how long an injury claim will take to settle in England or Wales.
Whether or Not the Defendant Accepts Blame
If your opponent admits fault (liability) for the whole accident promptly, our Personal Injury Solicitors can quickly determine the extent of your injury and value of the claim.
If your opponent denies blame, or alleges that you are also liable for the accident which caused your injuries, it will take more time to investigate the accident and negotiate a settlement.
The Nature and Severity of Your Injury
It’s important that our Personal Injury Solicitors don’t recommend settlement of your claim until you’ve either made a full recovery from your injuries, or we’ve obtained a final medical opinion advising that your symptoms are likely to remain indefinitely.
If we settle your claim before we know the final outcome of your injury, we risk under-settling your claim. So, if your injury is a serious one that takes time to heal, your claim will probably take longer than one for a relatively minor injury.
Fast Track Claims
If your claim is valued less than £25,000 compensation, it will be run on the ‘fast track’ regime, which means there are tight deadlines for progressing your claim and these will help to keep things moving. If your injury claim is valued more than £25,000 compensation the timeline is slightly longer, as the issues are usually more complicated and there may be multiple medical experts involved.
As part of your medical examinations, further treatment may be recommended by the experts to improve your recovery. It’s important to wait until after the treatment course is completed so we know whether or not the treatment has been successful before settling your claim. This can add additional time to your claim.
If the parties can’t agree on who is to blame for the accident, or if it isn’t settled before the third anniversary of the accident, Court proceedings will need to be started.
Initially, this may cause some delay, as the Courts are extremely busy and it can take some time to get an initial hearing in the Court timetable. However, once there is a timetable in place, the parties are under a duty to stick to those deadlines and it’s unusual for the timetable to be extended. This provides some certainty as to when the claim will finish (although settlement will always hopefully be achieved before the case goes to Trial).
Your Personal Injury Solicitor will often need to seek your instructions before progressing your claim and if there is a delay in hearing back from you, this can cause delays in your settlement.
We use email and phone wherever possible, and if you always respond promptly to us, that will save valuable time. We also rely on the information you provide us about your financial losses (i.e. loss of earnings) to reach a financial value of your claim. If you keep lists of your losses, receipts and any other documentary evidence, this makes it easier and quicker for us to work out the value of your claim and negotiate a settlement.
As you can see, there are several variables in working out how long a personal injury claim will take to settle and they can’t all be predicted at the start of a claim.
However, our Personal Injury Solicitors always endeavour to work efficiently and proactively to get every claim settled quickly, but most importantly, at the right time, to get the best possible results for our clients.
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.