Do I Have to Appear in Court?
Even if a Court date has been set, the defendant could still change their mind and settle out of Court, in which case a hearing won’t be necessary.
If this doesn’t happen and your case is worth between £1,000 and £25,000 compensation, depending on the nature of your case, it’s likely that your Personal Injury Solicitor or Barrister will speak on your behalf in Court. However, you will be expected to attend in person if the value of your claim is above £25,000, or if your case is more complex.
If you do have to appear in Court, you’ll be cross-examined by both your legal representative and the defendant’s Barrister, as will any witnesses you may have. The Judge will make a decision and decide how much compensation you should be awarded.
Going to Court to settle a personal injury claim is often a last resort and a scenario both claimants and defendants will wish to avoid.
For you, it can be upsetting to rake over the details of what happened to you and be questioned about it by your opponent’s Barrister. But the defendant may also have good reasons for not wanting the matter to go this far, as by refusing to settle out of Court, they run the risk of facing much greater legal costs at the end of the case.
That’s one reason why so few personal injury claims end up having to go to Court, but rest assured that if this does happen, our expert Personal Injury Solicitors can support you and represent your interests.
How Long Does the Personal Injury Court Procedure Take?
If a suitable compensation settlement can’t be agreed with the defendant, or they refuse to admit liability (fault), and we’re happy there are reasonable prospects of success, we will start Court proceedings.
Filing a claim at Court could lead to your case being delayed slightly, as getting an initial hearing in the Court timetable can take a while. The Court will usually aim to hear any claim worth up to £25,000 compensation within 12 months of the claim being issued. But it may take longer for higher value cases to reach trial.
There are a number of factors that could affect how long Court proceedings take in your individual case, including:
- The severity of your injury or injuries – if you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury such as a trauma to your head or an amputation, Court proceedings are likely to take longer than if you had endured a ‘minor’ injury like whiplash.
- The complexity of your accident – if the circumstances surrounding your accident were more complicated, or there’s a lack of witness and CCTV evidence, the process of building your case could be made longer.
- Disputes over your compensation – Court proceedings could take up more time if the other party continues to deny liability or refuses to pay out the amount of compensation that you’re entitled to.
When a timetable has been drawn up by the Court, both parties will have to stick to it, and in low value cases, the Court will probably list the case for Trial. This is important as it means both parties will know when the claim will finish.