The Personal Injury Claims Process Explained

Posted on: 1 min read
Jonathan Thursby

Associate Solicitor, Personal Injury Claims

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Updated 25/10/2022

These are the general steps involved which are part of the personal injury claims process when making a personal injury claim with compensation in excess of £25,000 rather than a fast-track claim which is a claim which falls below the £25,000 threshold. Please note that all personal injury cases are different, so the following is only a general guide to the personal injury claims process.

For free legal advice get in touch with our Personal Injury Solicitors.

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What are the Main Stages of the Personal Injury Claims Process?

Once we have taken your initial instructions, your claim will be passed to a Personal Injury Solicitor who specialises in the type of claim you are pursuing. We will then assess who is responsible for the injury you have sustained. It is really useful if, at the time of your accident you gather as much evidence as possible. This may include:

  • Witness Details
  • Photos / Video / CCTV
  • Medical Records (including copies of Accident book entries if this is an accident in a public place)
  • Records of conversations
  • Financial records that prove your losses
  • A drawing of the scene showing vehicles and other hazards (if you have a road traffic accident claim)
  • Details of any machinery that caused a hazard (if you have a workplace accident)
  • The cost of any care you have received (whether professional or provided by family) as a result of your injury.

Next, your Personal Injury Solicitor will draft a formal letter of claim. This will set out the details of the accident, the injuries you sustained and why your Solicitor thinks the defendant is at fault.

Once the letter of claim is sent, the defendant then has 21 days to acknowledge the letter of claim and then a further three months to investigate the accident. By the end of the three months, we would expect the defendant to have completed their investigations and to have provided their position on liability i.e. whether they admit or deny liability (fault).

If the defendant admits liability, then your Personal Injury Solicitor will obtain your medical records and arrange for you to be examined by a suitable medical expert. The expert will review your records, examine you and write a medico-legal report. This is a report written by a doctor or another health professional for legal proceedings. It is an important document because it will be used to value your physical or psychological injury. If you have multiple injuries, it may be appropriate for you to be examined by more than one type of expert.

The type of medical expert will depend upon your injury, for example, if you have broken bones, then an orthopaedic surgeon would be appropriate, and if you’ve suffered scarring, a plastic surgeon would be instructed.

Any costs relating to the medical reports will be submitted as part of your damages claim against the person responsible for your injury.

If liability is denied, we will expect the defendant to explain why they deny liability and to provide documents in support of their denial. These documents may include accident reports, risk assessments and maintenance records. Your Personal Injury Solicitor will review the denial and any documents and will then advise you fully as to the merits of the denial. Denying liability doesn’t mean that your Personal Injury Solicitor can’t proceed with a claim for compensation. If your Personal Injury Solicitor is happy that there are reasonable prospects of success, they will proceed with your case.

Once medical evidence is obtained, your Personal Injury Solicitor will provide you with a copy of the medical expert’s report. Sometimes an expert can provide a final prognosis in the first report, but often, especially where injuries are more serious or symptoms are ongoing, treatment and further reports will be recommended.

Your Personal Injury Solicitor will be able to advise you more fully once the first medical report is obtained. It isn’t unusual in cases involving serious injury for your Solicitor to obtain a number of reports from experts in several different specialisms.

Once medical evidence is finalised and your Solicitor has worked out the extent of your financial losses, they will then value your claim and advise you on an appropriate compensation settlement offer to make to the defendant. In certain cases, your Solicitor may advise you to invite an offer of settlement from the defendant rather than making an offer to them.

There are Personal injury compensation guidelines which can factor into the general damages which you could receive which is set out by the JC Guidelines.

The financial amount you claim for varies on a case by case basis and depends largely on the extent of your injuries, how much care you needed, whether you are able to return to your usual home and work routines after the injury, whether there are any future care needs, and any adaptations you might need to your home to help you cope with a long term or life changing injury. 

In an ideal situation the defendant who is responsible for your injury will admit fault and either accept your financial claim or want to negotiate an out of court settlement. If it is a company you are dealing with then they should be aware of the personal injury claims process, and everything should be fairly straightforward.

If liability is denied or if a negotiated compensation settlement can’t be reached, it may be necessary to start Court proceedings. This, in effect, is asking the Court to decide whether the defendant is liable for your accident and if so, to decide how much your claim is worth. Your Solicitor will guide and advise you further at this stage.

Compensation Payout

As every personal injury claim is different, the time it can take from agreement to pay out can vary. But as a rough guide if your claim is valued at £25,000 or less it will be run on the “fast track” regime which means there are tight deadlines for progressing your claim and these will help keep things moving. If your claim is valued at more than £25,000 the timeline is slightly longer. If you are unable to settle out of court, things could also take a little longer as your claim will have to go through the busy courts process. Once we have received your compensation we would then ensure that this money is paid in the appropriate way to the beneficiaries.

In cases where we have secured an interim payment (a financial payment before the final settlement of the claim) this will be taken from the final damages amount as it would have already been received.

How Simpson Millar Can Help You

Our Personal Injury Solicitors may be able to deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis. We may also be able to visit you at home or in hospital (in England or Wales).

When pursuing a claim on your behalf, we will investigate your case in detail. This ensures you can receive the correct amount of compensation and rehabilitation support. We offer a personal, friendly, and stress-free service. You will always know what is happening at every stage of your claim and we will always speak to you in plain English, avoiding unnecessary legal jargon. Contact our team for your free initial consultation.

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