By Personal Injury Solicitor Nicholas Tunstall
When making a personal injury claim, your Personal Injury Solicitor will work to negotiate a compensation settlement with the other side. But sometimes negotiations are unsuccessful, after which your Personal Injury Solicitor will advise that the next step is to issue Court Proceedings. But what exactly does this mean?
For free legal advice call our Personal Injury Claim Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will help you.
Why are Court Proceedings Needed?
In cases where a settlement agreement with the other side has not been reached, the next step will be to issue Court Proceedings. This will allow a Judge to assess either ‘Quantum’ (meaning the level of compensation you should receive for your injuries), ‘Liability’ (meaning who’s fault the accident was), or both.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
Not necessarily. Even though your Personal Injury Solicitor has issued Court Proceedings, it’s possible to negotiate right up until the Court hearing. However, if a settlement cannot be agreed upon, then you will need to be prepared to attend Court in order to provide evidence of your injuries or about the circumstances of the accident.
What are the Time Scales?
If your injury claim is worth between £1,000 and £25,000 in value, then the Court will aim to hear your claim within 9 to 12 months from the date the claim is issued.
Why Does it Take so Long for a Hearing Date?
There are a number of steps and documents to complete before a personal injury claim can go in front of a Judge. The Court requires these to ensure the Judge has all the evidence necessary for a fair hearing to take place. Examples of these are:
- Documents that will be used to prove the claim, such as receipts for expenses, photographs taken at the accident scene, and where appropriate updated medical reports
- A statement setting out the evidence that the witnesses will be giving at the Court hearing
- An updated schedule listing your financial losses
- Any other steps that the Judge feels are necessary for a fair hearing to take place
What Happens at the Court Hearing?
Your Personal Injury Solicitor will have arranged for you to be represented in Court by either a Barrister or Specialist Lawyer, and he or she will present the claim to the Judge on your behalf. You will be called up to go through the statement that you’ve provided. You will be questioned by your representative, and then by the representative who is representing the other side. If you have any witnesses, they will also be called up one at a time to go through their own statements.
The Judge will not be made aware of any settlement offers which have previously been discussed.
Once the Judge has heard all the evidence from both sides, he or she will then provide their Judgment. This will be their conclusion as to who was at fault for the accident (if in dispute), or the level of compensation that must be awarded for your injuries and losses. Once this has been provided, the Court normally orders that the compensation payment be made within 14 to 21 days from the Hearing. This will then conclude your personal injury claim.
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