Personal Injury Claims can be complex, so it's impossible to say exactly how long your claim is likely to take to settle. If your claim is complex and expected to take a long time, it may be possible for interim (in between) payments to be made to you before the claim is fully settled.
Some of the factors that are likely to directly impact how long your Personal Injury claim will take include what type of claim it is, the severity of your injuries, how many people are involved and whether the other side accepts blame.
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Type of Personal Injury Claim
One of the first things to consider is what type of Personal Injury Claim you have, as some types can commonly be quicker to settle than others.
Common Personal Injury Claims include:
- Road Accident Claims
- Work Accident Claims (Employers' Liability)
- Public Liability Claims
- Occupiers' Liability Claims
- Serious Injury Claims
- Medical Negligence Claims
- Slip, Trip and Fall Claims
- Head / Brain Injury Claims
- Amputation Claims
- Fatal Accident Claims
- Product Liability Claims
Some of these claims can be dealt with via the UK Government's Claims Portal – a system which streamlines Personal Injury Claims worth less than £25,000. Claims that are processed via this portal tend to be completed much quicker than those dealt with via alternative claims processes.
The Claims Portal is effective at speeding up the claims process because there are set timescales where the opponent should respond. Also, the transfer of documentation and correspondence between the two sides is done electronically, meaning that things can move much faster.
For more information, see How the Claims Portal Works.
How Much Is Your Claim Worth?
Generally the higher the value of your claim, the longer it is likely to take.
It's important to note that the Claims Portal can only be used for claims between the value of £1,000 and £25,000. For higher value claims it may not be possible to use the Claims Portal, in which case the claim will need to be dealt with via an alternative claims process. This is likely to take longer.
Regardless of whether your claim type is eligible for the Claims Portal, higher value claims do usually take longer to process because the nature of your injuries is likely to be far more severe than with a low-value claim and the medical evidence is usually far more complex. It's important that the claim is not settled until the full extent of your injuries and their lasting impact on your health and life are known. This is to ensure that you are compensated fully and properly for these injuries and financial losses. For fractures that involve a joint the medical experts will usually insist on waiting for 2 years after the injury before giving a prognosis, to see how the injury has healed.
Does the Other Side Accept Liability or Blame?
If the person that you're making the claim against accepts responsibility for the accident, then the claim is likely to be settled much quicker. This is because medical and financial loss evidence can be obtained as soon as they have accepted liability, and settlement negotiations entered into.
If they deny responsibility for the accident, however, then you could have a lengthy legal battle ahead of you. It may even be necessary for you to go to Court, which would also delay the process.
Interim (In Between) Compensation Payments
Waiting for your claim to settle can be incredibly stressful, particularly if you are struggling financially because of your injuries. In Personal Injury and Medical Negligence claims, it's often possible for you to receive some part of your compensation before the case has been fully settled. These are called interim payments.
Interim payments can be made so that you are not left in financial difficulty while your claim is being pursued. For example, you may have had to give up work and as such have lost your income, or you may need specialist rehabilitation or medical care which needs to be paid for.
The amount that you have received via interim payments will be deducted from the final amount of compensation that you'll receive when your claim is settled.
At Co-op Legal Services most Personal Injury claims can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.