If you’ve been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you might be eligible to claim compensation for any suffering you’ve endured. One of the common questions people may ask us is “How long do personal injury claims take to settle?”. Therefore, we’ve written this guide to answer that question and to look at the factors that might affect how long your claim takes.
If you are interested in making a personal injury claim, we’re able to help. Initially, we’ll review your case with you and explain your options. After we’ve given free legal advice, if you decide you’d like to claim compensation, you’ll be referred to one of our solicitors. They’ll manage your claim on a No Win No Fee basis if the claim is accepted meaning no legal fees need to be paid unless compensation is paid.
To find out how long a personal injury claim can take, please read on. Alternatively, call 0800 6524 88 today to speak with one of our specialist advisors.
Table of contents
- What Factors Affect How Long A Personal Injury Claim Can Take?
- How Are Personal Injury Claims Managed?
- What If The Defendant Denies Liability For My Accident?
- What If It’s Not Clear Who Is Responsible For My Injuries?
- Can I Settle A Personal Injury Claim Early?
- Will My Injury Affect How Long The Claims Process Takes?
- Can I Speed Up The Personal Injury Claims Process?
- How Long Will It Take Before I’m Compensated?
- Starting The Personal Injury Claims Process?
Personal injury claim settlement times can vary widely. Generally, simpler cases may be settled in just a few months, while more complex cases can take several years.
Some common factors that can influence how long a personal injury claim can take in the UK include:
- The type of injury or illness sustained. For example, paralysis claims will take longer than for a minor hand injury.
- Whether the defendant accepts liability for the accident and your injuries quickly.
- How the accident occurred?
- How long it is expected it will take you to recover from your injuries?
- The time it takes to find the evidence to support your claim.
Other factors will also determine how long a personal injury claim can take to settle. If you work with one of our solicitors, they’ll fully understand the claims process and work as efficiently as possible so that they are not the cause of any delays.
To try and ensure that personal injury solicitors and insurers deal with claims as efficiently as possible, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has designed some pre-action protocols. Different protocols are relevant to different types of personal injury claims.
For “low value” claims valued at less than £25,000 (such as those for public place accidents, RTAs and workplace accident claims), the case will be managed on the MoJ’s online portal. Once the claim is lodged, the response times for the defendant (or their insurer, in most cases) to acknowledge the claim are:
- For Road Traffic Accident (RTA) claims, insurers have 15 business days from the claim notification to respond.
- For Employers’ Liability (EL) claims, the process allows insurers 30 days to acknowledge the claim.
- For Public Liability (PL) claims, insurers are given 40 days to acknowledge the claim.
Once liability has been agreed upon, the claims process will move on so that the correct level of compensation can be negotiated between both parties.
If the defendant in your claim won’t accept liability for the accident or the injuries you’re claiming for, there will be some delay while negotiations take place. If a settlement isn’t offered (or the offer is too low), your case may be taken to court.
In our experience, most personal injury claims don’t require court intervention as both parties will usually try to settle amicably to avoid the time and costs involved with court hearings.
In some cases, personal injury claims can take a little longer to be settled if it’s not clear who was responsible for the accident. This could be the case if you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run claim. There might also be some argument between the owner of a building and the business based within the building.
The best way to check who was responsible for your accident and injuries is to seek free legal advice from our team by calling for a free consultation about your claim.
Most personal injury claims are handled by insurance companies. Their main objective is to pay as little compensation as possible to help maintain their profits.
Therefore, if an insurer has accepted liability for your accident, they may make an early settlement offer. This might appear tempting at first but, in many cases, the offer might not cover all of your immediate and long-term needs.
If you are offered an early settlement in a personal injury claim you should consider whether it covers:
- Physical pain, suffering and discomfort.
- Earnings you’ve lost or will lose in the future.
- The impact on your usual activities (loss of amenity).
- Medical and rehabilitation costs.
- The cost of hiring a carer or the time a family member has spent looking after you.
- Damage to your personal property.
- The cost of adapting your home to help you cope with your injuries going forward.
- Emotion distress, depression and other forms of mental health damage.
If you work with one of our solicitors, they’ll review any early settlement offer with you. If they believe it doesn’t offer a fair amount of compensation, they’ll fight your corner and use their legal skills to try and achieve the correct level of damages for you.
The severity of the injury for which you’re making a personal injury claim will be a factor in how long the personal injury claim takes to settle.
One of the first things that will happen during the claims process is an independent medical assessment. This is where a specialist will examine you and try to determine your prognosis. They will ask a series of questions to try and determine how you’ve suffered and how long you might continue to be affected by your injuries.
There may be multiple medical assessments required in the case of multiple, catastrophic or life-changing injury claims. This can particularly slow down the claims process. It is an important process though as any compensation needs to cover any needs linked to your injuries that you’ll have later in life such as any care costs or ongoing medical expenses.
One good method of speeding up a personal injury claim is to provide evidence that makes it harder for the defendant to deny liability for the accident or the extent of your injuries. This could include:
- Medical records. These will help in showing the types of injuries you suffered, what treatment was required, and your prognosis.
- Photographs. Photos of your injuries, the accident scene, property damage, and anything else that can visually support your claim about how the accident happened and its consequences.
- Witness statements. Written from people who saw the accident happen or can vouch for the impact the injuries have had on your life.
- Police/accident reports. If the police or another official body was called to the scene, their reports can provide an objective account of the accident and might indicate whose fault it was.
- Financial records. Documentation of all costs and losses related to your personal injury, for example, receipts for prescription medication, physiotherapy, replacing damaged clothing or other property etc.
- Proof of lost earnings. Wage slips, tax returns, or employer letters can prove any lost wages due to time off work because of the injury, along with any potential future loss of earnings.
- Expert witnesses. Experts in fields relevant to your case (medical experts, accident reconstruction experts, occupational therapists, etc.) could provide evidence to support your claim, especially regarding the extent of your injuries and the implications on your life.
- Diary. A personal diary where you’ve written down your daily pain levels, your emotional state, and the impact of the injuries on your daily life overall can help illustrate the personal toll of the accident.
- Correspondence. Letters, emails, texts etc with Doctors, insurance companies, and anybody else related to the incident or your injuries can be useful.
- Physical evidence. Damaged clothing or personal items from the accident can be used as physical proof of how serious the accident was.
- Video recordings. CCTV footage, dashcam videos, or audio recordings from the time of the accident or illustrating how your injuries have affected your life.
If you’re able to collect any of this evidence before contacting us, it could improve the speed of your claim dramatically. Don’t worry if you don’t have it all though as your solicitor will try to collect any further evidence to back up your claim.
The time it may take to receive compensation can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the claim and how the compensation is to be paid.
If a settlement is reached without needing to go to court, it may involve what is known as a Part 36 offer. This term refers to Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules, which aims to encourage parties to settle personal injury claims outside of court proceedings.
A Part 36 offer can be made by either the claimant or the defendant, though it is more commonly made by the defendant or their insurance company. After a Part 36 offer is made, it is typically open for acceptance for 21 days, known as the “relevant period”. If the claimant decides to accept the offer, the standard practice is for the defendant to pay out the agreed compensation amount within 14 days of acceptance. It will be paid to your solicitor if your claim has been handled on a No Win No Fee basis and they’ll deduct their success fee before the balance is paid to you.
The success fee for most personal injury claims is legally capped at 25% of the compensation payment. The amount you’ll pay will always be listed in your No Win No Fee agreement so it’s worth checking this before signing your contract.
It’s important to note that while these are the general guidelines, the actual timeline for payment can be subject to negotiation between the parties. If specific terms of the settlement agreement stipulate a different timeframe for payment, those terms would take precedence. Also, any delay in payment beyond the agreed timeframe may require further legal action to enforce the settlement.
We hope that this guide has explained how long personal injury claims take and what factors can cause delays. If you’ve decided to proceed with a personal injury claim for your injuries, please call 0800 6524 881.
One of our personal injury solicitors could help you to claim if:
- The defendant in the claim owed you a duty of care; and
- You had an accident caused by the defendant’s negligence; and
- You suffered an illness or injury because of that accident.
Rest assured, any claims handled by our solicitors will be managed from start to end on a No Win No Fee basis.
Please call or use our live chat if you’d like to know more about how long personal injury claims take to settle.