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When you suffer an injury due to someone else's negligence, making a personal injury compensation claim can help to alleviate the associated financial burden. This includes taking time off work during your recovery, and private medical treatment you need, and other related expenses. However, you may wonder how long a claim will take to settle, and how soon you will be able to access compensation.

In the UK, the law imposes a time limit on how long you have to bring a claim for personal injury. This is typically three years from the date of the accident or from the date when you first realised you were injured. While it is crucial to begin the legal proceedings within this period, the case does not have to be settled within this time frame, meaning that it can take much longer to receive any compensation. In some cases, you can secure compensation early to cover urgent costs, which means that the question of how long a personal injury claim takes is not always straightforward to answer.

At Ramsdens Solicitors, we understand the sensitivity of compensation claims following an injury. Through years of experience within the UK legal system, we aim to give you a clearer picture of the personal injury claims timeline. In the following blog post, we answer your questions and explain when you may be able to get a compensation payout after launching a claim.

Factors influencing the duration of a claim

Multiple factors contribute to the length of time it takes from initiating a claim to receiving compensation. Understanding these can provide some peace of mind during what can be an uncertain and stressful period:

  • The complexity of the case: straightforward cases where liability is clear-cut and the parties are cooperative may be settled in a matter of months. Alternatively, if the incident involves multiple liable parties, disputed facts, or complex legal issues, the process can extend to a year or more.
  • The severity of the injury: severe injuries often result in longer settlement times. A clear understanding of ongoing medical needs and costs must be accounted for in the settlement.
  • The willingness of the other party to negotiate: if the other party accepts responsibility and is open to fair negotiations, the claim may be settled without going to court. However, if liability is disputed or the settlement offer is insufficient, further negotiations or court proceedings will be necessary. It is important to note that court proceedings in personal injury cases are rare, and that these cases are usually resolved before this becomes necessary.
  • The efficiency of the legal process: delays can occur due to backlogs in the court's schedule, which can make it difficult to secure a hearing date. The availability of all parties involved, and procedural requirements that must be followed meticulously, can also introduce further delays.

It is impossible to state how long your personal injury claim will take at the outset, due to the wide range of factors that will apply to your individual situation. While each case is unique, we can provide general guidelines on timelines. Straightforward cases might settle within a few months, while complex cases could take years. Engaging with an experienced personal injury solicitor - such as those at Ramsdens Solicitors - will help you to minimise the factors that could lead your claim to take longer.

In some cases, we can advise you on how long your claim might take, but unexpected situations can arise that lead the processes to take longer. When we discuss your case with you, we will assess the likelihood of this happening and keep you informed the entire way through.

When can you get an early compensation payout?

There are provisions in place for what are known as 'interim payments' - partial payments made before your claim is fully settled. These payments can be a financial lifeline if you're facing immediate hardships due to your injury.

Interim payments are portions of the expected compensation that can be requested during the claims process. They are designed to alleviate financial pressures by providing funds to cover urgent costs such as medical treatment, rehabilitation and living expenses, especially if you're unable to work.

To qualify for an interim payment, certain conditions must typically be met:

  • Liability must be admitted by the other party, or there must be a high probability that your claim will succeed.
  • There is a clear need for immediate financial support.
  • The amount requested in the interim payment is a reasonable proportion of the expected final compensation.

To claim interim compensation, your solicitor will submit a request to the defendant’s insurer or legal representative, outlining the need for the payment and its amount.

Interim payments can be made at various stages of the claim process, once liability has been established. The amount will depend on the specifics of your case, such as the expected final settlement and your current financial needs. It's also possible to receive multiple interim payments as your claim progresses.

It’s important to note that interim payments are not additional to your final settlement but rather an advance on the compensation you are expected to receive. Therefore, they will be deducted from the final amount awarded.

The process of making a personal injury claim

The process of making a personal injury claim is a multi-step journey that requires careful navigation and expertise. There are several points in this process where things can slow down, but your Ramsdens solicitor will make sure you understand what is going on at all times, and keep things moving towards a resolution. Here is a general guide to what you can expect from the claims process:

  • Initial consultation: seek legal advice as soon as possible. During your initial consultation with a solicitor, you will have the chance to discuss the details of your case. Your solicitor will advise you on the likelihood of success, explain how much compensation you may be able to claim, and outline the process ahead. Your solicitor will evaluate the strength of your case, considering factors such as the evidence available, the extent of your injuries, and the impact on your life. This evaluation will inform the strategy moving forward and help to calculate the value of your claim.
  • Gathering evidence: to support your claim, evidence is vital. This includes medical records, witness statements, photographs of the injury and accident scene, and any other documentation that can prove negligence and the extent of your injuries. Independent medical assessments may be necessary to provide a professional and objective view of the situation. These assessments will detail the severity of your injuries, the prognosis, and any future implications for your health and wellbeing. Your solicitor will assist in collating this evidence effectively.
  • Submitting the claim: once sufficient evidence is gathered and a strong argument on your behalf can be made, your solicitor will submit a detailed claim to the other party, setting out the facts of the case and the compensation amount you are seeking. The defendant will then have a fixed period to respond, and either accept or dispute their liability.
  • Negotiation: your solicitor will engage with the other party's legal team to reach an out-of-court settlement if possible. Most personal injury claims are settled this way, but if an agreement cannot be made, your solicitor will commence court proceedings.
  • Court proceedings (if required) and settlement: if your case does go to court, your solicitor will instruct a barrister to represent you and present your case, cross-examining witnesses, and argue for the compensation you deserve. If the court rules in your favour, the judge will award a settlement amount.
  • Receiving compensation: upon reaching a successful settlement or being awarded compensation by the court, the final step is receiving the compensation due. Your solicitor will ensure that the funds are secured and that any necessary arrangements for payment are in place.

Throughout each of these steps, your solicitor will provide clear communication, compassionate support, and expert legal advice, to ensure you are informed and confident in the progress of your personal injury claim.

How Ramsdens Solicitors Can Help Speed Up the Process

Having a dedicated and experienced solicitor by your side is essential if you want to make a successful compensation claim. At Ramsdens, we pride ourselves on our proactive approach to managing your claim. We have strong negotiation skills and a commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for you.

If you're dealing with the aftermath of a personal injury and need expert legal advice, contact us today. Our personal injury team is ready to provide you with a thorough consultation to start you on the path to a fair resolution. Call us today on 01484 821 500, or fill out an online contact form and we will be in touch at a time suitable for you.