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How Long Does a Personal Injury Claim Take To Settle?
What can affect the length of a personal injury claim?
There are a number of different factors that can affect how long it will take for your personal injury claim to settle, including:
- The type of injury or illness i.e. serious head and brain injuries take longer to settle than a whiplash injury.
- The circumstances of the accident or negligent medical treatment.
- Whether or not the defendant accepts liability.
- The expected time that it will take you to fully recover from the illness/injuries; including how long it will take your solicitor to gather medical evidence.
- If the identity of the defendant is unknown – for example if the accident is a hit and run incident.
Does the type of accident affect how long a personal injury claim can take?
The type of accident will impact how long it will take for your claim to settle. The below guide outlines how long it will likely take for your claim to settle:
Road Traffic Accidents, Workplace accidents and Public Liability:
Personal injury claims worth up to £25,000 in compensation will be processed through the Pre-Action Protocol. These claims typically include:
Claims are processed using the Ministry of Justice claims online portal. Through the portal the defendant’s insurer has 35 days to evaluate the evidence against them and decide to accept or reject liability. Time limits may be extended in certain circumstances.
Claims handled through the portal usually take around 4-9 months to settle – based on clients accepting the first settlement offer.
Medical negligence cases can take anything from 18 months to even 2-3 years to settle. This is because they are often a lot more complicated and can take longer for the defendant to accept liability.
Industrial disease claims tend to take 12-18 months to settle. It can however take longer if it is hard to identify which employer from the claimants’ employment history was responsible.
Average time it takes to settle the following type of claims
The time it takes for all personal injury claims to settle varies depending on the individual circumstances. On average the following types of claim take:
Road Traffic Accident: 4-9 months
Workplace Accident: 6-12 months
Medical Negligence: 12-36 months
Industrial Disease: 12-18 months
Public Liability: 6-12 months
Does the type of injury affect how long the claim will take?
The type of injury or illness that you have developed as a result of an accident or negligent medical treatment does have an effect on the time it will take your claim to settle.
At the beginning of the claims process your solicitor will arrange for you to attend an independent medical assessment. If your injuries are minor you will be able to attend a medical within a few weeks of the date of the accident, however if you have suffered serious injuries you may need to wait several months until you have recovered enough to attend a medical.
In cases were the client has experienced catastrophic, life changing injuries they may need to attend several medical assessments throughout their recovery period – which could take several years.
Medical assessments are needed to help your solicitor to get an accurate view on the extent of your injuries, how long your recovery will take and what rehabilitation treatment will be needed. This will help to ensure that you will receive maximum compensation for your injuries or illness.
Do claims take longer for multiple injuries?
It may take longer to settle your claim if you have multiple injuries. This is because certain types of injuries will take longer to recover from than others, and therefore it may take longer to assess the long term effects of the injury.
If you suffered psychological injuries as a result of the physical injuries that you experienced, it may take longer to ascertain what the long term effects will be.
Will my claim be delayed if liability is denied?
Your claim will take longer if the defendant denies liability. If the defendant doesn’t offer a reasonable settlement or enter into negotiations then the claim may end up in court, in order to reach an appropriate conclusion.
It is important to note that the vast majority of personal injury cases are settled before the need to go to court. If your case does end up in court we will represent you every step of the way.
What will happen if it is not clear who was responsible for causing the injury?
There are certain instances where it is not clear who was responsible for causing the accident, for example:
- Hit and run accidents.
- Cases where you are partly responsible for your injuries. This is known as split liability and can be found in cases such as when someone is injured in a car accident but they were not wearing a seatbelt, which contributed to making their injuries worse.
It is still possible to make a claim in the case of hit and run accidents, with claims dealt with by the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB). In instances where the blame for an accident is split between both parties, the amount of compensation that you could receive will be split appropriately according to the apportionment of blame.
How long does it take to receive compensation?
The amount of time it can take to receive compensation after the settlement amount has been agreed to by both sides can vary. Typically claimants receive their compensation 2 – 4 weeks after the insurer has agreed the amount of compensation.
What if I want my claim to settle early?
You may choose to settle your claim early for whatever reason, however you should be aware that by doing so you are likely to receive a lower settlement amount.
In most cases the defendants’ insurance company will offer you an early settlement offer, in order to save themselves money in the long run. You can choose to accept this, or to instruct a solicitor who will help to negotiate for a higher settlement figure.
Personal injury solicitors are experienced in handling all types of claims from road traffic accidents, slips, trips and falls to workplace accidents. They will advise you when it is appropriate to accept a settlement offer and when it is worth rejecting an offer in order to negotiate a higher amount.
Will Covid-19 affect the time it will take for my personal injury claim to settle?
True Solicitors are doing the best we can to ensure that your personal injury claim is handled as quickly and efficiently as possible during the Covid-19 pandemic. The vast majority of our claim handlers are working remotely and are contactable via email and phone during their working hours. We have adapted our processes so that paperwork can be sent, signed and returned electronically.
If you are requested to attend an independent medical assessment, where possible we may be able to arrange a video call with a medical professional to assess your injuries. If you are required to attend a medical in person, we will arrange for this to take place as early as possible.
Overall you could expect a short delay in the claims process, however we are doing our best to mitigate this from happening. As lockdown measures are eased we expect delays to shorten.