How long does a personal injury claim take?

If you’ve suffered an injury in a road traffic accident (RTA), at work, or in a public place, it’s understandable that you would want to seek compensation to make things right.

While there are many common questions about making a personal injury claim, one of the most frequently asked is, “how long does it take?”

In this guide, we’ll aim to answer this question and inform you of the factors that could influence the time it’ll take for you to get the personal injury compensation you deserve.

How long does it take to get personal injury compensation?

It depends on the specific nature of your claim. For example, a personal injury claim after an RTA where someone has hit the rear of your car while you’re sitting at a roundabout might only take weeks to settle. In contrast, if it isn’t clear who is responsible for your injury, or there is a dispute about liability, it could take years to get your compensation.

However, these are two extremes. On average:

What factors influence how long a claim takes?

The main factors that’ll influence the timeline of a personal injury claim are:

  • The type of injury you suffered
  • The severity of your injury – more severe injuries often take longer to settle, as your claim will largely depend on your injury prognosis
  • How you suffered your injury
  • The evidence needed to be gathered, and the time taken to do this
  • If the identity of the other party is known
  • Whether the defendant accepts liability for the accident and your injuries or disputes their liability for either
  • The extent to which you find any compensation offer to be acceptable and any legal advice you receive around whether to accept it or negotiate

The circumstances behind every accident leading to an injury are different, and, as such, no two personal injury claims are the same.

How does the type and severity of my injury influence my claim?

The medical report is one of the most crucial pieces of evidence in many personal injury claims. Your medical assessment and subsequent report will outline the extent of your injuries and long-term prognosis.

A personal injury solicitor will typically advise you to accept a compensation offer only when you know the full extent of your injuries. This approach means you get fair and adequate redress for your injuries and associated losses. If your medical report highlights that you may need further assessments and have to wait to see if your condition changes, this can significantly extend your claim.

While waiting years for your personal injury compensation can be frustrating, this approach ensures you get the maximum payout that accurately reflects your suffering and considers things like loss of earnings or medical expenses to the fullest possible extent.

Will my personal injury claim take longer if I suffered multiple injuries?

It depends on the specific nature of those injuries and how they have collectively affected your life.

For example, if you suffered two or three broken bones in an accident, a medical assessment for these injuries will be relatively straightforward. Therefore, such a scenario is unlikely to affect the timeline of your claim.

In contrast, if there is a secondary injury, like scarring or a psychological impact, further and potentially long-term assessments may be necessary. In this scenario, your claim will likely take longer. But, again, a claim taking longer to get fair compensation is better than a quick settlement that sells you short or doesn’t consider the longer-term impact of your injuries.

How long will it take to receive a compensation offer?

You’ll sometimes receive a compensation offer pretty quickly. This is because, in many cases, defendants or insurance companies will provide pre-medical offers in the hope that you’ll accept.

However, these are usually “low ball” offers that aim to take advantage of your desire to get compensation. At the same time, it’s widely known that compensation claims brought by personal injury specialists get two to three times more compensation than those that individuals deal with themselves. Insurance companies know this, too, and so aim for an early settlement that will potentially save them thousands of pounds.

In these circumstances, it’s worth remembering that you wouldn’t be able to bring any future claim against the defendant for the same injury were you to accept a compensation offer. This is why it’s best to consult with a personal injury solicitor and wait out your prognosis. You could take the first offer and get your compensation, but if your injuries don’t improve and you suffer other financial losses, you will be left out of pocket.

What happens if the other party denies liability?

In an ideal world, the defendant in a personal injury case accepts liability at the earliest opportunity, but this doesn’t always happen.

When defendants in these cases deny liability, your claim may take longer as you’ll need to gather evidence and build a case. However, a defendant denying liability at first doesn’t necessarily mean your case will end up in court; only a small percentage of personal injury claims actually progress so far as a court case.

It also depends on what the other party is denying liability for. For example, a defendant could accept responsibility for an accident but dispute that the accident is responsible for your injuries. In this case, your medical report would become an even more crucial piece of evidence, as the medical examiner’s opinion of whether the accident caused your injuries would be a vital pillar of your case.

What if I don’t know who is liable?

Unfortunately, you won’t always know who is liable for your accident and injury. Scenarios where this might be true include:

  • Drivers leaving the scene of an accident before you could swap details
  • Accidents that happen in public where there is a dispute, or it is otherwise unclear who is responsible for the area in which it happened

You may also be partially liable for the accident or your injuries. For example, this might be the case if you accept a car accident was 50/50, or you suffered an injury in an accident you had while not wearing your seatbelt.

In these scenarios, you can usually still bring a personal injury claim. In RTA cases, the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) can deal with your case if you cannot identify the driver or the driver was uninsured. In addition, you could claim a reduced level of compensation if your accident was 50/50 or you weren’t wearing your seatbelt.

Can I settle my claim as quickly as possible?

You can accept a claim whenever you wish. When you use a personal injury solicitor, they will advise you throughout your case, including when they believe you should take a compensation offer.

Remember that insurers will often make a “low ball” first offer and often present this as doing you a favour by trying to settle your claim quickly. However, you’ll generally get more compensation by consulting a personal injury solicitor, getting a comprehensive medical report, and understanding your full injury prognosis before considering accepting a compensation offer.

A personal injury solicitor will also negotiate with the defendant on your behalf to ensure you get the maximum possible compensation for your personal injury, whatever the circumstances.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, LawPlus Solicitors can help

If you’ve been injured in an RTA, at work, or elsewhere, we can help make things right by getting you the compensation you deserve.

Contact us now for a free, no-obligation assessment of your personal injury claim. If we believe you have grounds for a claim, you can instruct us to manage your claim on a no-win, no-fee basis.

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