Everything you need to know about personal injury claims
How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?
Personal injury claims must be settled or issued at court within three years from the date of your accident. If you have not suffered a personal injury but have sustained other losses, then your claim must be issued at court within six years from the date of your accident.
If a child has suffered an injury, their claim must be issued at court within 3 years of their 18th birthday. If these periods are missed, it will mean that you will lose your right to claim damages and you will receive no compensation from the other side for your injuries and losses.
How long will my claim take?
At this stage, it is impossible to give a realistic estimate of how long it will take to settle your claim. A straightforward claim can be settled within six to eight months, but others may take a lot longer. A claim can take longer to settle if liability is disputed or if you have suffered complicated injuries. If your claim has to go to court, it will probably be listed for a final hearing within 9 months of us issuing the procedures.
How much am I likely to get?
It is impossible to say how much you will get until the medical report and all aspects of the claim have been looked at. When any offer of settlement is made, we will let you know the amount and give you advice as to whether this amount is too low or just right. While there are no fixed amounts for injuries, there are past reported cases and judicial guidelines which we consult to give us a good idea of what you should receive.
When will I receive my compensation?
It usually takes up to six weeks for the other side to pay your damages from the date you accept their offer. This is not a definite period, merely a guideline. It may be possible for interim payments to be made sooner, e.g. for repair costs, write off values, medical treatment.
How can I speed up my claim?
You can help things move quicker by returning any paperwork and providing any information we request in full. A common problem is that we have to wait for clients’ national insurance details. Please let us have this information at the outset.
Will I have to go to court?
The most common reasons why a claim is issued into court is that the other side is reluctant to admit fault or they admit fault, but fail to make a reasonable offer to compensate you. The court proceedings involve the issue of official court documents which then have to be served on the other driver or parties.
Once a case is issued, all parties must stick to a strict timetable laid down by the court. We will fully explain these procedures to you as your case progresses.
It is our policy to issue court proceedings at the earliest opportunity if it is clear that the third party is disputing the claim. We have found that simply issuing a case can prompt a settlement by the other side. Over 95% of claims never go to a Court hearing. It is very common for issued cases to be “settled” at some point prior to the hearing date.
I’ve had a road traffic accident. What happens if the third party is not insured?
If the third party is not insured, we will let you know immediately. In most cases it is possible to redirect your claim to the MIB (Motor Insurers’ Bureau). The MIB is an organisation set up to help the victims of untraced, uninsured and foreign drivers.
The MIB do charge an excess of £300 which is deducted from your special damages i.e. compensation you get which is not for personal injury or arising from the personal injury. The MIB pay ‘nominal’ costs to us if the third party is “untraced”. In these cases we would charge you a reduced fixed fee for our services and would propose to deduct this amount from any damages that you recover. We would then write to you as soon as we knew the third party was untraceable.
What are uninsured losses?
It is our job to recover your uninsured losses from the party who caused your accident. These are the losses that your own motor insurance policy does not cover. We will attempt to recover these losses quickly, whilst causing you as little disruption and inconvenience as possible. However, we do need your help to let us have as much necessary information as possible.
What are typical types of insured losses?
• Compensation for your personal injuries.
• Your vehicle repair costs. If you are insured third party only or third party, fire and theft then we can recover the cost of repairs to your vehicle. If your vehicle is rendered a total loss we will ask the other side to pay the pre-accident value as determined by an independent motor engineer.
• Replacement car hire charges whilst your car is under repair or off the road.
• The reclaim of your insurance excess.
• Storage and towing charges of your damaged vehicle.
• Loss of use claim whilst you are without a vehicle.
• Compensation for damaged belongings, clothing and medical expenses.
• Compensation for any loss of earnings whilst you are unable to work. Please note we will require documentation for proof of the above such as payslips and bank statements.
Can I get the third party’s insurer to pay for any losses?
You can, yes. However, if you have a fully comprehensive insurance policy but decide to ask the third party’s insurers to pay for the repairs/total loss value of your vehicle, you must be aware that this is very likely to take longer than if you used your own fully comprehensive insurance policy.