How Long Does a Personal Injury Claim Take?

Solicitor running a personal injury claim

The settling and paying out of personal injury claims tend to differ from case to case. Meaning there’s no sure-fire way of surmising just how long clients must wait to receive their compensation in the event that they’re pursuit has been successful. However, if we take into account some important variables, we can provide a rough guideline of just how long a personal injury claim can take to resolve.

One of the main precursors is the type of injury which has befallen the victim. Any number of different injuries could be sustained, which can determine the claims process timeline from the get go. From broken bones and whiplash injuries through to head injuries and fatalities in worst case scenarios, a lot of variables need to be considered.

As a general rule of thumb, a relatively straightforward road traffic accident claim, could be settled within a matter of weeks, whereas a complex medical negligence case might rumble on for years.

What Could Hold Up Personal Claims Processes

There are two primary issues need to be established prior to starting any claims journey. These centre around the twin factors of ‘liability’ and ‘medical evidence’.

Liability focuses on pinpointing where blame is apportioned, in terms of who caused the accident and subsequent injury. Medical evidence on the other hand, sets out to confirm that the injury was caused by the accident; as well as assessing the damage it’s caused the victim. Both in terms of physical and/or psychological. These fundamentals underpin the entire journey which follows.

However, claims may become more drawn out for various reasons. Like for example when the type of injury is either unsubstantiated or challenged. Or for instance, should the identity of the other party be brought into question and any scenario whereby it’s not clear who is responsible for the injury the victim has sustained.

When an opposing party chooses to deny liability, this can delay proceedings. As can the time it takes to gather evidence. The upshot might see a significant volume of communications (including counter claims, settlement prices, etc) going back and forth between the two parties. By a similar token, if determining how someone was injured is not entirely transparent, this may also hold the personal injury claims process up.

Sourcing Medical Reports Can Impact Personal Injury Claim Timeframes

In terms of obtaining medical reports, this in itself can either speed up or delay the compensatory process. If the cause of the injury can be promptly identified and readily associated with the accident, then this can fast-track things. However, should it be necessary to obtain more than one report (or await physiotherapy sessions) so as to form a definitive opinion, then a greater time can elapse. Of course, this hinges on the kind of injuries suffered.

We work with solicitors who will only act once they’re in possession of a firm medical prognosis. Or when a client’s recovery is complete. This way we can avoid the risk of under-settling a claim, and with it; the cessation of means to claim additional compensation in the event that the original prognosis wasn’t entirely accurate. Or injuries persisted or grew incrementally worse going forward.

Apart from the sourcing of medical reports, other circumstantial evidence which helps strengthen personal injury claims cases include the gathering of witness statements, any CCTV footage which may have captured crucial evidence and any other expert opinion or reports. Preparation is hugely important. As DIYPI has discussed in other blogs, compiling and presenting key facts is pivotal in furthering your claim quicker.

Exploring Existing Legislative Settlement Processes

As of 2010, the government ushered in a more streamlined personal injury claims settlement process. At least in terms of RTA cases valued between £1,000 and £10,000. This was rolled out further in 2013 to accommodate employer’s liability and public liability cases, with values rising to £25,000.

Based on these revisions at the time, and assuming liability was admitted and injury recovery times were reasonable, the following approximation of individual personal injury claim type timeframes were set out. With between 4 – 9 months deemed the average passage of time endured. Naturally, all personal injury claims are different, so these benchmarks only serve as guidelines.

  • MIB claims (uninsured drivers) – 3 – 4 months
  • RTA accident claim – 4 – 9 months
  • Public place or occupiers’ liability claims – 6 – 9 months
  • Workplace accident claim – 6 – 9 months
  • Slip, trip or fall claim – 6 – 9 months
  • Industrial disease claim – 12 – 18 months
  • Criminal assault claims – 12 – 18 months
  • Medical negligence claim – 18 – 36 months

It’s also worth being mindful that as of the end of May this year, the RTA claims landscape will be changing, thanks to the introduction of the new whiplash reforms website. As DIYPI writes, approximating projected case times in relation to the Official Injury Claims portal roll out is far from conclusive. However, we do predict an impact across certain personal injury claims timelines.

Do Child Injury Claims Fall Within an Undefined Timeline?

Not usually. Despite any cases which involve children or vulnerable people having any settlement figure approved by the courts, it’s rare that compensation pay-outs are delayed.

In Summary…

Pursuit of personal injury cases can sometimes end up in court, which in itself is a process which could take 12 months to see out. Yet for the most part, few cases end up going that far (on average just 5%), with the majority settled out of court. Understandably, the more complex the case is – for birth injuries – the greater the likelihood of a case ending up in the hands of the judiciary. Whereas your typical slip, trip and falls cases are more often than not resolved out of court.

Yet however long a personal injury claim takes, you can be assured that our experts here at DIYPI will be with you every step of the way. While ensuring that you’re in control of every stage.

If you want to do it yourself, with a little bit of help from us, be sure to contact DIYPI today to find out more.

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