The Personal Injury Compensation Claim Settlement Process Explained

Laura Broad[1]

Laura Broad

Money Savings Advice Personal injury claim settlement process

If you’ve been injured and it wasn’t your fault, you might be able to claim compensation. But compensation isn’t awarded to just anybody.

To have a chance of getting any money in a settlement, certain criteria have to be met.

Typically, for a claim to be successful:

  • Your accident must’ve caused you to suffer injury or illness as a result
  • Your accident must’ve been caused by the negligence of someone else
  • Your accident must’ve happened within the last three years

What Is the 1st Stage of a Compensation Claim?

A personal injury claim will begin with a negotiation stage with the defendant party. If they do not accept liability or you cannot agree on a compensation fee, the case will then move to court where a judge will rule on the award.

If your accident ticks all the boxes, there’s a good chance you’ve got a successful personal injury claim on your hands.

Read on to find out more about the personal injury claims process, what a settlement is and what you can expect in the claim settlement process.

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What Can You Claim Compensation For?

An injury as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault often comes with more damages than just lost wages. A personal injury claim for compensation will take into account all these different ways you have been left disadvantaged or out of pocket following the accident.

General Damages

This is the money that you can claim to compensate you for your injury and any pain or suffering that has come with it. This includes any physical, mental or emotional damages you faced as a result of your accident and also covers trauma and stress.

Special Damages

This is money to cover you for any extra expenses you’ve incurred as a result of the accident. As an example, you may be able to claim compensation for:

  • Medical care and rehabilitation. This includes any medical equipment, treatment, physiotherapy, counselling, and travel costs to attend appointments.
  • Loss of earnings. This includes money to cover wages lost due to not being able to work and for any time off you, still need to take because of your injury or illness.
  • Adaptation costs. This includes anything you may need adapting to accommodate you post-injury, for example adding accessibility measures to your home or car if you were left physically impaired after your accident.

If the accident has left you with long-standing injuries or a disability that requires long-term care or medical attention, these future care needs are covered in special damages too.

The Personal Injury Claim Process Overview

If your accident happened within an acceptable personal injury claim time limit - typically three years after the date of the accident - then you can go ahead with making a claim. The exact process may vary depending on your case or how individual lawyers or solicitors prefer to work, but here is a general overview of the steps that should be taken in a claim.

Initial Consultation

The first step is to discuss the details of your case with a legal professional. Often, this consultation is free and no obligation. It’s always up to you whether you want to move forward - any reputable lawyer will tell you at this point if you have little chance of making a successful claim.

Outcome: Appoint a legal representative, often a personal injury solicitor.

Notify Whoever Was Responsible for the Accident

Once the lawyers have determined who was responsible (for example, an employer’s negligence in providing a safe working environment in a workplace injury case) it’s time to let them know a case is being brought against them. This is also an opportunity to hear their side of the story and find out if they accept liability (blame) for the accident.

Outcome: Defendant accepts there is a claim and can either accept or deny liability.

Understand You and Your Case

Remember, your injury lawyer is acting on your behalf. This means they need to understand as much as possible about what happened to you and why. In this stage, detailed evidence of the accident will be gathered to support your claim. This might include interviewing witnesses, reviewing photographic or video evidence and proving of loss of earnings.

They will also take a closer look at how your injury is affecting your daily life both physically and psychologically so they can advise on a level of damages to claim compensation for. This involves collecting medical evidence such as hospital records, physiotherapy reports and notes on how the injury is affecting your daily life.

Outcome: Have a full understanding of the case, the extent of injury sustained and who was responsible for the accident.

Negotiate the Final Settlement

The amount of money you receive in compensation is known as the final settlement. Your final settlement amount will depend on a number of different factors, including:

  • The type and severity of injuries you sustained
  • How long you have spent, or will continue to spend, recovering from your injuries
  • The impact your injuries have on your day-to-day life
  • The amount of treatment you have had to receive and will need in the future
  • How much money you have lost out on by not being able to go to work

The settlement can be offered by either the defendant or by you, the claimant. It’s common to wait to see what the defendant offers, and your solicitor will be able to advise you as to whether it’s an acceptable and fair offer or not. You can accept an offer at any time.

If an agreement can be reached: You accept the final settlement offer, and the claims process will come to an end without having to be taken to court.

If an agreement can’t be reached: Court proceedings will be issued. This is common in cases where a settlement figure can’t be agreed, or if the defendant has a dispute over whether they were liable (at fault) for your injuries. If no progress can be made during the court process, it is up to a judge to decide on the outcome of the claim.

Outcome: Receive final settlement amount, minus any legal fees or costs incurred.

How Long Does the Settlement Process Take?

This process can take time, especially if there’s a lot of evidence to collect or the settlement has to go to court. It’s realistic to expect the claim will take months or years, not weeks.

Also, remember that the amount of compensation you receive is a ‘final settlement’ - once you’ve accepted, there’s no going back to negotiate more in the future. This generally means that unless your lawyer advises otherwise, it’s not a good idea to accept a settlement if you have not yet recovered from your injuries or illness as things can continue to change.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Personal Injury Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Personal Injury Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

 

Money Savings Advice Author Laura Broad

Laura Broad

Laura is a professional content writer and learning designer, passionate about empowering people through straightforward, jargon-free content. When she's not reading or writing about all things personal finance, you can find her in the gym, barbell in hand.

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