How Long Does a Personal Injury Claim Take to Settle?

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice How Long Does a Personal Injury Claim Take to Settle

Unfortunately, the UK legal system and its many intricacies can lead to significant delays settling personal injury claims. There are numerous reasons why you may encounter delays, which we will cover in this article.

It can be challenging, disappointing, and sometimes cause financial distress, but it is better to be aware of the timetable than simply waiting and waiting.

The initial process of lodging a compensation claim is dictated by a strict timetable. This ensures that where negligence has been accepted, claimants can then move on to the compensation phase and alleviate any financial stress.

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Is There a Time Limit for Lodging a Claim for Compensation?

The first timescale to be aware of is the three-year window of opportunities during which you can lodge a claim for compensation. It is worth noting the term lodge, as opposed to settling, this can be very important.

As the majority of accidents will result in an immediate diagnosis, the three-year window of opportunity tends to start on the day of the accident. However, there are some injuries that are not immediately obvious and may take days, weeks, months, or even years to diagnose.

Where you do not receive an immediate diagnosis, the three-year window of opportunity in which to pursue compensation would begin on the date of the diagnosis. It is also worth noting that where minors are involved, there are two options.

Firstly, their parents/legal guardians can pursue compensation on their behalf. Secondly, the minor can wait until they are 18 and then pursue compensation in their own right. If they decide to wait until they are 18 years of age, day one of the three-year windows of opportunity will be their 18th birthday.

Gathering Evidence

During the three-year window of opportunity, you will need to gather as much evidence as possible to prove negligence. Under tort law, you need to prove negligence in order to move onto the next stage, which is pursuing compensation.

Once you have finished collating your evidence, it is time to consult a claims management company (assuming you go down this route).

Lodging a Claim for Compensation

Your claims management company will review your case, supporting evidence, and estimate your chances of success. If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, then they will likely offer to take on your case.

Once the terms of your agreement, success fee, and other elements have been agreed, the alleged negligent party/parties will be informed of your claim.

Defendants Have 21 Days to Respond and Then a Further Three Months

Your claims management company will send details of your case and your evidence to the defendant by recorded delivery. The defendant will have 21 days to respond and then a further three months to carry out their own investigations.

Once they have carried out their own investigations, they are obliged to contact the claimant/representatives with a decision on whether they admit liability.

What Happens if the Defendant Admits Liability?

If the defendant admits liability, then the next stage is to arrange an out-of-court settlement - if possible. Where the two parties have been able to agree on an out-of-court settlement, payment is normally received within 14 days of the offer being accepted.

If the parties have not been able to agree on a level of compensation, then the claim will go before the court. Negligence has already been accepted, so all the courts have to do is award the relevant degree of compensation. The payment timescale for compensation awarded by the courts is slightly longer at 21 days.

What Happens if the Defendant Does Not Admit Liability?

If the defendant does not admit liability, and the claimant decided to pursue their case, it will go before the court. This is where the timescale can be extended significantly, sometimes by years if, for example, it was a medical negligence claim. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to disputed negligence cases, with the timescale also dependent upon court availability.

Is There Any General Guidance for Claims Timetables Involving Different Injuries?

While we have covered the main regulatory timescales, if you take a look at the overall situation, the time taken to settle a claim can vary significantly. If you look at the Small Claims Court, this could just be a matter of weeks.

Where the level of compensation is above the maximum allowed in the Small Claims Court, we could be looking at:-

  • Up to eight months for a road traffic accident
  • Nine months for a workplace incident
  • 18 months for industrial disease
  • Three years and beyond for medical negligence

There is no rhyme or reason as there are many different factors to take into consideration, not just the details surrounding the case.

What Is the Timetable for Interim Compensation Payments?

We do come across numerous cases where negligence has been agreed upon, and it is simply a case of negotiating the best compensation package. In these cases, it may be possible to apply for an interim compensation payment so that the claimant can avoid any significant financial distress.

Remember, until compensation has been agreed, the claimant would be taking on any costs associated with the incident. Where an interim compensation payment is approved, to be deducted from the final settlement, this should be available almost immediately.

Is It Quicker to Pursue Compensation Without Third-Party Assistance?

No. At best, the timetable will be the same as that experienced by the personal injury claims management company. In reality, unless an individual has experience in claiming compensation, the timetable would likely be significantly extended.

There are legal necessities required; various timetables and different types of information will need to be lodged. This is where a “no-win, no fee” arrangement is quite literally worth its weight in gold for many people.


It is extremely difficult to forecast with any real confidence how long it might take to settle a personal injury claim, even after negligence has been admitted. As we touched on above, personal injury claims management companies have experience in these markets and are often skilful negotiators. While there may be a temptation to “go it alone,” it is sensible to think long and hard about this option.

Many claimants would find it useful to speak with a claims management company to discuss the complexities and what they can offer. When you hear the details, the challenges, and the hurdles you may need to overcome, you may be prompted to have a rethink!

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 Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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