When seeking compensation as a consequence of injuries caused by one or more third parties, the thought of going to court can be difficult. When pursuing compensation, court action is the last resort for all parties and something they will try to avoid at all costs.
There are various issues to take into consideration regarding personal injury claims and the potential to attend court.
There is no hard and fast rule with regards to out-of-court settlements or court settlements. They do literally depend upon the type of case, evidence and very often whether compensation can be agreed.
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How Many Personal Injury Claims Go to Court?
It is estimated that around 1% of all personal injury claims actually make it to court. By far and away the vast majority are settled out of court. Where there is strong evidence of negligence it makes no sense for the defendant to incur further costs in the courtroom. However, the subject of negotiating compensation is a whole different issue.
On average 20% of people who get injured at work make a compensation claim.
What Are the Most Common Reasons for Taking a Personal Injury Claim to Court?
There are numerous reasons why some personal injury claims end up in the court which include:-
Expired Three-Year Window of Opportunity
Most personal injury claims have a three-year window of opportunity in which you have to launch a compensation claim. This either begins on the date of the accident or when you are diagnosed with an injury/medical condition.
However, there are some situations where despite the statutory window of opportunity having expired, the courts may grant an extension.
Disagreement Over Negligence/Liability
The tort law deems that the claimant must prove negligence/liability before pursuing compensation. Therefore, if the defendant does not acknowledge negligence/liability, then your case will go before the court. A judge will make a ruling, and if negligence/liability has been proven, you will be allowed to pursue compensation.
Disagreement Over Compensation
We have seen many occasions where negligence has been agreed between the claimant and defendant, but there has been dispute over the level of compensation.
There are two types of compensation, general damages and special damages, which can be negotiated out of court, or this can be decided by the courts.
Is It Normal for an Out-of-Court Settlement?
Assuming there is sufficient evidence to prove negligence, then more often than not, this will lead to an out-of-court settlement. The reason is simple; if the defendant has acknowledged liability, then there is no point in fighting further through the courts only to incur additional legal charges.
The courts are also able to add an additional 10% to general damages guidance if the claimant offered an out-of-court settlement, which was refused by the defendant. In effect, an additional charge for wasting the court’s time.
Do I Need to Use a Personal Injury Claims Management Company?
There is always the option of pursuing compensation under your own steam with no assistance from any third party. However, evidence suggests that personal injury claims management companies are able to negotiate much higher compensation payments than claimants acting in isolation.
It will depend upon which research you read, but upwards of double, the level of compensation often available to claimants in isolation isn’t uncommon.
Can I Claim Compensation on a No Win No Fee Arrangement?
Yes. When you approach a claims management company with your evidence, if they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, they will likely offer you a no win no fee arrangement.
This effectively indemnifies the claimant from any charges incurred by the claims management company when pursuing the case. In exchange for the no win no fee arrangement, the claims management company will look to negotiate a success fee.
What Is a Success Fee?
In basic terms, this is an arrangement between the claimant and the claims management company to share compensation. Initially, a success fee would be around 25% of the compensation awarded, although it can vary from case to case.
It is also worth noting that, aside from Small Claims Court prosecutions, claims management companies will likely be able to reclaim their expenses from the defendant if successful.
However, there is still a risk in taking on a no-win, no fee arrangement due to the time and cost this will incur.
Would I Be Expected to Attend Court?
If your compensation claim was one of the 1% which actually went before the courts, then you would be expected to give evidence. This can be quite daunting, but it is important to remember that you are not on trial.
You are simply there to give your account of events, the impact on your life, and any additional details required. Personal injury claims management companies have long-standing experience working in the UK legal system and the courtroom environment. They will be able to advise you and guide you every step of the way.
How Quickly Are Out-of-Court Settlements Paid Out?
Once the paperwork has been done, then payment should be relatively quick with regards to out-of-court settlements. From the defendant’s point of view, any additional time spent by their legal advisers is an additional cost. From the claimant’s point of view, the quicker the settlement, the faster they can return to a degree of normality.
Could I Claim an Interim Payment?
Where you have incurred significant costs prior to the settlement of compensation, it may be possible to arrange an interim payment. This is only relevant in cases where negligence has been admitted by the defendant, and it is simply a case of agreeing to the total compensation package.
Obviously, any interim payment would be deducted from the final compensation figure.
In the event that it was not possible to negotiate an interim payment with the defendant, there is the opportunity to go to court. Where negligence has been agreed, the courts will likely fall on the side of the claimant if they are incurring expenses prior to compensation being finalized.
It is difficult to say with any great certainty how many personal injury claims actually go to court. We can only estimate the number of out-of-court settlements which are subject to confidentiality clauses and not even included in the figures.
What we do know, where negligence is fairly obvious, and there is supporting evidence, it makes no sense for the defendant to prolong the case at an additional legal expense.
Quick Personal Injury FAQs
RIDDOR stands for the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. This 2013 legislation requires that you report workplace incidents. A report should be made no later than ten days after the occurrence.
Reports are made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). They should be made by a responsible person such as a supervisor, manager or business owner. Not all incidents need to be reported, though a majority do. You should file a RIDDOR report online.
Even if you’ve claimed compensation and taken your employer to court, they are not legally allowed to dismiss you after an injury. If you can prove that your dismissal is a direct result of your injury, you could be entitled to further compensation to rectify the way you’ve been treated.
Any accidents in the workplace need to be properly recorded. That’s the case whether they happened to you, another member of staff or a customer. Your place of work should have an accident book that they maintain.
Make sure that any accident is recorded in the accident book. The document should be signed by those involved, to show that it’s an accurate record.
It’s always a good idea to report an injury outside of work. Even if you have no intention of claiming any money, reporting an incident means that any oversights won’t go unnoticed for long. Reporting incidents provides those responsible with a chance to set things right, whether they need to make some repairs or change the processes they have in place.
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.