What can I do to speed up my personal injury claim?

If you feel that your claim is dragging or need to see a faster result, is there anything you as a claimant can do to speed things up?

Couple with solicitor

Before you instruct a solicitor:

There are several things you can do to speed up the time it takes to settle a compensation claim:

Following an accident or illness, many people delay instructing a solicitor.  There are a number of reasons why people delay including:

  • concerns that a claim might affect their employment
  • uncertainty if they feel partly to blame for the accident
  • a sense that making a claim is morally questionable

If you have any anxieties about making a claim, speak to a solicitor who will explain the underlying issues and help normalise the process.

Speak to a solicitor and get a claim underway as soon as possible

The first and most obvious tip for speeding up a claim is to get a solicitor instructed as soon as possible.

This is also critical as a solicitor will need to carry out a certain amount of work before being able to make a formal offer to accept the claim.

For the majority of injuries, a claim must be started within 3 years of the accident or injury.

In practice, claimants are advised not to leave it to the last minute so that the solicitor has time to look into the circumstances before formally accepting the case.

Where possible, keep accurate records of your injuries, treatment, and the financial and general impact the injuries have had on your life

Gathering evidence

The more evidence you can gather after the accident the better.  This can include taking photos of the scene, gathering witness statements, obtaining a copy of the accident report, police reports etc. Don't delay in obtaining these as the solicitor will need as much supporting evidence as possible.

Obtain receipts

If you have incurred any costs (such as treatments or travel) as a result of the accident then you can claim for these.

You can also claim for any losses (e.g. damage to your bike).  Make sure you gather any receipts supporting your claim and forward these to your solicitor as soon as possible.

Once you have chosen a solicitor

Complete the initial forms without delay

Your solicitor will send you an initial pack of  documents including:

  • instruction form
  • verification of ID form
  • conditional fee agreement (CFA)

Complete and return these without delay as no work will begin on your file until the solicitor receives these documents.

Medical

Your solicitor will need to obtain supporting medical evidence and may need you to attend a medical.  Tell the solicitor you want an appointment as soon as possible and make sure you can attend.

Your solicitor or medical practitioner may recommend taking time to determine the full extent of the injuries, but even if this does occur, ask for other medical checks and evidence to be gathered in parallel.

Insurance companies

Most claims are made against the defendant's insurance company.  Insurance companies do not like paying money out for claims and employ in-house departments to challenge and delay settlement. This is standard procedure for most insurance companies.

Insurance companies will also employ other tactics such as making an early low-ball offer in the hope that you will settle quickly but at a lower amount.

If you are in a hurry you can weight up the lower offer against the benefit of settling early.  Your solicitor should be able to advise on the best course of action i.e. whether holding out could substantially increase your compensation award.

The early offer may be 'without prejudice' meaning that the offer does not constitute an acceptance of liability.  If you do not accept there is always the possibility of the case gong to court which will substantial increase the time the case takes.

An experienced solicitor will be able to advise you on your chances of success. Specifically, the solicitor should have experience dealing with the insurance company on previous cases will have a sense of whether they are likely to put up a fight or to accept liability and make a higher offer.

See:

Communication

Solicitors are not known for their proactive communication style.  Make sure that your solicitor has all of your contact numbers and insist on email, as opposed to post, as your preferred communication method.

Respond to all calls, emails and requests for documents as promptly as possible.

Calculate compensation

Summary

The length of time required to complete a personal injury claim can vary significantly.  To get a better idea of how long your claim could take, see: How long will my personal injury claim take?.

In summary, the following key steps should help speed up your injury compensation claim:

Stage Step
Before you instruct a solicitor Speak to a few solicitors and make a decision asap
Gather as much evidence as possible
Obtain receipts
After you have chosen a solicitor Complete all forms without delay
Attend the medical asap
Decide whether you want to hold out for a better offer
Insist on email communication

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How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

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Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

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