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?
How long should my personal injury claim take?
The time needed to settle a personal injury claim will depend on various factors, such as:
- the circumstances and complexity of the case
- the type of injury
- how you were injured
- the time needed to gather evidence
- whether the defendant accepts liability
- whether the identity of the other party is known
Although there is any number of factors that can delay the settlement of a claim, the following table can be used as a rule of thumb:
Personal injury claim type
Average claim duration
4 to 9 months*
6 to 9 months
12 to 36 months
12 to 18 months
6 to 9 months
3 to 4 months**
12 to 18 months**
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.
Speeding up your claim - If you have not yet instructed a solicitor
Following an accident or illness, some people procrastinate before starting a claim, perhaps due to:
- concerns that a claim might affect their employment
- uncertainty over who is to blame for the accident
- a sense that making a claim is morally questionable
- a sense of loyalty to another party, such as an employer
If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, the law entitles you to claim financial compensation. Compensation will help you recover, pay for any necessary medical treatments, compensate you for any financial losses, and help you cover your living costs until you are back on your feet.
The sooner you seek professional advice, the easier it will be for a solicitor to piece together the facts and build a case that could lead to compensation.
Contact a solicitor
The first step is to speak to a solicitor with experience and a good track record in your type of claim.
As part of a free initial consultation, a solicitor will tell you whether you have a claim, how much compensation you might receive, and how the no win, no fee process works.
The solicitor will need time to carry out a certain amount of work before being able to make a formal offer to accept your claim.
Complete the initial forms without delay
If you decide to pursue a claim, the solicitor will send you various forms which you should complete and return ASAP. These include:
- Instruction form
- Verification of ID form
- Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA)
Complete and return these forms without delay as no work will begin on your claim until your solicitor receives these documents.
Gather as much evidence as possible
The more evidence you can gather after the accident, the faster your solicitor will be able to build a case.
Supporting evidence could include:
- photos of the scene
- CCTV footage
- witness statements
- copies of the accident report
- police reports
You should also keep accurate records of your injuries, treatment, and the financial and general impact the injuries have had on your life. If you have incurred any costs (such as treatments or travel) as a result of the accident then you can claim for these. Make sure you keep any receipts.
Speeding up your claim - If your claim is underway
Your solicitor will need to obtain supporting medical evidence and may need you to attend a medical assessment. Ask your solicitor to arrange an appointment as soon as possible and make sure you can attend.
Most claims are made against the defendant's insurance company. Insurance companies do not like paying money out for claims and they usually employ in-house legal departments to challenge and delay settlements.
Insurance companies will also employ other tactics such as making pre-medical offers and early offers in the hope that you will settle quickly, albeit for a lower amount.
If you are in a hurry you can weigh up the lower offer against the benefit of settling early. However, waiting until a solicitor has fully negotiated with the insurer could substantially increase your compensation award.
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.
Solicitors are not known for proactive communication. 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.
Is it actually in my interest to speed up my claim?
As a claimant, you are free to accept an offer as soon as you receive one. You might receive a pre-medical offer from an insurance company before you even instruct a solicitor
Early-stage offers, once you have instructed a personal injury solicitor, might be a tempting way to conclude your claim without delay. claims process.
Accepting a pre-medical or early-stage offer is a gamble. Insurance companies may try to offer just enough to tempt you to settle your claim, rather than the real value of your claim. Even if you have had a medical assessment, you still might not know how long you will need to recover.
If you suffer immediate financial difficulty or need urgent treatment following an injury, you may be able to claim interim compensation payments in advance of your final settlement.
How did your injury happen?
The compensation claims process will depend on where and how your injury occurred. Click the icons below for more information:
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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Questions about the injury claims process?
Get all the answers in our comprehensive FAQ section:
- How will a personal injury claim affect my benefits?
- Will I have to pay tax on my injury compensation award?
- Can I make a personal injury claim for someone else?
- Can I claim injury compensation if there were no witnesses?
- Can I make an injury claim if I don't know who's to blame?
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.