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?
If you are yet to instruct a solicitor:
There are a number of things you can do to speed up the time it takes to agree a settlement and receive your pay out:
Following an accident or illness, many people delay instructing a solicitor. There are a number of reasons why people delay including concerns:
- over how it might affect their employment
- uncertainty if they feel partly to blame for the accident
- a sense that
If you have any anxieties about making a claim, speak to a solicitor who will explain the underlying issues and help normalise the process.
- Could you lose a job if you claim against my employer?
- What if I am partly to blame - split liability agreements
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 there is a 3 year limitation period following an accident in which to begin a claim.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 the 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.
- When is the best time to accept a compensation offer?
- Can I get interim payments paid out sooner?
- Calculate my compensation
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.
There is no easily discernible average time taken for personal injury claims. However following the above will help reduce unnecessary delays.