How often do injury claims go to court and what if they do?

Many people are discouraged from making an injury claim due to worry about going to court. What percentage of claims go to court and what happens when they do?

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How likely is my personal injury claim to go to court?

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%)  of personal injury claims go to court, and if they do they will be held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

The vast majority of claims are settled by Quittance’s solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Why are most compensation claims settled out of court?

It is commonly thought that a personal injury claim will be argued out in a courtroom due to the adversarial nature of making a claim.

Although making a personal injury claim is a litigious process, most claims avoid the courtroom  as a result of the following:

Solicitor vetting

Solicitors will vet which claims they take on.  This means that the solicitor will follow a risk assessment process where they will ensure that the claimant was:

  • Injured in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and
  • Another party was to blame
  • The Claimant was owed a duty of care by the other party.

The solicitor will also look at the likelihood of proving each of the above as well as various other factors.

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Even if you qualify, however, some solicitors may not take on your claim for other reasons.

Read more: I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?

Nobody wants to go to court

The bottom line is that nobody involved in the claims process wants a claim to go to court.  Going to court is a very expensive process and the cost will be borne by the losing side.

Cases are handled by experienced professionals

In most cases claims are fought (negotiated is a more accurate term,) between the injured party’s solicitor and the defendants insurance company.

So you have a solicitor who is specialised in fighting claims v’s the insurance company’s in house team (sometimes solicitors).

Both sides are trained to see this as a negotiation and will do all they can to agree a settlement in their respective interests without the cost and uncertainty of a court hearing.

No win no fee

As claims are now taken on on a no win no fee basis, the claimant will not incur any legal costs if they lose their case.

The cost of the legal fees would be covered by the ATE insurance policy that forms part of the no win no fee agreement.

Insurance companies are well aware of this and are therefore reluctant to 'try it on' by denying liability when liability would likely be established by the court.

Read more about no win, no fee.

Why might a claim go to court?

Case complexity

Some cases are inherently more complicated, such as: 

Interim payments

If you need money to pay for urgent treatment or living expenses, before the claim is fully settled, the solicitor can apply to the court for an interim payment.

Read more about getting interim compensation payments.

Unresponsive defendant or insurer

If the Defendant, or the defendant's insurer, is unresponsive or simply too slow on responding, your solicitor can apply to the court.

In doing so, the defendant will have to respond correctly and, if they have not already done so, appoint a solicitor.

What to do if it does go to court?

If we are unable to secure an adequate compensation settlement then the next stage would be to commence court proceedings.

The process would begin with your solicitor filing the claim at the court.

The court will then consider the claim and respond with details of how it wants to proceed.  This will include the dates that any information will need to be supplied by and a trial date.

Pre-trial negotiation continues

Even though a court date has been set, still nobody wants the case to go all the way to the court hearing, including the court.

It is still possible to settle out of court at this stage and right up to the court hearing itself.

In more complex or high value cases, insurance companies may be testing to see whether the claimant is prepared to go to court. 

Will I have to attend the court in person?

More often than not, no.

If the case has an estimated value of between £1,000 and £25,000 (known as (fast-track) then either your solicitor or an appointed barrister will represent you.

If the claim value exceeds £25,000 (known as ‘multitrack) then you may be expected to attend to answer questions about what happened in the lead up to your injury.

You will be asked questions about your statement by both your representative and the representative of the other side.

The judge will then make a ruling and set the level of compensation if you win your case.

How much compensation will I receive?

Will there be a jury?

No.  Personal injury claims are heard in a civil courtroom meaning there is no jury and no public gallery..

Although undeniably stressful for many claimants, the process is often described as far less stressful than expected.

How to start a no win no fee claim

Starting a claim is a straightforward process.  A short, no obligation phone conversation with one of our solicitors will let you know where you stand and answer any questions you may have.

How can Quittance help?

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

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.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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