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June 7, 2020

How long does a personal injury claim take to go to court?

Personal injury cases are usually taken to court within 12 months if the case is not settled before it gets to court. When people hear that their personal injury case is “going to court” it can often be a scary thought.  But in actual fact only around 5% of personal injury cases end up in court. Most are settled out of court. If you were told that your case is going to court, it can often simply mean that your case is in progress.

Complex personal injury and accidents claims that end up in court are often claims for over £25,000 and cannot be resolved by both parties out of court. For example claiming compensation for a slip, trip or fall is likely to be less complex than making a claim for a birth injury, where there are more complex factors at play.

Why might a personal injury case go to court?

Going to court is usually the last resort for most personal injury cases. It can take up to 12 months for you to receive a court date particularly if the claim is less than £25,000

There are a few reasons why a personal injury case might actually go to court. These include;

compensation not being agreed between you and the other party (defendant)

the other party being unresponsive

insurers responding and needing the courts to intervene

If no agreement is reached as to who is to blame for an accident or personal injury, then it may be necessary to settle your case in court in front of a judge. Please note this will need to be done within 3 years of you first being aware of Injuries as a result of an accident.

The defendant may also deny any liability for an accident or injury in which case it may also be necessary to start court proceedings. 

Other types of injury cases that may end up in court include;

serious work injuries 

medical negligence 

injuries to the head, back, and spine 

Injuries of children 

fatal accident claims.

You may also be able to claim interim payments from the courts to help you pay for any urgent treatment that you may need as a result of your injury. This may also apply if you need to cover other expenses such as urgent adjustments to your home.

Why don't most personal injury cases go to court?

Most personal injury cases are settled out of court and will only go to court if the settlement could not be agreed in the early stages of a claim. Your solicitor will work hard to negotiate with the other party to ensure that the case does not end up in court.

In most cases the defendant (the person that you are making a claim against) will also not want the case to go to court as this could prove costly for them. Many cases are not complex and can be resolved without need to go to court

Most accident and injury solicitors are also keen to learn all of the detail about the case before taking it on, particularly if they operate on a no win no fee basis. This means that they’ll take your case on if you stand a good chance of winning.

A good personal injury solicitor will:

double check that you were definitely injured as a result of another party's negligence

Confirm that this can be proved

Even in instances where a court date is set, it may still be possible to settle the case before the trial starts. 

What to do if your personal injury case goes to court

The court will provide details of when they need all the information and documentation to support your claim. A trial date will be set and your case will be heard by the court.This will generally be a court with the judge only and not a jury the judge will make a decision about who was at fault and award any compensation accordingly.

Do you need to physically be in court?

You would not need to go to court in the event of a personal injury case ending up in court. If the claim is under £25,000 there will usually be no need for you to attend courts and your solicitor will either represent you or they will engage a barrister to do so.  If the claim is over £25,000 it is likely to be more complex and at that point there may be requirements for you to attend court and be present yourself. 

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