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If you have been injured through no fault of your own, an injury solicitor can help you make a no win no fee personal injury claim
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The Personal Injury Claims Process

Any person who suffers an injury due to someone else’s fault is entitled to compensation for their pain and related losses and expenses. Making a personal injury claim may seem daunting and stressful for most people. However, the expert solicitors we work with are ready to assist you and make the claims process as stress-free as possible.

Any accident could be grounds for a claim, including road collisions, medical negligence, accidents at work and violent crimes. You could be entitled to compensation for a wide range of injuries, such as cuts, lacerations, fractures, sprains, hearing loss and brain trauma. You could also claim for psychological and emotional harm, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

To learn more about the personal injury claims process or start legal proceedings today, call 0800 032 3660 or use our online claim form to arrange a call back.

What is the personal injury claims process?

If you suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, starting a legal claim may seem daunting. However, the solicitors we work with are ready to offer you a no win no fee* service while providing support and advice at every step of the way. The personal injury claims process typically involves the following steps:

Appointing your legal representative

If you qualify for compensation and you decide to make your claim, you will be paired with a specialist solicitor that is right for you. They will have extensive experience in dealing with your type of claim and will be able to present and handle your case effectively. Appointing a lawyer to pursue your claim has many benefits, including:

  • They have years of experience in personal injury and are familiar with the claims process;
  • They will help identify all the damages, losses and expenses you suffered due to the defendant’s negligence;
  • Your solicitor will know exactly how much your claim is worth and will secure the maximum compensation possible;
  • They will handle all communication on your behalf and keep you updated on the progression of the case;
  • Your lawyer will carry out negotiations with the other side and will be ready to take your claim to court if necessary;
  • They will gather all the evidence required to support your claim;
  • It reduces the stress of dealing with a legal case.

Determining liability

The first thing your legal adviser will do when you contact them is try to establish who your claim will be against. Before taking on your case, they will check whether:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • They breached their duty by committing an act of negligence or wrongdoing
  • Their actions caused an accident or incident to occur
  • You suffered an injury as a result within the last three years

A duty of care is established by referring to legislation such as the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Based on your circumstances, the responsible party could be:

  • Your employer, if you had an accident at work
  • A driver or another road user in road traffic accidents
  • The local council, if they failed to maintain public premises like roads or pavements adequately
  • The NHS or a private medical professional in clinical negligence cases
  • The owner of a business, if you had an incident in a shop, cafe or restaurant
  • A manufacturer or distributor in product liability claims

Gathering evidence

Your solicitor will work hard to gather as much evidence as possible to ensure your claim is successful. To start with, you can help by telling them everything you can remember about the incident, such as when, where and how it happened, who you think is at fault and whether there were any witnesses. The types of proof that could be relevant to your case include:

  • Medical records that document your injuries, treatments, and their impact on your health;
  • Photographs and videos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any property damage;
  • Statements from individuals who saw the accident happen or who have knowledge of your injuries;
  • Expert testimony can provide professional opinions on the severity of your injuries, the accident’s cause, or long-term consequences;
  • A copy of an accident report that you should file with the responsible party if you were injured at work or on the premises of a private business;
  • Financial records can help establish the extent of your economic losses, including medical bills, care costs and lost wages;
  • Any written communications related to your injury, such as letters or emails with the at-fault party;
  • If available, CCTV or dash cam footage may provide evidence of the accident;
  • Your journal or notes about your injuries, pain levels, and how they have affected your daily life;
  • If you’ve experienced emotional distress or psychological trauma, records from mental health professionals can support your claim.

Assessing your injuries or illness

However severe the harm you have suffered, you should seek treatment from a medical professional as soon as possible. The sooner you do this, the sooner your recovery can begin. Your solicitor will request access to your medical records to determine the type and severity of your injuries and their prognosis. They will also ask for any visual evidence you may have of visible trauma, such as cuts, bruises and fractures.

Most personal injury claims will require an independent medical assessment. Your solicitor will arrange a free medical exam with a specialist as part of your claim. They will assess the nature and full extent of your wounds and produce a medical report that will help support your claim. They will also confirm the cause of your injuries, consider their impact on your life and recommend any ongoing treatments you may need.

The report by the medical specialist will be used to calculate how much compensation you should receive for your accident injury. The other side may request that a medical expert of their choice also assess the harm you suffered.

Notifying the relevant parties

After gathering evidence, your solicitor will send a claim notification form to the party you hold responsible for your accident. This will provide details of how the accident occurred, the injuries you suffered and why you hold them liable for compensation. The defendant has 21 days to acknowledge the claim and another three months to investigate what happened.

After this period, the other side must send you a response and state whether they accept liability for your accident or not. If they deny responsibility, it is their duty to produce evidence to show how the accident occurred and why they should not cover your damages.

Medical treatment and rehabilitation

Your solicitor will make it their priority to help you make the best possible recovery. You may not be able to get the level of care you need through the NHS or have to wait for NHS support. In this case, your solicitor can help you get access to private care to ensure you receive the best treatment.

If the defendant has admitted liability, this will also be in their interest, as a better prognosis means they will have to pay less compensation. Thus, they could be asked to make an interim payment to cover any immediate medical needs, such as physical therapy and private treatment.

Negotiations

If the other side accepts liability for your accident and injuries, your lawyer will begin negotiating your compensation award. They will work out how much you are entitled to by taking into account all the pain, suffering and financial losses you incurred due to the defendant’s actions.

Negotiations may go back and forth and take some time until you reach a figure that is acceptable for everyone. Once you have accepted an offer, your claim is fully settled and cannot be reopened. Therefore, knowing the full extent of your injuries and damages is essential before you agree to a compensation settlement.

If the defendant denies liability or negotiations break down, your solicitor will take your case to court. This may sound scary and may put you off starting a claim in the first place. However, there is a minimal chance of you going to trial, as more than 95% of all personal injury claims are settled out of court.

If you are required to attend a court hearing, your solicitor will guide you through the process and make sure you know what to expect. There is no jury for personal injury claims, only a judge who will examine the evidence and decide if and how much compensation you should get.

Settlement

If your claim is successful, the final stage of the personal injury claims process is to receive your compensation award. Usually, this is a lump-sum payment that you should receive within four weeks after you reach a settlement or the court has made a decision. A few deductions may be made from your compensation, including any interim payments you already received and a success fee paid to your lawyer for winning the case.

Sometimes, the court may order that you receive monthly or yearly payments instead. This is typically the case if the money should cover long-term or ongoing care costs. The funds will usually be paid directly to you or a trust in your name. If the claimant is a child, the money will be kept in a court bank account and released to them on their 18th birthday.

What is the difference between fast-track and multi-track claims?

If you hire one of our personal injury lawyer partners to claim on your behalf, you will likely hear them use these terms. Tracks refer to formal court procedures that will allow them to handle your case effectively and cost-efficiently if it goes to court.

The track your claim will be allocated to depends on its value and how long a trial might take:

  • The fast-track is for cases with a value of between £10,000 and £25,000
  • The multi-track is for more complicated claims valued at £25,000 or more. Your case could still be assigned to this track if it is under £25,000 but involves more complex legal issues and might last more than one day.

The fast track is reserved for straightforward cases where the injuries suffered by the claimant did not result in significant long-term complications. They usually go to trial within 30 weeks after issuing court proceedings and will be settled in under a day. The standard timeline for a case falling within the fast track is as follows:

  • The disclosure of your case, promptly followed by a court review – within four weeks;
  • Exchange of witness statements pertinent to the claim- within ten weeks;
  • Exchange of expert reports provided they are allowed by law- within fourteen weeks;
  • The court dispatches pre-trial checklists to all parties involved – within twenty weeks;
  • The deadline for the submission of completed pre-trial lists – within twenty-two weeks;
  • The final hearing, where the case is ultimately resolved – within thirty weeks.

The multi-track is reserved for more complex or higher-valued claims that need more time to assess and conclude. They may include claims for severe head and back injuries, medical negligence or industrial diseases. As they can take a long time to complete, there is no standard procedure to follow. It may take up to two years to even be assigned a trial date.

What is the small claims court?

The small claims court oversees cases that are likely to have a value of less than £10,000 and are the least complicated. These are generally less formal than other types of claims, and the judge will decide the outcome without needing a hearing.

If the estimated value of your compensation is under £10,000, you can use the online portal set by the government to start your small claim. Before doing so, it is a good idea to write a formal letter to the defendant, which should include:

  • Your name and address
  • A summary of what happened and what you expect them to do about it
  • The compensation you want
  • A specified deadline for a reply (14 days usually)
  • A clear statement that you will start court proceedings if you do not receive a response

Common accidents leading to a personal injury claim

If you’re injured in an accident that was at least partially someone else’s fault, you may have grounds for a claim. The most common types of accidents that solicitors deal with include:

  • Road traffic accidents. Car, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents often result in compensation claims.
  • Slips, trips, and falls. Accidents in public places or on private property due to hazards like wet floors, uneven surfaces, or debris can lead to claims for injuries such as fractures, sprains, or head injuries.
  • Accidents at work. Workplace accidents can result in personal injury claims when they occur due to employer negligence, inadequate safety measures, or unsafe working conditions.
  • Medical negligence. Claims may arise from medical errors, misdiagnoses, surgical mistakes, or other types of negligent care that result in patient harm or injuries.
  • Accidents on public transport. Injuries on buses, trains, trams, or aeroplanes can lead to personal injury claims if they result from negligence or lack of safety measures.
  • Criminal injuries. Victims of violent crimes may be eligible for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority scheme if they suffer injuries without any provocation.
  • Product liability. Injuries caused by faulty or substandard products, such as machinery, contaminated food, or protective equipment, can result in a claim against the manufacturer or distributor.
  • Sporting accidents. Injuries sustained in sporting events due to negligence or inadequate safety measures may lead to a successful claim.
  • Public liability. Accidents in public places, such as parks, shopping centres, or government-owned buildings, may result in a claim against the property owner or occupier.
  • Dog bites. Dog attacks causing injuries can lead to dog bite claims, mainly if the dog owner is found negligent in failing to control their pet.

These are just some of the most common accidents. There are many other incidents that could entitle you to make an injury claim against the responsible party.

Common injuries for which you could make a claim

You can make a personal injury claim for a wide range of injuries, provided that someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing caused them, such as:

  • Whiplash. Whiplash injuries often occur in car accidents due to the sudden and forceful jerking of the neck back and forth. It can lead to neck and back pain, stiffness, headaches and other long-term complications.
  • Fractures. Broken bones can result from various accidents, including falls and workplace injuries. They can affect any body part, including the arms, legs, ribs or skull. Some fractures may need surgery and cause long-term pain, stiffness and mobility issues.
  • Head injuries. Head injuries can range from mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries (TBI). These can occur in slips and falls, car accidents, or workplace incidents. Severe head and brain injuries can lead to a wide range of physical and mental disabilities.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries. Injuries to the back or spinal cord may result from falls, work accidents, or medical malpractice. They can have serious, long-term consequences like paralysis, loss of sensation and loss of bowel and bladder control.
  • Burns. Burns can happen in accidents like fires, chemical spills, or electric shocks. These can range from superficial wounds to deep burns that affect the muscles, bones and tendons. The severity of the burn determines the potential compensation.
  • Scarring and disfigurement. Severe scarring or disfigurement due to accidents, medical negligence, or dog attacks can lead to a claim. They can have a profound emotional impact and affect the person’s quality of life and social interactions.
  • Amputations. Losing a limb due to someone else’s negligence can result in a significant claim for damages. They can be due to traumatic injuries or as a result of medical negligence.
  • Soft tissue injuries. These can include damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons and often occur in car accidents, slips, and falls. They can also develop over time due to repetitive movements and overuse, typically in jobs such as construction and manufacturing.
  • Lacerations. Accidents that result in deep cuts may be grounds for a personal injury claim. While these injuries are not as severe as others, they can lead to infections if not properly treated and cause permanent scarring.
  • Psychological injuries. Emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological injuries can be part of a claim if they result from a traumatic incident.
  • Occupational illnesses. Claims can be made for diseases that result from exposure to hazardous substances or unsafe working conditions.
  • Wrongful death. If someone dies due to another party’s negligence or criminal act, their dependents may start a fatal accident claim.

How long will my claim take?

It is difficult to say how long your claim may take without thoroughly assessing your case. The duration can vary significantly depending on several factors, and it could take several months to years to resolve a claim. As a general rule, it would typically take:

  • 4 to 9 months for road traffic accidents
  • 6 to 9 months for public accidents
  • 6 to 9 months for accident at work claims
  • 12 to 18 months for CICA claims for criminal assaults
  • 12 to 18 months for industrial disease claims
  • 12 to 36 months for medical negligence claims

Some of the factors that influence how long your personal injury claim may take include:

  • The type and severity of your injuries
  • Whether they have fully healed or have ongoing, long-term effects
  • Whether you have suffered one or more injuries
  • Liability disputes about who is at fault for the accident
  • Whether you know the defendant’s identity
  • The time it takes your solicitor to gather all the evidence they need to start legal proceedings
  • How long negotiations between your solicitor and the defendant or their insurer take
  • The complexity of your case and the value of your claim
  • Whether you initiate court proceedings or you can settle without a trial

These and other factors will affect the duration of the personal injury claim settlement process. The section below provides some tips on how to help resolve your claim as soon as possible.

What can I do to speed up the claims process?

If you had an accident due to someone else’s negligence, a personal injury lawyer can help you claim compensation for your pain, suffering and financial losses. However, the claims process can take anywhere between several months to several years. There are a few things you could do to speed the process up and receive your payment sooner, including:

  • Do not wait too long to speak to a solicitor and submit your claim;
  • Be transparent and give your personal injury solicitor a clear picture of your situation;
  • Collect all relevant documents, such as medical records, photographs of the accident scene and accident reports. Well-organised evidence can speed up the process;
  • Maintain clear communication with your lawyer throughout the personal injury claims process and provide them with updates on your condition, treatment, and any new information relevant to your case;
  • Seek medical treatment promptly and attend all medical appointments;
  • Sign and return any legal documents your solicitor sends you without delay.

If you are in immediate need of money and the defendant has admitted liability, or you have strong evidence against them, your solicitor could secure interim payments on your behalf. This is an amount of money advanced to you from the final compensation award before the claim concludes.

Is there a time limit to start the claims process?

Under the Limitation Act 1980, there is a three-year time limit for making a personal injury claim, starting from either:

  • The date your accident took place
  • The date your injuries were diagnosed, known as the date of knowledge

Although three years may seem like a long time, we encourage you to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Your solicitor will likely need several weeks or months to investigate your claim and gather evidence to start legal proceedings. Contacting them as quickly as possible will ensure they have sufficient time to gather this evidence and submit your claim within the relevant deadline.

There are some exceptions to the three-year limitation date for starting a claim, such as:

  • There is no time limit to make a child accident claim. The three years will begin to run on their 18th birthday, and they will have until turning 21 to start legal proceedings themselves.
  • If the claimant is mentally incapacitated, the time limit is suspended. A litigation friend could claim compensation for them at any time.
  • If you suffered injuries due to an assault or another violent crime, you have two years to start a compensation claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
  • You have seven years to claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) if you suffered an injury while serving in the military.
  • If you lost a loved one in a wrongful death, you could claim compensation within three years from the date of death.
  • You are also entitled to compensation if you have an accident abroad. In this case, the time limit can differ significantly from country to country and may be much shorter than three years.

Can I start the claims process on behalf of someone else?

If a loved one has suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence and cannot claim themselves, a solicitor could help you claim on their behalf. They will help you fill in and file all the necessary documents to be appointed as their litigation friend. Before naming you in this position, the court will verify that:

  • You can conduct legal proceedings fairly and competently;
  • You do not have any conflicting interests with the claimant.

Under the Court of Protection Rules 2017, you could claim compensation on behalf of:

A child under 18

Minors are not allowed by law to make a compensation claim themselves and need an adult to represent them. This could be a parent, legal guardian, friend, family member, or social worker.

An adult who is mentally incapacitated

You can act as a litigation friend for someone incapable of making decisions for themselves. That could be due to Alzheimer’s disease, a learning disability, mental illness, a brain injury or stroke.

Someone deceased

You could also claim compensation for a personal injury if you lost a loved one due to a wrongful death. You can claim for fatal negligence if you are classed as their dependent, which includes spouses, children, parents, and other siblings under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. You do not have to become a litigation friend to make a fatal accident claim.

Will I have to go to court?

More than 95% of all cases are settled out of court, which means there is a minimal chance you will go to trial. An out-of-court settlement benefits both parties, as it involves fewer expenses, less stress and more control over the outcome. However, if your claim goes to court, your solicitor will support and guide you every step of the way and ensure you know what to expect.

The main reasons for which a case may go to court include:

  • The other side refuses to admit liability for your accident
  • You cannot agree on what would be an appropriate settlement amount for your injuries
  • The other party is non-responsive or slow to respond
  • Your case is complex and challenging to settle outside of court
  • The estimated value of your compensation payment is substantial
  • There are multiple parties involved in the case
  • You have immediate financial needs and want to apply for interim payments

There is no reason to worry, even if your case goes to court. Trials for personal injury claims are held without a jury, so you should not feel intimidated. Both parties will present their evidence before a judge, and they will determine liability and the damages to be awarded. In some cases, your solicitor can represent you, and you will not have to be present.

How much compensation could I expect to receive?

Every injury claim is different, and the amount of compensation you deserve to receive will depend on your specific situation. The compensation settlement aims to put you back as closely as possible in the position you would have been in had the accident not occurred. Your solicitor will review all the evidence and ensure all your losses are included in your claim.

Personal injury compensation will typically cover two types of losses:

General damages are awarded for the pain, suffering and loss of amenities caused by the accident. This will depend on the type and severity of your injuries and takes into account:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological harm
  • Physical and mental disability
  • Reduced quality of life and life expectancy
  • Loss of consortium and companionship
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Impact on your hobbies and social life

Special damages will compensate for any financial losses caused by the accident. This is based on evidence such as receipts, invoices, and payslips and may include the following:

  • Loss of earnings if you had to take time off work to recover
  • Loss of income if you cannot return to work for an extended period
  • The cost of prescriptions and private medical treatment
  • Cost of care and assistance with daily living if you suffer from a disability
  • Modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate your injuries
  • Travel expenses for medical appointments and physical therapy
  • Any other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident

To learn more about the amount of compensation you could awarded, please refer to our compensation calculator.

Can I make a No Win No Fee claim?

If you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, your solicitor will guide you through the claims process under a conditional fee agreement. This is also known as a no win no fee service, meaning you do not have to pay any upfront fees to start your claim. Furthermore, you don’t have to pay anything to anyone if your case fails.

Making a no win no fee personal injury claim may also involve taking out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy on your behalf. The ATE policy fully protects you against legal costs and disbursements if your case fails, such as:

  • The other side’s legal fees
  • Police and medical reports
  • Court and counsel fees
  • Barrister fees if the case goes to court

Under this arrangement, you only have to pay anything if you win the claim. In this case, your solicitor will deduct a pre-agreed success fee from the compensation settlement, which cannot be more than 25%.

If you have any questions about the personal injury claims process or would like to talk to a legal adviser about making a claim, please call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back. We will provide a free consultation with no obligation to proceed.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.