One of the most common questions we are often asked is: “How long will my claim take?” The answer is not a straightforward one and depends on many factors for example: –
1. We would never advise our clients to settle their cases until they have fully recovered. Many clients are lucky enough to recover quickly in say a couple of months. However, there are many cases where clients have suffered serious injuries including amputations and head injuries when it took several years before their recovery was as good as it ever would be. Many clients are left with permanent disabilities which affect all aspects of their daily life. It is only once we have obtained medical reports that we will be able to accurately value the claim and begin settlement negotiations. Normally, the more severe an injury is, the longer the claim will take to settle. Clients may also need to wait anywhere between 2 and ten weeks for appointment dates with medical experts and this too can delay matters.
2. Another reason will be whether the Defendant admits liability straight away. If they do, the claim can be dealt with swiftly however, if liability is denied it may mean that we have to issue Court Proceedings to enable us to resolve the claim. Proceedings usually take anywhere between 12 and 18 months to conclude. However, most cases resolve before reaching a final hearing. One of the main reasons for delays in claims where we have issued proceedings is waiting for the Court to return the documents and list matters for hearings. Courts in the UK are under-staffed and there are significant delays
3. A claim may take longer to conclude if the opponent or its insurer are very slow at responding. In low value personal injury claims the insurers of the opponents initially have between 3 weeks and three months to make a decision. However, it is not uncommon for insurers to take a lot longer than this.
4. The wishes of the client. In all cases, it should be remembered that we, as solicitors, advise our clients, but it is they who make the decisions as to when to settle or conclude their cases. It is not uncommon for a client who has been injured at work to ask us to delay the case until they find another job or until after a round of redundancies as they fear that their employers will act differently towards them when a claim is submitted. Most employers do not treat their employees differently if they bring a claim against them, but a small minority will do so – quite wrongly. It is not uncommon for clients to instruct us to settle their claims early and against our advice. They usually recover much less than they would if they took our advice, but that is their privilege and provided we have advised them correctly, we don’t mind if they choose to under-settle their claims.
Whilst we cannot accurately predict how long a claim will take, our team is dedicated in dealing with matters as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We will always do our best to give our clients the best possible advice and service.
If you, or anyone you know have been involved in an accident, please do not hesitate to telephone our team on 0114 2184000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.