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Why is my personal injury case going to court?

Whatever the nature of your personal injury claim, it’s essential to engage the services of a specialist solicitor as soon as possible after the incident in question.

Your personal injury solicitor’s job is to work to negotiate a compensation agreement for you with the other party. When this process stalls either because the other side doesn’t respond, refuses to admit liability and/or is unwilling to offer you an appropriate amount of compensation or if your claim is approaching the third-year anniversary of the accident, then the next step is for your solicitor to issue court proceedings. However, while this is the next step in the process, it’s important to realise that the issuing of court proceedings does not necessarily mean the case will ultimately go to court. In fact, only around 5% of PI claims end up in court.

Why does issuing PI court proceedings not always result in a court case?

When your personal injury solicitor issues court proceedings, they will still try to negotiate a settlement right up until the date of the court hearing. Often your solicitor will arrange a ‘settlement meeting’ with the other side and their solicitor to try and reach an agreement in an attempt to spare all parties from the potential stress and publicity involved in going to court.

What are the reasons my PI claim could go to court?

Court proceedings may be necessary for the following reasons:

  • No settlement agreement can be reached.
  • The other side does not respond to your claim for compensation.
  • It’s necessary to speed up the response from insurers involved in the case by making them obliged to stick to the deadlines imposed by the court.
  • Your solicitor decides that your claim involves compensation for interim payments, for example in a situation where you need income to support you after an injury. Again, the prospect of a court case can work in your favour by speeding up interim payments or imposing a deadline on how long you will have to wait to get compensation.

What kind of PI claims go to court?

All kinds of PI claims can be settled in court including:

  • Accidents at work
  • Brain injury claims
  • Spinal injury claims
  • Road traffic accident claims
  • Clinic negligence claims
  • Fatal accidents claims
  • Tips, slips and falls claims
  • Industrial deafness and tinnitus claims
  • Cosmetic surgery claims
  • Industrial disease claims
  • Asbestos claims
  • Repetitive strain injury claims
  • Holiday accident claims

How long will I have to wait for my PI case to be heard?

When court proceedings are issued, the court will issue a deadline to provide all the information necessary for the hearing to go ahead. This can include medical reports, expenses records and witness statements. This information can take time to collate, so be prepared to wait between 9 and 12 months for your case to be heard. No hearing can go ahead until all the necessary information has been provided.

What happens in court?

Personal injury claims are decided at civil hearings, which means there will be no jury or public gallery.

If will most likely be required to give evidence and you will be called on to go through the statement you previously prepared with your solicitor in front of a judge. Next you will be questioned on the statement by both sides’ solicitors or barristers.  Any other witnesses will go through the same process.

After the judge has heard all the evidence they will make a decision on who was to blame and what compensation is due, based on injuries sustained and the personal and financial losses incurred.

If you are awarded compensation, you can usually expect to receive the money from the Defendant within 2-3 weeks.

What are the different kinds of personal injury court hearings?

If your claim goes to court, your case could involve the following types of hearing:

Case management conference hearing (CMC)

The defendant and claimant’s legal representatives meet the judge in advance of the hearing to discuss how it will be handled and set a court timetable for the exchange of witness statements, medical evidence and any other necessary evidence required for the trial.

Detailed assessment hearing

After the hearing has ended, there may be another hearing needed to set out details of how costs relating to court and legal expenses will be awarded, which is usually only attended by your solicitor and the Defendant’s solicitor.

Child settlement hearing

These hearings relate to injuries sustained by a child under 18, with a focus on ensuring the child is appropriately compensated and the money in question is invested in their best interests until they are 18.  In all cases involving a minor the Court will need to ratify any settlement.

Disposal hearing

These hearings are for cases where liability has been admitted, and all that remains is for the compensation amount to be decided.

Solicitors specialising in PI claims going to court

If you are unlucky enough to be involved in accident that is not your fault, the likelihood is that you will be among the 95% of people whose personal injury claim does not go to court. However, no matter what the circumstances, it’s important to talk to one of Bray & Bray’s specialist personal injury solicitors as soon as possible to ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to.

Call us on any of the following numbers to discuss your needs: