Being involved in an accident* that was not your fault can have long-lasting effects. Perhaps you have suffered from long-term injuries or your car has been totally damaged and it is no longer roadworthy. An accident can also have an effect on your mental health.
Of course, making a personal injury claim is recommended when you have suffered from an accident that was not your fault. This is an opportunity for the negligence of the other person to be rectified and you can receive compensation to help with your recovery.
The first question that people normally have is; how long will my personal injury claim to settle? We understand that going through a claim be stressful and time-consuming. Unfortunately, there is not a straight forward and definitive answer to this question. But with the right legal team behind you, you can ensure that your claim moves as quickly as possible. Here are some factors to be considered.
Time to Gather Evidence and Start the Process
Before you submit your application to the Injuries Board, it is going to take some time to find a solicitor. This is the first step in the process. Take your time and find the right personal injury solicitor for you. They are going to help you gather all of your information and evidence ready for the assessment. For example, you are going to need:
• Medical reports
• Photographs of the scene
• CCTV footage
• Photographs of the injuries
• Witness statements
You will also explain all of the details to your solicitor, as well as gathering evidence. For instance, you will have to explain what happened in the accident and the injuries that you have sustained. You may want to talk about any pre-existing conditions or expenses that you have incurred because of this accident.
Therefore, this first step can take a while, depending on how easily you can find a solicitor and gather evidence. If you are proactive, you can make sure that this step only lasts a couple of weeks. But it could also take months to be ready to submit your application to the Injuries Board for assessment.
The Complexity of Your Claim
The type of claim you are making is going to affect the overall length of your case. For example, some accidents are going to be straight forward. It will be obvious who is liable for the incident and there will be no objections to the evidence that is raised. In addition, you happily accept the settlement proposed by the Injuries Board. However, there are going to be some cases that are more complicated than others. It may be difficult to find liability or arguments stated by both parties. Indeed, it will take solicitors longer to get your application ready to submit and longer for the Injuries Board to recommend an outcome.
The Injuries Board Assessment
Once you have gathered all of your evidence and filled in the application, it will be time to submit it to the Injuries Board for assessment. The Personal Injury Assessment Board Act 2003 states that all claims that are made must be processed within nine months. First of all, the other party involved in the accident will have to give their consent for this process to go ahead. They are going to have 90 days to respond to the claim.
Making a Decision on Your Claim
You may be waiting a while on the Injuries Board assessment. They will take their time to ensure that the right settlement can be presented to you. Once they have completed their side of the investigations and make a decision, they are going to inform you. You have the ability to accept or reject the assessment made by the Injuries Board. In total, you will be given 28 days to deliberate and think whether a fair assessment of your claim has been made.
Of course, if you are happy with the assessment that is made by the Injuries Board, you can go ahead and accept the settlement. The respondent also has 21 days to accept the decision. This is going to end your claim and you will receive your compensation shortly after this time. However, you can also reject the decision by the Injuries Board. This will mean that more time will be spent on escalating the claim to legal proceedings.
Taking Your Claim to Court
If you disagree with the assessment of the Injuries Board, you can start legal proceedings. Of course, it is important to acknowledge that this will delay settlement. However, it might be a better option for you when it comes to seeking justice and compensation. Having a solicitor on your side is going to help make the process a lot easier. They will put your interests first and represent you to the best of their ability. This will ensure that the other party at fault pays compensation. The court process can take a while and it will depend on the backlog of cases and time of year.
There are Legal Time Limits
There are legal time limits on personal injury claims. The Statute of Limitations states that you have two years less one day from the date of knowledge to make your claim. In other words, you may not think about making a personal injury claim at first. But later on, if you decide you want to process, you are going to be able to do so as long as it is within this time limit.
Note that the date of knowledge can be when the accident occurs. It can also be when you discover the injury was significant or that you learned the identity of the other person in the accident.
If you are making a personal injury claim, be aware that this is unlikely to be settled in under 12 months. As we have discussed, there is a lot of work that goes into each claim. Each stage also takes a while to complete. But with the right solicitor, you can ensure that your personal injury claim runs as smoothly as possible.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement.