Although all personal claims are different, the process of them is much the same. Understanding the process can make it easier to understand how much you might get in terms of compensation, and the expected amount of time it will take until you receive that compensation. Depending on the severity of your injury, this can be a long process or one that takes very little time at all. When you get legal assistance with your claim, you will be guided through a series of steps that will be discussed with you at every stage. The more that you understand the process of making a personal injury claim, the easier it will be to understand what is happening with your case. Here are the key steps.
1: Detail Gathering – Your legal team will gather your details. They will evaluate the validity of your claim and make a decision on representation. Your personal details and the facts regarding your accident will be gathered. They will let you know quickly if they are going to be able to represent you.
2: Documentation – A solicitor will be assigned to you, and they will collect all of the documentation related to your case. You will then review that documentation to ensure that all of the details are correct.
3: Evidence Collection – The next step is to start gathering evidence. This will be needed in order to support your claim. Your solicitor will write to witnesses, get as many details from you as needed, and even contact your employer. If your injury is causing you to miss work, then financial losses are going to be a factor in your compensation amounts.
4: Contacting the Defendant – If you are making a claim against someone, then your solicitor will wait until the necessary evidence has been collected and then contact them. They are then known as the defendant. This could be a private individual, a company, a public body, or an insurance company. They will be informed that a claim is being made against them.
5: Medical Clarification – A copy of your medical records will be obtained. Your solicitor will often arrange an additional medical appointment for you. They may make use of an independent medical expert. At this point, your legal team may be able to arrange any additional medical treatment that you might need.
6: Defendant Response – This is when the process might slow down. You will have to wait for a formal response from the defendant. In cases where you are waiting for a response from an insurer, this can take time and will depend on when, where, and how your accident occurred.
7: Pre-Action Protocol – This is all about the exchanging of information so that it is a faster process. Time limits will be set and will need to be acknowledged. This is often the point where a settlement may be issued by the defendant. In cases where no response is given then this is when your solicitor will initiate court proceedings.
8: Liability – If the defendant admits to being the cause of your injury then settlement will be discussed. Your solicitor will conduct negotiations on your behalf. If the defendant does not admit liability then they will at this point be required to provide any evidence. Your legal team will then do an investigation into their claims. They will advise you on whether a court case will be necessary.
9: Settlement – If the defendant admits liability and a settlement is being discussed then your solicitor will provide them with your medical report. This can help ensure that you get the right compensation amount.
At any point in this process, the defendant may make some kind of settlement offer. Negotiations can often result in not needing to go to court. When your claim has been settled, you will be told the total amount of compensation that you will receive and when you will receive it. This is normally within 21 days of the settlement being agreed on. The more experienced your solicitor, the easier the process of making a personal injury claim will be.