Here at Direct 2 Compensation towers (ok, our modest office in Frome!) we get asked a million and one questions by our personal injury claim clients. They range from how long will the claim take, to how much will I get and how much will it cost.
One of the most common questions after will it cost me anything – and the answer is no! – is: Will my personal injury claim go to court? As with any civil legal matter, there is a prospect that the personal injury claim could end up in a court before a Judge. However, this is very rare and happens in only a handful of cases.
The reason that most personal injury claim settle out of court is that whoever is going to lose the claim, or believes that they are most likely to lose, won’t want to risk the increased costs and delays a court case will bring.
For example, if your Solicitor were to take Counsels advice on the prospects of succeeding with a claim and their chosen Counsel suggested that they were likely to lose, they would close the claim and not proceed to court – if they did, they would not only have the 3rd party costs to pay, but also the court fees and charges – if they lost of course!
But, if the Counsel suggested that on the balance of probability that your claim was likely to succeed, your Solicitor would suggest a reasonable settlement figure to the 3rd party. If the 3rd party refused to settle your personal injury claim for a reasonable sum, your Solicitor could eventually issue proceedings against them and let a Judge decide the matter. Again, the 3rd party insurers would then have to pay your compensation (the value of which would be decided by the Judge), your legal fees (your Solicitor costs) and the court fees.
Court fees substantially increase the cost of a claim and most parties want to avoid them where possible. Therefore, it is most common for claims to be settled out of court as 3rd parties know when they will lose and therefore opt to settle the claim for a lower price by settling out of court and thus avoiding additional court costs.
If your Solicitor feels that the matter should be presented to a court, he will advise you of that and take your instructions. For some people, they don’t want to go to court and opt to settle their claim at a lower fee. That’s their prerogative. However, of the small percentage of Personal Injury claims that do end up in court, most clients are happy to attend and give evidence where required. Again, we stress that only a small minority of claims will be decided in court.