How long does a compensation claim take?

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Every claimant wants to settle their claim as quickly as possible and move on from their injury. But to get to the point where a compensation claim can be settled involves evidence, expert opinions and investigations from insurers. It also requires clear communication between insurers, specialist solicitors, claimants and occasionally the courts. All of this can take time.

Some claim types are known to settle more quickly than others. In cases where negligence is obviously clear, and a defendant insurer has no reasonable option other than to make an admission of liability, a claim will settle more quickly. Conversely, in a matter relating to a more complex claim where negligence isn’t so easily obvious, a claimant solicitor will have to make a strong argument to succeed and achieve an admission of liability, and a claim will take longer to settle.

Claims that tend to settle more quickly

Claims often settle within a few months, when:

  • Liability against the party that caused an accident is clear and obvious
  • The claim relates to relatively minor injuries with full recovery
  • Claimants respond quickly to requests for information
  • Accident details have been properly reported and recorded
  • Injuries and losses are not in dispute

Claims that can take longer

As you would expect, there are many issues that can arise that are beyond our control and slow the claims process down. Furthermore, two seemingly similar claims may initially give the view that they will settle quickly – yet one could take six months and the other could take 18 months. Each claim does need to be looked at on its own merits and complexities, but common issues that can cause a slower claim timeframe include:

  • Complex claims, including severe and life changing injuries
  • Incomplete medical treatments meaning injury/recovery prognosis is not known
  • Split liability or denied liability claims
  • Claimant failure to respond quickly to solicitor queries
  • Inefficiency and slow work by other parties – for example, defendant insurers
  • Claims that have to go to court

In more serious and complex cases, where negligence is not obvious and evidence is not so clear cut, there can be denials of liability from a defendant insurer. This will lead to an unavoidable slowing of the claims process. At this point, a claimant solicitor will seek further instructions from a claimant to enable them to fight a denial of liability and seek expert opinion from a barrister in an effort to force an admission of liability.

In cases where a defendant has accepted responsibility, and will therefore make a compensation settlement offer to a claimant, they may dispute the value of a claim settlement or the losses incurred by a claimant, and request further evidence and medical assessments to support the claim. They could state a desire to take the matter to court for a judgement on the settlement, and such issues will definitely slow a claim down.

Insurer deadlines and legal protocols

It is the third party insurer’s job to minimise any settlement they have to pay, and they aren’t always good act acting quickly. Helpfully for claimants, there are legally-binding timeframes in place to prevent claims being dragged out longer than necessary. These ‘Pre-Action Protocols’ give a maximum time for defendant insurers to respond to claims and carry out their investigations. The times vary depending on the claim type involved.

At Direct2Compensation, we realise that much rests on the speedy action of our team and partners to minimise delays, that defendants are pressed to ensure that deadlines are met, and that the claim is regularly chased. We work tirelessly to ensure that claimants are kept informed and that their claim is settled fairly and quickly.

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