We have often been asked by clients this question. How long does a claim take to settle? We can give you some guidance, but the answer isn’t so easy.
Firstly, we won’t “fob you off”. We know that there are some lawyers out there and some claims management companies that will say all sorts of things to try and secure a case. It’s impossible to know for certain how long a case could take, as there are too many things to consider. That being said, we can give you some guidance that can allow you to have an expectation of how long it may take.
It all depends on the individual circumstances of your personal injury legal case.
How long COULD a claim take to settle?
In terms of how long could a claim take to settle, you need to look at a number of factors relevant to your case.
The primary ones are:
- The type of case it is – road accident, work injury, or perhaps a medical negligence claim;
- How serious your injuries are;
- Whether the opponent will be prepared to accept liability or not.
If it’s a straightforward rear-end road accident and you only suffered for a few months, there shouldn’t be anything to stop a claim being settled easily. But, if it’s a medical negligence claim where the NHS is disputing liability, and you’re suffering from multiple complex injuries that could take years to heal, expect the claim to take much longer.
At the start of a case, we don’t know all the variables. We don’t know whether the other side will accept liability and make the process of pursuing a case straightforward, and we may not know the full extent of your injuries until we have obtained expert medical evidence.
What you might expect
To try and give you some guidance in terms of how long does a claim take to settle, this may be useful:
- A straightforward road accident where liability is admitted and injuries last for a few months could be settled in around six months or so;
- A work accident where the injuries are not severe and liability is admitted could be six months to a year or so;
- The same can apply for a public liability claim as above as well, so long as the injuries are not severe and liability is admitted.
The above is just for guidance and is in no way a strict set of rules to follow. You should not use it as a clear answer in terms of how does a claim take to settle because we really cannot know for sure until we have started a case and reached certain points of the claim. We can guide you along the way once a case is initiated.
There are protocols that cases follow. We would expect to know whether a road accident is admitted or not within a few weeks of initiating a case, and a couple of months for a work accident or public liability case. Medical negligence claims can take a lot longer as we may need to obtain evidence before we lodge the case with the other side, but once it has been submitted to them, we should receive their decision in around four months.
If the opponent chooses to defend the case, we have a fight on our hands, and it could take a long time to try and win a case. If your injuries are severe then we may need a lot of medical evidence and treatment options to happen first. We may also recommend that you wait until you are fully healed prior to a final settlement as well.
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IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.