How Long Does a Compensation Claim Take to Settle?

reading time: 4 mins

Carrie Tennick, August 06, 2021

As with so many aspects of a personal injury or medical negligence claim, how long it takes to settle depends on a few different things.

There is no set length of time a compensation claim takes to settle – just as there is no set amount of compensation you could be awarded. It will depend on the type of accident you’ve experienced, how severe your injury is and whether your claim ends up in court, among other things.

Your injury claim is unique. That makes it difficult to say exactly how long your claim will take without an initial chat about your situation.

How long does a claim take?

The injury you suffer and the accident that caused it will generally be the biggest factors affecting how long your compensation claim takes to settle.

For example, a straightforward case of whiplash suffered in a car accident will usually be much faster to settle than a complex case of medical negligence – particularly after the government introduced the new online portal for road traffic accident claims. This is because it is usually more difficult to prove a case of medical negligence.

The more difficult it is to prove a claim, the longer it will take to settle. Your solicitor needs to put evidence together and they will need more time to do this if the case is complex. A claim needs strong evidence to succeed, so your solicitor won’t want to rush it.

Your evidence could include medical assessments, CCTV or dashcam footage, photographs and video of the accident scene, and witness statements. How long it takes to collect this evidence will depend on how straightforward it is to do.

A straightforward injury claim could take around six months to settle, while a more challenging case could take three years or longer to come to an end.

But although you need to begin a claim within three years of your accident, there is no deadline for your case to be settled – so running out of time isn’t something you need to worry about.

How long will I wait for my compensation?

In most No Win No Fee claims, your compensation will be sent directly to your solicitor. They will then receive their payment from this amount. This will be up to 30% of that final amount plus VAT for road traffic accident claims, or no more than 25% for other injury claims.

After your solicitor has been paid for their work, they will send you your compensation.

From the day your compensation amount is settled, it could take up to 28 days for you to receive your payout. But in many cases, this will be much faster. You may be able to get your compensation within just a few days after a settlement is agreed when dealing with certain insurers.

If your solicitor has your bank details, they’ll be able to pay your compensation directly into your account. If they don’t, they’ll likely send you a cheque. This could mean that you then have to wait a bit longer for your compensation.

Can I settle early?

You always have the option of accepting an offer of compensation and settling your claim early. But this could be a mistake, especially when your solicitor thinks you could be awarded more if they keep negotiating with the other side.

An early settlement could mean that you don’t know the full extent of your injuries and what long-term effect they will have on your life.

To be properly compensated, you will need to know exactly what financial impact your injury will have on you – whether that’s because you’ve had to stop working or you have to pay for continuous medical care. It could take months – or even years – to work out how much impact your injury is going to have on you.

Instead of settling early, it could be beneficial to talk to your solicitor about an interim payment if you’re facing financial difficulties.

This is when you are awarded part of your compensation early. It could help you avoid feeling pressure to accept an earlier – and lower – settlement.

Will there be any delays?

At the moment, the legal system is facing backlogs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, your compensation claim may take longer to settle than it would have previously, especially if it has to go to court.

Your solicitor will let you know how long you might expect your claim to take. And don’t hesitate to ask your solicitor if there’s anything you’re not sure about.

To be matched to a specialist injury solicitor, all you have to do is talk to the team at First4Lawyers. We’ll have a no-obligation chat with you about your accident and set out your options. Just give us a call or start your claim online and we’ll get back to you.

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