How Many Personal Injury Claims Go to Court?

reading time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, August 04, 2021

In the UK, if you and the other side can’t come to a settlement for your personal injury claim, you could end up in court, where a decision will be made.

But this is rare. Most claims end in an agreement out of court.

Those that do end up in court tend to be more complex claims – often involving multiple injuries, high-value claims or vulnerable people.

So how many personal injury claims do go to court?

Claims going to court

Straightforward personal injury claims rarely end up in court. Solicitors take on claims that they think have a strong chance of being successful. That means that in many cases, the responsible party will accept that they caused an accident.

This will typically result in an out of court settlement for the personal injury you’ve suffered.

There are cases where the other side will defend the claim until you are due to appear in court – but then agree a settlement the day the trial is scheduled to begin. So even if you are expecting to go to court, there is still a strong possibility this won’t happen.

The most recent Ministry of Justice statistics show that between January and March 2021, 24,589 personal injury claims were made in England and Wales.

In that period, 14,000 civil claims went to trial – but these included other civil claims, such as those involving people or organisations that owe money or mortgage and landlord possession claims. Personal injury claims only made up a certain percentage of these cases.

What the numbers show is that there is a small chance that your claim will end up in court.

Cost of court

It’s important to remember that the other side typically wants to avoid going to court as much as you do. Going to court involves costs and most people and organisations don’t want to have to pay them.

For example, NHS Resolution – the body that handles medical negligence claims against the NHS – explains in its 2019/20 Annual Report that: “In order to reduce unnecessary legal costs associated with claims and to keep patients and healthcare staff out of court we have pressed forward with other types of dispute resolution including mediation.”

In 2019/20, just 93 NHS claims ended up in a trial. This was equivalent to just 6% of all these cases.

A further 4,340 needed legal proceedings, but did not end up in a court trial. Most of the claimants in those cases were awarded compensation (81%). But far more claimants who were awarded compensation did not even get involved in proceedings, with 5,312 medical negligence victims successful claiming damages.

If court is necessary

Your claim may go to court if the other side rejects liability, claiming that they were not responsible for your accident. You may also see your claim go to court if the other side accepts that they were responsible but will not agree how much compensation you should receive.

In the unlikely event that your claim ends up in court, you may find it reassuring to know that civil cases don’t need a jury to decide on the outcome. A judge will make the final decision after hearing all the evidence.

Your solicitor will support you throughout the whole claims process, from the moment they agree to take your case on until the judge makes a decision in court – if that is necessary. For help in being matched to the right solicitor for your claim, get in touch with the team at First4Lawyers.

Give us a call or start your claim online and we’ll do what we can to make sure you get the legal help you need.

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