Settling An Insurance Claim
If you are making an insurance claim, you may wonder how long it takes to settle an insurance claim in a personal injury case. There are lots of different factors and areas of the legal process that differ in length. However, there are estimations of time that can be drawn in certain areas of the legal process.
The time lengths mentioned in this article are only estimations. If you would like to know more, you should speak to Jefferies Solicitors directly.
Insurance Claim Pre-Action Protocols
are the conduct that the court wants both parties involved in a case to take prior to a case going to court. Many insurance claims are settled outside of the courts, through pre-action protocols.
The maximum amount of time that is allowed for insurance companies to do a requested action is three months and 21 days. This amount of time is specified through two parts:
- The claimant’s solicitor submits a letter to the defendant that discusses the claim and the specific details of it, such as the events that occurred. An initial response from the defendant to this letter must be returned within 21 days.
- The defendant then has three months to investigate the claim and respond to the proposed liability and compensation. The response to this claim must include a decision on whether they admit liability. If they do not admit liability, their response must include a defence against them being assigned liability.
- If the insurance company fails to provide a response by the time limit, an application to the court for a pre-action disclosure can be made.
There are other factors to take into account which can influence how quickly something is being settled. For example:
- If the liability for the accident is very clear it will usually be solved far quicker as the other party cannot argue against it very easily.
- The injuries related to the accident are minor and there will not be permanent damage to the victim.
More complex cases, whether due to the liability or the injuries, will usually take longer to solve. However, this can help to begin to build up a picture of how long it takes for a claim to be settled. Still, many other factors are involved in the length of time it takes to settle an insurance claim.
Medical reports which help to determine the type and severity of the injuries that are being discussed in a specific case are an incredibly important part of any case. In all cases, medical reports are used to determine the type and severity of the injuries involved.
The insurance company must agree with the medical examiner that the solicitor wants to assign in the case. This helps to decrease the likelihood that the insurance company will heavily dispute the medical report that is made.
Medical reports usually also take a specific amount of time to be delivered from the time that the report is initially made. There can be delays that are outside of the client’s control, such as a delay in posting or emailing a medical report. However, medical reports generally take about six to ten weeks from the initial examination to reach your solicitor.
Type of Claim
The specific type of insurance claim that you are engaged in will be a very important factor in determining the amount of time it will take to solve your case. For example, road traffic accident cases, work accident cases or accidents in public place cases, that are worth less than £25,000 are typically just settled through pre-action protocols. This means that your case could be settled very quickly and with little hassle. The type of claim that you are making will play a factor in the length of time it takes to settle your case. Road traffic accidents or accidents in a public place cases that are worth less than £25,000 are usually settled through pre-action protocols (see above). More complex or severe cases will usually take longer. For example, industrial disease or medical negligence cases typically take longer due to the severity and longevity of these case types.
If the other party denies liability in your case or if there is a disagreement about the amount of liability assigned, the case will likely go to litigation (see below for more information). This means that the case will go to court and the final verdict in the case will be reached by a judge. This does not happen in the majority of cases but it is still a fairly common process and you should not worry about going to court. For example, litigation is particularly common in cycling road traffic accidents because it can often be difficult to work out exactly who is responsible.
There is normally an initial disagreement before a case goes to litigation. When this discussion/disagreement reaches an impasse, this is when a case will go to court. This initial disagreement often takes weeks to months for it to eventually go to litigation. This is because both sides will want to avoid litigation if they can and so they want to try and work out a deal outside of the courts.
You should not worry if there are disagreements about liability in your case, or about going to court in general. It can increase the amount of time a case takes to settle but it is still better than not doing anything at all to get the compensation you deserve.
As previously stated, litigation is when a case goes to court and is presided over by a judge.
There are many reasons as to why a case might go into litigation but the most common reason is that liability cannot be agreed upon by both parties in the case. Another reason could be that the extent or severity of the injuries is disputed by the claimant and the insurance company and therefore the insurance company wants to pay less compensation than the defendant will accept.
If you wonder whether your case is likely to go into litigation, you should consider how these factors relate to your specific circumstance:
- The time it takes to gather medical evidence – if there is a disagreement about the medical examiners report.
- The specific circumstances of the accident – if they are complex or simple.
- Your illness/injuries and their severity.
- Is the identity of the defendant known – for example a hit and run accident where the other driver left the scene.
- Is there a disagreement about liability?
Litigation will typically take at least a year to be settled. This is because litigation is used for complex cases or cases where there is a strong disagreement and naturally these will take longer to solve. Furthermore, if your case is going through the courts, this legal process naturally takes longer due to the extra steps that are involved.
While litigation will last for a year minimum, it can often go on for longer than that. Litigation can even go on for numerous years, depending upon the complexity of the case and the acceptance of litigation on both sides.
This should not dishearten you from making an insurance claim. If you want to get compensation, it is still the best course of action if you have been wronged.
Contact Jefferies Solicitors
Our experts at Jefferies Solicitors are well experienced in dealing with a range of different case types. We understand how traumatic sustaining an injury or developing an illness can be and so we want to make the process of claiming compensation as stress-free as possible. No matter exactly where you are located throughout England and Wales, we can help you.
At first, we will need some initial details about the specifics of your injuries and how this has impacted your life. Contact us today on 0800 342 3206 or through our online form to get started. A member of our team will quickly be in touch to discuss your case, confidentiality is ensured with all our clients.