Issuing court proceedings in a personal injury claim
Most personal injury claims are settled out of court, but in some cases issuing court proceedings may be unavoidable to get you the best result.
Court proceedings will often need to be issued if we cannot reach an agreement with the defendant about who is responsible for your injury, or how much compensation you are entitled to. In most cases, you have three years to bring a claim, so it may also be necessary to issue court proceedings if the deadline for making a personal injury claim is fast approaching.
Your lawyer will let you know if issuing court proceedings is necessary in your case. It is important for you to know that, even when court proceedings are issued, most cases still settle before they reach trial.
After we have spoken to you, we will issue your claim at court by lodging a claim form setting out the case, the medical report and a summary of your financial losses. The details of the case are contained in a formal document called the Particulars of Claim. We will ask you to sign this document to confirm it is correct before we lodge it at court.
Once the claim has been served on the defendant, we will receive their defence to your claim, usually within 28 days. The court will then allocate your claim to a ‘track’ depending on its financial value or complexity.
There are three tracks:
- Small claims track– Your compensation claim is likely to be worth up to £1,500 (unless it is an RTA claim, in which case, the figure is £5,000)
- Fast-track– Your compensation claim is likely to be worth between £1,500 and to £25,000
- Multi-track– Your compensation claim is likely to exceed £25,000.
The court will then set a strict timetable for the steps needed to get the case ready for hearing, depending on the allocated track.
What we need from you if we issue court proceedings
Tight time limits are imposed by the court. If a court order is made in your case requiring information from you, it is vital that you respond quickly. The court can impose penalties if there is a delay.
There may be occasion during the case when the court makes a costs order against you, perhaps through no fault of your own. We have to tell you about this under court rules.
However, except in extreme circumstances this will not affect your compensation and you will not be asked to pay those costs.
Statement of truth
All legal documents that you sign include a ‘statement of truth’.
This means that when you sign the document you agree that it is true and correct to the best of your knowledge. The court will not hesitate to punish anyone who signs a document knowing that it is untrue. It is vital that you check every document that you sign to ensure that it is completely correct.
The court will also take very seriously any attempt to exaggerate the claim and will impose penalties. If there is any change in your circumstances you must tell us immediately.
Under the court rules we have to provide a list of all the documents that you have which are relevant to your claim. We will ask you to sign the list to confirm that it is complete.
Any letters, receipts, wage slips or forms that you receive from anyone other than us which could have a bearing on the case (even if you send them back) must be listed, so send them to us, or tell us that you have had them. Again, the court can penalise you if this is not correct.
Please continue to send documents to us as and when they are received by you and we will update the list.
What happens next?
To find out how long the process takes, and what happens if your case goes to court, read our guide: How many personal injury claims go to court?