Although most people appreciate that when a serious accident occurs it takes some time for any claim to reach settlement. It can be extremely frustrating for the client if the claim is still ongoing some 3 to 4 years after an accident. There are a number of reasons why this tends to be the case. Fault or liability might be an issue and the matter has to proceed before the Court where liability is in dispute between the parties. It is then for the Court to decide which party should succeed. Alternatively the injuries might be such that it takes some time to get a final assessment from a consultant. If somebody suffers a significant back injury, symptoms are likely to be ongoing. The Consultant may want a re-examination to take place some time later to provide a final prognosis. In addition, once the Court processes commence and proceedings have been issued and served there is then a delay whilst the Court timetable is fixed. This timetable may change at a later date if further medical evidence needs to be obtained by either party. Generally however, once the medical evidence has been concluded and if there are no outstanding issues in relation to liability, a claim should have reached the stage whereby it is possible to assess the overall value of the claim and to consider putting forward an offer in settlement.
Whether it is best to put forward an offer in settlement or indeed to wait for the other side to respond with their offer depends very much on the circumstances. Normally it is best to put forward an offer first in settlement and I shall explain why in a later blog shortly.Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, fill in our short online claim form or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.