We can help you make a no win no fee claim
Most people's interactions with solicitors and the law tend to be few and far between. When they do happen, it's for things we take for granted like help with moving house, making a will, managing family affairs or business matters.
We understand that making a claim for an unexpected personal injury that wasn't your fault can seem daunting. We often hear from people worried about how to pay for a claim, will the courts be involved, what happens if they lose and even whether or not they'll get a fair hearing.
We have lots of information throughout our site that can help you understand more about making a claim, the different types of injuries and accidents we can help with, and more about us and the people we've helped.
If you're unsure if you have a claim, our online claims checker can help.
Come and talk to us first
The reality is that the personal injury claim settlement process is simpler than you might think. There are clearly-set legal rules that everyone must abide by.
If you're thinking about making a claim or are unsure what to do next, then talk to one of our friendly, legally-trained advisors on . They'll listen to what you've been through and be able to let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim.
If you do have grounds to make a claim and want to go ahead, they'll put you in touch with one of our approved, specialist personal injury law firms. There's no rush and no pressure. We think it's important you're able to take things at your pace.
The solicitor takes care of all legal matters for you. Broadly speaking, all you need to do is follow their instructions and provide the right information at the right time so they can fight your claim.
Did you know?
We've helped over two million people hurt in accidents that weren't their fault get the compensation they deserve - more than any other personal injury advisors in the country. We've never made a cold call - and never will.
Listen to what our customers have to say on Trustpilot.
The personal injury claim settlement process
A common question we hear is how long does a personal injury claim take to complete. That's dependent on many factors because every claim is different. We thought it would be useful to explain how the personal injury claim settlement process works so you can better understand what's involved - plus who does what and when.
How do I know if I may have grounds for a claim?
The first thing to do is to come and talk to us. We've been lending a helping hand to people hurt in accidents that weren't their fault for over 26 years. In that time, our legally-trained advisors have given guidance to millions of people across the UK, injured in all types of accident.
Talk us through what's happened and we'll be able to let you know if we think you may have grounds for a claim. There's no rush and no pressure. Call us on , arrange a call-back or get in touch online.
Appointing a solicitor
If you do qualify and decide to go ahead, we'll pair you with one of our specialist solicitors. They'll present your claim properly and handle all the negotiations with the other side's insurance company.
We have carefully built a network of trusted personal injury legal firms across the UK who are expert in this field of law. They work on a no win no fee basis so if your claim doesn't succeed, you pay nothing. We can usually connect you to them on the same call if that suits you.
They'll then check the details of your claim and decide whether or not they can take it on. It's quite rare for them to decide not to handle a claim.
Your solicitor will investigate what happened and assess how the accident has affected you personally and financially too. Aside from the pain and suffering of your injury, you may have lost income as a result of being off work, for instance. They'll also ask you to share specific evidence to support your claim, such as medical records and photographs.
Pre-action protocols are the procedures your solicitor uses when they begin your claim. Having accurately valued your claim and armed with all the accident and injury details (plus any financial losses you may have suffered), your solicitor then sets everything down in a Claim Notification Form (CNF). It's a really important summary document that forms the core of your claim. It details what happened and why you think the other side is responsible for your accident.
When it's ready, they'll then submit the CNF to the other side's insurance company, officially notifying them of your intention to sue them for damages.
For example, if you were injured in a road traffic accident, your solicitor will send the CNF to the other side's insurance company, not to the person or organisation involved. If your claim succeeds, your damages will be paid by the other side's insurers. This means people don't receive a bill for damages that they can't afford.
Usually the other side has 21 days to acknowledge receipt of the CNF. After they've done this, the other side then has three months to investigate what happened. They'll inform your solicitor whether they either accept liability for your accident or deny it.
If the other side admits liability, then this typically means your claim will be settled faster, longer if they deny legal responsibility.
Liability is admitted by the other side
After the three month period has elapsed and if the other side admits liability, then your solicitor will begin negotiating your compensation settlement. This will take some time and your solicitor will keep you up-to-date with progress. If they can reach an agreement that you are happy with, then your claim will then be finalised and your damages paid shortly afterwards. It's important that you follow your solicitor's professional advice closely.
However, if they can't agree to the level of damages and negotiations break down, then your solicitor will apply to the court to have the decision made by a judge. The vast majority of claims are settled in negotiation - it's very rare for a claim to go before a judge.
Liability is denied by the other side
If they deny liability, then your solicitor will begin gathering all the evidence they'll use to fight your claim. This includes things like witness statements (if there were any), photographs or video, medical evidence and expert opinion if required.
A medical assessment will be arranged that gives an independent opinion on your injury and how your life has been affected. The medical professional will then write a report that will be used to back up your claim. You'll be able to check you're happy with the report.
This process gets all the facts in support of your claim on the table. Your solicitor will begin negotiations with the other side's insurers. If those negotiations break down or the other side refuses to admit liability (even though your solicitor believes you have a strong case), then the decision will go before the court.
A judge will assess the claim and decide who is responsible. Again, this is a very rare occurrence, with most claims being successfully settled out of court.
After all processes have been completed, your claim settles. If your solicitor has won your claim, the other side's insurance company will pay your compensation and this usually comes through in a month or so.
Remember, in a no win no fee claim, you pay nothing if your claim fails. If it succeeds, you'll pay your solicitor an agreed amount from your compensation.
What's the difference between a fast track claim and a multi-track claim?
What's the difference between a fast track claim and a multi-track claim?
You'll likely hear your solicitor use these terms. A fast track claim is worth £25,000 or less in total damages. There are exceptions sometimes but in general this means:
- If court action is required because of a breakdown in negotiations or denial of liability, the claim can be heard in court within 30 weeks of the case being allocated.
- During this period your solicitor and the other side will exchange the evidence they wish to present at court.
- The claim can be settled in one day at court, if needed.
Often both sides will agree a settlement before any court date and this is called a ‘pre-trial settlement'.
A multi-track claim is where the total damages will be £25,000 or above. This is because:
- The claim is complex and may require input from expert witnesses.
- Any court hearing required will take longer than one day.
Examples of complex multi-track cases include medical negligence or accidents involving very serious injury. The medical negligence claim process will often take a long time to resolve. In multi-track claims where liability is disputed and cannot be resolved, the court will issue a general timetable so everyone is aware of the key and dates at the earliest stage. As with fast track claims, multi-track claims will often settle out-of-court.
Small claims personal injury and whiplash law changes
The rules for making a small personal injury claim following a road traffic accident changed on 31st May 2021. The government introduced a tariff for whiplash claims linking compensation awards to the duration of the injury. They are designed to reduce the number and cost of exaggerated or fraudulent claims plus reduce motor insurance premiums for drivers. The changes mean:
- The small claims general damages limit will rise for road traffic accident injuries from £1,000 to £5,000.
- Compensation for soft tissue and whiplash injury claims is now fixed, banded by severity, and lower than before.
- People can no longer recover their legal costs from the other side in a small claim. These will now be deducted from compensation awards up to £5,000.'
- Some other minor road traffic accident injuries - like simple fractures - are now classed as a small claim.
- People now have the option to make a small road traffic accident claim themselves online, without needing help from a solicitor.
The changes do not affect vulnerable road users (like pedestrians or cyclists) and do not apply to other types of personal injury claim like accidents at work, accidents in public or medical negligence cases
Frequently asked questions...
Around 95% of our cases are settled without the need to go to court. This means there is a very small chance a claim will require a court hearing.
If your case does go to court, your solicitor will be on hand to support and guide you through the process and will make sure you always know what to expect.
Proving liability in a claim is about establishing blame in four key areas.
Duty: did the party you hold responsible for your injury owe you a legal duty of care?
Breach: did they breach that duty by acting (or failing to act) in a particular way?
Causation: did their actions (or absence of them) cause your injuries?
Damages: were you injured by their actions or inactions?
The time it takes to reach a settlement in a successful personal injury claim can vary significantly. It depends on how complex your case is, the type, severity and circumstances of your injuries, plus the time it takes to gather all the necessary medical evidence.
An injury claim duration is also affected by things like whether or not you know the identity of the other side and if the other side admits liability - or challenges it in court. A clear-cut road traffic accident claim may be settled in just weeks whereas a complicated medical negligence case may take up to three years or more.
As a rule of thumb, an uninsured driver claim takes three or four months. Other road and work accident claims may take four to nine months, trips and slips six to nine months, industrial disease claims between one year to 18 months and clinical negligence one to three years plus.
Should I accept an early offer by the other side?
Should I accept an early offer by the other side?
Sometimes in the personal injury claim settlement process, the other side's insurance company will make what's called an early offer. You should be very wary about accepting an early offer and your solicitor will be too. Insurance companies use this tactic to make a claim ‘go away' quickly. Often it'll be a lower amount than that to which you may be entitled.
Your solicitor will advise you should such circumstances arise. A reliable rule of thumb is ‘don't settle early'.
How do I pay for making an injury claim?
How do I pay for making an injury claim?
You do this with a no win no fee arrangement, also known as a conditional fee agreement. It's the contract between you and your no win no fee personal injury lawyer.
There are no upfront costs or hidden charges but if you win the claim, you'll be asked to pay any costs and expenses, not paid for by the other side, out of your compensation. This is likely to happen in most cases, as the other side is only required to make a contribution to your legal fees.
These costs will only be deducted when your compensation is paid, and may include:
- A ‘success fee' which compensates the solicitor for the risk they take, as if your claim is unsuccessful they won't be paid at all.
- Any other legal costs or expenses not recovered from the other side, such as the costs of any legal expense insurance.
When you start your claim, your solicitor will take out insurance protection on your behalf. This is sometimes called ATE (After The Event) insurance. If your claim is unsuccessful, then the other party's costs will be paid out of this insurance. If you don't receive any compensation, then you won't have to pay for the ATE insurance. If your claim is successful, then it'll be paid out of your compensation as part of the fees.
Your solicitor will discuss this with you at the start, so you'll know what to expect when your claim settles. If you don't win your no win no fee claim, you pay nothing to anyone. It's as simple as that.
Common misconceptions around the personal injury claim settlement process
The most important things you must do during the personal injury claim process are:
- Always be honest.
- Always follow the advice of your solicitor.
- Always do your best to cooperate with them promptly.
They're there to help you and the right actions and information at the right time will always help to speed your claim along!
The personal injury claims settlement process means going to court
Actually, the vast majority of personal injury claims are successfully settled during the negotiations between your solicitor and the other side's insurance company.
Needing a court hearing because negotiations have failed - or the other side denies liability even though your solicitor believes you have a strong case - is pretty rare. Personal injury claim court hearings are heard by a judge only. It's a civil process rather than a criminal one so there won't be a jury.
Even if a court hearing needs to be set, often there will be a pre-trial settlement at the eleventh hour with which everyone is satisfied.
My lawyer is handling my claim only
The truth is that a personal injury claim lawyer will be handling lots of claims at once because there are so many - over 829,000 in 2019/20. That's why we select the solicitor firms we work with very carefully and set high customer service standards so that you get professional, attentive and effective treatment.
Not asking a question because it felt obvious or stupid
There are no daft questions in the personal injury claim process. Law is complex so don't be embarrassed - always ask what's on your mind.
Not keeping important evidence
Dates, times, locations, weather conditions, lighting, names, witnesses, pictures, treatment appointments and receipts. These are all really important to the personal injury claim settlement process. UK lawyers will be making the claim on your behalf so make sure they have everything they need.
Do document this information while things are still fresh in your mind. Receipts for any expenses you've suffered as a direct result of the accident will form part of your claim so keep them safe.
They could be for things like prescribed medical treatment, the cost of necessary modifications to your car or home and even hospital parking charges. If you've lost income because of your accident injury, then make sure you keep your payslips handy.
As we mentioned earlier, sometimes in the personal injury claims settlement process, insurers may make an early offer to you directly in order to make the claim disappear. It's likely that amount will be lower than what you may be entitled to so treat it with caution and take professional legal advice. Fighting a claim on your own is very hard and you risk losing out on the compensation you deserve, so always use a no win no fee professional.
I need a solicitor who is local to me
Not any more. Very few claims require a face-to-face meeting with your solicitor. The majority of them can be dealt with over the phone, email and via your own online claims account that many solicitors now provide. It's a fast and practical way of working that means you can submit evidence and respond to requests quickly - even just using your smartphone.
Medical records are a critical part of the personal injury claim process and it's easy to overlook minor symptoms. Whether it's when you see your GP, a doctor in hospital or the medical professional at the medical assessment when you make your claim, tell them every symptom you have. They could be connected and may indicate additional or deeper injury.
It's always a good idea to note symptoms down in a diary. That means everyone involved in your claim has as full a picture of your injury as possible as well as a personal commentary on your recovery.
Importantly, don't forget your mental health. Accidents can cause various degrees of anxiety and sometimes post-traumatic stress disorder. Both form part of your injury and any compensation so don't be embarrassed to share how you're feeling with the professionals involved in your claim.
For more information about the personal injury claim process, visit our dedicated page about making a claim. If you've been hurt in an accident that wasn't your fault then contact us for a confidential chat on . We're here to help.
An important part of what we do is make the personal injury claim process as hassle-free as possible for our customers. A lot goes on behind the scenes to settle a claim successfully and it's important that we explain things clearly at every stage and keep customers fully in the picture while they're recovering.Head of Technical Claims
We helped David get back on his feet after a motorbike accident
I was going down the road, quite steadily. All of a sudden, a van pulled across the road in front of me. When I woke up, I was lying in the road. It was about two days later that I felt I needed some help. National Accident Helpline asked me how I was feeling. I felt like I was in the right hands. They helped me put this all right.
Being injured in an accident is often traumatic, particularly if it wasn't your fault. The personal injury claim settlement process is there to help people but it can take a while. It's important that we put people at their ease at what's already a stressful time and let them know that the law is on their side.Paralegal, National Accident Law