What are ‘tracks’ in personal injury claims?
If you’re thinking about making a personal injury claim, it’s easy to feel bogged down or put off by confusing legal terms.
‘Track’ is just one example of jargon that you may have heard people using when talking about making a compensation claim.
Quite simply, a ‘track’ is the process your case goes through to get to a court hearing. It’s a way of making sure your case is given the right amount of time and is dealt with in the most suitable way. It’s a legal requirement for your case to be allocated a track, as stated in the Civil Procedure Rules.
Not all claims go to court, but if your case does it will be allocated to the most suitable track based on its complexity and the value of your claim. The three different types of track are:
- Small claims court
- Fast track
Most claims are allocated to fast track, which sits between the small claims court and more complex, multi-track cases. Unfortunately, you don’t get to choose which ‘track’ your case is allocated to, as this is dependent on the details of your accident and injury.
Will I need to go to court?
Most claims made with us are settled without going to court.
If your case does go to court your solicitor will guide you through the preparation process, and negotiate on your behalf throughout the hearing, so you don’t need to worry.
What is the small claims court?
The small claims court is a court that oversees cases that are likely to have a value of less than £1,000. For example, if your injury is minor, with symptoms only lasting for a few weeks, then this is likely to be considered a ‘small claim’.
Small claims cases are generally less formal than other types of claim and if you give your permission, your case could even be heard without you needing to be present.
Because the small claims court only deals with small compensation amounts, you may need to pay the legal costs out of your compensation if the case is successful, whereas, in fast track and multi-track claims, these costs are usually covered by the negligent party. Your solicitor will be able to give you more information on whether this applies to you.
Fast track claims
Fast track claims are slightly more complicated and higher-value than small claims, but usually less than multi-track claims.
Most fast-track claims have estimated compensation amounts over £1,000 but below £15,000.
This is the most common type of case, and often covers accidents that have had a significant impact on your life and the lives of your loved ones, but that you can make a recovery from.
Multi-track is usually for claims with a value of over £15,000. If your case is complicated (for example, if it’s particularly difficult to prove that your injury was the other party’s fault) then your claim might be allocated to multi-track even if it’s worth less than this.
Multi-track claims give your solicitor and the parties involved more time to discuss and negotiate your compensation.
In some cases, your solicitor may still be able to settle your claim with the other party before it goes to trial. If that’s not a possibility, then your solicitor will request a court hearing and work towards a resolution for you.
Typically, the final court hearing happens within a year – although the whole process from start to finish can take longer.
How is the ‘value’ of my claim decided?
The ‘value’ of your claim is based on the amount of compensation you’re likely to receive. Your compensation amount will be calculated based on the effects your injury has had on your life, including any costs, physical pain and the impact on your future.
To make sure you receive the compensation you’re owed, our solicitors will work hard to understand the effect your injury has had on your life but also the lives of those around you. For example, they’ll take into consideration:
- Your physical pain and suffering
- Costs from time off work, medical treatment, transport and accommodation
- Any social activities, hobbies or sports you’ve missed out on
- Any care your loved ones have given to you during your recovery
To get a better idea of how much your claim might be worth, you can try our free online compensation calculator.
How to start a compensation claim
Starting a compensation claim can feel daunting and you may be feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information out there, or you may have questions. We can help.
With 20 years’ experience, we have the expertise to be able to help you answer any questions you may have and give you free, impartial advice. If you decide to go ahead with your claim, we can connect you with the right specialist solicitor for your case. Simply call us on 0800 376 0150.
Once you’re through with one of our specialist solicitors, they’ll give you a free consultation and talk you through the claims process, making sure you’re happy to go ahead before getting in touch with the other party and negotiating on your behalf.