How long do compensation claims take?

Whether you are looking to make a compensation claim for medical negligence, if you’ve been in a car accident, or if you’ve suffered an accident at work, getting your compensation can often be a matter of urgency. Compensation money is used usually to help to pay for treatment costs, or perhaps live off if you are unable to work due to an incident that was not your fault.

There is no set amount of time that it can take to have a compensation claim resolved and its duration can depend on several different factors, as well as the nature of the compensation claim.

Average claim duration table

Although claim duration can be affected by several different factors – including the situation with COVID-19 – the average claim durations are:

Compensation Claim Type

Average Claim Duration Time

MIB claims (uninsured drivers) 3 – 4 months
Road accident claims 4 – 9 months
Occupiers’ liability or public place claims 6 – 9 months
Work accident claims 6 – 9 months
CICA claims (criminal assault) 12 – 18 months
Industrial disease claims 12 – 18 months
Medical negligence 12 – 36 months


What factors affect claim duration?

No two compensation claims are the same, and it is difficult, therefore, to predict how long the claim will take to be resolved. Some of the factors that can affect the claim duration include:

  • The type of injury that you have suffered and are claiming for
  • How the injury occurred
  • How much time is needed to gather the relevant evidence
  • Whether the defendant can be identified
  • Whether the defendant is accepting liability for the injury

There may also be other factors that can impact the duration of the claim, such as the Coronavirus pandemic.

Will the type of injury affect the claim duration?

The type of injury that you have suffered can affect the duration of the claim. When a claim is being made for an injury, a thorough medical report is normally obtained that gives a detailed account of the injury that has been incurred. For some, this can be a relatively quick process, but for others, it can take a substantial amount of time.

The ideal situation is that the compensation claim is only made when we know the full extent of the injury. This investigation can take years for particularly complex claims, but it is important that critical evidence is found and that there is a full understanding of the pain and suffering, loss of earnings, medical needs in the past, present, and future, and any other costs that have been incurred.

Will my claim take longer if I have multiple injuries?

If more than one injury has been incurred, the claim can sometimes take longer – depending on the nature of the injuries. If, for example, you have had a physical injury that has also resulted in psychological injury, the claim can take longer to resolve. Likewise, if you have suffered two or more physical injuries, with one taking a long time to assess – scarring, for example, it can also take longer.

If, however, you have suffered two physical injuries that have healed and can be assessed quickly, the duration of the claim should not be affected.

What other circumstances will affect the claim duration?

The circumstances around an incident can also affect the claim duration. The time that it takes for the claim to be resolved can depend on the type of accident that has occurred.

Child or vulnerable people’s injury claims are required to be approved by the court. This can cause the claim to take longer to be resolved although in practice it usually will not.

Medical negligence claims can often be more complex to investigate and, therefore, take longer to resolve. A claim can often take between 12 and 18 months to resolve – or longer if it is a complex case or if liability is disputed.

Injuries in a public place, work accidents, and road traffic accidents can be processed through the Pre-Action Protocol if the claim is for less than £25,000. The Ministry of Justice’s online claims portal is used under these circumstances, whereby the defendant’s insurer is given 35 days to consider the claim, examine the evidence, and make an offer. If the offer is accepted, the claim would normally be resolved within about 4 – 9 months.

Industrial disease claims are often a little faster to process as long as liability has been accepted and the extent of the industrial disease is known. If, however, there is a question over liability or the extent of the illness, the claim can take more time.

How long does it take to receive an offer of compensation?

Compensation offers can be made and accepted at any time – by either the defendant or their insurance company. They will often make a ‘pre-medical offer’ before a solicitor is involved, but this offer is typically low, in an attempt to pay out less money.

If the defendant is accepting liability, they will often make an offer before the case can be heard in court, to avoid the need to pay out for court costs.

Once liability has been accepted and a compensation offer agreed, it will normally take up to about a month for the money to be paid.

If the other side denies liability, will my claim be delayed?

If the other side is denying liability, the claim can be delayed whilst the evidence is examined and liability decided.

Court action might be required if the defendant does not accept liability or offer an acceptable compensation settlement, which can make the process take a significantly longer amount of time.

If the other side accepts liability, the claim can normally be processed relatively quickly.

What if it is not clear who is responsible for my injury?

There are some circumstances under which it is not always clear who was responsible for the injury. This could be a road accident where the driver left the scene, for example, or it could be a situation whereby both the claimant and the defendant were partly responsible.

In cases such as these, it is still possible to make a claim, but these may be handled slightly differently. There are, for example, bodies that can help to provide compensation for victims of hit and run accidents, or reduced compensation can be offered for split liability cases.

What if I want to settle as quickly as possible?

A claimant has the right to settle their claim whenever they wish to. A good solicitor should be on hand to advise you throughout the process to enable you to make an informed decision, based on your specific circumstances.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate but to contact Waldrons Solicitors today.

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