How often do personal injury cases go to trial?

If you have suffered from a personal injury that you believe to be due to a failure in duty of care by another party, you might be considering pursuing a personal injury claim against them. Personal injury claims can enable you to win compensation if you have suffered an injury that has affected your life. The compensation can be used to cover costs such as medical treatment and the expenses related to that, loss of earnings, and any other costs that you have incurred as a result of the injury.

Some people are put off making personal injury claims because they are reluctant to go to court. In fact, only about 5% of personal injury cases actually reach court, with the majority of them being settled out of court beforehand.

It is generally the case that most personal injury claims are pretty straightforward. Going to court can be expensive and time-consuming, meaning that it is preferable for claims to be settled before it gets to that stage for all parties.

Instructing a solicitor

When you have suffered a personal injury that you believe that you can claim compensation for, you should instruct a solicitor. At this point, the solicitor will look into the case to decide whether they believe that you are likely to be successful. Normally, solicitors will only take on a case if they believe it has a reasonable prospect of success.

The solicitor will assess the case based on three criteria:

  1. That the injury has occurred within the last three years (according to the Limitation Act 1980),
  2. That the other party was to blame in the solicitor’s consideration, and
  3. That the defendant owed you a duty of care.

The solicitor may also have other criteria that they stipulate when they are considering taking on a new case.

If the case does go to court, it will be heard a judge alone and will not require a jury as the trial will be held in a civil courtroom. It should be said that compared to what most people expect, the majority of people who do go to court with a personal injury claim admit that it was not as stressful as they expected it to be.

When a case does get to court

There are a few occasions when a personal injury claim does get to court – about 5% of them! Most of the time, these are the cases that are less straightforward.

These can include:

  • Serious industrial disease and work industry cases
  • Medical negligence
  • Injuries that involve children
  • Serious motorcycle and road injury claims
  • Spinal, head, and back injuries
  • Claims for fatal accidents

Sometimes a Defendant or their insurer is slow to respond – or in some cases does not respond at all. If this is the case, your solicitor can also apply to the Court for an Order with sanctions applied for their failure to respond to you.

It is also possible that the Defendant disputes that they are responsible for the injury. If this is the case, the claim can go to court, but it is worth remembering that negotiations for an out-of-court settlement can continue right up to the beginning of the trial – and resolving this way is still preferable for both parties to going to court.

If you are unable to settle out of court, your solicitor will be able to file a claim at court. Once this is done, the court will look at the case and send you details of how it will proceed including any of the deadlines that are involved and must be adhered to.

Personal injury court cases

In the unlikely event that your personal injury case actually ends up in court, you will not necessarily need to be present. In some cases, a solicitor will be able to go to represent you. This is normally the case if your claim is estimated to be between £1,000 and £25,000 –and conducted via the MOJ Portal.

If the claim is allocated to the ‘Fast Track’  or  ‘multitrack’, then you might need to attend court to answer questions about your injury from both your solicitor and a representative from the other party. This will still be a court with only the judge and no jury, it is important to remember.

Contact Waldrons solicitors

Here at Waldrons our team of expert solicitors are on hand to speak to you, get in touch today!

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Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Joseph Norton who is a Director and Head of Compensation