Personal Injury Claims
Settling Personal Injury Claims
Pursuing personal injury claims in a civil court to claim a small sum of money can be both expensive and time-consuming. Lawyers are expensive and it can end up costing you more to mount a case than you would ever get in return. The solution is to use the small claims procedure; this was originally set up to allow people to recover small sums of money without having to instruct legal advisors.
The small claims procedure can only be used in personal injury claims if the damages sought are under £5000. The procedure for cases is much simpler than in a normal Civil Court and there is no need to instruct a lawyer. If you want to make a personal injury claim then you’ll need to prove that the other party was negligent and that you’ve suffered damages as a result. You’ll also need to know that they have the means to pay you. The small claims procedure is carried out in local county courts.
The first thing you’ll need to do is to try and settle the matter without making any personal injury claims and this means you’ll need to give the other party some time before resorting to the law. To start proceedings you simply fill out a claim form, which sets out the details about the claim and how much money you are claiming. You then send this to the court with the appropriate fee. Your claim and an Acknowledgement of Service Form will then be sent to the defendant. The defendant must return the form and state whether they are going to dispute the case or not.
If they deny liability then the court will fix a date for a hearing. The actual hearing is pretty informal and the judge will listen to both sides and consider any supporting evidence. If the defendant doesn’t respond or refuses to turn up then the judge can still go ahead with the case anyway.
If they decide in your favour the defendant will have to pay up and the matter should be resolved. Sometimes additional enforcement action might be necessary if they decide to be difficult about paying but most cases are resolved quickly. The same time limit of three years applies to personal injury claims in the small claims procedure as in other instances.