What happens if my employer doesn’t respond to a claim?Updated: September 14, 2020
At the beginning of a work injury claim, your solicitor will start by notifying your employer (the defendant). In most cases, your employer’s solicitor or insurer will promptly confirm receipt. The defendant will then respond more fully to the clam claim in due course.
But, what happens if your employer doesn’t respond?
Sending a letter of claim
The first step in your injury claim involves your solicitor sending a ‘letter of claim’ to your employer (the defendant), and their solicitor or insurance company.
The letter of claim will explain the basis of the claim and will ask the employer whether they admit liability for your injury.
From this point on, claims are usually handled by an employer’s insurance provider and their legal representative. This is because it is usually the insurer that will actually agree to the claim and pay compensation.
Most of the correspondence during a claim will be between your solicitor and the employer’s insurance company.
In most cases, the defendant is obliged to:
- Acknowledge receipt of the letter of claim within 21 days
- Provide a full response within three months of the acknowledgement
If your employer denies liability your injury, they must include disclosure documents to accompany their full response.
I've had no response, what happens next?
In some cases, the employer may fail to reply to the letter of claim. The employer might be hoping that the claim will go away if they ignore it. They may just be playing for time whilst gathering necessary information or documents.
If you fail to get a response to your claim within the above time limits, for whatever reason, then the employer is likely to be in breach of the 'Pre-Action Protocol' for personal injury claims.
Your solicitor can take steps to force the employer to respond by applying to the court.
Applying for a court order
Your solicitor will make an application to the court for 'Pre-Action Disclosure' ( PAD)'. Your solicitor will file court papers and then attend a court hearing to prove that, by not responding to your claim, the defendant has materially failed to comply with pre-action protocols.
You will not need to attend this court hearing.
If your solicitor can show that the employer has failed to respond to your claim, or is not responding quickly enough, you may be granted a court order.
The court order will require the employer to:
- Accept or deny liability; and,
- Disclose any information and documents required to move the claim forward.
As the defendant is usually required to pay the legal costs involved in the PAD application, it’s a good incentive for the employer to promptly respond to your claim.
Alternatives to making a PAD application
If the employer has genuine mitigating circumstances that have caused a delay in responding to your claim, then the court may reject the PAD application.
If the employer has a valid reason for the delay, your solicitor may still give a warning to the defendant and offer an extended period of time to respond to your claim.
Your solicitor will keep you updated regarding the progress of your claim, and they will fight for the best possible outcome and compensation settlement.
If you have any questions about what happens next when the employer doesn’t respond, your solicitor will be able to address these fully.
If you have been injured at work in the last 3 years, you may be able to claim financial compensation.
Find out more about making a work accident claim:
- Do you qualify?
- How much compensation could you get?
- How does No Win, No Fee work?