What happens if my injury claim goes to court?

Updated: September 18, 2020

Making a work injury claim can be a daunting prospect. Many people worry about what might happen if their claim goes to court. However, most injury claims are settled out of court. This article explains what happens if your claim cannot be negotiated and it ends up in court.

What percentage of claims go to court?

As a trial is a costly and stressful process, all parties usually prefer to avoid the courts if possible.

In most circumstances, negotiations will take place between the injured party’s solicitor and the defendant’s insurance company to agree on a compensation settlement without the need to go to court.

An estimated 99% of injury claims settle out of court. In the event that an out of court settlement cannot be reached, a claimant can decide to seek a resolution in court.

What happens when I make a claim?

When you first speak to your solicitor about making an injury claim, they will confirm your eligibility to make a claim. The solicitor will need to establish that:

  • You were injured in the last three years (or longer if children are involved);
  • Another party was to blame;
  • The defendant owed you a duty of care.

Most injury claims are handled by a solicitor on a No Win, No Fee basis. No win, no fee means you will not incur any legal costs if you lose your case - even if it does go to court.

Find out how much you can claim:

Why do some claims go to court?

All parties prefer to avoid a court hearing if possible, but there are some situations that make going to court more likely.

Complex cases

A case is more likely to go to court if it is particularly complex or serious.

Serious cases might include:

  • Serious work injury claims or industrial disease
  • Serious road injury and motorcycle claims
  • Medical negligence
  • Head, back and spinal injuries
  • Injuries involving children
  • Fatal accident claims

Denial of liability

A case can end up in court if the defendant denies liability for the injury. However, negotiations can still continue between both parties right up until the trial date, and the case may still end up being settled out of court.

Lack of response from the defendant or insurer

Your solicitor may apply to the court if the defendant is taking too long to respond to the injury claim - or not responding at all. Filing the claim at court will force the defendant to respond correctly and appoint a solicitor if they have not already done so.

Interim payments

Your solicitor may apply to the court for an interim payment to help you meet the cost of urgent treatment or living expenses while your case is still being settled.

What happens if my case goes to court?

If negotiations are unsuccessful and your solicitor is unable to secure an acceptable settlement, the solicitor can take your case to court to be heard by a judge.

Once a solicitor has filed the claim, the court will review it before giving a response. This response will set out how the court wants to proceed, deadlines for information to be supplied and a trial date.

Even when a court date has been set, negotiations between both parties can still continue and may still reach a settlement before the trial.

What happens in court?

Your case will be heard in a civil courtroom. This means that there will be a judge, but no jury or public gallery.

In most cases, you will not be required to attend the court in person. A solicitor or appointed barrister will represent you if your claim is estimated to be worth between £1,000 and £25,000 (this is known as a ‘fast track’ claim).

If your case is more complex, or worth over £25,000 (a ‘multi-track’ claim), then you may be expected to attend the trial. In this scenario, you may be required to answer questions about your injury.

Once the case has been heard, the judge will make a ruling. If you win your case, the judge will determine the level of compensation you are to receive.

Have you been injured at work?

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?
Work accident claim guide