What happens when a compensation claim goes to court?

By Jason Brady

Scales of justice

Compensation claims are a fairly common occurrence in the United Kingdom, with thousands of people each year making claims for personal injury, medical negligence, and other types of loss or damage.

In most cases, these claims are settled out of court, with both parties coming to an agreement on a compensation sum. However, there are situations where a claim may need to go to court, which can be a complex and time-consuming process.

Why would a claim need to go to court?

A compensation claim may need to go to court if the parties involved cannot reach an agreement on the amount of compensation to be paid. In some cases, the claim may be denied entirely by the defendant, in which case the claimant may have no choice but to pursue legal action. Other reasons a claim may need to go to court include disputes over liability or where there is a disagreement over the facts of the case.

How common is it for compensation claims to go to court?

While most compensation claims are settled out of court, a significant number do end up going to trial.

Compensation claims form a significant proportion of the cases dealt with by the Civil Courts, and according to the latest statistics published by the UK government, a little over 3% of these were resolved in court in 2021.

It is important to remember that the likelihood of going to court varies depending on the type of claim and the jurisdiction in which it is made. For example, medical negligence claims are more likely to go to court than personal injury claims.

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What happens if the claim goes to court?

If a compensation claim goes to court, the process can be lengthy and expensive. The claimant will need to file a claim with the appropriate court and provide evidence to support their case. The defendant will have the opportunity to respond to the claim and provide their own evidence. The court will then hold a hearing, at which both parties will have the opportunity to present their case.

Unlike in criminal cases, there is no jury involved in compensation claims. Instead, a judge will hear the evidence presented by both sides and decide on the amount of compensation to be paid. The judge will consider a range of factors, including the severity of the injury or damage suffered, the impact it has had on the claimant’s life, and any financial losses incurred as a result.

If the claimant is successful, they will be awarded compensation, which may be paid in a lump sum or in instalments. If the defendant is found to be at fault, they will be responsible for paying the compensation, as well as any legal costs incurred by the claimant.

Blackwater Law successfully represented Catherine in a brain injury claim after she suffered a long-term brain injury as a result of a car accident.


Not sure if making a compensation claim is right for you?

Making a compensation claim can be a tough decision to take, so it’s important to speak with a qualified solicitor for advice about the best course of action. Blackwater Law can offer free initial advice and support for those considering a claim, with no obligation to proceed if you decide it’s not right for you.

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