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How many personal injury claims go to court?

If you have suffered a personal injury, making a claim for compensation can be a hugely important step in helping you get your life back on track. Claiming compensation can provide you and your family with peace of mind, as well as financial support to help cover the cost of any medical treatment, lost work or lifestyle adjustments needed in the aftermath of your injury.

However, many people who have experienced a serious injury sometimes feel reluctant to pursue the compensation to which they are entitled, due to a perception that the experience will be too stressful to go through with. This is often based upon a fear of a lengthy legal battle, during which they will have to appear in court and argue their case before a judge.

But how many personal injury claims go to court? In reality, the number that get this far is very low, and the chances are that your case will be resolved long before it gets to this stage. In this blog post, the specialist serious injury solicitors at Potter Rees Dolan will explore the factors behind this.

How often do personal injury claims go to court?

Estimates vary in terms of exactly what percentage of personal injury claims require a court hearing, but most calculations put this figure somewhere between 1% and 5%. This demonstrates that most people making a claim of this kind will never have to go to court.

Examining the official Civil Justice Statistics from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) underlines this trend. According to the department’s county court activity data for England and Wales in 2021, there were a total of 1.58 million claims made across all case types, yet only 53,266 were taken to trial - around 3.4%.

Of the 1.58 million total claims, there were only 86,175 personal injury cases among these. The MoJ did not provide a specific breakdown of how many of these went to court, but it is safe to assume that it will be considerably lower than this total.

Why do some claims go to court?

It is helpful to understand why some personal injury claims go to court in order to give yourself a clearer idea of how likely it is that your case will be taken to trial. Here are the most common reasons why a claim may need to be adjudicated by a court:

  • The person you are making the claim against refuses to accept liability for causing your accident or injuries
  • The defendant accepts liability, but refuses to accept that a person has been injured at all, or in the way that they have alleged
  • The defendant accepts liability, and that the person has been injured, but an agreement cannot be reached on a suitable compensation amount for those injuries and their consequences

In addition, courts can become involved to assist along the way.  Examples include:

  • If the defendant or their insurer is unresponsive to your attempts to contact them, you can appeal to the courts to start legal proceedings, at which point they are legally required to respond
  • If you need financial support to help you cover the short-term costs associated with your injury, a solicitor can apply to the court to start proceedings and provide interim payments to meet your immediate needs

It is also worth bearing in mind that even if court proceedings are commenced, there is still a good chance that the case will be settled before the actual hearing. After all, most parties involved in cases like these will not want a court case (with the increased legal costs this involves), and compromise settlements are often agreed midway through this process.

How likely is it that I will need to attend court myself?

Even if your case ends up going to court, the chances of you needing to attend a hearing and plead your case in person are relatively low. It is rare that cases will turn on one client’s account; instead, the case will be supported by other witnesses, experts and a barrister to argue the case on your behalf. This is particularly important when clients do not know what has happened to them.    

Even if your case does go to court, your solicitors will be on hand to support you at every stage of the process, preparing you for what you might be asked and what you will be required to do. The process is a lot less aggressive than films and television programmes portray, as there is no jury, and so barristers are calmer in presenting arguments directly to a judge. This means that the shouting and drama you may be expecting simply isn’t present.

Specialist personal injury solicitors, like those at Potter Rees Dolan, are committed to making sure the claims process is as straightforward and stress-free as possible for you, and will always take primary responsibility for getting you the settlement you are after.

Find out more

If you want to know more about the reasons why personal injury claims go to court, or get expert advice on how likely it is that your case will require a court hearing, get in touch with the legal experts at Potter Rees Dolan.

Simply give us a call on 0800 027 2557 or complete our online enquiry form, and a member of our team will be on hand to provide an answer to any questions you may have about your personal injury claim.