Personal injury claim timeline
How long will a personal injury claim take?
In this article we break down each of the stages in a personal injury claim to assist claimants to understand what to expect. As always, Rise Lawyers provides this article for general information only. If you believe that you have a legal issue, or have suffered injury, we recommend that you seek legal advice and medical advice before taking action.
Personal injury claims can vary, but they generally go through five stages:
1. Notifying the respondent
2. Response from the other side
3. Gather evidence of loss
4. Assess loss
5. Negotiate a resolution
Each of these stages can take anywhere from a few weeks to a number of months, depending on the severity of the injury.
Generally speaking, however, a personal injury claim usually takes between 4 months to 5 years.
Stage 1 – Accident
In most Australian states, a claimant must notify the respondent within certain time frames and these time frames can be different from State to State.
Stage 2 – Receive response
In some States in Australia, the respondent must tell the claimant if they do not believe that the are at fault for the accident. Some States in Australia require the respondent to provide a claimant with a formal response to their claim notification within 28 days after the compliant claim notification has been received.
Stage 3 - Gather evidence
This is the stage where a claimant gathers evidence of loss to prove how much their claim is worth.
Medical evidence can be obtained in the form of clinical notes, reports from doctors, and reports from treating medical specialists, for example.
Evidence about economic loss can be obtained in the form of leave records, for example, evidencing time taken off work.
If someone has had a severe injury, they are generally likely to be entitled to receive compensation for the time that someone has spent providing them with domestic assistance. Evidence of domestic assistance can be gained through providing witness statements from friends and family.
General damages means pain and suffering due to the accident. This is established based on medical reports and other documents detailing the severity of an injury.
Treatment expenses can be proved through receipts, for example from physiotherapy and rehabilitation attendances.
Stage 4 - 4 to 12 months and beyond – Assess the loss
Once enough evidence is gathered, a claimant may be in a position to assess the loss that they have suffered. The point of this is to work out the value of the claim.
If a claimant has suffered very minor injuries, then they may be in a position to assess their loss quite early. If, however, the claimant’s injuries are more severe, then they should wait until their injuries have stabilised and they will not suffer a deterioration in the future.
An assessment of loss is essentially the adding up of all the types of loss that a claimant has suffered and is entitled to recover; it will assist a claimant to work out what their claim would likely be worth if it went to Court.
Once this assessment has been conducted, a claimant can then move forward confidently knowing the value of their claim.
Stage 5 - 8 months and beyond – Negotiate a resolution
This stage can be the most fulfilling part of the claims process. This is the stage where offers are exchanged to come to a resolution. The negotiation phase can take a number of forms.
A claim may be resolved by letter of offer, by an informal settlement conference, or even by a mediation.
Either way once a claimant accepts an offer from the respondent, they cannot re-open your claim. The should be certain that they are content with what has been offered, and guidance from experts should be sought.
If a claimant cannot resolve their claim by negotiation then it is likely that they will need to go to Court to prove their claim in front of a Judge, that is a different phase altogether and something we discuss in other posts.
If you think that you have a claim and want to discuss how much it might be worth, Rise Lawyers will make the process easy for you. Call us for a free consultation today.