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How long does a work accident claim take?

This guide explains how long accidents at work and other personal injury claims take to settle, including factors that can delay proceedings and steps you can take to speed up the process.

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How long does a work accident claim take?

Workplace accidents happen across various sectors in the UK. The most common causes of injuries include slips, trips and falls, being struck by a moving object, manual handling, falls from height and acts of violence. If your employer or another party was at fault for your harm, you might be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim.

Most people who want to claim compensation wonder how fast their case will settle. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to the question ‘How long does a work accident claim take?’. The time it may take to receive your compensation payment will depend on various factors. These include the details of your accident, the resulting injuries and whether the defendant admits liability.

To get an estimate of how long your claim will take, call 0800 678 1410 today for a free case assessment. You can also request a call back by using our online claim form.

What can affect how long a personal injury claim takes?

Various factors can influence how fast a personal injury claim will settle and how much compensation you can claim, including:

  • The severity of your injuries and how long it may take for you to recover
  • Whether you have suffered one or multiple injuries
  • Whether your injuries have led to a long-term or permanent disability
  • Whether the party at fault disputes liability or admits negligence
  • The circumstances of the accident
  • The complexity of the case
  • Whether there are multiple parties involved
  • How long it will take your solicitor to gather evidence to build your case
  • Who you are claiming against
  • How long it takes to negotiate a settlement that both parties find fair
  • Whether you have to go to court
  • How quickly the court hears your case (if a trial is required)
  • How long it takes for your employer or their insurer to respond to your claim
  • Whether you need to employ a barrister to represent you in court
  • Whether the claimant is a minor or incapacitated adult
  • The estimated value of your compensation award

These and other factors will determine how quickly your claim is settled and how fast you will receive compensation. The average duration of the most common types of personal injury claims are:

How long does a work accident claim take to settle?

Each case is different, but the average time it takes for accident at work cases to settle is between six to nine months. This time limit usually applies to claims that are under £25,000 and can be processed through the pre-action protocol using the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal.

As seen above, various factors will determine exactly how long your claim will take, including:

  • The type of accident you suffered
  • Whether your employer admits liability
  • Whether there are any other parties involved in the accident
  • The injuries you suffered and their long-term effects
  • How well the defendant cooperates with your solicitor

In some cases, you could get a pre-med offer within 30 days of your accident. As the name suggests, a pre-medical offer refers to a compensation offer made by the defendant’s insurer as soon as they admit liability for the accident. That means you will receive a compensation offer before having your injuries assessed by a medical professional.

This approach is cost-saving for insurance companies, but you should generally not accept it. While a pre-med offer can help ease your financial strain, it is a quick fix that could cause you to lose much more in the long run. A thorough medical exam is essential to determine the full extent of your injuries and their short and long-term impact on your life.

What is the process of making an accident at work claim?

There are several steps involved in making a personal injury claim. If you were injured in an accident at work, the claims process will typically look like this:

  • Consult with a personal injury solicitor. It is highly recommended to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. They can advise you on the strength of your case, calculate potential damages, and guide you through the legal process.
  • Identify the responsible party. Your solicitor will help you determine who is liable for your injuries. That could be an employer, property owner, manufacturer, or another party.
  • Collect evidence. Your personal injury lawyer will also help you collect all the evidence you need to start your claim. That includes photos of the accident, your injuries, medical reports, and any contributing factors. If there were witnesses, try to get their contact information. It would also help if you filed an accident report with your employer and have a signed copy of it.
  • Medical assessment of your injuries. Your solicitor will arrange a free medical exam with a specialist to assess the full extent of your injuries. They will recommend further treatments you may need and asses any ongoing medical needs.
  • Submit your claim to the defendant. The other side will receive a claim notification form with the details of your case. They will have up to three months to investigate your claim and admit or deny liability.
  • Negotiation and settlement. Your solicitor will try to negotiate a settlement with the defendant or their insurer. That is often the fastest way to resolve a claim. If an agreement is reached, your case will be settled without going to court. Otherwise, you may have to argue your case before a judge.

To learn more about the legal process or ‘How long does a work accident claim take?’ do not hesitate to call 0800 678 1410 today to speak to an experienced solicitor.

Will the type of injury affect the duration of my case?

When you make a personal injury claim, your solicitor will seek a thorough medical report. That will include a detailed account of your injury, the treatments you received and your recovery prospects.

The type and extent of injury or illness you have suffered will affect how long your accident at work claim takes. If your injuries are minor, you can obtain a medical report within weeks of your accident. That means you can start the pre-action protocol relatively quickly, and your claim could settle within months.

Severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment and may have lasting effects can lead to more prolonged cases. That is because it takes time to fully understand the extent of the injury and the impact it will have on your life. Some conditions can take months or even years to manifest fully. For example, this could be the case if you suffered psychological trauma or a brain injury.

Cases involving ongoing medical treatment, surgeries, or rehabilitation can take longer to resolve. Waiting for a full recovery or stabilisation of your condition is essential. That will ensure you are also adequately compensated for any medical expenses the NHS does not cover, loss of wages and other related financial losses.

Will my claim be delayed if the other side denies liability?

If you make a claim against an employer and they deny liability for your accident, your personal injury claim will also take longer. In this case, both sides may conduct further investigations to collect more evidence to support their case. This can take a long time, as your solicitor may need to gather witness statements, expert opinions and other types of proof.

If the defendant refuses to enter negotiations, your solicitor will issue court proceedings. The time it takes to receive a trial date will depend on the court’s schedule and backlog of cases. Sometimes, you could wait up to a year to argue your claim before a judge.

Once you issue court proceedings, the court will set strict rules and time limits that must be complied with. That will let the other side know that you are prepared to go to trial if they continue to deny liability and are unwilling to settle.

If your claim goes to court, this will further prolong the time it takes to get your compensation. Fortunately, negotiations can continue until the trial date and more than 95% of all personal injury claims are settled without going to court.

What can I do to speed up the claims process?

There are a few things you can do to help speed up the claims process, such as:

  • Provide all necessary information and documentation promptly to your solicitor. These include medical records, accident reports, photographs, witness contact details, and any other evidence related to your claim.
  • Maintain clear and open communication with your legal representative.
  • Attend all medical appointments and follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
  • Be thorough and accurate in your account of the incident and its impact on your life.
  • Keep records of any expenditures related to the claim, such as medical bills, travel expenses, and other relevant costs.
  • Ensure you meet all deadlines set by the court and your solicitor.
  • If you receive a fair settlement offer, consider accepting it rather than proceeding to a full trial, which can be time-consuming.

If you want to settle your claim as soon as possible, you can choose to accept an early settlement offer. Your solicitor will likely advise against it, as your compensation could be much higher once you have all the details.

How long does it take to get compensation?

Once both parties agree to a settlement amount, you should receive your compensation within two to four weeks. How much you get will depend on two types of losses:

  • General damages are awarded for the physical injury and how it has affected your life. These could include physical pain, emotional distress, reduced quality of life and loss of amenities. Feel free to check our compensation calculator to see how much you could receive for general damages based on your injury.
  • Special damages are awarded for all the financial losses and expenses related to your injury. Examples include loss of earnings, prescriptions, private treatments, travel expenses and care costs. They are calculated based on evidence like receipts, payslips and invoices. Your solicitor will consider everything you have been through to secure the maximum amount of compensation on your behalf.

Can I receive interim payments?

If you have immediate financial needs, your solicitor could secure interim payments before your claim concludes. These are partial payments made to you before a final settlement is reached. You must fulfil the following criteria to qualify for interim payments:

  • Your employer has admitted responsibility for your accident
  • They have denied liability, but a trial is very likely to go your way
  • You have valid grounds to request the payment, such as urgent medical needs
  • The amount you are soliciting is reasonable

As it is hard to say precisely how long your claim may take to settle, applying for interim payments may be your best option. Your personal injury solicitor will guide and help you make a successful claim.

Is there a time limit to start a compensation claim?

If you want to seek compensation for a workplace injury, the claim time limit is typically three years from the date of the accident or the date you became aware of your injuries. Under the Limitation Act 1980, your case will become statute-barred if you do not start legal proceedings within this timeframe. There are several exceptions to this claim limitation date:

  • If an individual is under 18 at the time of the accident, they will have until their 21st birthday to claim for an accident at work.
  • The time limit is suspended if the injured party lacks the mental capacity to start legal proceedings. They could be incapacitated due to a brain injury or a condition such as bipolar disorder or Down syndrome. A litigation friend could claim for them at any time.
  • If you lost a loved one due to a workplace accident, you could start a claim within three years of their death.
  • If you were injured while working in the military, you have seven years to proceed with a claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).
  • If you were injured due to a workplace assault, you could claim criminal injury compensation through the CICA within two years of the incident. CICA claims could take longer to settle than a claim against your employer.

Generally, the sooner you start your case, the better. That will help your solicitor gather everything you need to begin the injury claims process and secure the best compensation amount for your accident and injuries.

Can I make a claim with a No Win No Fee personal injury solicitor?

If you are eligible to claim for a work accident, the solicitors we work with will offer you a no win no fee* service. That means you will not have to pay them anything upfront. Furthermore, your solicitor will only receive a success fee from the compensation you are awarded if they win your case. Otherwise, you do not have to pay them a single penny.

When you make a no win no fee claim, you are also covered by After the Event (ATE) insurance. The ATE will cover all your legal expenses and disbursements if you lose the case, including the defendant’s. You only pay the price of the ATE premium if your claim is successful.

If you are wondering, ‘How long does a work accident claim take?’, do not hesitate to call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back for a free consultation with a legal adviser. They can let you know if you have a valid claim, answer your questions and tell you how long your claim may take.

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*Personal injury claims are provided on a no win no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive a success fee of up to 25% of your compensation. If any additional costs could be payable, such as taking out legal protection insurance, these would be fully explained upfront by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply based on time spent on your case, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation, deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing. Please visit our guide to no win no fee claims page for further information.


Last edited on 17th Jul 2024

With over 15 years in the legal industry, Nicholas Tate has a wealth of knowledge and experience covering all types of personal injury and clinical negligence claims.