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How do I Issue Court Proceedings?

I want to pursue personal injury compensation against my employer for an industrial disease I contracted and want to know how do I issue court proceedings? I was diagnosed with silicosis last year, and have just found out I can claim silicosis compensation.

Question:

I want to pursue personal injury compensation against my employer for an industrial disease I contracted and want to know how do I issue court proceedings? I was diagnosed with silicosis last year, and have just found out I can claim silicosis compensation.

Answer:

A frequent question asked to our helpline personal injury solicitors is “How do I issue court proceedings”? Issuing court proceedings means arranging for the UK courts to deal with a claim for personal injury compensation, and while many accident victims or workers who have contracted an occupational disease believe this is how most claims are settled, the majority of compensation claims never make it to the courts.

A settlement is usually reached between the claimant´s personal injury solicitor and the insurance company of the defendant. Court proceedings are usually only required when negligence – or liability – is denied, a claim or the claim amount is contested, or when the accident victim is a minor.

Before court proceedings are issued in the UK there are legal procedures which must first be completed. By following the legal process, court proceedings in the UK may not be necessary. After eligibility to claim personal injury compensation is confirmed, the first stage is to issue the defendant(s) a claims letter. In the claims letter the reason for the claim is outlined, together with why the defendant is deemed to be liable for the personal injuries sustained. Detailed below is an outline of how to issue court proceedings in the UK.

Issuing a claims letter in itself may illicit an offer of settlement from the insurance company of the defendant or initiate negotiations between the claimant´s solicitor and the insurer of the defendant. When negotiations stall, or an offer of settlement is not forthcoming, the next step to issue court proceedings. In the UK this means to issue a civil court claim. This involves filing the appropriate documentation to the courts and paying the court fee. The documentation will be authorised, stamped with a court seal, dated and given a notice of issue. A court date will then be set for the case to be heard.

Issuing court proceedings not only takes a personal injury claim to the next level and starts the process of UK court litigation, but often following up the threat of litigation with action can restart negotiations between the third party insurance company which is responsible for paying personal injury compensation and your chosen legal representative.

Litigation comes at a cost, and often an insurance company will decide to settle a personal injury claim rather than run the risk of a claim being ruled in the claimants favour. By settling a claim, the defence will also save on legal fees and court costs. Should liability continue to be denied or the claim amount be contested, the case will be presented to a judge who will make their decision in favour of the claimant or defence. It is a risk that many insurance companies are not willing to take, and an eleventh hour settlement is often reached.

There is a strict time limit on requesting a court date, and it is not possible to issue court proceedings if the legal time limit has been exceeded. This is dictated by the UK Statute of Limitations, and is usually 3 years from the date of the injury, or with industrial diseases and injuries which are not known until sometime after the accident, from the ‘Date of Knowledge’. In your case, if you have not already sent a claims letter, you should speak with a personal injury solicitor about your case as soon as possible in order not to be time barred.