The civil courts in Wales and England are experiencing the worst delays on record, causing significant frustration and anxiety for solicitors and claimants. A recent article by John Hyde in the Law Society Gazette highlights the dire situation, noting that in the first three months of this year, the average time from issue to trial for all personal injury claims in the County Court has increased to 65.9 weeks, up from 58.6 weeks in the previous year.
Best estimates indicate that 95% of all personal injury claims settle without going to a court hearing. However, this still means that court delays affect many personal injury claims, with some cases taking years to reach a resolution. This can significantly impact the claimant’s life, particularly if they cannot work or require ongoing medical treatment.
The reasons for these delays are numerous, ranging from court closures and staff shortages to outdated technology and complex procedures. COVID-19 exacerbated the situation, with social distancing measures limiting the number of cases heard in person, thus creating even more of a backlog of cases from which the court system has been unable to recover.
Will backlogs at court delay the settlement of my personal injury claim?
At Mooneerams Solicitors, we understand the frustration and stress these delays can cause clients. However, whilst we accept there are things we have no control over, i.e. court delays, there are other things that we can do to make sure your claim comes to a successful conclusion at the earliest opportunity. Here’s how we do it:
- We are specialist personal injury solicitors who only handle personal injury compensation claims and only for claimants (the person bringing the claim). It’s all we’ve ever done since the firm opened its doors for the first time in 2002.
We believe in the phrase, ‘horses for courses’. In other words, we stick to what we know best and where our expertise lies.
As a team, we’ve honed our skills over many years. Our expertise in handling injury claims means our personal injury team members don’t process claims like AI robots.
At Mooneerams, we get the best compensation settlement possible for our clients in the shortest time feasible without compromising their claims.
- Mooneerams don’t add to any delays caused by the court system. What do we mean by this?
We sometimes get asked to take over claims for clients who are dissatisfied with their previous solicitors. When we ask them why they want to change solicitors, one of the biggest grievances cited is that the solicitor repeatedly didn’t do what they said they would.
Given the court delays we’ve already highlighted, the last thing a client needs is for their legal representative to be sluggish in their handling of the injury claim.
Sadly, some firms delegate personal injury claims to inexperienced claims handlers, who are often obliged to handle a large volume of files simultaneously. To us, that’s a recipe for disaster.
At Mooneerams, we also ensure that we stay up-to-date with the latest court procedures and technology, enabling us to navigate the court system efficiently and effectively.
- There is a difference between bringing court proceedings and a case going to court. More often than not, court proceedings are issued or ‘brought’ in personal injury cases to try and exert pressure on the insurers of the person or organisation you hold responsible for causing the accident to begin settlement negotiations or make offers to settle your claim.
Some insurance companies are notorious for ‘sitting on cases’ and doing very little until they have to. Issuing court proceedings is a way of making them do something, and it’s surprising how many personal injury claims get settled soon after court proceedings have begun. As we’ve already stated, most personal injury cases don’t reach court; by that, we mean a court hearing.
In conclusion, the delays experienced in the civil courts in England and Wales are a serious issue and not to be ignored. They affect some personal injury cases but by no means all of them.
However, by working with experienced solicitors such as Mooneerams, claimants can minimise the impact of these delays on their cases and successfully resolve their claims in a timely and cost-effective manner.