A Solicitor may have to issue a claim for a number of reasons. If liability is in dispute, a settlement cannot be reached or there is a deadline approaching for your claim, then court proceedings may be issued. Issued means sending the details of your claim to the court. The court will then process the claim and send it to the Defendant for a formal response. The Defendant can accept liability or dispute the claim.
If liability is admitted, there may still be a number of steps to be taken to get the claim ready for the Judge. If the case is disputed, then a formal defence will be sent to your solicitor. This will set out why the claim is disputed.
Once the response has been sent to the court, the court will ask the parties for their input on how the claim should be dealt with to prepare it for the Judge. This is called Case Management or Allocation. The solicitors for each side will discuss the case and agree on the steps to be taken, or directions, needed to prepare the case. Serious injuries will always be allocated to the Multi Track which is for dealing with higher value cases which are likely to involve many experts who may need to attend court and speak to the Judge. These cases may require several days for the final hearing.
The usual steps needed after allocation will be for the parties to send each other any documents which are relevant, send each other witness statements for anyone who will be coming to court to tell the Judge what has happened, exchange any medical evidence or ask questions of the experts, meetings of the experts and joint reports to be prepared, finalise any losses and calculations and generally prepare for the final hearing or trial*. The parties may explore settlement along the way.
Your solicitor will advise you as the steps are undertaken as to whether anything that the other side sends, affects the merits of the claim. Your solicitor will always be considering the merits of the claim and how the claim can be effected by any evidence being presented by the other side.
If the claim is issued, this does not necessarily mean it will come before the Judge, as often cases are settled before the final hearing.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident resulting in a serious injury, contact one of our experts at Maxwell Hodge Solicitors to see how we can help guide you through this difficult time.
*For more information on the Trial stage, please see our Guide Trial