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What will the Court consider when dealing with an application for an interim payment?
The Court will only make an order for interim payment if at least one of the below conditions are met:
- the defendant (at-fault party) has admitted liability and is willing to pay (you) the claimant (even if there is contributory negligence)
- the claimant has obtained a judgment against that defendant for damages to be assessed or for a sum of money (other than costs) to be assessed
- if the claim went to trial, you would receive substantial damages
I’m claiming state benefits, how does that impact me?
Any money you receive in connection with a personal injury claim may affect your existing and future entitlement to means-tested benefits.
Some benefits like universal credit, child tax credit and jobseekers allowance are means-tested, so your income and capital can affect your eligibility to receive them.
It’s possible to put all or part of the money paid into a Personal Injury Trust. This will let you keep your existing and future rights to these benefits. This is allowed by the rules, but only if a Personal Injury Trust is properly set up.
You have 52 weeks from the date that you get your first personal injury compensation award or interim payment to set up a Personal Injury Trust. The payment will be ignored whilst your entitlement to means-tested benefits is being considered. After the 52 weeks, your compensation award counts as money when your right to any means-tested benefits is assessed.
How much will I receive?
A reasonable amount will depend on the claim, but the court will want to ensure that no overpayment is made.
If at the end of your claim, your interim payments are more than the total damages awarded to you then you will have to pay back any overpayment to the defendant’s insurer, plus interest.
What are the steps to getting an interim payment?
We ask the defendant for an interim payment, which they will either agree to or refuse. If agreed, we can expect them to send through your interim payment, which we will process to your bank account.
If they refuse, we’ll explain the next options to you. This includes requesting for the court to decide if it should force the defendant to release the interim payment. We will first need to log your claim with the court if it has not already been logged.
If you want the court to decide on the issue, then your representative will discuss this with you and draft the paperwork necessary for the court. Any application to the court for an interim payment will need to be supported with evidence of the potential value of the claim. One of the conditions of being able to issue is that medical evidence has been obtained.
Once the paperwork has been filed, the court will be in touch with the judge’s decision or hearing date. At a hearing, the judge will hear from both parties and decide if an interim should be paid.
How to support your claim
CCTV can be obtained from private premises or local authorities if the police have no liability evidence. CCTV or dashcams are an important piece of evidence and, if available, are often the best indication of what happened during the crash.
An expert in CCTV analysis can examine the footage so an accident reconstruction expert can provide an opinion on the cause of an accident. Witnesses at the scene can also sign a witness statement for use in the claim, even if they have already provided a statement to the police.
Securing early evidence of CCTV footage and witnesses, in our experience, can mean that the insurers of the other driver can volunteer interim payments and rehabilitation earlier.
Why is liability important?
Your representative will negotiate an interim payment with the insurer of the at-fault driver. This is straightforward when there is no dispute, or no significant dispute, about who was responsible for causing the crash.
However, the insurers acting for the other driver will want to make their own enquires before admitting liability if liability is in the dispute or the case is potentially high value.
Because they do not wish to prejudice any potential criminal prosecution of the driver, it can be difficult to get liability evidence about the crash from the police.
It can take a long time for the case to be heard in the criminal courts if the other driver pleads not guilty to any criminal charge. This means that it can take months or close to a year to obtain evidence from the police.
However, insurers will usually want to provide financial support and rehabilitation when they realise that they are likely to ultimately be paying most (if not all) of a compensation claim.