In normal circumstances, a claim for compensation will involve negotiations with the insurers of the person whom you consider to blame for the accident. If those negotiations are successful, the amount of compensation can be agreed upon or, if not, decided on by the court. Problems may arise, however, in cases where the claimant has had to pay out of their own pocket for various expenses associated with the accident, which is putting them under financial pressure. In certain cases, a claim for early (or interim) compensation can be made to alleviate this hardship until the case is finally settled or the court makes an award of compensation.
This can be particularly helpful to a claimant whose case proceeds to a court hearing and that process is expected to last some time. In this article we look at who is able to apply for an early compensation payment and list some of the items that such a payment might cover.
Who Can Apply?
An early payment is effectively a payment on account of the final award of compensation in a personal injury case. As such, the amount of any early payment or payments paid will be subtracted from the final compensation agreed or ordered by the court. An early compensation payment can be claimed in cases where the defendant or his or her insurers accept liability for the accident that gave rise to the injuries or where the court takes the view that if the case went to court the claimant would obtain judgment for a significant amount of compensation. The amount that the court can award as an early compensation payment is a “reasonable” proportion of the likely final award. Where an insurance company accepts liability for the accident but refuses to make an early payment, the only way the issue can be forced is by an application to the court. The early payment process assists a valid claimant to proceed with their claim without the temptation to accept an inadequate compensation offer by reason of financial hardship.
What Can Early Compensation Payments Cover?
There are a variety of items that early compensation payments might cover to alleviate the financial hardship being suffered by a personal injury compensation claimant. Some of these are listed below:
- Any loss of earnings that the claimant has suffered as a result of being incapacitated from working following their accident.
- Any difference between their benefits and their earnings.
- The cost of any care and/domestic services that the claimant has been required to pay.
- Any additional transport costs sustained.
- Payment for the replacement for any items that were damaged in the accident.
- The fees for any private medical treatment, prescriptions and other rehabilitative services.
- The cost of any adaptations that are needed in the home.
- Any other financial outlay that claimants have been required to make by reason of the accident and its consequences.
Early compensations are a valuable tool in the arsenal of a claimant where liability is uncontested, and/or they have a strong case on liability. A claimant should not hesitate to take advantage of this tool to ensure that he or she does not suffer unnecessary financial hardship whilst waiting for the final conclusion of a claim.