Interim payment in personal injury

Interim payment in a personal injury case

An interim payment is a payment on account of the compensation you are likely to receive in your claim for compensation.

After an accident your earnings may be reduced or even stopped. You may have to incur expenses to ensure recovery from injury, or to repair a damaged vehicle or property. Personal injury cases can take time and an interim payment could be the difference between feeling you have to accept a quick low settlement because you are broke and getting a proper compensation payment. If you have a good case for compensation after an accident you should not be in this position.

You should not be forced to settle your case too cheaply because you are short of money as a result of an accident. The purpose of an interim payment is to level the playing field  between you and the Defendant, often backed by an insurance company, who has caused your accident. Sometimes insurance companies will try to drag out a settlement to increase the financial pressure on you to accept a low offer. You should not be in this position and let us tell you how interim payments are meant to work.

Interim payments are available voluntarily where the insurance company for the Defendant agrees, or by order of the Court. You can only insist on an interim payment once Court proceedings have been started and served on the Defendant.

You can get an interim payment if the overall chances of success are very good, and you can show the value of your case is more than the interim payment you seek. If at the end of the case you get less than the interim payment you will have to pay back the difference, so be sensible.

An interim payment is intended as a payment on account of compensation in a pretty clear cut case. So an interim payment is not available in every case. The important points are:

  • The defendant has admitted liability or you have judgment on liability.
  • Or the Court “is satisfied that, if the claim went to trial, the claimant would obtain judgment for a substantial amount of money (other than costs) against the defendant from whom he is seeking an order for an interim payment whether or not that defendant is the only defendant or one of a number of defendants to the claim.”
  • The Court can order a “reasonable proportion” of the likely compensation be paid.
  • Contributory negligence has to be taken into account.

This takes me back to the explanation of contributory negligence. There may be an admission of liability or judgment in your favour, but contributory negligence can still be argued.

An interim payment can be a great help when an accident or injury leaves you financially stretched, but interim payments are only available if your case looks pretty certain to win.

Warning – If your situation demands a personal injury trust that trust must be set up to receive the interim payment.

Call for help without obligation on 01392 314086

About Mark Thompson

Personal injury and accident specialist solicitor
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17 Responses to Interim payment in personal injury

  1. Linda Brown says:

    Hello,

    Im currently dealing with my personal injury case. I was in a road traffic accident where my car was written off. Full liabiliy has been admitted. I am now suffering with arthritis is one shoulder as a result of the accident 15 months post. I was wondering whether I should ask my solicitors to request for an interim payment, as i’m currently waiting to be referred to a specialist via the NHS. I have been advised that this can take up to 2 months. In the means time I would like to seek other forms of therapy to help manage the intense pain. I have also had to reduce my hours at work as the pain is too much.

    Please advise whether I am within my rights to ask for this interim payment or not! Thank You.

    • Mark Thompson says:

      An interim payment is not a right, but there is a presumption you should have one if loss and expense has been incurred, settlement is some time away, the aim being to right the financial imbalance between you and the insurance company. You should not feel under pressure to accept an offer because you are short of money.
      Insurers are not keen on interim payments as they prefer you to be “hungry” when negotiating. If your case is being handled within the road traffic accident protocol then subject to providing medical evidence and details of your financial loss you may be entitled to seek at least £1,000 as an interim payment. See the protocol by clicking here.
      You can only force an interim payment if Court proceedings have been issued. An application can then be made to the Court.
      A request or application for an interim payment must be accompanied by a detailed calculation of loss and expense caused by the accident and injury. You should ask for as much of that loss as you wish.
      Do bear in mind that if you are in receipt of means-tested benefits, or you are likely to be in receipt of such benefits, or if you intend to hold onto the compensation for some time, you should consider protecting your ability to claim benefits. See the information by clicking here.

  2. Steve C says:

    Hi, my wife and my 3 young sons were hit from behind on a motorway by another car moving at around 100mph. The driver has admitted full liability. Our car was flipped onto its side and slid down the road. My wife is stiff and 2 of my sons have been crying getting in our hire car recently. Our insurance company has suggested we accept an interim offer from the other insurance company but then they will take our hire car back. We have no other car to search for a replacement car or take our children to their rural nursery and school. Where do we stand on this and should we just accept the interim payment? Thank you.

    • Mark Thompson says:

      Are you relying on the advice of your insurance company or have you arranged independent representation?

      As I see it your question relates to your car.

      I guess your own insurer has arranged a credit hire car for you. The credit hire company provides the car with upfront cost to you and recovers its hire charge direct from the other driver’s insurer.

      From your description I guess your car cannot be economically repaired and is an insurance write-off. You are entitled to the market value of your own vehicle, and once that value is agreed you will be sent payment. You are entitled to arrange alternative transport and include the cost in your claim, but that alternative transport has to end within a reasonable period of you receiving the market value for your car. Insurers will argue you should be able to buy a replacement car within five days and you might reasonably argue for ten days, but you are looking at a relatively short period of time. If you are driving a credit hire car that organisation will have a firm view as to how long you can keep the vehicle as it will know how much hire the other driver’s insurer will pay.

  3. Michelle says:

    My dad had an accident at work, was idf work for 6-8 months. He needs to have an op to fectify the problem, have admitted liability and solicitors have asked for intrim payment to speed up op date by going private. will this affect the final payments. Also if so why should my dad have to lose out on final settlement when the accient was the conpanys fault so he ends up paying for his own op when it wasnt his fault

    • Mark Thompson says:

      Dear Michelle,
      A person to be compensated is not bound to use the NHS for their treatment. If private treatment is used the cost of that treatment is added to the compensation. So the compensation will be inflated by the cost of the treatment, and that sum should be recovered provided the treatment is seen as reasonable.

  4. dan says:

    If i accept än interim paymant am i likely to recieve a lower offer för my claim

    • Mark Thompson says:

      An interim payment is designed to redress the financial imbalance between the Claimant and the insured Defendant. Without an interim payment a Claimant who is short of money might feel tempted to accept a low offer. An interim payment is usually based on losses incurred to date. The case should be valued and settled, and the interim payment amount deducted. An interim payment is a payment on account of the total settlement so it should certainly not reduce the value of the case.

  5. Tommie Aldridge says:

    Hi,

    I asked my solicitor to ask for an interim payment as i am a carpenter and have been out of work for 6 months, as i cracked my scaphoid in half on site and needed an operation. The company admitted liability straight away, as it was there fault, and i have pictures, witnesses etc etc. Its been 16 days since I asked and me and my partner a really struggling now, should it take this long ? If not what should I do, and should the money be paid into my account.

    kind regrds

  6. James says:

    I had an accident at work, and I have been offered an interim payment. I don’t know what would be the best answer, to accept it or not to..I have been suffering for 16 months now and I had lot of treatment with no success(knee injury, and hip). Could you tell me please how much interim payment would I get(minimum), if it worth the hassle.

    Thank you!

    • Mark Thompson says:

      The only downside to an interim payment is if ultimately you achieve a lower sum in compensation. Then the interim payment would have to be repaid.
      The purpose of interim payments is to prevent you feeling under financial pressure and feeling forced to settle for less than your case is truly worth. You should aim to at least receive your recoverable wage loss and expenses to date, and if the case is likely to take a long time you should have enough in the tank to see you through.
      Beware that receipt of an interim payment can affect your entitlement to means tested benefits. The answer is to set up a personal injury trust now rather than wait for the case to finally end. Please see the pages of this site which explain how personal injury trusts work.

  7. Cash says:

    HI, i have gone through a solicitor for my personal injury claim which was supplied through my insurance copany. They have recommended taking an interi payment, how long does this take to go through and will it effect my claim?

    • Mark Thompson says:

      Dear Cash,
      An interim payment is a payment on account of the compensation you will receive. An interim payment might cover expenses you have paid for, your earnings loss to date, or it might allow you to replace a written off car. So an interim payment should not create a problem.
      The idea of an interim payment is to avoid a situation where you feel under financial pressure and have to accept less compensation than your case is actually worth. There is an obvious financial imbalance between you and the insurance company, so the balance can be redressed by an interim payment.
      You should not have to beg for an interim payment. It is your entitlement provided your case is going to succeed and you are asking for a reasonable payment on account. You are only able to enforce your entitlement to an interim payment once Court proceedings are started. up to this point you will have to ask nicely.
      The only difficulty posed by interim payments is the need to repay if you settle or award is less than the interim payment. A sensible approach and sound advice from an experienced personal injury solicitor can avoid this problem.

  8. John H says:

    Hello, perhaps you can answer my query.
    Can an insurance company refuse to pay me interim payments for compensation because of company policy?

    • Mark Thompson says:

      Dear John,

      The answer is no, and saying it is company policy is just an excuse.

      I am assuming you have a personal injury case, with an admission of liability or at least a good chance of success.

      Interim payments date back many years, and are designed to balance the financial inequality between a Claimant and the Defendant, and usually its insurance company. Some were content to leave a Claimant short in the hope they would accept a low offer for financial reasons.

      However, you can only insist on an interim payment by making, and succeeding, in an application to the Court within the personal injury action. If Court proceedings have not been commenced then a Defendant or their insurance company can refuse.

      Some Defendant insurers will ask why you need an interim payment. It was once the case that a Claimant had to show the reason for needing the payment, but today that is not necessary. So the answer to the insurer today is mind your own business. You do have to have a case which is going to win, and show the loss you will prove is greater than the interim payment you seek.

  9. Opal Hodge says:

    I have been offered an interim payment following a car accident whereby the third party has accepted liability for my whiplash. The treatment given is yet to make a difference to my I injuries & the case is stilly settled. I am concerned that if I accept the inteim payment this will hinder the amount of my settlement figure?

    Please advise.

    Many Thanks

    • Mark Thompson says:

      An interim payment can be made in a case for compensation which is very likely to succeed. An interim payment can be obtained with the agreement of the insurer of the Defendant, or by Order of the Court. It is a payment on account of the compensation due. The point of an interim payment is that the injured person is not left in financial difficulty by an accident and because of that financial difficulty feels pressure to accept a low offer. There is good reason to seek an interim payment if recovery is taking some time and you are down on your income or have incurred expenses. Interim payments are usually based on the financial losses caused by an accident, and the injury itself is usually ignored for this valuation.
      There should be no disadvantage in the final negotiation, and you have the advantage of not feeling under financial pressure.
      Beware that an interim payment has to be repaid if the final settlement or Court award is below the value of the interim payment. So there is a danger if your case is over valued and you cannot ultimately prove that value.
      One point often overlooked is that an interim payment my effect your entitlement to State benefits. You must check this carefully and please note you can legitimately overcome this issue by setting up a personal injury trust. Click here for more information about personal injury trusts.

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