Interim payment in 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.