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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37 Responses to Interim payment in personal injury

  1. scott says:

    hi, i was offered an interim payment yesterday which i accepted, is the solicitor allowed to take his percentage out of that or the final amount? thanks

    • Mark Thompson says:

      Answer depends on the agreement you have with the solicitor. If they have used the Law Society model agreement, which most solicitors do, they will be allowed to ask you to pay the expenses to date and those which will be necessary in the future. Expenses, or disbursements as they are called, will include fees for expert reports, gathering medical records and police reports. They do add up and you should ask for a list of expenses incurred and those to be incurred in the future. Clients do not always appreciate that solicitors often subsidise cases by covering these expenses themselves rather than asking clients to pay.
      So read the agreement you signed at the outset and the guidance booklet I expect you received.

  2. Brian says:

    hi I’m a little confused with my claim here is the email I recived off my solicitor will this affect my overall claim my loss of earnings are greater than the interim offer thank

    Your loss of earnings is dealt with as a special damage and needs to be submitted at the settlement stage.

    As we are not in a position to seek settlement and we need further medical evidence, if you are happy for me to do so I can disclose the report we have and request an interim payment of £1000.00. This payment will be offset against your general damages (injury).

    Please confirm your instructions.

    • Mark Thompson says:

      I suspect your case is being dealt with under one of the low value personal injury schemes. The rules limit the actions which can be taken and the process is handled online. If liability has been accepted and you have obtained and disclosed medical evidence you can seek an interim payment. The standard request is for £1,000 and if you want more then evidence has to be submitted to support the claim. It may be easier to seek £1,000 or the evidence required to prove a greater loss is not yet available.

  3. p says:

    Thanks for that reply Mark.
    When a solicitor mentions the end amount, would they generally tell you the lower end of what to expect even if they think you’ll get more?

    Thank you.

    • Mark Thompson says:

      You are likely to see the calculation of your case as it will be presented to the defendant. This will be a top end valuation of the various aspects of the case. You will then see the defendant’s valuation which will be at the bottom end. All I suggest is that you do not get carried away and think the top end valuation is already in the bank.

  4. p says:

    I have had the NHS admit full liability for a catastrophic muck up.
    My solictor has told me to expect a “substantial” settlement.
    I am just about to get a fairly large interim payment (in the hundreds of thousands) and wondered if the interim payment is usually a certain percentage of the final total? I’m trying to get an idea in my head of what to expect as the final total.

    My solicitor has given me a rough idea but I just wanted to see if i could narrow it down slightly..

    Thank you

    • Mark Thompson says:

      Solicitors are always vague about the final valuation of a case. I am the same, the reason being that no matter how sensible the client the money is already spent in the client’s mind. There are so many variables the answer to which depends on expert opinion and the financial loss calculation which follows.
      There is no pattern with interim payments. You are entitled to a reasonable proportion of your financial losses to date.
      Later in your case you will see a special damage schedule which is the calculation of your financial losses. Such calculations tend to be pitched at the upper end and when you see such a schedule prepared for the health authority you will see the low end of the valuation. Again take care not to count on receiving the upper end of each element of the financial loss.
      Do seek advice as to whether your interim payment ought to be held in a trust to protect your entitlement to means-tested benefits and local authority support for care. You can read more here.

  5. Terri says:

    I had a RTA third party have admitted liability, I’m a driving instructor and a pupil was driving at the time of accident, insurance offered her £2700 she excepted, I was offered similar figure but my injuries were more painful, was told by my insurance/solicitors to refuse payment, accident happened end in November, I later found out (4weeks later) that I was pregnant, my therapist for phsyio told me to expect my back pain to get a lot worse the bigger I got,as it has. I’m finding my every day chores harder to do by the day, I have a boy of 3 to also look after, and I’m now 25 weeks pregnant. I’m now at the stage where I can’t be in the car no more, due to self employment I’m not entitled to benefits, in which my solicitors are going to request a interim payment, but I receive working tax credits will this effect it? They have to told me this is hard to get and my case is going to be hard to prove due to the pregnancy, even though this happened before my pregnancy and my independent DR said symptoms were due to accident, what are my chances of winning my case? If I win my case can they then offer me less than the first offer? Or do they have to go higher? My baby is due September then I’ll see a Dr again. Am I also right in saying if my interim total is £1000 will they then take this £1000 out my final figure? Even though this will be money for not being able to work?

    My solicitors seem to encourage the interim as they offered me it I never knew anything about it. I’ve suffered immense pain and I’m only going to suffer I’m only hoping they don’t get away with saying this is pregnancy related? What’s the chances


    • Mark Thompson says:

      Dear Terri, It sounds like quite a struggle.
      The interim payment is a payment on account of your final compensation, so yes , it will be deducted from the final settlement.
      Your working tax credit is based on your income and receipt of compensation is not income. You can see more details on my website and this will also help you decide if a trust is necessary to protect your benefit entitlement.
      Your solicitors will obtain the opinion of a medical expert and ask if the accident has caused all current problems. I suspect it will be a difficult question for the doctor as back problems during pregnancy are not unusual.

  6. Helen says:

    I have been involved with a medical negligence claim for 3 years now and we are due in court in July, my solicitor has suggested today that we ask for £20,000 interim payment, if this is accepted by them how long would it normally take for them to pay out.

    • Mark Thompson says:

      If the interim payment is agreed on a voluntary basis the payment date should be part of the agreement. Usually you are looking at 14 days. One lesson I have learnt is if you commit to spend the money before it arrives the interim payment will be late.
      Good luck with the trial.

  7. Emma says:

    Hi there. I was unfortunately involved in a rtc last year causing me several injuries which resulted in me having an extended period of time off work unpaid. The other driver has accepted all liability and I have seen medical experts confirming my injuries were related to the incident. Around 6 months ago I received an interim payment of £1000. However I am still suffering financially due to the time off work and change in hours/role I do now due to the accident. My solicitor has requested now a further interim payment to cover my ongoing loss of earnings. This was requested over 6 weeks ago and still I am waiting for a response. My solicitor states there is no set time frame in which they have to respond as it is a second interim payment and she can give me no estimate on time frame either. In your experience is there any thing further that can be done or have you dealt with a similar situation and could give me any clue as to how long I may be waiting? I am severely struggling financially now. Many thanks.

    • Mark Thompson says:

      Hi Emma,
      The only time when you can insist on an interim payment is after Court proceedings are commenced and the Court is asked to Order that an interim payment be made. Otherwise you are reliant upon the insurer of the Defendant agreeing to make an interim payment. So before Court proceedings are started interim payments are voluntary.
      Most insurers will make an interim payment but they do not like to pay all of the loses to date. They are reserving the right to argue that not all loses are reasonable and they do like to leave you feeling short as it weakens your negotiating position. In theory agreed financial losses to date should be paid, but in practice an insurer will agree only a proportion of those loses.
      Solicitors are not as keen as they used to be to issue Court proceedings. The Court has strong management powers and the solicitor may fear loss of control of the timetable of the case as well as the limitations the Courts often place on the expert evidence which can be used.
      There are different considerations depending on the value of your case so do talk with your solicitor to be sure you understand their approach.
      The theory of interim payments is to ensure the parties have a fair basis for negotiation. You should not feel under pressure to accept an offer because you are feeling short of money.

  8. Susan says:

    I had dental work done by nhs dentist, for over 2 years I have been in immense pain etc, I need urgent treatment but it is too specialized for a standard dentist to correct. Finally the other side have offered an interim payment but this is only fifty per cent of the cost of the treatment I need to correct the mess. So I still cannot go ahead with the treatment I need. Also it seem my solicitor is keeping the money and indicates he will make the payments to the dentist directly which is going to be awkward, I would prefer to make the payments myself as my solicitor is regularly on holiday and has no one else to act in his absence.

    • Mark Thompson says:

      The primary purpose of an interim payment is to cover loss and expense incurred to date. You have incurred no such loss or expense.
      If you have been given half of the cost of the dental work required is that not a start? Why is your solicitor managing the money? Has the payment been made on condition it is used for dental work only?
      More questions than answers I am afraid, but questions which should be answered by your solicitor.
      If you are in receipt of means-tested benefits do have a look at the information on this site about Personal Injury Trusts, as receipt of money may reduce or stop your benefits.

  9. byers says:

    I do have a solicitor acting on my behalf. Unfortunately they are less that helpful in answering questions and although i have had a medical they tell me they wont submit this with interim payment request and they wont explain why….meanwhile financially we are struggling and i’m going to have to return to work despite injuries. nothing is moving very fast and the solicitors are reluctant to reply to our correspondence….

    • Mark Thompson says:

      The starting point is there is no automatic right to an interim payment. You can only insist on one beyond the issue of Court proceedings and then you have to show liability is admitted or your case is very likely to win and the Defendant has insurance. The prospects of success have to be clear as if your case is not actually successful you will have to repay the interim sum.
      The purpose of an interim payment is to redress the financial inequality between you and the insurer on the other side of the case. An insurer might prefer to negotiate knowing you are short of cash.
      At the very least your solicitor should explain why an interim payment is not appropriate in your case.

  10. Byers says:

    I had a accident january.Was hit from behind whilst stationary, my car was a write off and my father and I both sustained whiplash injury. luckily my young son who was in the back of the car recieved not physical injury. I have now been off of work for 6 weeks on the advice of my doctor and physio and am receiving treatment. i work for an agency so am not entitled to sick pay and have requested a interim payment to cover loss of earnings whilst i recover. So far the 3rd party insurer who have admitted liability for the claim have had wage slips and bank statements to establish that I am not receiving payment but are now saying they can see payments into my bank (my husbands wages into MY personal account, child ben and tax credits) and want more proof of lost earnings. What can i offer as conclusive proof of lost earnings other than that I have already given them?

    • Mark Thompson says:

      I suspect you are dealing direct with the third party insurer. You could ask your agency to confirm your earnings before the accident and the fact you have received none since. Technically you are not entitled to an interim payment until a medical report has been provided, but if the insurer wants to save paying a solicitor to represent you it should cut you some slack.
      If the insurers will not play ball tell them you will instruct a solicitor and see if that makes them jump.

  11. Linda Brown says:


    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Tommie Aldridge says:


    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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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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