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Title: Can I settle while injuries are healing?

Date: 01 October 2014

I have a personal injury compensation claim going on which my solicitors have been dealing with for nearly 3 years. I crashed into a lamp post to avoid a van that pulled out in front of me. My left leg was badly crushed. Court proceedings were issued last year but the case keeps getting placed on pause. I think it is because the main fracture to my left leg is still not properly healed. I’m fed up with the stress of the case and would like to conclude it, but my solicitors say they cannot do so because of the ongoing problems I have. Can I settle my case? I could do with the money.

Antonio Mikales, London

Courts can agree to a “stay” or pause in legal proceedings when a case is not ready for settlement and where it is in the interests of justice for there to be a stay. I assume that due to non-union of the bone in your leg (the bone not knitting together) your solicitors are concerned that you may still be at risk of amputation. You should have a report from an orthopaedic surgeon by now dealing with the ongoing problems and future risks.

One possible solution is to ask your solicitors about ‘Provisional Damages’. You can settle your claim on the basis of your injuries now and return to court for more damages later should the amputation actually happen. Such a settlement requires a court order and your solicitors may need to ask for permission to amend the particulars of the claim which would have been drafted in order for the claim to have been started at court.

You say you would find some money helpful. There should be no reason why your solicitors cannot get you a significant interim payment to tide you over until settlement of your claim. If your opponent refuses to make the payment then you can make an application to the court. Any money you receive as an interim payment must be accounted for at the conclusion of the claim so you will have to give credit for money received.

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