Personal injury actions proceeding through the Court system can take many months or even years, but most personal injury cases never reach Court at all. Instead, Solicitors will often strive to settle a case in most instances, depending on the details of the case, out of court. A settlement can also mean that one can avoid many of the expenses of witnesses and other experts involved in your case. The Defendant, through their solicitor, may offer an amount of money which if accepted could satisfy the claimants' claim, eliminating the need for a court appearance at all.
General damages can be awared in an effort to compensate, with money, someone for pain suffered and inconvenience caused as a result of an accident. This could be not only for past pain and suffering but also for possible future pain and suffering, whether temporary or permanent. General damages are assessed by reference to medical reports and a prognosis by a doctor or specialist. If an injury is likely to last the rest of a person's life they may also be entitled to compensation for loss of earnings in the future.
This is usually what can be easily identified as attributable to an injury as the result of an accident. Medical treatment, physiotherapy, pain killers, loss of wages, transport costs etc. and/or any out of pocket expenses arising from the accident would all be considered as part of a special damages settlement.
A settlement is often the best possible outcome in any personal injury case. Court costs may be 'awarded' to one or both parties in a lawsuit, or they may be waived. A settlement within the court stipulates that the Defendant pays some or all of the claimants legal expenses in the majority of cases.