What is an interim payment?
An interim payment is an amount of compensation that is paid by the Defendant to the injured person before their personal injury claim has settled. In most cases, this sum will then be deducted from the total award of compensation, at the conclusion of the claim.
Why do people get an interim payment?
Some individuals bringing personal injury cases will have severe and significant injuries which will affect their ability to work and earn. In other cases, an individual may require treatment such as counselling or physiotherapy, which can be paid for by the Defendant. Additionally, an injured person may require care and assistance in cases where a serious injury, such as a brain injury or spinal injury, has been sustained.
An injured person can, therefore, be left in a difficult financial situation. In order to deal with this and to provide financial support, an interim payment can be requested.
Do you always get an interim payment?
An interim payment can be made voluntarily by the Defendant, following a request from the solicitor acting for the injured person. However, a Defendant will not always make an interim payment following a request and agreement is not always reached. In cases in which a Defendant refuses a request to make an interim payment, an application can be made to the Court, requesting that the Court makes an Order setting out sum which will be paid to the injured person by the Defendant.
To apply to the Court for an Order for an interim payment, a claim must be issued (lodged with the Court) and proceedings must be served (documentation including the Claim Form and the Particulars of Claim) on the Defendant. The application can also only be made once the period for filing the acknowledgement of service (to be completed by the Defendant) has come to an end.
Before ordering that an interim payment should be paid by the Defendant to the injured person, the Court will need to be satisfied that any of the following conditions are met:
- The Defendant has admitted liability or an injured person has obtained judgment against the Defendant for damages to be assessed.
- If the claim went to trial, the injured person would obtain judgment for a substantial amount of money against the Defendant from whom they are 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 that a reasonable proportion of compensation, of the likely total amount, is paid by the Defendant to the injured person, but no more than this.
The Court will also take into account contributorily negligence, any relevant set-off or counterclaim.
Interim payments can make a big difference to an injured person, particularly in cases in which a significant injury has been sustained.