An Interim Payment is the early payment of a proportion of the eventual compensation to fund the arrangement of suitable accommodation, care, transport and equipment. It is paid early so that someone who has been severely injured can achieve tolerable living conditions as soon as possible after the accident, rather than having to wait for years and suffer the tension of the court case aggravated by unsuitable domestic circumstances.
It is possible to obtain an Interim Payment in any case where it is genuinely needed. As most claimants are desperate for money in the aftermath of a serious injury, their lawyers should lose no time in applying to the court.
The court has the power to award one or more Interim Payments to a claimant during the course of an action for financial damages for personal injury. That power is not limited to cases where a claimant can show need, and is not necessarily excluded by the allegation that the claimant was himself to blame in some way.
Some considerations in relation to Interim Payments:
- Almost all defendants are likely to be insured, or the equivalent, and therefore Interim Payments probably will be available on this ground.
- The real issue is likely to be whether there is a cast iron case against a defendant.
- You can obtain an Interim Payment against one of several defendants.
- Where the defendant blames the claimant for all or part of the accident (for example, because he should not have travelled with him as he was drunk) or says that the injuries would have been prevented or reduced if he had been wearing a seat-belt or crash helmet – this should not prevent claimants from getting at least some of their damages in advance.
- Show need if you can, and remember that insurers often have a genuine interest in knowing what is being done with the money.
- It is now common for claimants to recover large Interim Payments (frequently hundreds of thousands of pounds) in the course of the legal process involving substantial injury and to do so on more than one application.
- It is essential to consider the need for an Interim Payment carefully, and to remember that it must not interfere inappropriately with an eventual periodical payments order.