Up until quite recently Defendant’s insurers only put forward offers in settlement of claims once the medical evidence had been obtained and disclosed.
However, defendant’s insurers have increasingly started to put forward what have become known as “Pre-medical offers” which, as the name suggest, is where they actually put forward an offer even before any medical evidence has been obtained.
The practice of putting forward offers straight away generally applies in circumstances where the defendant’s insurers believe they cannot win the case and will inevitably have to make an offer of compensation for the personal injury claim further down the line.
This approach is clearly tactical and there is no doubt defendant’s insurers are motivated to settle certain claims right at the very start of the claims process for commercial reasons:
In the first instance if the claimant does not proceed with the medical examination then the defendant’s insurers immediately save the cost of the medical expert’s fee which will generally run to several hundred pounds;.
More importantly, if the claimant does have ongoing symptoms which either carry on for longer than expected, or, even worse, do not resolve at all, then assuming the pre-medical offer has been accepted, the claimant will have absolutely no recourse or claim for additional compensation. The pre-medical offer will be expressed to be on a full and final basis regardless of what happens in the future.
The defendant’s insurers generally offer to pay the claimant’s legal costs in addition to the compensation but as a very general rule they know that the longer the claim proceeds the more the legal costs will be, which means they will make a saving here as well.
What to do if a Pre-Medical Offer is Put Forward?
Each claim is different and clearly it is not possible to advise in any way without knowing the individual circumstances of your claim, the relevant facts and of course the extent of any injuries sustained. Nevertheless it is pretty safe to say that the only certain way you can be sure you will receive the appropriate compensation for your injuries is if you undergo the medical examination. Your solicitor will then be able to assess the nature and extent of your injuries, the prognosis for the future and in turn be able to place a proper and informed valuation upon your claim. In turn your solicitor will then be able to secure the right level of compensation for you based on the contents of the medical evidence.
In the absence of a medical report your solicitor will simply be unable to advise you one way or the other in relation to the potential value of your claim.
There is therefore a clear and meaningful risk that you could be under compensated if you choose to accept an offer at this stage. Although it needs to be pointed out that it is entirely possible that if the medical evidence is for whatever reason unhelpful, then the pre-medical offer could actually be higher than what the claim is worth based on the medical evidence. Clearly this is a calculated risk for the defendant’s insurers and it is fair to say that if they took the view they would be worse off overall they would simply not make the pre-medical offer in the first place!
In the final analysis, your solicitor will be bound to act in accordance with your instructions. If you wish your solicitor to take steps to finalise your claim, for whatever reason, before any medical evidence had been obtained then as long as you fully understand the implications your solicitor will act accordingly. It has to be stressed, as indicated above, there will be absolutely no redress if you settle your claim without medical evidence and then wish to seek additional compensation. One thing is for sure – if you accept a pre-medical offer the defendant’s insures are likely to be very pleased indeed!