Is Accepting the First Offer for My Personal Injury Claim a Good Idea?

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Home > Making a Claim > Is Accepting the First Offer for My Personal Injury Claim a Good Idea?

Should I Accept the-First-Offer-on my Personal Injury Claim?

or put another way – is Accepting the First Offer for My Personal Injury Claim a Good Idea?…………………

The answer to this question is almost always a resounding “No – Don’t do it!”

Remember that once you have accepted an offer in settlement it is “final” and you cannot claim addition compensation even if your injuries turn out to be more serious than you first thought. It follows that you should not be tempted to accept any offer until you have undergone a medical examination.

It is true to say that in certain rare situations a first compensation offer could be something to seriously consider.

As a general rule it’s never a good idea to accept a first compensation offer for a personal injury claim.

The sort of cases where an early compensation offer from an insurance company is made are those cases where they know they will lose the liability argument and have no chance of winning.

So, from the insurers point of view it is all about limiting their financial exposure and getting an early offer in sometimes without even medical evidence having been obtained!

It is worth remembering certain personal injury claims can be notoriously difficult to assess without independent medical evidence.

Even then medical experts can get the prognosis wrong and individuals can take longer to recover than originally anticipated.

In summary it is fair to say that an early compensation offer brings with it certain risks and any offer, at any stage, needs to be carefully assessed with the assistance of an experienced personal injury solicitor.


WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF ACCETING THAT FIRST OFFER?

 

The Risk of being Undercompensated

All offers that are put forward are on a full and final basis.

 

If a full recovery has been made or if there are ongoing symptoms that need to be taken into account and these appear in the final medical report(s) then a proper assessment can be made.


 

Claiming back Sick Pay? Make sure this is included before you Settle Your Claim?

It is common for a Claimant to be entitled to receive sick pay under the terms of the contract with their employer following injuries leading to time off work.

In these circumstances it is also common for the Claimant to be contractually obliged to recover any sick pay received during the absence.

It is important to ensure before settling the claim that all the sick pay received is included so this can be repaid to the Claimant’s employer.

If the claim is settled too soon there is the risk that the recovery of the employer’s sick pay is not catered for in the settlement leaving a shortfall.

If this occurs then the Claimant may well become directly and personally responsible for any shortfall involved.


The Dangers of not taking the time to consider the Impact of the Injuries upon your Life?

We all know insurance companies are commercial beings and that any office in settlement are not born out of the kindness of their hearts.

A well timed and seemingly generous offer made at the beginning of the claim is often a tantalising prospect for the Claimant who may well be hard up.

The insurance company are no doubt hoping their early settlement offer will lead the Claimant to accept the first effort to settle the claim.

Insurance companies are simply looking to minimise their financial risk and maximise their profits in any personal injury claim.

In this context the importance of legal advice from a specialist personal injury lawyer cannot be under estimated.

We have specialised in personal injury compensation claims for many many years and it is always surprising how often early offers are made.

We do all we can to help our client’s make the right decision for their individual circumstances when an early (or any) offer materialises.


Success – it’s all About the Timing….

Offers from the insurance company can be made literally as soon as the claim has been notified for tactical reasons and on some occasions the offers are held out only for a matter of days forcing the Claimant to make a snap decision before a deadline.

By making the compensation offer almost straightaway it is difficult if not impossible for the Claimant to be able to properly assess or understand the full repercussions of their injuries.

For instance it may well take six months or longer for someone to realise a leg injury which they believed would recover well would actually prevent them from playing football or from being able to cycle.

  • From the insurers point of view, if the offer is accepted then the claim is fully settled and there can be no danger from their point of view of any further compensation being payable.
  • From the Claimant’s perspective we always recommend real caution needs to be exercised so our client is making an informed decision about whether to settle and what is in their best interests overall.
  • We know from our experience that almost always when initial offers are made by insurers we are able to secure much better settlement terms and generally as time goes the offers do get higher and higher.
  • It is certainly never a good idea to allow the insurer to pressurise you into accepting an offer that is not right, is too low and is too soon to be able to make a full assessment of the impact of the injuries on your life.

 

Pre-medical offers

The practice of insurers putting forward premedical offers has been around for many years.

This is generally where the insurers assess the claim as being one that they cannot win and then put an offer to settle before any medical evidence has been obtained and crucially before anyone can realistically value the claim.

Pre-medical offers from insurance companies may come about in circumstances where the Claimant doesn’t even have legal advice or representation and therefore negotiation is anything but a fair process. The extent to which the insurer can dictate whether the Claimant does accept the first offer depends largely upon whether the claimant does in the end seek legal advice.

This whole approach is tactical and an early settlement offer seeks to bring an accident compensation claim to a swift end with the intention of minimising the insurers outlay (and very clearly has nothing to do with what is in the Claimant’s best interests).

Again from the Claimant’s perspective this situation is fraught with risk as by definition there is no medical report for your solicitor to refer to so even a rough assessment of the likely overall valuation is nigh on impossible for the lawyer.

In fact the SRA has introduced a ban to settle pre-medical offers in respect of Road Traffic matters although this does not apply to other types of personal injury claims.


Speak to a Specialist Personal Injury Solicitor for Advice

We know from our experience that on occasions individuals will be contacted by the defendant’s insurer directly and might be tempted to negotiate and finalise their claim themselves.

This is never a good idea unless you are trained, experienced personal injury solicitor.

How else can you possibly defend your position? It’s important to know about the strength of your claim in relation to liability and also the overall quantification of the claim as well as the heads of loss that you can reasonably pursue.

  • There is no doubt that the best way to proceed is to seek advice from an independent personal injury specialist who can advise on all aspects of the claim and insurers far as possible that your position is protected and any settlement reflects the appropriate level of compensation.
  • Much better to take all the stress and strife out of the situation and appoint a really good experienced personal injury solicitor who will fight your corner.
  • Accident solicitors will be able to answer all your questions, provide solid legal advice and ensure any compensation offer is for the right amount and accepted at the right stage.
  • Make sure your claim is put on the strongest footing so that you can claim, not what the insurers first offer, but the compensation you are entitled to under the rules.
  • Seek legal advice so that your compensation settlement is safeguarded.
  • Your compensation solicitor will help you in the negotiation process and settle your insurance claim with the right evidence and at the right stage for you.
  • In this way the insurer does not dictate the compensation process and you’re in the driving seat.
  • Your lawyers will make sure you receive all your recoverable expenses arising out the civil claim and no doubt will advice you to accept an offer when it is in your best interests to do so.

 

Please feel free to Contact Us  to discuss any aspect of your personal injury claim – we would love to hear from you and help take things forward for you 🙂