Insurance companies are increasingly making offers to settle personal injury claims direct with injured people, often without medical evidence even being obtained. Known as 'pre medical offers', they are often intended to discourage accident victims from gaining legal advice from a solicitor.
These offers are designed to quickly 'buy off' potential compensation claims as cheaply as possible and are therefore seldom in the best interests of the injured person.
Insurance companies will always seek to settle claims on terms most beneficial to them and therefore these offers should always be treated with extreme caution.
Evidence gathered from our own personal injury cases show that where an offer made direct to a client is rejected we recover, on average, twice as much compensation when we settle the claim.
In view of the above, agreeing settlement directly with an insurance company is something that we strongly advise against.
Unless you have taken independent legal advice on the whole value of your claim, you should not accept a first offer from an insurance company.
Regardless of the true value of your injury claim, you should consider the motives behind an insurance company making an early settlement offer in the absence of medical evidence. Solicitors have both a moral and regulatory duty to act in the best interests of their clients, whilst insurers have no such duty to the people that are injured by the negligence of their policyholders.
Therefore obtaining independent legal advice following an accident, and before accepting any settlement offer is always recommended.
Where an insurer makes a direct offer to settle a claim, this will normally be followed up by a form of authority confirming that the matter is settled in full and final settlement and no future claims can be made. If such a form is not provided and signed, and the terms of the offer are not made clear, then any verbal agreement is potentially unenforceable.
If you've been injured in an accident and have questions about an offer you've received, the best thing to do is seek specialist and independent legal advice. We'll be able to advise you on your options and how you can make a claim on a no win no fee basis.