So, you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident, the other party accepted negligence and you’re about to go down the less awkward road to compensation. If you have a high value case, the insurance company of the third party may have the odd filthy legitimate trick that you should be fully aware of. This normally forces your (hopefully competent) legal team to restrict certain bits of information about the affects the incident has had on you.

Your solicitors will at some point receive an offer of settlement, best case is it’s significantly under what your solicitors believe you’re case is worth. In this situation, they simply recommend refusal, trauma over, the fight goes on.

Worst case, your Solicitors refer to the following

Part_36_Settlement_offer-legal

So, to put this in other words, here’s examples of what can happen:

1) You receive a settlement offer that’s still well under what your solicitors advise is fair. No problem there, the above doesn’t really matter.
2) You receive a settlement offer that your solicitors believe is so close to what you deserve, they hire an independant Barister to assess the Worst / Expected / Best case. Based on that, they will either:
2A) Suggest you take it and run – possibly losing the compensation you deserve.
2B) Suggest you decline it and wait until a court hearing.

Here’s where the fun starts. If you reject your solicitors advice, and demand to carry on to court (thereby receiving what you deserver), you then have two possible outcomes:

1) You’re awarded compensation higher than the original settlement offer. This is good, well done you!
2) You’re awarded compensation lower than the original settlement offer. This is very bad, you will be liable for all legal costs (both yours and the other side) from the date of the original declined offer. This could be rediculous sums in excess of £10,000 deducted from your compensation.

I don’t know how you feel, but this is disgusting and there should be a law that states any Settlement value is reinforced with enough evidence and be within 10% accurate of the true compensation owed. Of course that can be tricky, because some insurers play nasty so well, that you may be advised to restrict information/evidence given to the ‘other side’. Something that should NOT be a gamble, becomes one, you are completely at the mercy of your own Legal team.

How the system should work:
You get injured.
You recover to or as close to your original fitness level.
The correct compensation is awarded.

How it actually works:
You get injured.
You aren’t given the time to fully recover (if possible).
You are forced to receive compensation that does not reflect your experience.

I hope for your sake that it doesn’t happen to you, but if it does, know that it’s not necessarily plain sailing just because the other side accept full liability. My advice to you in this situation – avoid interim payments. Every time you ask for one, they’ll try to settle and thereby tipping the balance between you being fairly compensated, or turning the whole affair into a gamble.