WARNING! – Has an Insurer Offered a Quick Settlement of Your Claim?
If you are involved in an accident through no fault of your own, the other side’s insurer may offer you a quick settlement of your claim. This is known as third-party capture and often happens following road traffic accidents.
Please do not accept any offers made by an insurance company until you have sought independent legal advice. Also, do not sign anything.
Insurance companies are not working in your best interests. They are trying to settle your claim quickly to save themselves money. You are likely entitled to a much greater compensation settlement than the one being offered.
Also, we can fast-track your claim so that you get the full amount of compensation you are entitled to as quickly as possible.
If an insurance company tries to settle a claim with you directly contact us now for advice.
We are experienced at dealing with all types of Accident Claims. If you have been injured in an Accident then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
Beware of 3rd Party Capture
It is not unusual for insurers to approach injured persons directly, offering them compensation for their injuries. This is legal, although the tactics used can be extremely intimidating. There are cases in which insurers have sent a representative directly to the injured person’s house, asking them to accept money and sign a form which would waive their right to further compensation. We have even heard of injured people refusing to settle with an insurer, but being sent a cheque in the post anyway.
This can be very overwhelming when you are trying to deal with the physical and emotional fallout of a traumatic accident. It may also seem tempting to accept the money. That way, you have some cash in the bank and you can put the whole ordeal behind you. However, we strongly advise against settling directly with an insurer. Remember, the insurer is not acting in your best interests. They want to settle the claim to avoid paying a greater sum of compensation, and to avoid the associated legal costs.
If an insurer has offered you compensation, here are some important things to consider:–
You Have Not Had a Medical Assessment
When you make a claim using a solicitor, you can get a professional medical assessment. This confirms how your injuries have impacted your life, and how they will continue to impact your life in the future. By establishing your condition and prognosis, we can ensure you receive the correct sum of compensation. If you do not know the true extent of your injuries, it could result in your claim being ‘under-settled’, meaning it settles for below its true value.
For example, imagine you suffer whiplash and agree to settle for £1,000. However, six months later you are still in agony. You need extensive physiotherapy and cannot return to work. This costs you a lot of money. Your compensation does not come close to covering your losses, leaving you significantly out of pocket. But because you have already settled, there is nothing you can do.
Therefore, you should not agree to a settlement until your injuries have fully resolved or a prognosis is known.
You Have Not Had Any Legal Advice
Insurers often try to contact you as early as possible, before you have had a chance to speak to a solicitor. If you spoke to a solicitor, they would tell you not to settle with an insurer because your claim needs to be properly investigated. This includes getting expert medical reports, for the reasons outlined above. It also involves calculating all your financial losses, and how much you should receive for your pain and suffering, as set out in judicial guidelines.
If an insurer offers you an early settlement, none of these factors have been taken into consideration. They may also try to ‘lump’ numerous claims together. This often happens when you and your children are injured. The insurer may offer you a single lump sum to reflect all your injuries. However, your children are entitled to make their own claim and receive their own compensation.
A solicitor can tell you whether an offer made by an insurance company is fair and reasonable. It is highly likely that it is not.
Once You Settle, You Cannot Claim for Further Compensation
Once you settle your claim with an insurer, it will be a ‘full and final settlement’. This means you cannot get any more money further down the line. Lots of people think they can accept the money offered by an insurer now, and if they need additional compensation, can make a second claim in the future. This is not allowed. You only have one chance to claim compensation for your injuries. You need to get it right the first time around.
Remember that you are likely entitled to a much greater sum of compensation than the one being offered by an insurance company.
You Do Not Have To Accept Their Offer
Insurance companies may put pressure on you to accept an offer. But you do not have to agree to anything, nor do you have to sign anything. They may call you, write to you or even visit you at home. Please do not feel intimidated. You have a legal right to have your claim properly investigated and to receive the correct amount of compensation. If you are upset by the insurance company’s actions, feel free to make a complaint directly to the insurer.
You have three years to bring a personal injury claim so there is no rush to accept anything. It is better to reject an offer and have your claim handled by a solicitor.
You Can Choose Your Own Solicitor
Which brings us on to our final point – you are allowed to choose your own solicitor independent of any Insurance Company. Your insurance company may try to direct you to their own legal team. However, you do not have to go with their recommendation.
This is your personal injury claim and you can decide who you want to act on your behalf.
Get In Touch
Insurers often try to settle a claim without medical reports and before you have got legal advice. Please do not accept anything until you have spoken to us at McGee Solicitors.
We specialise in personal injury claims and can help you understand your options. We act in your best interests and we are here to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation.
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