For many victims of accidents, instructing a solicitor to run the case on their behalf makes pursuing a claim for compensation easier and less stressful. But what should you do if the Defendant or insurer contacts you direct to make an offer of compensation?
Following an accident, considering whether or not to make a claim for compensation is not always an easy decision. It can be a lengthy, time consuming and stressful process full of legal jargon and many make the decision to instruct solicitors to make a claim on their behalf. In making this decision, they leave the day to day running of the claim to their solicitor and expect regular updates when there has been progress.
In a recent case in the Supreme Court, the most senior Court in England and Wales, an insurer received claims for compensation made by a solicitor on behalf of various individuals. On receipt of the claims, the insurer contacted the individuals directly, rather than via their solicitor, to make offers of compensation. The individuals accepted the offers and payment was made.
An award of compensation is made up of two elements. The first element is known as general damages and is an award to pay for the pain suffering and loss of enjoyment of day to day life caused as a result of the accident. The award varies depending on the type and severity of injury and the length of duration of any symptoms. The second element of compensation is known as special damages and reimburses any financial losses caused as a result of the accident, such as loss of earnings or additional care and assistance required.
To assist in assessing an appropriate level of compensation which fully reflects the injuries suffered as a result of the accident, as part of a claim for compensation we obtain expert medical evidence. This involves an appointment with an independent medical professional, who specialises in injuries of the type suffered by you. The expert prepares a report on your injuries and provides a prognosis for complete recovery where this is possible. The opinion of the medical expert then assists solicitors to assess the value of your claim and ensure you receive a fair settlement. Your solicitor will also discuss your financial losses and claim these from your opponent.
When pursuing a claim for compensation using a solicitor, a large number of claims proceed via an online claims portal. The purpose of the portal is to streamline cases and speed up, where possible, conclusion of claims whilst ensuring that you get the legal advice you are entitled to about fair settlement of your claim. If your claim is successful, the system provides for recovery of your legal costs from the defending party or their insurer.
In contacting the individuals directly, the insurers not only denied those individuals an opportunity to obtain the medical report and legal advice they were entitled to, but also tried to avoid the requirement to pay the individuals’ representatives costs. Consequently, any award offered by the insurer and accepted by the individuals may have been an undervaluation of the claim.
At Jordans Solicitors we pride ourselves on being a local firm and easily accessible and approachable. We have offices in Dewsbury, Wakefield and Horsforth and a dedicated team of personal injury specialists who will work with you to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for the full extent of losses suffered as a result of an accident. We are available at the end of the telephone and by email and endeavour to respond to any queries promptly throughout your claim.