Personal injury law book on a table

Often, lawyers will settle cases before they go to court, but not always for the correct amount. If you feel like your claim has been under-settled, there are things that you can do to challenge the amount of compensation you received.

The main role of a personal injury lawyer is to value and negotiate a settlement. Some cases, however, are prematurely settled. This may be to avoid the expenses of going to court or to avoid a lengthy negotiation process.

When you’re hurt in an accident, you can make a personal injury claim against the person who is at fault. This may have been through someone else’s negligence or rash behaviour. How much to claim depends on a few factors and your legal representative would generally value and negotiate the claim based on:

  • The evidence
  • Your financial losses as a result of the accident
  • The seriousness of the injury
  • Loss of amenity
  • Any future care
  • The psychological aspects of your injury

What are under-settled cases?

The term ‘settling’ refers to the stage in the claim process where the involved parties have come to an agreement on the amount of compensation due. Once it is settled, the compensation is paid to the claimant (person making the claim). However, this compensation may not have been the correct amount due. The claim may have been settled for less than its true value.

If you are in the process of settling – or have settled a personal injury claim and feel like you haven’t been compensated fairly, then the case may have been under-settled. An under-settled case is when your claims handler accepts a lower settlement due to inexperience or wanting to resolve your case quickly.

You may have also been put under pressure to accept the claim. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to take a step back and allow the specialist personal injury solicitors at Foys to handle it. We can explain the ins and outs of under-settled cases, and what you can do to challenge them, if you suspect that your case has been handled in this way.

Reasons why under-settled personal injury claims happen

Under-settled personal injury claims happen due to negligence by your lawyer. Some examples of how a lawyer may be negligent with a personal injury claim are:

  • Inexperience – In an effort to cut costs and maintain high profits, many firms have taken to using unqualified juniors or claims handlers to manage cases. These lawyers lack the necessary skill or expertise to handle cases properly, so they may miss crucial evidence, fail to consider all of the possible damages, and even accept the first offer made without trying to negotiate for a higher sum. Often junior case handlers will be pressured to run cases quickly, in an effort to minimise costs.
  • Failure to obtain medical evidence – Sometimes, in more extreme cases, claims will be settled prior to obtaining a proper medical report. This is a dangerous cost-cutting method, as it prevents lawyers from evaluating a case reliably. This can result in claims being settled for far lower than they should be.
  • Not taking all the necessary information into account – sometimes a lawyer may improperly value your claim. They may fail to take into account care costs, future care and rehabilitation, missed pension contribution and financial losses.

Fighting back against under-settled

As is the case with most things, prevention is better than a cure. There are several warning signs that can indicate when a lawyer is likely to under-settle your case, and by looking out for these signs, you can protect yourself and ensure you get the money you deserve. Here are some things you can do to avoid being under-settled:

  • Ask about qualifications – Many inexperienced claims handlers may not have the correct qualifications.  Your professional lawyers should tell you who is handling your claim and prove their worth. Often personal injury claims are managed by claims management companies, where the staff may not be fully qualified to litigate. This also means that your case may not receive the level of attention it deserves.
  • Be suspicious of the first offer – Lawyers will very rarely accept the first offer, as it can often be a lowball – a deliberately very low offer, often to test the waters. There is no risk to the opposite party from making a lowball offer, so you should be extremely suspicious of any lawyer that suggests you take the first amount offered.
  • Don’t be pressured into settling quickly – There’s no denying the process is stressful, but if you settle as quickly as possible then you will likely not get as much compensation. You may also choose to settle when you have made a full physical and psychological recovery from your injury should you begin the process so that you have all the medical evidence possible.
  • Ensure a proper medical report has been generated – this will allow a professional lawyer to evaluate your claim properly.
  • Make sure your lawyer knows the gravity of your injuries – receiving compensation that matches your injuries is important, so ensure that your lawyer knows the effects your injury is having on your life. If you need future care and rehabilitation, this must be taken into account, as it will affect you and your family’s future financial stability.

Don’t risk it

At Foys, we understand how frustrating an under-settled personal injuries claim can be. Our team of specialist personal injury solicitors have a wealth of experience in winning these types of cases for our clients. Unlike inexperienced claims handlers, we care about your case and will do everything we can to handle it professionally the first time around.

To find out more, get in touch using our Online Form – or give us a call on 01302 327136. Alternatively, drop us an email at enquiries@foys.co.uk.

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