Don't Settle for Less in Injury Claims - advice from Shropshire law firm Lanyon Bowdler
7th August 2013
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The Law Society has recently launched a campaign to encourage victims of personal injury to use a solicitor rather than rely purely on settlements offered by insurers.

The campaign highlights that compensation payments to accident victims who took advice from a solicitor were, on average, two to three times higher than payments made to claimants who simply accepted an insurer's first offer.

This information was based on a Financial Services Authority report published in March 2012. Early offers, often known as 'pre-medical' offers are becoming increasingly common, as they avoid the insurers having to pay out for a medical report or contribute towards legal costs.

For the innocent victim, accepting a pre-medical offer means they receive the compensation within a few weeks but there are risks associated with this type of offer. Without a medical report it is impossible to know for definite the long term impact of an injury and for some this means that claims are under compensated. With only one chance to agree a value, there is no opportunity for an injured victim to go back to the insurers at a later date if symptoms deteriorate or injuries becomes apparent later on.

The Law Society accept that using legal representation can increase compensation three-fold and ensures the compensation agreed fully reflects the level of pain, suffering and loss of amenity suffered and that any past and future losses are properly considered. Debbie Humphries, an associate solicitor and personal injury specialist with Telford law firm Lanyon Bowdler comments, "We always advise against settling injury claims without a medical report. We often meet with clients who have been sent a pre-med offer and we achieve a settlement which exceeds that which they were initially offered by using medical evidence and ensuring that all heads of loss are properly considered before any offer is accepted."

"Choosing the right solicitor to do the job is also important. Ensure that your solicitor understands the complexities of your injuries and specialises in personal injury work. Look out for quality standards such as membership of the Law Society's Panel of Personal Injury Solicitors or membership of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and for more complex brain injuries, Headway has an approved list of solicitors."

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Mark Luckman

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