An Insurance Company Have Offered To Settle My Whiplash Claim
What happens if you are involved in a road accident and suffer a whiplash injury, only for a few days later to receive an offer of settlement from an insurance company? Should you immediately accept their offer in settlement of your claim or should you contact a solicitor? The purpose of this article is to explore this situation which happens more and more frequently.
It has to be all about you
The first thing to consider is that, at this time, all of your thoughts and efforts must go into ensuring that you are properly looked after. An insurance company will only make an early offer to settle your claim if it is in their interest to do so. Insurance companies are in business to make profits and substantial ones at that. You must ask yourself whether an insurance company contacting you direct and offering to settle your claim is in your best interests. By and large, it will not be and you need to understand the reasons for this.
Any offer made by the insurance company to you to settle your claim will be made ‘in full and final settlement of your claim’. This will mean that you will not be able to return and ask for more compensation if later your injuries deteriorate. The question you need to ask is whether you are sufficiently qualified to be able to assess the value of your claim and the extent of your injuries.
The only way to be certain that you have made a full recovery from your injuries, or that you will do so, is to obtain a full and proper medical examination from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon or a General Practitioner. Whereas this will happen if you obtain your own medical evidence through a specialist whiplash claims solicitor, if an insurance company is offering to settle your claim directly with you it is unlikely that you will have obtained your own independent medical evidence. Even a GP report from the insurance company should not be relied upon. Remember, this has to be all about you and you have to have a solicitor on your side making sure that your interests are being looked after.
Valuing your claim
It is highly unlikely that an insurance company will make you a reasonable offer immediately. Usually, it takes weeks or months of negotiations with an insurance company to obtain an offer and this is when a experienced solicitor is doing the negotiating. Therefore, if an insurance company is dealing with you directly it is likely that they will make the lowest offer possible to settle your claim, knowing that not only have they given you less compensation that you might be entitled to if you went to a solicitor, but also they have saved themselves a considerable amount of legal expenses. However, if you obtain advice from a solicitor the insurance company is obliged to pay their legal costs in addition to your own claim for compensation.
In our opinion you should never accept an offer from an insurance company without having independent legal advice. This is the only way to ensure that you receive the right amount of compensation and that your injury is properly assessed so that is does not deteriorate in the future.
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