Personal Injury Claim First Offers
Insurance companies (and their lawyers) are tough negotiators. They will often make direct offer to you to settle your claim before you have the chance to take proper legal advice.
If you blindly accept a first offer, you run the risk of getting much less compensation than you would otherwise be entitled to.
Disclaimer: This guide outlines general topics you should be thinking about if you want to make a personal injury claim. But it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact a specialist personal injury claim solicitor for guidance on your specific circumstances.
Should I Accept A Personal Injury Claim First Offer?
No. You shouldn’t accept a personal injury first claim offer unless you’re sure that it is the best offer you can get. Sometimes insurers make early first time offers to settle a personal injury claim before solicitors get involved. Research from the Law Society and the Financial Conduct Authority revealed that people who were represented by solicitors in personal injury claims received 2 – 3 times more compensation than those that didn’t.
That was the name of a Law Society advertising campaign in 2013.
It highlighted the dangers of accepting early first offers from insurers in personal injury claims.
Some insurers try to reduce their costs by making early compensation offers to you directly (also known as “third-party capture”). The insurer rings you before you get the chance to see a solicitor about your accident. They put you under pressure on the phone to accept the compensation offer, or it will be withdrawn.
This is similar to what we were talking about in the last section. But it is worth repeating: accepting an early first offer from an insurance company, without taking legal advice, is risky.
For two reasons:
- the offer could be much lower than you are entitled to
- the full extent of your injuries and loss might not be obvious so soon after the accident
Imagine someone is on the phone telling you that you can have a few thousand pounds landing into your bank account within days. It’s very tempting.
After all, you might really need the cash.
And if the insurance company is saying that the offer will be withdrawn unless you accept immediately, of course you’re going to feel under pressure.
That’s what it’s designed to do.
But don’t sell yourself short. Ask them to send you the offer in writing. In the meantime, consult with a personal injury solicitor and see what your options are.
The FCA and the Law Society found that on average, people who used solicitors for their personal injury claims received 2-3 times more compensation than those that didn’t.
So if you receive a call from an insurance company with a quick first offer to settle your personal injury claim, keep that statistic in mind.
The above article is part of our guide on how to make a personal injury claim in Northern Ireland.
If you are thinking about making a personal injury claim, you should get in touch with a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor who will help you assess the strength of your case.
If you have any questions, you are very welcome to get in touch.
All the best,
The Team @ Lightlaw
Every effort is made to keep this guide up to date. Although it is not to be regarded as legal advice, we strive to make sure the information is helpful, accurate and practical. If you are a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor and have spotted an inaccuracy, you can submit a suggested change.