Q: I was a passenger in a work colleague’s car when he skidded off the road and the car overturned. I can’t say I had life-threatening injuries but I was badly bruised and I broke my wrist which meant I couldn’t work for almost two months. A friend advised me to claim injury compensation so I contacted a law firm who advertise on line and they took all the details and made a claim on my behalf. They have now written to me to say they have received an offer from the driver’s insurers. The offer was, however, a lot lower than I had been led to expect, but they say if I don’t accept it I will get even less. Is this what usually happens?
A: Firstly, it would have been better if you had made an appointment to see a local personal injury solicitor who could advise you face-to-face. Had you done this the solicitor would have gone through every aspect of your injuries, gained medical evidence to support your claim and collated information relating to costs you might have incurred such as loss of earnings, taxi fares because you couldn’t drive etc.
As well as having continuity in the handling of your case your local solicitor would ensure the claim is settled only when the medical evidence is finalised, not when the insurance company wishes to “buy off” the case. Further, once the insurers realise they are dealing with an experienced solicitor from a reputable law firm, rather than a claims company who could use solicitors that may be anywhere in the country, a satisfactory conclusion can often be reached before the case even gets to court.
The government’s new costs limits may mean it is not always attractive to switch solicitors but this may be a good time move your claim to a local solicitor if you are not happy with the service and the offer received.