Q&A - Should I settle injury claim without medical assessment that due to COVID is currently not possible?

Q:  I have an ongoing personal injury claim and I am concerned about how my claim might be affected by the coronavirus. My Solicitor advised me that the Defendant admitted liability and medical evidence would need to be obtained. Is this going to be possible at the moment? I am keen to settle my claim quickly as I am suffering from financial hardship.

A.  The coronavirus is having an impact upon all aspects of our lives and personal injury claims are no exception. Much can be done by your Solicitor ‘behind the scenes’ by working from home, but one aspect which is being affected is obtaining medical evidence.

Medico-legal examinations which would usually be held face to face have been cancelled. It is just not possible to safely carry out examinations and assessments in person for obvious reasons. However, some medical assessments are still taking place by video call. This might be used where a psychological/psychiatric report is needed, as in those cases it is not necessary to have a physical examination. Remote medical assessments may also be possible for less complicated injuries, where only a report from a GP is needed.

The difficulties arise for more complex injuries, such as spinal injuries, which require careful and thorough assessment and examination. For those cases, obtaining medical evidence will be a slower process.

It is not advisable to settle your claim prematurely without medical evidence. If you settle a claim on a final basis you cannot re-open the case if your condition does not improve, or, worse, if it deteriorates. Importantly, you should speak to your Solicitor about any financial difficulties you are facing as he or she can apply for an interim payment to be made to you (i.e. to release some of the damages to you now, before the total settlement is decided.)

Article 25/05/2020

This question has been answered by Catherine Field a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry, please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website or call Oswestry 01691 659194 or Wrexham 01978 291456. As a firm, you will appreciate that we are still extremely busy, and whilst our colleagues are well equipped to work remotely, due to current circumstances work may be interrupted – however cases are still ongoing and will be prioritised by urgency and need. Stay safe and thank you for your support.

Claire Parfitt

Claire Parfitt

Senior Solicitor

Senior Solicitor within our Civil Litigation team in Wrexham and Oswestry