When you are looking into compensation claims after a no-fault accident, you are likely to come across the term ‘pre-medical’ offer. On the face of it, it sounds great and you may be tempted to accept this offer if you have the chance. The truth is, a pre-medical offer may not be as good as it sounds. There is a reason for making this offer that could cost you the actual compensation due to you.
Here’s what you should know about pre-medical offers, why an insurance company may be so eager to make it, and why you should probably not accept one without first speaking to your personal injury solicitor.
What Is A Pre-Medical Offer?
A pre-medical offer is exactly as it sounds – an offer that is made by the defendant’s insurance company before the claimant has had the chance to get a medical examination.
Here’s a typical scenario of how it happens. You’re injured in an accident that was clearly because of something another person did or neglected to do. The fault in this case was unquestionably the other person’s, so their insurance company immediately steps in and offers you a compensation settlement for your injuries. They do this even before you’ve received a full medical report regarding your injuries, the treatment you are going to need, and the long-term prognosis.
They know that for a person who is injured and who may already be dealing with having to be off sick from work with expenses mounting up, this can feel like a relief.
Why Would An Insurance Company Make A Pre-Medical Offer?
The insurance company knows that their policy holder was at fault for your accident. They also know that there is a high chance you will seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor with regards to filing a claim for compensation. This can be expensive for the insurance company, both in terms of time and money.
A compensation claim could get settled quickly or it could drag on for months, sometimes several years. If it drags on, their legal and administration costs can increase greatly. If you’ve filed a compensation claim, it means you’ve most likely consulted with a personal injury solicitor. If the case drags on, your solicitor’s costs also increase, especially if you’re paying by the hour. This can be a huge financial blow to the insurance company.
To put together your compensation claim, your solicitor will also arrange for you to get assessed by a medical professional who specialises in your specific injuries. This medical assessment report will include details of what tests needed to be done to evaluate your injuries, the type and severity of your injuries, what treatments have been carried out, what treatments you will likely need within a specific timeline, and what to expect in terms of treatment and recovery over the long-term. If your claim is successful, the insurance company will have to cover the cost of all your medical treatments, including those you will need in the future. This can add up to much, much more than what they offered you through the pre-settlement offer.
Essentially, for an insurance company, a pre-settlement offer is a cost-saving exercise. When they know their client is at fault and they may have to pay the victim a large settlement if the claim goes to court, they step in with a pre-medical offer to save potentially thousands of pounds.
Why You Should Not Accept A Pre-Medical Offer Immediately
Yes, a pre-medical offer can help ease the financial strain many claimants experience. You’ve likely taken leave of absence and are losing income while at the same time living expenses and other costs are mounting and you still have other financial commitments that cannot be ignored. Receiving any money when you are struggling financially can be a huge relief. Unfortunately, this is only a quick fix and one that could cause you to lose much more.
The motive behind making a pre-medical offer is to protect the insurance company from getting involved in expensive and time-consuming litigation. Not surprisingly, it is designed to be as low as possible. The insurance company decides how much they should offer you without taking your circumstances into account.
The insurance company does not take into account as a solicitor would your pain and suffering, loss of amenity, medical expenses, or other expenses incurred because of the accident such as cost of travel to and from your treatments, mobility devices, or home care. They also do not take into account your loss of income, which could add up to a significant amount depending on how long you are forced to stay off work. All of these are expenses you should be compensated for under the law.
Why A Medical Assessment Is Essential To Your Settlement
A medical assessment is absolutely essential in order to determine the severity of your injuries and the treatments you are going to require in the short and long term. This is then used to calculate your compensation settlement. The more serious your injuries and the bigger the impact on your life, the higher the compensation you should expect to receive. By not taking all of these factors into account, the insurance company is essentially avoiding paying you the full amount of compensation you potentially deserve.
The worst part is, a pre-medical offer is a final settlement. In other words, if you decide to accept the offer, you will have to sign a settlement agreement forfeiting your right to claim any further compensation. Even if your personal injuries worsen over time or you develop further complications and require more expensive treatments, you will not be able to re-open the claim and ask for more compensation. This can be a huge risk as you can be almost certain that the sum you will have received through the pre-medical offer is nowhere near what a personal injury solicitor could get you in compensation for your injuries.
How Speaking To A Personal Injury Solicitor Can Help
Speaking to a personal injury solicitor is, in our opinion, the best way to protect your legal rights when you are injured in a no-fault accident. A solicitor, together with a medical expert, will assess your injuries and determine the merits of your case. If there is a risk that your claim may be unsuccessful, they may advise you to accept the pre-medical offer. However, if you have a strong claim, they will offer to help you fight for the maximum amount of compensation due to you.