27 Mar What can you do if your personal injury claim has been settled for less money than it was worth?
Being involved in an accident is stressful enough but having to live with the consequences can be even more stressful. Many people are unable to work after their accident or perhaps require support and care in order to go about their daily lives. Personal injury compensation can help relieve some of the stress associated with having an accident, but what happens if the compensation is not enough?
In some cases, you may be able to make a further claim. For example, if your condition has worsened, you may be able to make a claim against the solicitor who handled your original claim if you believe they made mistakes that led to your claim being undervalued.
How is a personal injury claim valued?
The valuation of a personal injury claim is based on several factors These factors can include how serious your injuries are, the impact they have had on your life and any specific financially losses you have suffered due to your injuries.
Things you can potentially claim for include the pain and suffering you sustained, any loss or damage to your property, the time off work and loss of earnings. For serious, life-changing injuries, you may also be able to claim for things such as any ongoing care, surgery or medical treatment that may be needed in the future, as well as any adaptations to your home, place of work or vehicle.
In order for a solicitor to value a claim, they first need to get a medical report which details the diagnosis and prognosis of the injured party. They will also need details of any specific financial losses or costs you have incurred or are likely to incur in future. Once your lawyer has this evidence, they can give a more accurate value for the claim.
Generally, any settlement payment offered is the full and final amount and there will be no reassessment, therefore it is important that your solicitor produces a reliable and accurate valuation.
Why are some personal injury claims under settled?
With any personal injury claim, the amount of pain or disability resulting from an injury can be difficult to measure, so inevitably one case can be very different from the next and it means that some people can be over or under-compensated.
However, there are times when an under settled claim is the result of a solicitor making mistakes or cutting corners. If a solicitor doesn’t have the relevant experience and skills to correctly evaluate the claim, then it can lead to mistakes. Equally, there has been increasing pressure in the personal injury claims industry to cut costs, which can lead to claims being rushed through at minimal cost, which can also lead to mistakes being made.
In some cases, the defendant may offer a settlement payment early on in the proceedings, before a solicitor has been able to obtain a medical report to make an accurate valuation. However, the injured party may wish to accept this offer, which can leave them under compensated.
Another reason why some claims are under settled is when they are handled by claims management firms who are not regulated in the same way that lawyers are, and the staff do not have the relevant qualifications to litigate. Their focus is generally on processing as many claims as possible, rather than dealing with complex legal issues. Therefore, the quality of service is not sufficient for many personal injury claims.
Making a professional negligence claim against a personal injury lawyer
If you believe your claim was under settled due to mistakes made by the lawyer handling your claim, you may need to make a professional negligence claim to resolve the matter. This can allow you to reclaim the amount of compensation you missed out on from your original lawyer.
To make a professional negligence claim for under settlement of a personal injury claim, you will first need to establish that the claim was undervalued. This will normally involve having an independent medical evaluation and collecting all of the relevant evidence about your losses and cost so your claim can be accurately valued.
You will then normally need to have your new lawyer contact your original lawyer to give them the opportunity to make things right with a financial settlement. If your original lawyer disputes that they were negligent or is not willing to offer suitable compensation, you may need to initiate court proceedings to so that judge can decide the outcome.
Get help with an under settled personal injury claim
If you believe that your personal injury claim was under settled, it is important to seek advice from a solicitor who will advise you whether you have a claim or not. At Smooth Law, our experienced team will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Call our Freephone line on 0800 161 5709 or you can request a call back at the top of this page.