Should you settle your personal injury claim?
Personal injury clients often ask us whether they should settle their compensation claim when they first come to us and also throughout the claim process.
The personal injury claim process can help you get back on track after an injury from a financial perspective however it is important to recover the correct amount of compensation as you only have one chance to take a claim for an injury and if you settle too low, it might not adequately reflect the injury or indeed adequately cover the losses you incur in the future.
It is therefore important to understand your rights, what you are entitled to and what you need to watch out for as you seek compensation.
Quite early on, you may receive a settlement offer. Consider the below article before you decide what to do next.
What are the benefits of settling your personal injury claim?
After an injury, the process of seeking compensation can be long and arduous. Accepting a settlement offer can bring a quick resolution to the case. If your case is not complicated and the settlement offer seems reasonable, settling early can save weeks or even months of time spent exchanging legal correspondence.
A settlement also means you avoid a full court hearing. Court hearings can also be a stressful and intimidating experiences for some. It is always therefore preferable to avoid hearing if the right amount can be achieved for a client by way of settlement.
What are the risks of settling your personal injury claim?
The main risk of accepting a settlement is that you might settle prematurely and so the amount does not match the injury sustained. Once you have accepted a settlement, you cannot reopen your case and take your claim to court.
As a general rule, we would recommend that you do not settle a claim while you are still symptomatic, as you do will not know the full extent of your injuries yet. If your injury worsens after you have already settled the claim, you have no right to seek further compensation.
It can be hard for a person to estimate how much a claim is worth, leading some people to accept less than they deserve. However this is where an expert personal injuries solicitor will be able to fully advise you.
What Compensation will I receive?
A claim is made up of several parts. There are some straightforward costs which we call special damages. These are your general out of pocket expenses such as traveling to medical appointments, costs of medical care such as physiotherapy, GP and consultant fees, Scans, medication etc. Loss of earnings, and loss of future earnings due to the injury can be complicated in certain cases especially if self employed. Again your personal injury solicitor will be able to fully advise you on this part of the claim and indeed hire the required expert to prepare a report in relation to loss of earnings and future loss of earnings if so required.
A tip on tracking these expenses is to set up a folder and spreadsheet of all of these expenses so that you can easily share the amounts and copy receipts with your solicitor throughout the case to ensure you cover all special damages.
There is also what we call general damages. This is the compensation you receive for the actual injury itself. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB)publishes guidelines on monetary compensation amounts for a wide range of injuries in the Book of Quantum. There are just a suggested range for assessment and compensation, according to the location and severity of the injury. They are a good indicative guide however every case turns on the individual circumstances and so again an expert personal injury solicitor will easily be able to guide you on the range of general damages your injury is likely to recover for you in addition to your special damages .
Seek legal advice from a reputable solicitor who specialises in personal injury claims.
Do your own research and check the monetary settlement estimates for your injury in the Injuries board Book of Quantum.
Be patient and don't rush to accept the first offer especially if you have not quantified your injury with a personal injury solicitor beforehand .
Track your expenses so that you recover the full amount of your special damages.
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In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with Reg.8 of SI 518 of 2002.
If you would like to discuss making a personal injury claim please contact us to discuss further by calling our phone number: 01 234 0044 . We will be happy to have a no obligation conversation with you to discuss your claim and provide you with advice and an initial opinion regarding your injury, the process from the personal injuries assessment board to issuing proceedings in a case. We pride ourselves in knowing that our clients are always fully informed and advised of all aspects of their case from the beginning when they first speak to us regarding an injury, right the way through to a final award or settlement.
Cosgrove Gaynard Solicitors, 39 Waterloo road, Dublin 4.
We also have a number of other practice areas and would be happy to discuss any other work you would like to discuss with a solicitor. Call us now for further details or for initial advice.
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