Premedical offers are exactly that, offers made before the claimant has had the opportunity to be seen by a medical expert with regards to their accident related injuries. Mostly seen in instances where the potential value of the claim is between £1,000 and £25,000 when liability has been admitted.
The reason we seek out medical evidence for our clients is so that we can assess, (as far as can be done after the fact) the exact impact of an accident on a claimant’s individual lifestyle. Not only will this medical evidence usually detail the injuries sustained and the duration by which the expert believes you should be recovered by, but it also details a plethora of other information.
By way of one example the medical report is the often the first piece of evidence corroborating a loss of earnings claim, again it would be unlikely that this were to be considered in a premedical offer.
When a premedical offer is made, it is made without the benefit of any crucial information. Judicial guidelines are very clear regarding what factors should be considered to validly and accurately value a claim and as can be imagined, it is unlikely that premedical offers will consider any of this.
It cannot be said that premedical offers are never beneficial for claimants however the issue lies in the element of the unknown.
When a settlement is reached, it is done so in full and final settlement and what this means in general terms is that should a claimant accept a premedical offer, that will be the only opportunity to recuperate compensation that they can ever receive for that accident.
Without medical evidence we do not know the duration of a person’s injuries or the level to which they may require further medical intervention. Accepting a premedical offer effectively shuts down the defendant’s obligation to pay for any further treatment or to accurately compensate for injuries.
It is understandable that a person may want to accept the first offer that comes their way, especially considering lengthy settlement negotiations.
However as claimant solicitors it is our priority to make sure that people are accurately compensated for their injuries. It is our job to highlight to anybody considering accepting a premedical offer, that these are tactics employed by insurance companies to look attractive to individuals to bypass their further obligations under the law to injured parties. Claimant solicitors cannot accurately perform our job of helping a person to return to a pre-accident state (in as much as money can do that) without having all of the facts. An analogy might be to consider a card game. Would you play your hand before even looking at the cards you hold?
APIL have suggested that banning premedical offers would be a great way to increase legitimacy in the legal system as a whole. Medical professionals will act as another line of defence against illegitimate claims which can only be good for the industry.
It is our job to advise and explain the best options available to our clients. That’s why it can never be said that 100% of the time premedical offers should never be accepted, every case needs to be considered on its merits. What we can say is that a premedical offer will not account for your individual suffering.
It will not account for any illegitimacy in the industry and they are a known tactic to be used to prey on unsuspecting individuals. Insurance companies, particularly in the Road Traffic Industry are increasingly tightening their grip on the way systems operate. Once liability has been admitted, it can be argued, that it is their sole responsibility to reduce the amount of money they have to provide to genuinely injured individuals. It is our job as claimant solicitors to not let injured people to get taken advantage of by these huge corporations. Critically analysing whether a premedical offer is appropriate for the individual is an important and often overlooked step of the process.