Should I accept a pre-medical offer in an injury claim?
If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may receive a 'pre-medical' offer from an insurer. Should you accept this offer and what are the risks in doing so?
What is a Pre-Medical (Pre-Med) offer?
If you have been injured as the result of someone else's negligence, you may receive an early offer (perhaps within a few days of the accident) of financial compensation from an insurance company.
As the term ‘Pre-Medical' implies, the offer of compensation is made before, or in the absence of, expert advice from a medical professional.
A Pre-Medical offer might be made by an insurer with early knowledge of an accident. Such offers are particularly common from motor insurers following a road traffic accident. After the driver responsible for the accident has notified their insurance company, the insurer might then proceed to contact the injured party in anticipation of the injured person making a claim.
Why do insurance companies make Pre-Medical offers?
Insurance companies are commercial entities whose primary responsibility is to their shareholders.
95% of injury compensation claims do not go to court. Instead, most claims are settled in a negotiation between a claimant's solicitor and a defendant's insurance company.
If your injuries have not been assessed by a medical professional who specialises in your particular type of injury, there will be no evidence of the immediate, and potentially long-term, implications of your injury.
Without this critical medical evidence, it will not be possible to correctly assess the correct level of general damages for any pain, suffering, and loss of amenity (PSLA). Nor will it be possible to calculate the correct level of financial support you may need if there are lasting effects of your injury or if you need further treatments in the future.
The insurer's strategy is, therefore, to make a pre-medical compensation offer that both:
- settles the matter immediately.
- settles for less than they would have to pay if you have sought medical advice and started a claim.
If you accept a Pre-Medical offer and your condition subsequently worsens, you cannot (in most cases) pursue a further claim.
Why might I accept a Pre-Medical offer?
If you are struggling financially following an accident, it can be very tempting to accept an immediate offer of financial compensation.
Being contacted by an insurance company with an offer may, initially, seem like a godsend when you are under financial pressure and recovering from an injury.
Insurance companies are experts at fine-tuning their early offers of compensation to appear reasonable. However, without a full medical assessment, there s a very real danger of under-settling your claim.
Should I accept a Pre-Medical offer?
It is generally recommended that you do not accept a Pre-Medical offer if you want to ensure that you receive the correct level of compensation.
Calculating the value of your personal injury claim will be a complicated process that can only be completed once a solicitor has all of the facts.
How will my injury compensation be calculated?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the extent of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injury has, and will, affect your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
Until all of the evidence, including a medical assessment, has been collated, it is not possible to assess the correct level of compensation.
A Pre-Medical offer will be pitched as low as possible and in the financial interests of the insurer. The offer will not factor in any pain and suffering you have experienced and is unlikely to cover your loss of earnings or other costs.
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:
Full and final settlement
If you choose to accept a Pre-Medical offer, you cannot change your mind at a later date.
By accepting such an offer, you are making an agreement with the insurance company that you will not pursue the matter any further.
If you find that your injury or condition worsens over time, or that you have developed further complications, you cannot make another claim for compensation.
Claiming compensation depends on the circumstances of your injury. Click the icons below for read more:
How we can help you with your injury claim
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Questions about the injury claims process?
Get all the answers in our comprehensive FAQ section:
- How will a personal injury claim affect my benefits?
- Will I have to pay tax on my injury compensation award?
- Can I make a personal injury claim for someone else?
- Can I claim injury compensation if there were no witnesses?
- Can I make an injury claim if I don't know who's to blame?
Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.