When's the best time to accept an injury compensation offer?

Most insurance companies tend to make a low initial compensation offer in the hope that you will accept it. However, some insurance companies will make a high initial offer and then reduce this as your case progresses. So how do you know when to accept an offer or is this just poker?

How early in the process, can I settle my claim?

If you have instructed a personal injury solicitor you might receive the offer during the claims process.  If you are dealing directly with the insurer, you may receive an offer directly. 

Either way, you are free to accept an offer as soon as you receive one.

Insurance company tricks to be wary of

Pre-medical offers

In certain circumstances, some insurers will make a pre-medical offer immediately - without even seeing any medical evidence.

To be clear, this means accepting a compensation offer before a medical report has ascertained;

  • the extent of your injury
  • the suitable treatments
  • the prognosis for ongoing care

This highly controversial practice has been criticised in parliament - so why do insurance companies do this?

A recent article in the Law Society Gazette highlights the real reason. Insurance companies want to 'buy off 'victims of injury and illness to save themselves money.

See: Should I accept a pre-medical offer?

Early offers

Receiving an immediate offer money when you have just been injured or made ill can seem 'too good to be true' - and it usually is. Insurance companies try to offer just enough to tempt you to settle your claim, not what your claim may be worth.

Even if you have had a medical report, you usually still won't know for sure how long you will take to recover. 

Accepting an early offer is, therefore, a gamble:

  • If you recover sooner than expected, you will be better off.
  • If your recovery takes longer, you cannot then ask for further compensation.

As tempting as the certainty of an early offer may be, you are strongly advised to negotiate further.

A personal injury solicitor can add real value as a solicitor will be:

  • familiar with the negotiating tactics of individual insurers
  • demonstrate your intent to the insurer to go all the way to court if necessary (this option would cost the insurer far more)
  • assure you as to the level of compensation achievable.

Misleading advice

A commonly reported tactic is when the insurance company tells claimants not to instruct a solicitor. Insurers claim that they will be able to pay more as a result. This is not true.

Offering a panel solicitor

Once an insurer knows that you want to seek legal advice, they may recommend a panel solicitor.  This panel solicitor will be beholden to the insurer for an ongoing stream of work.

The conflict of interests is clear.  How can the solicitor purport to offer you independent legal advice if the solicitor is commercially dependent on the insurer?

See:  Do I have to use the insurance company's solicitor?

The real financial benefits of instructing a solicitor

Research carried out by the Financial Conduct Authority (the insurance industry regulator) showed that people who instruct a solicitor, rtather than accepting the first offer from an insurance company, receive 2-3 times more compensation.

This startling statistic shows just how much the insurance industry stands to gain by coercing you away from seeking independent legal advice.

See: Calculate how much compensation I could receive

So when should I settle my claim?

A solicitor will present you with the facts. How much your claim is worth, what risks are involved, and what you would need to do to get the best possible compensation settlement.

Even if you do choose to claim through a solicitor, you are still in the driving seat. You should settle your claim when you want to, not when someone pressures you to.

Independent legal advice from Quittance's panel of solicitors puts you in control, not the insurance company.

Have you already received a compensation offer?

If you have received a compensation offer an are wondering whether to accept it, you can cross-check the offer with our injury compensation calculator.  The calculator will give tell you how much you should receive in both general and special damages:

Calculate compensation

Next Steps

Each of our panel solicitors is regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA). This means you will receive independent advice that focuses on what is right for you, not how much profit an insurance company can make.

If you have been approached by an insurance company already, you can get immediate help and support by speaking with an expert before proceeding further.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert