When to accept an early offer of compensation
Depending on the impact of your cycling accident and your circumstances you may wish to accept a compensation offer made by an insurance company, rather than face formal proceedings.
But is the offer really enough to compensate your injuries?
It is the tendency of insurance companies to make a low initial offer, often without seeing any medical evidence. Accepting this offer means you may be compensated earlier than perhaps you would - had you brought a claim to Court - but it also works in the insurer's favour as the compensation payment is likely to be lower and it also avoids legal costs.
The offer seems good to me
If, like the majority of Claimants, this is the first time you have had to make a personal injury compensation claim, the most likely questions you will have are:
"How long will the claim take?" and "how much can I expect to receive?"
Although insurance companies may tell you that they will be able to pay you more if you do not instruct a solicitor, this is rarely true.
If an offer is made of a small amount of money, plus treatment to help your recovery, it might be sufficient - providing you make a quick recovery. However if your recovery time is longer it is likely that the compensation will not adequately cover your losses.
Without proper investigation into your accident, an insurance company cannot assess the full extent of your injuries and how long they will take to heal.
What is the best way to settle a claim?
It is better to discuss your claim with a personal injury expert, experienced in handling cycling injury claims.
He will ask you many questions about the circumstances and cause of your accident and the injuries you have sustained as a result.
For example you may have been knocked from your cycle by a touring caravan, when the driver of the car towing it failed to compensate for its length when turning across the road.
This may have caused you to twist and tear ligaments, which may seem less serious than broken bones, but probably take longer to completely heal. That might mean (for example) you are unable to cycle to work (and therefore incur travel costs) or you are not able to participate in sports or hobbies you previously enjoyed.
A solicitor will be able to assess your situation, and with the help of an independent medical report, put together a claim that considers several aspects - including:
- Compensation for your pain and suffering
- Loss of your amenities
- The costs of treatment - both those already incurred and any you may need in the future
- Loss of earnings - those already lost and future earnings if there is a possibility that you may only be able to work limited hours for a time.
Will I really receive more compensation if I wait?
Recent research by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that Claimants who instruct a solicitor rather than accept the first offer generally receive an average of 2 to 3 times the compensation first offered by an insurance company.
What should I do next?
If you discuss your claim with an expert solicitor he will explain the risks involved in making a claim and also advise how much your claim may be worth and how to get the compensation you deserve.
This independent legal advice will help you decide how best to settle your cycling claim, when you want to.