The practice of insurers offering claimants a quick and easy settlement after a road traffic accident is nothing new. Generally, these are made in cases where the insurer recognises that the claim is worth more and so tries to ‘buy off’ the claim at as low a cost as it can. Whilst tempting for many victims, these offers should be seen for what they are – attempts at minimising the insurers’ losses to the detriment of those injured.

We’ve recently dealt with a case in which our client was offered one of these quick payouts. As ever, it undervalued her claim and luckily she was not distracted. Gathering more evidence to support her claim was the best step forward, as in the vast majority of road traffic accident claims.

Passenger accident claim

Our client was a passenger in a vehicle hit from behind whilst waiting to pull out at a roundabout. The driver of the van behind suggested pulling over in a nearby car park to exchange details, but instead drove off. The other driver eventually spoke to the police, who took down his details. Our client, a nurse, was placed on light duties at work for two weeks as she was unable to move freely due to the pain.

On being notified of the claim, the insurers of the van offered her £1,000 to settle her claim without medical evidence. This kind of offer is often used to tempt injured victims into early settlement. Whilst it can be tempting for some victims of road traffic accidents to take the money as soon as it’s offered, this often leaves them undercompensated and unable to claim what they’re entitled to.

Given that our client suffered for months with spinal and neck injuries, the offer made was certainly an attempt to ‘buy off’ her claim before she knew her injuries were worth more than this. Thankfully she decided not to take this offer and instead obtained the medical evidence used to value her claim.

Our client was awarded in excess of £3,500 by a judge, more than triple the offer which was first put to her. This included the payment of physiotherapy sessions which helped her to recover from her injuries. This shows that obtaining medical evidence for a personal injury claim is always the best way forward. It gives an indication of the value of the injuries suffered which is almost always more than a pre-medical offer.