There are 2 common types of offers. One in relation to fault for the accident which is known as a liability offer and the other regarding a monetary sum for settlement which is known as a quantum settlement offer.
In this blog we look at quantum offers of settlement.
Often our clients first make contact with us when they have been made an offer of settlement of their claim by an insurer which is usually the Insurance Commission of Western Australia.
Frequently, clients will say that the offer appalled them and spurred them into finding a lawyer to help them get a better deal. Sometimes when the offer is made after treatments, funding is withdrawn and clients believe that the only way to continue to receive treatment is to accept the offer and use it to fund future treatment.
But it is equally true that many people accept the first offer made by the Insurance Commission. Many people believe that the Insurance Commission has been acting in their best interests and is there to help them and therefore they trust whatever offer is made. Other people think that they have no ability to try to improve on the offers of the Insurance Commission.
Given the low offers that the Insurance Commission usually makes, we always recommend that you see a lawyer and get advice before accepting anything. Usually by obtaining additional medical and economic evidence and preparing supporting arguments and documentation we are able to significantly increase future offers. For example, one client who was offered less than $10,000 in an initial offer finally settled her claim with our help for over $110,000. That staggering 120% increase of over $100,000 was only possible because we are specialists in these motor vehicle and motorcycle accident claims. We know exactly what evidence is required and exactly how to present the appropriate calculations and arguments to the Insurance Commission and their solicitors.
It is always important to consider the offers carefully as there can be instances where rejected offers will have a significant effect on the legal costs you have to pay (whether you have a lawyer or not). This happens because if you reject certain offers to settle your claim, and continue on to trial, but the trial Judge awards you less than the amount of that rejected offer you may be responsible for not only your own legal costs but also the Insurance Commission’s legal costs from the date of the offer onwards. Your lawyer will give you advice as to whether this is a risk in your particular case.
It is essential to remember when considering offers that the Insurance Commission’s ultimate role is to try to minimise the amount that they pay out. It is not the injured person’s insurer but the insurer of the person responsible for the accident. Only a specialist injury lawyer will be able to advise you whether the offer is actually a reasonable one, or if the Insurance Commission is trying to get you to accept far less than your claim is worth.
In almost every case the acceptance of an offer of settlement results in the finalisation of a claim and it cannot be reopened. This means that if any problems arise in the future due to the injuries which were not known at the time of the settlement it is just bad luck for the injured person/claimant and they must fund the expense from the settlement. Skilled specialist injury lawyers like us at Kakulas Legal Injury Lawyers will make all those enquiries and obtain all the supporting proof BEFORE finalising our clients’ claims.