If you are making a whiplash claim and you are offered a low settlement figure, what are your options? Can you say no to a low whiplash settlement?
Well as any good lawyer would tell you, you have the right to reject any settlement figure offered to you by the other side. That’s your right and you are free to exercise it.
You can reject the other side’s offer, and base your rejection on the belief that the amount being offered is not fair or proportionate to the extent of your injuries, your recovery period or your prognosis for the future and your financial losses. You can claim that when combined, your general damages (injury compensation) and special damages (financial compensation) warrant the amount of compensation you have asked for.
However, saying no to a low settlement figure is not always the action you should take and your next move should be based on the reason behind the other side’s low whiplash settlement offer. For example, the reason a low whiplash settlement has been offered may be because the other side has evidence proving that you were partly to blame for your accident. If this is the case, then the other side will take your compensation demand and cut it by a quarter or even by half. In all scenarios, you should follow the advice of your personal injury solicitor. If they recommend you take it, then you probably should.
Another reason you may be offered a lower settlement figure is because you have chosen to fast apply, meaning you have made a claim because you need money quickly. Insurance companies under the circumstances will offer you less, because there’s less special damages for them to consider. You can put forward special damages based on potential loss of income (a projection), but there’s no guarantee this will be accepted. Under the circumstances, an insurance company may offer to pay you a good general damages figure.
At this stage, it’s important to reiterate the importance of confiding in your solicitor when it comes to accepting or rejecting a settlement. Your solicitor may well find the other side’s offer as insulting as you do. In which case they will push harder for the maximum amount of compensation possible. But they may by the same token think that the settlement offered is a fair one. In which case you will be advised to take it.
It’s also important to remember that the longer your claim goes on, the higher your legal bill will be. Although you won’t be paying fees out of your pocket under a no win no fee agreement, your solicitor can take up to 25% of your compensation to cover their fees. So sometimes, it’s more cost-effective to settle early and take a lower settlement figure.