Our client Jim ( name changed) was knocked off his bike in The City by a black cab in January 2014.
Liability was admitted. Jim suffered a serious injury to his right shoulder and was not able to work as a courier for about 10 weeks. He had only a small amount of savings to live on.
Before Jim had had time to speak to us, the cabbie's insurers- Haven Insurance- offered £2000 to settle his claim. This is how they put it to him:-
"We offer you the opportunity to settle your claim with us directly in the sum of £2000. Traditionally, this is done by seeking the services of a solicitor; however we offer a service that is very much similar to that offered by a solicitor. What we offer to you directly is the option to conclude your injury claim without the need for further inconvenience".
Given that Haven represent no one but the interests of their shareholders and policyholders, it is disgraceful that they suggest to accident victims that they provide a service similar in any way to an independent solicitor, who will only be concerned to represent the interests of his client.
After we were instructed to act for Jim the insurer's next gambit was to make an offer of £6750.00 before we had any medical evidence about the extent of the injuries and any disability. This caused Jim anxiety because if he rejected the offer and failed to beat it at a later trial he would be penalised in costs. Fortunately we were able to arrange a medical report quickly and on that basis valued the claim at over £15,000.00.
After hard negotiation Jim decided to accept an offer of over £12,750: six times the original offer from Haven.
Insurance companies work on the basis that a good percentage of accident victims will accept the first offer made and before they have sought legal advice. Don't be tempted; you are likely to be accepting a grossly inadequate settlement which you will come to regret.
Consult an experienced solicitor. Don't let insurers treat you like a fool!