Never Accept An Offer To Settle Without Getting a Medical Report

At Lian Hall Injury Law we often hear from people who have been made an offer to settle their claim by and insurance company and they just want to know whether the offer is reasonable before they accept the compensation. What they are really saying is that they feel that the insurance company has made a fair offer and they don’t want the hassle of engaging compensation lawyers and getting into a big fight and delaying getting to settlement.

Delay and hassle and expense are of course very important considerations. But you only ever get to settle your claim once. You should never settle your claim unless you know for sure that your settlement compensates you for all of your losses.

Consider What It Means To Accept a Settlement Offer

If an insurance company makes you an offer:

  • the offer will be based on evidence that the insurance company has obtained. Have they shared all of that evidence with you? Do you have all of the medical reports and treatment notes?
  • the offer will always be made on a ‘once and for all’ basis. If you accept – your claim is finished. You cannot go back and complain that something was left out, or, the amount doesn’t seem fair anymore;
  • it is critical that you consider what future treatment expenses might be in store for you. What if 12 months after settlement you don’t get better and suddenly your doctor is talking about injections or MRI’s and even surgery?
  • it is critical that you consider the effect of your accident on your future capacity to work your usual job. What if in the future you need treatment and have to take time off from work? What if later in life you need to change jobs because of what happened to you in the accident all those years ago?
  • There may be deductions from your settlement amount that you have not considered. The main deductions will be to refund Medicare and Centrelink. In addition your private health fund may claim a part of your settlement. In addition there may be claims by doctors who have not been paid. And if you were in a public hospital has that cost been covered? Do you know what will be deducted?
  • The Insurance company may make an offer on the basis of contributory negligence. That would have a significant effect on the total amount paid out to you.

 

Be Very Careful

Be very careful when settling your claim:

  • If you are still having treatment, when you settle your claim the insurance company will stop paying for your treatment;
  • Are you still symptomatic? You need to consider your prognosis and build that into any settlement;
  • If you have not made a successful return to full-time work, the insurance company will nevertheless stop paying workers compensation when you settle. You will need to be sure that the settlement adequately covers you until you can get back to work;
  • If you don’t know whether there are any outstanding treatment accounts you need to find that out;
  • Do you know what deductions will come out of your settlement? Before considering a settlement offer you need to know how much you can expect to get ‘in hand’ after all deductions.

 

Think About What Could Be Around The Corner

Before you settle your claim you need to give careful thought about what could be around the corner for you. You need to ask think about how the injury will be affecting you in 5 years’ time, or in 10 years’ time, or longer. The best way of doing this is to get an independent specialist doctor report. Medical specialists deal with your type of injury all the time and will have a good idea about what treatment you are going to need in the future and how your injury will affect you in the next 5 and 10 years.

Compensation lawyers are skilled at focusing on what problems could be around the corner, and finding out what is in store for you so that there are no surprises. They will then convert that evidence into a dollar figure so that you can build that amount into your settlement. It is very common that after Lian Hall Injury Law get an independent medical specialist assessment that the Insurance Company significantly increases their settlement offer.

 

So is the offer fair?

Lian Hall Injury Law will have a good look at your case and how your injuries will affect you in the future. A good compensation lawyer in Perth will only settle your claim once your medical prognosis has been explored and once we have clarity about all the expenses that you are likely to incur in the future. At Lian Hall Injury Law we will always thoroughly investigate your injury and then give you advice on what would be a reasonable settlement amount. You can then make a confident decision based on an independent medical examination and on a thorough analysis of your losses so that you can settle with confidence.

Don’t leave money on the table by rushing your settlement. Investigate everything!