If you are making a road accident claim you may have heard the term ‘pre-med offer’.
You may find yourself in the position of having to decide whether or not to accept one. But what is a pre-med offer and when should you accept one?
Please note the following information relates to road traffic accident claims only.
What Is A Pre-Med Offer?
A pre-medical (often called a pre-med) offer is usually made by the defendant’s insurance company at the same time as they admit liability (i.e. take the blame) for the accident and normally before a full medical report into your injuries has been carried out. This is an offer to settle the claim, made at the beginning of a claim before any medical evidence is sought.
Why Do Insurance Companies Make Pre-Med Offers?
Put simply, this comes down to the other side’s insurance company trying to save time and money in settling your personal injury claim.
Our Legal Manager Tony Tierney warns of the dangers of pre-med offers as the insurers make them “without any real knowledge of what symptoms a Claimant is suffering with. As such the fact that these offers are made can actually encourage fraud and exaggeration”.
When you approach Bott and Co seeking compensation for a personal injury, we will usually ask you to attend a medical appointment with a carefully selected medical expert. We do this so that we can determine:
- How long the expert expects your injuries to last
- The seriousness of your injuries
- How much of the pain you are suffering is a result of the accident
By understanding the above, we can calculate the correct amount of compensation that we believe you are due. Having this information also enables us to negotiate a reasonable settlement with the third-party insurers to compensate you for the injuries that you have suffered.
The medical report is paid for by the defendant’s insurers, with the opinion of a medical expert usually costing around £180. As the insurance company want to avoid any extra costs where possible, they will often attempt to use pre-med offers as a tool to keep their costs to a minimum.
Should I Accept a Pre-Med Offer?
Defendant insurance companies often make pre-med offers to try to conclude a case there and then, saving them time and money in the long-run. At first glance this seems great but there is a risk that by accepting a pre-medical offer you are not settling for the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
Typically, pre-medical offers are significantly lower than what a client is entitled to. As an example, a recent Bott and Co client, Mr C, suffered an injury to his neck and shoulder and was offered £1,000 as a pre-medical settlement.
Bott and Co advised Mr C to reject the offer and attend a medical appointment as planned. He did and after we submitted the evidence from the medical appointment to the third-party insurers, Bott and Co settled Mr C’s claim for £2,300. As you can see, by seeking the correct evidence we managed increase our client’s settlement by an additional 130%.
Another disadvantage of settling a claim on a pre-medical basis is that you will not then be able to recover other losses such as loss of earnings, travelling expenses, medical costs or any other special damages that you may have incurred as a result of the accident or injury.
In addition, if you have received physiotherapy following your accident and accept a pre-medical offer, you may be left to pay for the physiotherapy yourself if this has been sought privately.
While a pre-medical offer may seem to be an attractive proposition on the basis that it is made at the beginning of the claim and without the need for you to attend a medical appointment, it is usually worth persevering. Here at Bott and Co we would always suggest seeking the correct compensation that you deserve as a result of someone else’s negligent actions, and to make sure you are not being sold short.
If you are a Bott and Co client that is considering whether or not to accept a pre-med offer on your claim, the solicitor handling your case would be more than happy to discuss your options with you in more depth. Just call 01625 415 800, Monday to Friday from 9am – 5:30pm.
Starting his legal career in 1994, Tony brings a wealth of experience to our road traffic accident team. Specialising in dealing with high value cases, Tony has secured a number of settlements in excess of £1million.
He is a member of both Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).