If you have had a personal injury claim in the past, your solicitor may have reached an agreement with the other party on your behalf without the case going to court. This may have included the payment of compensation, known as a settlement.
Compensation may be made up of the following:
- A sum to reflect your pain, suffering and any loss of amenity
- The amount of any losses you have suffered such as lost earnings (past or future)
- Any expenses you have had to pay out such as for medical treatment
- A sum to cover any future needs such as for treatment, equipment and care
Unless full liability is admitted, an allowance is also made for ‘litigation risk’ which is the chance that you might lose the case entirely, or lose part of the claim due to you being partly to blame for the accident.
Unfortunately in some cases, the amount of compensation agreed upon is not as high as it should be. Such cases are known as ‘under settled’ cases. If your solicitor agreed on compensation for you which was less than you were entitled to, it is possible to take action to recover the money that you missed out on as a result of your case being under settled.
Why cases are under settled
Cases are under settled for a whole host of reasons. Sometimes, the victim requests a fast settlement, perhaps because they would like the case to be concluded as quickly as possible. In most cases, however, claims are under settled because the solicitor handling the case has been negligent.
Your solicitor may for example have failed to obtain medical evidence documenting the extent of your injuries before accepting an offer, or they may have commissioned a report from a doctor who was not specialised enough to complete it. They may also have neglected to consider all of your financial losses when calculating how much compensation was due to you. Alternatively your solicitor may simply have accepted the first offer of compensation that was made, without trying to negotiate a more appropriate sum for you.
Such mistakes frequently happen where firms rely on inexperienced staff to handle personal injury claims and fail to supervise them adequately. Deadlines can be missed and communications can be poor. The result is devastating for victims who are left significantly out of pocket as a result.
What you can do
If you think that your claim may have been under settled, you can take action against the solicitor who handled it and recover the money that you should have received.
The first thing that you need to do is speak to a solicitor specialising in professional negligence about your concerns. They will be able to advise you whether or not it is likely that you have a claim. If your case looks like it has a reasonable prospect of success, your solicitor will be able to advise you on your funding options and the next steps that you can take.