When does you solicitor write a letter to the person at fault for your accident to attempt to settle your claim for compensation following an accident?
Your solicitor can attempt to settle your claim at any stage in your claim. However, it is not safe to settle your claim until medical evidence from an independent expert setting out your injuries has been obtained.
Your injuries could be far worse than you originally believed by you or your GP so a thorough examination is necessary from a consultant with relevant expertise instructed by your solicitor.
Once this medical report is obtained your lawyer will be better able to assess how much your claim is worth for pain and suffering for your injury itself.
At this stage your solicitor should produce a schedule of special damages – this is a document which lists all of the financial expenses you have incurred asa result of your accident and might include travel expenses, lost income, medical expenses, etc.
The valuation of the pain and suffering by your solicitor plus the amounts set out in your schedule of specials will give the total value of your claim.
Your solicitor can then write a letter making an offer which can be in one of three formats:
1. A part 36 offer letter – this is a formal offer which must be worded in a certain way and will give the person at fault 21 days to accept the offer.
2. A without prejudice offer letter – the offer letter is marked without prejudice at the top of the letter, which means the letter cannot be relied on as evidence in court. A part 36 offer letter puts the other side at risk if not accepted of paying penalty costs.
3. A letter in open correspondence – this is simply a letter making an offer and such letter can be referred to at court should the matter proceed that far.