Your Solicitor will discuss the potential to settle your claim throughout the claims process. Medical evidence will be needed to value your injuries together with any other reports to value your financial losses. Our Guides on Damages and Expert Evidence detail these processes.
Once the claim is ready to settle, or sometime before, an offer may be made by your opponent. An offer will usually be made on a Part 36 basis. The offer is made in accordance with Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules and has a number of important costs consequences for your claim, your solicitor’s costs and your insurer (if your claim is backed by an insurance policy to protect against adverse costs).
A Part 36 offer is a tactical offer to tempt you to settle the claim for the amount offered. Serious consideration has to be given to an offer of this nature as, if the offer is not accepted and you later go on to Trial and do not obtain an amount which is more advantageous, you will be ordered to pay the costs of the claim from the date the offer expired.
Offers of this nature are typically open for acceptance for 21 days. If the offer is made prior to issue of court proceedings, then the risk is that you will have to pay all of the costs of the Court action. These costs will be extensive as a lot of work has to be done to prepare the claim for Trial. See our Guide on Trial for more information on that stage of your claim.
Your solicitor will provide you with advice about the offer and will report to your insurer.
If the advice is that you are likely to beat the offer at Trial, it is unlikely your solicitor will advise you to accept the offer.
Your solicitor may advise you to make an offer during your serious injury claim. Again, this will be a Part 36 offer. The offer will be pitched at an amount which your solicitor thinks you may reasonably receive if the matter went to Trial. If the offer is accepted by your opponent, the claim will have concluded for that amount. There is no opportunity to go back for more. If the offer is not accepted, it will usually remain “on the table”. The offer which is made on your behalf also has serious cost consequences for your opponent. If the offer is not accepted and you beat the offer at Trial (i.e. received more) you will be awarded additional interest and additional, more advantageous costs. A Part 36 offer is therefore a serious procedural consideration and your Solicitor will advise you on any offers which are to be made or which are received.