31 August 2010
Offers in Settlement: Who Should Put Forward the First Offer
There generally comes a stage within a claim whereby it can be valued.Medical evidence has been obtained which is complete, and a good prognosis has been given by the Consultants. Any claim for monetary loss, loss of earnings and nursing care will also have been finalised and witness statements obtained in support of any such claims. If it is clear that there is unlikely to be any difficulties in the future with regard to any employment, there is considerable advantage in putting forward an offer to the other side in settlement. If an offer is made to the Defendants which is rejected, and if a Court was to subsequently award more at trial, then interest can be obtained on damages and the Defendants will be penalised in relation to costs.Equally if the Defendants put forward an offer which is rejected and the Court subsequently awards a sum equal to or less than the offer made, the Defendants will then stand up and explain to the Judge (who does not know about any offers that have been made by either party), that a greater offer was made some time earlier. The Claimant ought to accept this offer since the Court have now awarded a lesser sum in settlement and that costs consequences should therefore follow.The effect of these offers therefore is to focus the mind of the parties. Any such offers should be given serious consideration as they are normally put forward in good faith. This does not mean to say that the offers cannot be increased at a later date however; the costs consequences of these offers will also need to be considered very carefully, not only with insurers but also with any association that is paying the costs - or at least is at risk of having to do so at a later date. Offers that are put forward in this way are known as Part 36 offers. They are simply offers that are put forward in a certain way and a particular choice of wording is used that then gives rise to the potential costs consequences I have referred to.Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, fill in our short online claim form or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.
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