What Happens When An Insurance Company Accepts Liability for a Personal Injury?
If the defendant’s insurer accepts liability on their client's behalf, it means that they are assuming legal responsibility for your accident and injuries. An admission of liability can be a crucial stage in resolving a case but is not always necessary.
Once liability has been admitted, the case can proceed toward achieving a settlement. This is the process of deciding on a compensation amount.
However, an admission of liability alone does not mean you will receive full compensation. In some cases, the defendant’s insurer may raise a defence of fundamental dishonesty. It is important that you do not provide any inaccuracies to your Solicitor, as this will jeopardise your claim. Fundamental dishonesty can arise during disclosure or investigations, most commonly when the defendant suspects your injury suffered during the admitted accident, is being deliberately exaggerated, or elements of the claim for special damages include fabricated expenditures. In these circumstances, the defendant would seek to dismiss the whole or part your claim and you may not be entitled to any monetary compensation for your complete claim or for one particular element claimed.
If an offer has been put forward by an insurance company but you do not have a solicitor working alongside you, it is vital that you seek legal advice. Insurance companies are often keen to arrange an out-of-court settlement, but these offers rarely cover your needs and expenses, so you should not settle for the first sign of accepting liability. For information, take a look at the following guide.
Why Do Insurers Accept Liability?
While an insurance company accepting liability, or fault, may be a sign of an imminent win, you should not celebrate too soon as they will have their reasons for doing so,
The main reason that insurance companies do this is to cut their losses and try to offer you a lower amount with the benefit of getting it resolved sooner than a claim would be if it was taken to Court. Ifan insurer is offering this deal, it could mean they do not feel confident that their client would win if you brought a claim against them.
Other reasons include saving time or funds due to other claims that they are having to make payments for. It is always important to discuss this with your solicitor so you can understand what it may mean for you, and what the best course of action is.
Admitting Liability Save for Causation
In some cases, a defendant’s insurer will agree that liability is accepted, save for causation. This means they admit negligence occurred, so a duty of care was owed and a breach of duty occurred but place you to strict proof regarding the cause of your sustained injuries and consequential losses. You, therefore, have a duty to prove, usually medically, that your injuries were sustained as a result of the accident and of your claimed losses stemmed from the accident only. If you exaggerate the degree to which you have been injured or the degree in which you required additional support, this can create a ripple effect by impacting on your Solicitor’s ability to present your claim.
If liability is admitted, however, your lawyer will arrange for the necessary evidence to be collated and submitted to the defendant’s insurer in an attempt to settle the personal injury claim in the first instance.
Accepting Liability With Contributory Negligence
Liability can be accepted with other stipulations, the most common is contributory negligence. This is where the defendant agrees that they were the cause of the accident, but that your own negligent acts contributed to the loss or damage. For example, if you have had a slipping accident while wearing shoes with no grip, the defendant’s insurer may suggest the footwear you chose to wear, was not fit for purpose and therefore you are partially to blame for the accident. You will share in responsibility for the damage in this instance.
If a defendant’s insurer requests that you admit some negligence in a case, your lawyer will be able to assess the request and advise you if it is appropriate. If it is appropriate, the level of negligence must be agreed by both sides. For example, if you accept 25%, then you will receive 75% of the total agreed compensation amount.
Your lawyer may not agree, or may feel that the proposed level of negligence should be reduced. They will advise you if this is the case, and negotiations will take place.
When and How Should I Settle?
Your solicitors will be able to assess the support and care that you need following an injury, and advise on the minimum amount of personal injury compensation you need to cover it. Your own insurance company may be able to offer you finances to help with this, but it is not uncommon for them to try to avoid doing so. Therefore, you should seek our help and refrain from settling until we are confident that your needs will be met.
It may be the case that your own insurance company can help by financially supporting you, but that does not mean you should ignore the fact that someone is liable for your suffering, and so you should seek recompense.
Not Satisfied With Your Solicitor?
If you are not satisfied by how the law firm you have appointed is handling your case, we offer a “Check My Claim” service so you can get a second opinion on the service you are receiving from your current solicitor.
We can check your claim if:
- Your case has been mishandled or progress has taken too long
- You have been told your claim is not worthwhile pursuing
- You are not happy with the amount of compensation you have been told you will receive
- Your solicitor has settled your case on a lower amount of compensation that you feel you deserve
For more information on how you can switch solicitors, take a look at our dedicated page.
Talk to Us
To speak to an expert about an injury that was caused by somebody else’s negligence, contact JMW today and begin your personal injury claim. Our solicitors are waiting to hear from you and are happy to answer any questions you may have.