You may hear the advice that you should accept the first offer you’re given by the NHS by those around you. And you may hear others say to fight for much more, though you may risk not receiving as much as the initial offer, on the assumption you’ll get more if you just keep going. Should you take the first offer when settling? We’ll explain when this is a good idea and when it isn’t the right solution.
Why the Myth Exists
Many myths have a grain of truth in them. Many say to accept the first offer when settling per the belief that you’re wasting time and money if you try to pursue your medical malpractice suit longer, so just take what they give you so you don’t end up with nothing. Others think that the NHS will always know the right amount and always offer that first. Some think that the NHS will actually penalize them if they reject the first offer by reducing it, so they say to jump at the first offer.
At the other end of the spectrum is the myth that the NHS, will give you a set number challenges before granting the final, large reward. This is false; the NHS doesn’t want to waste time and money on settlements that medical negligence lawyers know are too low. And that is true for most medical negligence claims in the UK as well. This belief is fed by the public perception that the NHS is intentionally delaying full awards just as it so often delays our surgeries and care. And it is driven by the belief that the NHS that already failed to deliver on the expected quality of care is going to give a ridiculously low offer, letting the patient down yet again.
Who Should Take the First Offer?
If the initial offer is sufficient to cover your out of pocket expenses, medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering, you should take it. The hard part for many people is knowing what that reasonable offer looks like.
For example, if you accept an offer that doesn’t cover a lifetime of lost wages though someone is going to be disabled permanently, you’re making a mistake to accept it. Consult with trusted advisors such as law firms that specialize in these types of cases, so that you know if the offer you’ve been given is reasonable. They’ll also be able to help you make certain you’ve accounted for all costs you’re entitled to have reimbursed.
If you are given an offer that covers your actual medical costs and something for pain and suffering for a modest injury, you should also consider accepting the first offer if it is reasonable. Note that offers can be withdrawn. If you reject an offer that was reasonable, it may be withdrawn entirely while you have to fight to get anything.
Who Should Continue Their Case?
If you do not have medical negligence claims experts with you when you’re pursuing your medical negligence claim, it is possible that you’ve failed to detail the full extent of your injuries. If you weren’t able to gather all of the documentation necessary for your case and weren’t offered the settlement you should have been given for your full unreimbursed costs, contact a medical negligence UK law firm to challenge the initial offer.
You can also continue your case if you have new evidence that the injuries you suffered were more severe than expected. For example, you could challenge the settlement if you learn that injuries suffered are more extensive or require more extensive treatment to rectify.
For example, a settlement based on partial loss of a foot can be challenged if the patient ended up losing the entire foot. A settlement based on someone’s long-term hospitalization could be renegotiated by medical negligence solicitors if the person then passed. These cases are addressed on a case by case basis and only the best medical negligence solicitors will be able to properly assess your situation and prevent the NHS from giving you a lowball offer.
So, Should I Accept the First Offer I’ve Been Given?
The only certain answer is that you should consult with a medical negligence expert to determine if the settlement you’ve received is reasonable and appropriate. This allows you to accept a settlement that is reasonable for your situation without wasting time and money trying to challenge it or risking losing it.
Legal experts reviewing your case will let you know when the settlement you’ve been offered is not sufficient for your situation or if you need to take further steps to justify a larger settlement. And they’ll help you challenge an insufficient offer when it is appropriate while maximizing your chances of winning your case.