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Title: Fooled into low compensation

Date: 24 January 2013

Q.

I am fairly new to riding (17 years old) and had an accident on my moped and had four broken ribs and a badly sprained ankle as well as causing damage to the bike and clothing. My insurer told me they would instruct a solicitor to act for me. But I was called by the other party’s insurer who offered me £1,000 for my injuries, clothing and bike repairs. I needed the money so accepted and as they asked me to sign a form to confirm the payment I did. My solicitor now tells me I should not have done that because I have settled my claim for too little cash. Can I claim more?

Chris Noon, Shropshire

A.

It is very poor conduct for a third party insurer to make direct contact with the injured claimant. They were clearly trying to cut your solicitor out of the loop to avoid paying legal costs and to get away with paying you far too little compensation. In normal circumstances settlement in a personal injury claim is full and final, i.e. you cannot reopen the case. Fortunately, you have a get out however. Because you are 17 years old, and therefore in the eyes of the law a minor, you are unable to enter into a legally binding contract (which the settlement agreement is) without a litigation friend (an adult taking legal responsibility for decisions in your case).

Your solicitor needs to write to the third party insurer pointing out there has not been a lawful settlement and that you are pursuing the claim for its full value.

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