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Title: Legal jargon explained

Date: 06 August 2015

My legal claim has been going on for nearly 3 years following very serious injuries. I had lots of fractures, spleen removal and a coleostomy requiring a coleostomy bag. I don’t really remember much about the accident but am told that a car pulled out of a side road in front of me. There was a witness who told the police that the guy pulled out on me but I had gone along the outside of a fairly slow moving line of traffic and that I was slightly into the oncoming lane (the other side of the white line). He says I was going at a high speed although that would be unlike me.

Another witness has been found more recently who my solicitor says does not help my case in any way. A trial is set for this summer and my solicitor is suggesting that I make a “commercial” offer and if they don’t accept that a “drop hands” offer. This was in a letter but they have not explained these to me fully and I cannot get through to them on the phone – can you explain this to me please so I can work out what to do?

Dean Beaumont, Malmesbury


If your solicitor is recommending such tactics this close to trial then he must consider that your chance of winning is not at all good. I do not have the papers so cannot comment on liability or the value of the claim but I can explain these terms. A commercial settlement is when an offer is made to the other side that is on the low (usually very low) side and as such enables the opponent to buy off the risk of losing at court for a low price. This provides certainty to the defendant and often works unless the claim has very poor prospects indeed. A drop-hands offer is one where the parties agree to conclude the claim with no payment of compensation and with each party bearing its own legal costs. As compared to the usual rule is that the loser pays the winner’s costs. You may wish to seek the opinion of another firm which should have access to the file in order to properly consider the case.

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