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Title: Too early to settle

Date: 17 July 2013

Question

Hi, I had an accident last month. I was riding in a bus lane when a car turned left cutting across my path. I couldn’t stop and t-boned the car which resulted in me breaking my right femur. The car driver has accepted blame. I have just received the details of a doctor’s appointment with a GP but my consultant told me that I need to have more x-rays of my leg next month to check that the break is healing. I am concerned that the break may not have healed yet but my solicitor told me that he wants to make an offer to settle the case and so needs the medical report. What should I do?

Edward Evans, Solihull.

Answer

It is far too early for your solicitor to make any offers to settle your claim. Your fractured femur will take some time to heal. Your solicitor should not be making any offers to settle your claim until you have fully recovered or at least have a reliable prognosis. Any solicitor that tells you otherwise is risking undervaluing your claim and is potentially being negligent in their advice.

I am concerned that your solicitor is looking to send you to a GP. GPs are not suitable to prepare court reports in respect of serious orthopaedic injuries like yours. I would be surprised if the GP would do anything other than suggest that a report should be obtained from an orthopaedic surgeon. Appointing the correct medical expert can make or break a case and the selection of a medical expert is one of the most important parts of your claim. The medical expert’s job is to suggest treatment options to assist your recovery, and to provide a reasoned prognosis within which you should expect to make a recovery. Where a full recovery is not likely the medical expert will set out the long-term problems that you will experience.

I suggest that you tell your solicitor that you do not want to settle your claim now and that you need privately funded rehabilitation to assist your recovery. In the meantime he should request an interim payment to help financially.

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