What is a Without Prejudice Letter to Settle?

What is a without prejudice letter to settle? I was offered £3000 compensation for my severe whiplash injury “without prejudice”. Should I accept?

“What is a without prejudice letter to settle” is an important question, the answer to which all potential claimants should be aware of. A “without prejudice” letter would be received when a claimant is approached directly by an insurance company with an unsolicited compensation offer. However it is important to be aware of not only what this term means, but also the potential ramifications.

On a positive note, if you have received an offer of without prejudice compensation it acknowledges that the third party who you have held liable for your accident wishes to bring a potential claim to a close. If this offer without prejudice is accepted, it can signify the conclusion of any personal injury claim and you will shortly be compensated.

But one of the reasons why it is important to understand the question of “what is a without prejudice letter to settle” is that, while an offer of settlement is being extended to you, this without prejudice offer is made on the condition that liability for the accident will not be placed upon the negligent party.

This is an acceptable compromise for many accident victims. Most claimants simply seek injury compensation, and are uninterested in receiving an admittance of liability from the negligent party. Other accident victims may not wish to accept a without prejudice offer as they want some admission of wrongdoing.

However an important factor of an offer without prejudice should be taken into account. If the negligent driver in question had been the cause of an accident and illegally endangered the lives of other road users – for instance, driving while under the influence of alcohol – if you accept without prejudice compensation, this will not result in the dropping of criminal charges against the liable party by the Crown Prosecution Service. It will only bring your own civil claim for personal injury compensation to a conclusion.

After the question of “what is a without prejudice letter to settle”, the next question you may ask is whether or not it should be accepted. It is recommended to contact a personal injury solicitor in order to discuss the circumstances of your accident before you accept any offer. Contact with your solicitor may have to be made promptly, as a time limit for accepting an offer without prejudice may apply.

The reason a personal injury solicitor should be contacted is due to the fact that when you accept without prejudice compensation, it is a final and complete settlement. Regardless of any complications which may materialise in your injuries, or any injuries, damage or losses which have not yet become evident, you will be unable to claim compensation for these once a settlement has been reached.

An offer without prejudice is sometimes made by the insurers of the negligent party soon after an accident has happened, in the hope that a without prejudice offer will be quickly accepted. This is done not only to control the potential legal costs which can later arise – both yours and theirs – but also the amount of compensation the insurance company could be liable for.

It can often occur that the without prejudice compensation amount is far lower than could be obtained by further pursuit of the claim, which is why an insurance company may be eager for you to accept the offer. If you turn down a without prejudice offer, you can pursue your claim if you wish to receive a fairer amount of compensation – although a favourable outcome cannot be guaranteed.

While a without prejudice letter may appear to be evidence of wrongdoing, this is not the case. If you decline the offer of compensation, the offer without prejudice letter cannot be used in court as evidence and a defence may still be made against your claim. As you are unable to use the letter to prove liability, you will still need to produce evidence to support your claim.

Through seeking legal advice, the amount of compensation to which you may be entitled can be calculated and it can be ascertained whether the without prejudice offer is fair. Your solicitor can also examine the evidence you have acquired to support your claim and establish whether the likelihood of a successful claim is sufficiently strong.

Should without prejudice compensation be accepted? It is advised that a without prejudice offer should neither be declined nor accepted until you have first sought legal advice. In this situation, a severe whiplash injury should be worth significantly more than £3,000, and a claim via the courts or further negotiation with the insurance company in question could result in a higher amount. There could also be further reasons for this low offer being made other than what has been previously mentioned on this page.

If you have any doubts over “what is a without prejudice letter to settle”, and before you accept or reject an offer of compensation, you are advised to contact a personal injury solicitor. By doing so, you can make an informed decision of whether the compensation adequately covers your needs.


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