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Can I finish my compensation claim if there is a possibility my injury could get worse in the future?

Good afternoon all.

In most injury compensation cases it is not safe to settle a claim until you have a clear medical prognosis and have either recovered fully, or can at least be pretty clear about what symptoms or disabilities you will be left with and for how long. In other words, you get one bite of the cherry. If you settle the claim then you can never re-open it and seek more compensation if you take a turn for the worse. This is why swift settlements are often a bad idea, particularly when serious injuries have been sustained. You need to take time to investigate all of the injuries and symptoms and quite simply allow the healing process to take its course. 

In circumstances where the medical prognosis and overall recovery remain uncertain, it is sometimes possible for a Court to award a Claimant what are called Provisional Damages.

These are Damages awarded on the basis that some foreseeable serious medical deterioration or fresh but foreseeable condition does not come about, whilst leaving open the chance for the Claimant to go back to Court and seek more compensation at a later date if that feared deterioration/condition does then come about.

In other words, it allows a Claimant to settle the Claim, but leaves the door open for them to go back to seek more compensation if some feared deterioration/condition later arises as a result of the original accident.

An award of Provisional Damages is therefore usually a lower award for a lesser sum of Damages than might otherwise be awarded on a full and final settlement. This is because it is an award made on the basis of the deterioration (or fresh but foreseeable condition) not coming about. If it does later come about then the Claimant must apply to the Court for a further award and must then prove that the specifically feared deterioration/condition has arisen.

These awards are pretty rare and defendants and their insurers don’t like them and try to resist them. This is mainly because they cannot close their file, which is hated by insurers because they not only need to leave the door open to a potential future liability, but also maintain insurance provision and cover.

That’s all for today. Give me a call or click on the link below if you want a chat or might have a claim.

John

Ibbotson Brady Solicitors Limited
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