There are a number of factors to consider when advising a client on a settlement offer and whether the offer reflects what the case is worth is only one of them.
If liability is in dispute, then the offer that has been made may reflect the risk that the claim will fail at Court. This in turn may rely on factors such as the strength of the case overall and the client’s credibility. Also to be considered is what risks the client is exposed to if a potentially reasonable offer is not accepted, such as having to pay the other side’s costs if the offer is not beaten.
Any solicitor who receives an offer will have to take these things into account when assessing what to do about an offer.
A failure by a solicitor to properly advise on a settlement offer can leave a client feeling confused. They may feel pressured to accept an offer that is not reasonable and conversely they may feel obliged to reject an offer that it would have been in their best interests to accept if they do not feel that they know enough about their situation.
A lot of these issues are born from misunderstanding. The solicitor will usually have considered the offer carefully before giving their advice but very often the client does not know everything that the solicitor knows and the solicitor may take this fact for granted.
This sometimes leads to a failure on the part of the solicitor to properly articulate the position to the client and properly explain the benefits and risks associated with a particular course of action.
Additionally, solicitors sometimes forget that their role is that of an advisor, not a decider, and that it is the client’s choice about whether to accept or reject an offer. A solicitor who comes to their own decision about the merits of an offer and pressures the client into a course of action without properly involving the client in the decision may well be negligent.
Accepting an offer that should be rejected can lead to cases under-setting, which is an obvious problem, but equally rejecting an offer that should have been accepted and continuing unwisely with a case can often result in failing to beat the offer at trial and adverse costs for the client.
If you feel that you have not been properly advised regarding a settlement offer and you have lost out because of this, contact The Specter Partnership on 0800 019 3460, or use our simple online claim form here.
The Specter Partnership