Insurance advice: Can you help me decipher this legal jargon?

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My claim has been going on for nearly three years following very serious injuries including a number of fractures – and now I’m finding myself lost in the legal jargon. I don’t remember much about the accident itself but a witness told police that the guy pulled out on me but I had gone along the outside of a slow moving line of traffic, slightly on the other side of the white line. He says I was going at 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 and my solicitor is suggesting that I make a “commercial” offer and if they don’t accept that then a “drop hands” offer. Can you explain this to me please so I can work out what to do for the best?

Dean Beaumont, Malmesbury


Answered by Andrew Campbell, Solicitor and author of the MCN Law column.

If your solicitor is recommending such tactics this close to trial then he must consider that your chance of winning is not good. I 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, where usually the loser pays the winner’s costs. 


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