On television recently a representative of one of the very large insurance companies was suggesting that those injured in car accidents did not need the assistance of a solicitor.
The suggestion was that the insurers for the “at fault party” would make contact with the injured party and agree to compensate them directly. He indicated that in this way the injured party would get as much compensation or even more than they would have got if they were represented by an independent solicitor!
My job as a solicitor is to make sure that my clients are fully compensated for their injuries and other losses. The job of an insurance company is to make as much profit as possible for their shareholders; the less they pay out the more profit they make.
Unlike the insurance companies I do not think the public are gullible and I’m sure that the public will have no difficulty in seeing that they are going to get the best levels of compensation if they are represented by a solicitor who owes a duty to them to get the most they compensation they can for them.
It puts me in mind of a day at the races many years ago when a friend had just put a bet on a horse. Knowing that she knew very little about horse racing I asked how she had decided which horse to back. She said it was very easy, she just asked the bookie which horse he would recommend! I’m sure it will come as no surprise that the chosen horse came in last.
The practice of insurance companies approaching injured parties direct and offering them compensation is not new. Over the years I have acted for many clients who having been approached directly by the insurers became suspicious about the amounts of compensation they were being awarded and decided to seek independent advice.
There was a time, in a less cynical age, where the better insurance companies actually recommended that those who were injured sought independent legal advice. Those days regrettably are long gone.
What is always interesting is to look at the timing of insurers publicising a particular idea. I have provided a series of blogs on the changes that are soon to come in that are aimed at discouraging members of the public from making claims.
One of the changes is the banning of referral fees. Whilst the changes are as a result of a sustained and ultimately successful campaign of propaganda by the insurance industry, one change that may be seen as an “own goal” is the ban on referral fees.
The reason that in the past insurers have not sought to deal directly with injured parties as much as they might is that they had an alternative way of making money. A person injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault would be approached by their own insurers and the suggestion would be made that the insurers refer their claim to the insurers chosen solicitors. In this way the insurers would receive a referral fee from the solicitors.
The alternative, known as third party capture, was where the insurers for the driver who was at fault would immediately make contact with the other driver and suggest that they refer their personal injury claim to the insurers chosen solicitors. In this way they would get a referral fee from the solicitors.
It is very interesting that just as the insurers are about to lose a very substantial income from referral fees, they are very publically suggesting that injured parties don’t need solicitors as the insurers will deal with them direct.
The promise, as always, is that the insurers will pass on the savings to the public in reduced premiums. As I have indicated above, unlike the insurers, I don’t think the public are that gullible and will no doubt ask the very sensible question, if insurers are saving money will they pass the benefit to the public or their shareholders?
The insurers seem to forget that those who are injured in motor accidents are also those who buy motor insurance. Yes we all want lower premiums but are we prepared to get lower premiums at the expense of being ripped off by an insurance company when we are injured in an accident?
The advice, as always, is if you are injured in any type of accident contact an independent solicitor who’s duty it is to look after you’re best interests and get you the compensation you are entitled too.
If you have been injured in an accident why not give Wanstalls a call or contact us now. Initial advice is free and without obligation. By calling us you will have a friend in your corner with only your best interest at heart.
Ian Wanstall – Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wanstalls Solicitors are based in County Durham in the North East of England. We represent clients both locally and nationwide and offer a friendly personalised service. If you would like to discuss any aspect of a personal injury claim, we would be delighted to hear from you.