When Legal Aid was withdrawn some years ago by the Government for personal injury claims, it gave rise to a huge number of claims management companies which, with slick marketing, offered their services to anyone injured and promised to give you 100% of your compensation as well as obtain maximum compensation.
The rise of claims management companies unfortunately led to many dubious practices from some of these companies and the interests of the injured person were not always properly looked after. In some accident claims, unqualified and inexperienced ‘claims handlers’ were dealing with issues which were beyond their expertise. Claims management companies advertise proudly about their ‘legally trained’ staff. However, this is no substitute for legally qualified or experienced solicitors, legal executives or clerks who are the best people to deal with your claim.
If you have had the misfortune to have been seriously injured in an accident which was not your fault, whether on the road, at work or even at home, you want to be assured that the person handling your claim has both the experience and expertise to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.
Assessing the value of a personal injury claim is far from straightforward and in many cases the insurance company or their legal representative who is acting for the party at fault will not make a realistic offer of settlement. A solicitor who is experienced in such claims will always know if the offer of settlement is too low but a legally trained claims handler may not. That claims handler may advise you to settle at a figure which does not properly reflect what you should receive for your injuries and losses. Also, a solicitor with personal injury experience will be able to tell you what additional losses you can claim for, some of which may not be immediately obvious.
If the accident was not your fault, then legal costs (although sometimes not all the costs incurred) will be recoverable from the party at fault.
It therefore makes sense to instruct your local solicitor to act on your behalf in the event of an accident. You will be able to visit that solicitor at their office (or you can be visited at home or at hospital, if necessary). The solicitor will then be able to see your injuries and advise you and talk to you face to face rather than, as is often the case with claims handlers in another part of the country, simply write to you or speak to you on the telephone. When dealing with such a claims handler, your claim may be dealt with by a number of people rather than a local solicitor who is familiar with your case and individual circumstances. A personal injury claim cannot properly be dealt with ‘from a distance’ so remember to use a local solicitor who will deal with your claim from start to finish.