It is ironic (or should that be hypocritical) that the insurance industry promotes the idea that there is a compensation culture and as a result that we are all paying inflated insurance premiums on our car insurance. Why is that ironic? Because it has been common practice for the last 10 years or more for insurance companies to actively encourage victims of road traffic accidents to make a claim for personal injury.
How does it work? Imagine you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident and so you report the matter to your insurer probably so that they will take care of fixing your car. Your insurer then persuades you to make a claim for personal injury and refers your claim to one of its panel solicitors. The panel solicitor pays anything between £350 – 700 for the referral. So insurers have been making literally millions every year by encouraging people to make personal injury claims.
From our perspective it does not feel as though there is a claims culture because we don’t pay for referrals and only act for local people who have either been referred to us or who have made a decision to find us. They have not been cajoled by their insurance company to make a claim.
The majority of the claims we see are from genuine people who have suffered real injuries. In some cases the injuries are dibilitating and can have a negative impact on people’s lives. Take for example someone who has broke a limb and cannot work for 3 months. They only get statutory sick pay and can’t afford to pay the mortgage. This is not an unusual scenario.
When it comes down to the principles which underlie personal injury claims we doubt whether any truly rational person can dispute the logic of it all. In order to make a personal injury claim in this country you have to prove that someone else was in some way at fault. Everyone accepts that if you damage someone else’s property that you should pay for it. We can’t imagine that anyone would argue the fact that if you drive your car into the rear of another person’s car, you (or your insurer) should pay for the damage. It is only logical that if you injure the driver you (or your insurer) should also pay for the damage.
Part of the problem arises in that some injuries are not easily detected for example, some whiplash type injuries. There have also been some reports of criminal gangs staging accidents. However, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. The fact that some unscrupulous individuals will exploit the system does not alter the logic which underlies personal injury claims.
Hastings & Co Solicitors are based in Chelmsford, Essex and specialise in personal injury claims of all types. For a free assessment without any obligation call 01245 835 305 to speak to an experienced solicitor.