Accidents can have devastating consequences, especially if your injuries are severe.
If you claim compensation for your injuries, you will find that many insurance companies will encourage you to settle your personal injury claim with them directly.
You might think this is a good thing.
After all, if you deal directly with the insurance company, you will settle the claim more quickly than you would do if you had to go to court.
What are the disadvantages in taking that approach?
Why do you need a solicitor for your personal injury claim?
The value of your claim
How much your claim is worth is very important. Different injuries have different values in legal terms – all of which are affected by the seriousness of your injury, how long your pain and suffering has lasted and whether you are going to be left with permanent symptoms into the future.
The value of your claim for your injury depends on the interplay between all of these factors.
If you do not have legal training, you won’t know whether you are receiving a fair settlement for your claim.
Insurers are in business to maximise their profits
Insurance companies’ responsibility is to their shareholders, not to you. They are bound to look for ways to save money so they can make a larger profit. They will not be looking for ways to maximise the value of your claim, as a solicitor will do. An insurer will not act in your best interests. Improving their bottom line will be the driver in all cases.
Our experience is that an insurer will offer you less than your injury is worth and hope that you are blinded to that fact because you are so keen to get your claim settled.
Secondly, insurance companies are answerable to their shareholders, which means that they are always trying to save money where they can so their bottom line looks better. As a result, they will not be thinking about the impact your injury has had on your life, but about their balance sheet. They are likely to offer you less than your injury is worth and hope that you are keen to settle your claim as soon as possible.
Conflict of interest
In reality, insurance companies have a conflict of interest where they deal with you directly. They act in the best interests of the person at fault in causing your injuries – their policy holder. They cannot also act in your best interests.
The benefits of using a solicitor
Where you engage a specialist personal injury solicitor to make the claim on your behalf, you have someone to fight your corner. Your solicitor is totally independent. And your solicitor has your best interests as the number one consideration at all times.
Your solicitor will be able to give you expert guidance on how much your claim is worth. When an offer is made by the insurance company to settle your claim, your solicitor can advise you on whether it is a reasonable amount. If necessary, a solicitor can raise a court action to ensure you get a fair level of compensation.
The English Law Society has carried out research into personal injury claims which settled without the involvement of a specialist solicitor. This showed that injured people who do not use a solicitor may get two to three times less compensation than if they instructed a personal injury solicitor.
Don’t add insult to injury
It’s not your fault you’ve been injured, so don’t allow the other party’s insurance company to damage you financially as well; speak to a solicitor today.
You can get more information about the issues contained in this post or any aspect of our accident and injury claims services by phoning us on 01343 544077. Alternatively, complete an online enquiry form by clicking HERE. There is no charge for initial enquiries.
This was originally posted on the Grigor & Young website on 17 January 2014.