Why is it then a good idea to instruct a solicitor to handle your claim and what are the pit falls if you decide to go it alone?
How Insurers can lull you into a false sense of security?
Some insurers will start off by telling claimants that they need a formal statement before they are able to make a settlement offer. Not true!
The inference is that an offer in settlement will inevitably follow but guess what, an offer won’t necessarily materialise.
Insurers are in the business of trying to pay as little as possible and if they can avoid paying out at all then no doubt they feel they have a result!
In the first instance any statement the Claimant provides should under the Court rules be disclosed on a mutual basis.
By insisting that you provide your statement unilaterally places the insurers in an advantageous position which will enable them to challenge your evidence.
In the end don’t be surprised if they simply refuse to deal with the claim in return for sending them your statement! You lose!
Alternatively the insurers may use your evidence to knock down your settlement offer. You lose again!
In the final analysis drafting a witness statement is often a skilled task requiring careful thought and attention to detail.
This process should only be undertaken by an experienced solicitor who is fully aware of how a client’s witness evidence can be undermined by the opponent and in particular their accomplished barrister if the claim does reach court.
Quantifying the Claim – You ask for Too Much or Too Little!
It’s clear why it would never make sense for you to ask too little. (The insurer wins again!)
However there are still dangers lurking if you demand too much.
If you ask the insurer for much more than the claim is worth then the insurer may conclude you have no idea about the value of your claim.
This in turn could signal to the insurer that you can be persuaded to settle for less than the true value of your claim (if so the insurer will be all smiles!)
Remember the insurer will probably guess that because you are not represented by a solicitor you won’t be in a position to prepare all the necessary paperwork to issue legal proceedings.
So without that ultimate sanction of starting proceedings (which can really hurt the insurer) it’s easy to see why the insurer probably won’t be forced into making any great offers your way!
Falling for the “Final” Offer Routine
Insurance companies will often tell their opponents that their offer is their “final” one.
All but the most determined clients without legal representation will feel pushed into a corner and buckle under the pressure. Nevertheless we know that insurers will often go beyond their “final” offer particularly if the insurer believes that the threat to sue is a real and genuine prospect.
We like to push the insurer so they end up paying out at a point when we have reached their final, final, final, offer!
Settling Your Claim too soon
If you have been injured and are looking for a quick settlement, you are at risk of recovering less than the proper value of your accident claim.
Insurers offers will be on a strictly“full and final” basis so this means if you settle your claim whilst you have ongoing symptoms and those symptoms carry on for longer than you anticipated then don’t bother picking up the phone to speak to the insurer about further compensation!
We are sure the insurer will be sorry to hear your situation but we know they won’t be paying you a penny more compensation (whatever you have to say to them!)
The call from the client asking for us to help after settling the claim directly with the insurer is always a difficult call to handle.
It’s too late for us to help when the claim has been finalised and understandably clients are annoyed with themselves when we have to tell them they have no remedy.
Will Mr Insurer tell you that you have missed items of loss you are entitled to?
If you instruct a specialist personal injury solicitor they will possess the knowledge and experience to recover each and every possible head of damage and will obtain all the documents in support of those losses.
Unfortunately we cannot hear the insurer telling you, if you handle your claim yourself, that you might have missed out an important head of loss.
Remember all insurers are trying to do is to keep your claim to a minimum – full stop!
Tactics, strategies and good old experience
Please don’t fall for the notion that the Insurance Company is ever trying to Be Fair.
It can be fun to mock insurance companies but they are made up of largely good people. However they do not set out to be fair to you. Their goal is to make decisions that help their share holders which means they do their best to pay you as little as possible.
In this context there is really no question that you need a lawyer to protect your interests.
Getting the Help You Need
Call us and find out if we can be of assistance to you in maximizing the value of your compensation claim.
Remember without our help and support the insurers are going to love dealing with you directly.
Carter & Carter Solicitors
Hear a few words from one of our happy clients
“We handled Ms Graham's accident at work claim when she tripped and fell due to a dangerous defect. She says: "Friendly, fast, efficient service. Would recommend this company to our family or friends."
Ms Ceoia Graham from Kent