Is there a compensation culture in the UK?
TV adverts which suggest that any little injury should lead to a claim, and irritating texts and telephone calls asking if you’ve had an accident in the last three years suggest that there is.
Very often if you are involved in a car accident you may find your own insurers, of those of the other driver, very keen to pass you on to someone who will pursue your potential claim.
Is it easier to claim compensation for an accident now than ten or twenty years ago?
No – the law requires now, as it did then, negligence or breach of a duty or regulation by someone who can be sued. If the accident is completely your own fault (or no one’s fault) compensation is not payable. More critically for victims of accidents, changes enacted last year make it harder to recover full compensation but the press tend to overlook this!
Do you have to use a solicitor or claims handlers appointed by your insurers?
Again, no – but insurance companies will often pass the details of accident victims on to their “panel solicitors.” Once the case is up and running, a transfer of instructions is more difficult, so if you want to choose a local specialist, get in touch with them before you sign or agree anything with someone you don’t know.
Do you need to be able to meet your solicitor?
In anything other than the most straightforward of cases, it is enormously helpful for both solicitor and client to meet each other. Telephone, email and form filling are valuable means of communication but there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings to discuss matters, which are often complicated to explain on paper and our clients tell us that meeting the person who will be dealing with their case is very important to them.
Remember, the law says that in personal injury claims ‘damages’ should be awarded to put the accident victim back into the position they would have been in if the accident had never occurred. As the law cannot put the clock back, the best it can do is to provide monetary compensation. The best that accident victims can do is to make sure they are properly represented.