Will dealing direct with insurers speed up my injury claim?
A person who has sustained personal injuries ('a claimant') in an accident caused by another person ('the defendant') within the last three years may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and losses.
Compensation is not, however, automatically paid out to a claimant. Instead, a claim for compensation has to be made to the defendant's insurers.
Once a claim has been settled, it is virtually impossible for a claimant to ask for the claim to be re-opened. It is therefore essential for a claimant to ensure that they neither claim nor settle for less compensation than they are entitled to receive.
Making a claim.
A claimant can make and pursue a claim on their own behalf or they can instruct a specialist claims solicitor ('solicitor') to deal with their claim. A claimant who deals directly with a defendant's insurer may receive compensation more quickly than if he or she had instructed a solicitor. It is, however, likely that such a claimant will receive less compensation than they are entitled to. There are several reasons for this:
- Claimants are unlikely to know the value of their claims and what they are entitled to be compensated for.
- Compensation is paid by a defendant's insurer, not the defendant. Consequently, insurers will usually try to settle claims for less than they are worth.
- Making a claim and negotiating with a defendant's insurer is a complex and time-consuming process. A claimant may be tempted to settle a claim quickly for less than it is worth.
For these reasons, it is better for a claimant to instruct a solicitor to make and negotiate their claim. A solicitor will deal with all of the paperwork involved in making a claim and will take the necessary steps to ensure that a claimant receives the compensation to which they are entitled.
A personal injury solicitor or lawyer will, in particular, take the following action:
Obtaining specialist medical evidence.
The amount of compensation that a claimant is entitled to receive for their injuries depends on the nature, extent and effect of the injuries. A claimant's solicitor will arrange for the claimant to be examined by a specialist doctor, who will thereafter prepare a medical report about the claimant's injuries. If the medical report indicates that further medical evidence is required, the claimant's solicitor will take the necessary steps to obtain this.
Once the medical evidence has been obtained, the claimant's solicitor will submit it to the defendant's insurer.
Investigating claims for financial losses.
A claimant's solicitor will advise the claimant about the losses and expenses (such as loss of earnings and the cost of medical treatment) that may be claimed. The solicitor will then obtain evidence of the claimant's financial losses and submit it to the defendant's insurers.
If the defendant admits liability for the accident, a claimant may be able to apply for an interim payment of compensation pending final settlement of their claim. A claimant's solicitor will be able to advise the claimant about this and take the necessary steps on their behalf.
Insurers will often make a deliberately low offer in the hope that it will be accepted, thereby saving them money. It is often necessary to negotiate with insurers in order to secure a fair offer of compensation. A claimant's solicitor will handle the negotiation process on behalf of the claimant.
How did your injury happen?
Claiming compensation depends on the circumstances of your injury. Click the icons below for read more:
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Questions about the injury claims process?
Get all the answers in our comprehensive FAQ section:
- How will a personal injury claim affect my benefits?
- Will I have to pay tax on my injury compensation award?
- Can I make a personal injury claim for someone else?
- Can I claim injury compensation if there were no witnesses?
- Can I make an injury claim if I don't know who's to blame?
Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.