Car accident news
Insurers criticised for pressing for early settlements
The Law Society has criticised the practice of insurance companies pressing car accident compensation claimants into settlement before they have had the opportunity to seek the advice of a personal injury solicitor.
Law Society spokesperson Rory McShane said that it takes several weeks for the full impact of car accident injuries to become apparent, but, he said, "victims are being discouraged from taking medical advice". He added, "They are being actively discouraged from seeking legal advice."
Unsurprisingly, the Association of British Insurers defended the actions of insurance companies. Justin Jacobs, the ABI's assistant director said, "Insurers want to help innocent victims of road accidents get their vehicle repaired, and get the care and compensation they need, as soon as possible."
"For this reason, insurers may contact the innocent party to offer help with any claim direct."
"Independent research has shown that claimants do not need legal representation to get fair compensation, and that legal advice does not lead to higher pay outs."
"Nevertheless insurers should always advise claimants that they have the right to seek legal advice."
Consumer groups have supported the Law Society's concerns.
"Any insurance company that actively discourages consumers from getting this advice is behaving unfairly and should be stopped," said the Consumer Council's Alison Donnelly.
She also said that the reasons insurers should avoid the practice of "third-party" capture for car accident claims were complex, "Consumers involved in accidents may be vulnerable because they are still recovering, or they don't feel confident enough to insist on their rights because English may not be their first language or they are unfamiliar with the legal system."