APIL says Injured people being hoodwinked by insurance company tactic
On 28th October 2015 Deborah Evans, Chief Executive Officer of APIL wrote a blog about a new tactic being used by a number of well known insurance companies.
She suggests that insurers have been writing directly to the people that their clients have injured, instead of the lawyers that those people have instructed to represent them in their personal injury compensation claims.
It is understood that the letters ask the injured person to confirm that they have instructed that firm of solicitors and indicate that some law firms will make this up! A practice which if trust should be referred to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
APIL indicates that the letters appear to be standardised, ‘strongly worded and vaguely threatening‘ and that worry that the tone of the letter will ‘undoubtedly put off some genuine clients from proceeding’.
Despite there being no legal requirement to do so the letter appears to suggest that the injured person is formally required to telephone the wrong-doer’s insurer to confirm that they have instructed their solicitor and that a failure to call will prevent the claim from proceeding.
Once the insurer is speaking to the injured person they are using the opportunity to obtain information which could be damaging to their claim and which the injured person often does not realised that the are under no obligation to provide this information.
APIL say, ‘Worse still, we are now hearing reports that when clients contact some insurers, they are then encouraged to stop instructing the solicitor and deal with the insurer direct. … This leaves the client unrepresented, with no clear advice as to whether the settlement on the table is good, bad or indeed ugly’.
The letters attempt to intimidate people who may be particularly vulnerable to do what is demanded in the letter. It is a blatant tactic by insurers to deter people from making claims or prevent people from seeking independent legal advice to save themselves
Such tactics are likely to leave injured people at the mercy of these large insurers and at risk of their claim being under settled.
‘Insurers had started to recognise that offering compensation to clients without them undergoing a medical created an environment of easy money which could perpetuate fraud. Lawyers and medics provide checks and balances. Are we going full circle back to the days where insurers try to tempt clients away from lawyers by showing them an open cheque book with no strings attached? Last time this proved short sighted – driving claims up, and ultimately premiums up’, says Deborah Evans.
People should be aware that they should never speak to an insurer directly once they have instructed a lawyer as they may compromise their claim.
If you have any concerns about being contact directly by an insurer speak to our experts on 01285 654875.