Whiplash claims is a heavily contested area of law. Not in the actual court – there are fairly predictable whiplash payouts that you can expect to receive based on factors that expert whiplash solicitors are well-acquainted with, and it’s rare that you’ll even end up in court. The most significant factor affecting whether you will receive the amount of whiplash compensation you are entitled to is likely to be whether you have taken on a specialist whiplash solicitor or not.
Instead of being contested in court, these cases are contested in the court of public opinion. This takes place in any area of law in which large companies have a lot to lose, and it is especially – perennially – true of the law around whiplash compensation. Insurance companies have a consistent and compelling reason to feed newspapers misleading stories about whiplash, whiplash claims, and the people who suffer from whiplash.
This is all to enable insurance companies to get away with hitting you twice – once with an increased premium, and once with a lower amount of compensation for whiplash.
With that in mind, these are the Loyalty Law reasons to be careful when you’ve been offered a deal relating to your whiplash injury.
Reasons To Be Careful, Part One
Insurance companies have a lot to gain from fewer and lower whiplash payouts, but it seems naïve to think that they would then pass these benefits on to the average driver given that whiplash claims have been falling while car insurance premiums continue to rise.
A large part of the constant negative press around negative press is directed at more than just intimidating people considering making a whiplash compensation claim. They also aim at changing the political landscape so that, for example, insurance companies are always the first point of contact for injured drivers, or that there has to be a minimum speed of collision for injuries to ‘count’. Having insurers be in charge of claims against their own policyholders is, to paraphrase Soul Music, handing the monkey the key to the banana plantation1. Suggesting a minimum speed of collision means that insurance companies are somehow unaware of the most basic laws of physics – just imagine a ten ton truck colliding with a Smart Car at just below the minimum speed limit.
In reality, whiplash injury claims decreased from 2013-2014, and will probably continue decreasing in the foreseeable future. In addition, it is currently thought – based on available surveys – that there are over five times as many people who could claim whiplash but choose not to as there are people who make fraudulent whiplash claims. In other words, we have a situation where it’s not rampant over-claiming that’s the problem, it’s rampant under-claiming!
Before you’re even involved in a whiplash claim you need to be careful – just spreading misleading stories written by insurance company PR departments can hurt whiplash sufferers.
Reasons To Be Careful, Part Two
Insurance companies will make you an offer as soon as possible, often before you have all the facts. This is informally referred to as “go away money”, sometimes with less polite wording.
Accepting an offer as quickly as possible is rarely ideal, and it’s an especially bad idea if you haven’t yet had a medical opinion on your case. Some insurers may pressure you to accept their offer before you’ve received medical advice. Depending on the offer received and the severity of your whiplash injury, this could result in a claim that’s as much as ten thousand pounds lower than you are entitled to.
Don’t think that because you’ve made it to a solicitor you’ll get the best possible deal, though. Insurers have historically had solicitors they refer you to for a referral fee – this is a pretty powerful conflict of interest for the solicitor for obvious reasons. Recently there have been steps taken to prevent this extremely dubious practice carrying on, but some larger insurers appear to have taken steps to circumvent the new laws by effectively becoming combined law firms and insurers using what is known as an alternative business structure.
Solicitors who aren’t tied to the insurance industry, are intuitively more likely to try to get you the best possible compensation amount. They are more likely to be local, flexible, and otherwise well-suited to your specific needs. A solicitor who is less connected to the insurance industry is more likely to understand that a whiplash case is not a form-filling exercise before they clock off, it’s a really frustrating injury and you need help with it!
Most importantly, you can discuss your claim with as many solicitors as you want before committing to one or the other. In fact, this is something we at Loyalty Law encourage if you want to get the maximum whiplash compensation possible.
Reasons To Be Careful, Part Three
So, you’ve not been taken in by all the negative insurance industry PR, and you’ve avoided taking the deals offered by an insurance company without first exploring your options. That’s not all you need to be careful of!
There are solicitors who deal with whiplash compensation claims, and then there are solicitors who specialise in whiplash compensation claims.
Solicitors at larger law firms that cover a wide area or who take on any case available to them may be too busy to give your case the attention it deserves. A harried and overworked solicitor may even forget or pass over critical aspects of your claim.
Inexperience in whiplash claims is also common, and you can easily find solicitors who fail to realise that an offer isn’t enough for your specific situation.
Hiring a specialist solicitor can mean the difference between receiving a sum on the high end of the whiplash compensation payout scale and receiving a sum on the very lowest end.
Loyalty Law use specialist whiplash claims solicitors who will arrange for paperwork to be completed, medical treatment, free replacement car hire, and generally looking out for your best interests.
So What’s The Real Reason To Be Careful?
Ultimately, each of these reasons to be careful with your whiplash claim comes back to one point; not everyone has your best interests at heart.
Insurance companies want to resolve your case as quickly and cheaply as possible, potentially leaving you with a measly sum that’s not even suitable for the most minor whiplash injury while you struggle with the long-term effects of whiplash for the next ten years.
Large law firms and opportunistic or inexperienced solicitors just want to take on the case, even if they’re not the best people for the job. You might get a decent amount of whiplash compensation amount, but a specialist whiplash claims solicitor could get you more, and will provide you with a more personal service.
Each whiplash injury is different. That means each whiplash claim is different, which means that you need to be careful who you choose to pursue your claim.
Get in touch with a Loyalty Law specialist whiplash claims solicitor by using our quick claims form or call us free on 0800 142 2775 (local rate: 01275 75 00 44) to see if we can provide you with a better offer. Hopefully we’ll give you some reasons to be cheerful!