Should I settle my claim with the other insurance company direct?
If you have been injured in a car accident should you settle your claim with the other insurance company directly or should you seek independent legal advice to pursue your claim for compensation?
There are more and more cars on the road each year with the number of cars increasing. Whereas there is simply no evidence to support the argument of a compensation culture, the fact that there are more cars does lead to an increase in accidents. However, there are no more compensation claims made proportionally. However, as a result of the increase in car policies and compensation claims made insurers will look at every opportunity possible to reduce the amount of compensation they have to pay in settlement of any claims or to avoid paying compensation if it is not within the terms of their policy.
One of the most popular methods for keeping the compensation bill to its minimum at the moment is try and settle compensation claims direct with the person making the claim.
For example, if you are involved in a car accident and another driver drives into the rear of your vehicle, thereby causing damage to your car and to you in the form of a whiplash injury, the other driver’s insurance company might quickly make contact with you. You might first receive a telephone call from them and you may even be confused as to whether the company calling you is your own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. Once you have established that it is the other driver’s insurance company they will usually tell you that they are keen to help you and to provide you with as much assistance as possible. They may offer you a replacement hire car (if this is not covered under the terms of your insurance policy) and will then move on to discuss your injuries. They used to send flowers regularly in the hope that this would prevent you from making a claim for compensation against them, although this now seems to be done less and less.
They will move on to discuss your injury claim and if you confirm that you have suffered an injury they are likely to make an offer to settle your whiplash claim direct with you without any solicitors involved. Before you decide whether to settle your whiplash claim direct with the insurers you must first consider why they are making the offer to settle your claim.
There are two possible advantages to them;
- they make an offer to you which is less than the value of your injury claim thereby saving payment of compensation that is due to you; and
- by settling your claim direct they do not have to pay any legal fees or expenses.
We will look at both of these in turn.
- Settling your claim for less than it is worth
Unless you have a legal qualification and have spent many years settling whiplash and other claims it is unlikely that you will know exactly what your claim is worth. The insurers will know this also and therefore any offer they make may be below a sum that is reasonable. There is no way that you will know this unless you take legal advice. Therefore, settling with an insurance company direct may well lead to you receiving less compensation that you are entitled to.
- Paying your legal expenses and costs
If you take professional legal advice, in which case you will be correctly advised as to the full amount of your whiplash claim, the insurance company will have to pay the legal costs in addition to the amount of compensation you receive. Therefore, if they had initially offered £1,000 compensation but your solicitor advises that you should receive at least £1,500, they will pay you £1,500 and in addition to this sum they will also pay the solicitor’s costs. Therefore, you receive the right amount of compensation and your solicitor receives their legal costs.
However, the other additional benefit of seeking specialist legal advice is that a solicitor will ensure that you are properly medically examined to make sure that there are no more serious injuries and he will also arrange private medical treatment for you.
Summary – should I settle my claim with an insurance company direct?
It is clear from the information above that there are very good reasons why you should in no circumstances settle your claim with the insurance company direct. Seek specialist advice from expert accident claims solicitors.
Call us free now on 0800 142 2775 (or local rate: 01275 75 00 44) for your free, no obligation discussion with one of our specialist claims solicitors. That way you can discover your legal rights and not accept an offer which is not right for you. Alternatively, complete our Free Enquiry now.
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