In the news today there has been much discussion about the rise of RTA claims due to unscrupulous insurance companies getting paid for referring clients' details to personal injury lawyers without permission.
A member of the Association of British Insurers (‘ABI’) interviewed on the BBC today referred to the rise of insurance companies liaising with garages in order to obtain details of accidents and rewarding informants with the payment of referral fees. It was on this basis that the ABI and other motor insurers have sought to fully endorse the extensive changes to the legal funding process due to be introduced by the Ministry of Justice (‘MOJ’).
This level of insurance led propaganda in support of limiting Claimants’ access to justice is disappointing. In the absence of inviting a counter argument by the media there is a risk that members of the public are being misled. The current argument fails to take into account the rise of ‘third party claims capture’ where the insurance company for the Defendant will try and settle the Claimants’ claim in order to limit any cost liabilities. This often results in Claimants’ damages being under-settled and can lead to exploitation. There is currently no legal safeguard for this type of practice.
The debate continues in light of the fact that referral fees have not been banned as part of the MOJ restructuring of the funding process.
The above situation involving certain types of referrals and third party capture evidence the fact that they are no substitute for specialised law firms with the experience of dealing with personal injury claims generally and in particular serious injury claims such as Slater and Gordon Lawyers.
Prospective Clients should always be alive to the fact that they are fully entitled to instruct their own solicitors.
Alicia Alinia is a solicitor specialising in Personal Injury in the London office of Slater and Gordon Lawyers.
If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or an injury please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9046, fill in our short online claim form and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.