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Tristan Hallam talks claims management companies - the end of an era

By Principal Lawyer, Occupiers and Public Liability

There are changes afoot to prevent claims management companies from existing, at least in the form that they are in at present.Claims management companies have evolved out of what some might perceive as a growth in personal injury claims over the years. Some are very reputable, others not. Their purpose is to collect together claims, to contact those persons who have been injured and to then sell on the claims to solicitors.There has been talk about insurance companies winning both ways to the extent that some insurance companies collect premiums as they all do, but equally then pass on details of their insured who has been injured to a third party for a fee and the details are then sold on. They therefore ‘win’ both ways.It is hoped that such practices will come to a stop very soon indeed. It strikes me as being immoral if nothing else.I have pondered however recently whether claims management companies have a place in the society in which we live.There is no doubt that numerous people are injured in this country who do not bring a claim. They do not wish to proceed for a variety of reasons. In some cases those who are injured are injured quite seriously and ultimately lose out on compensation to which they were entitled and which might have changed their lives considerably following injuries sustained.Equally stories about parties not being involved in an accident, for example a road traffic accident who claim to have been in the car at the time of the accident, all of whom have of course sustained injury!Quite rightly, steps have been taken by insurance companies over the years to ensure that information stored on claims is shared amongst insurance companies to put an end to such fraud which again, should stop.My comment in support of claims management companies is simply this, that whilst those unscrupulous claims management companies might seek merely to collect as many claimants together as possible so that these can be ‘sold on’ for a fee, there are those who vet a claimant and do those claimants a service by passing on their details to solicitors who do well in obtaining the right level of compensation and assisting those who have been badly injured.Unfortunately as in most things in life, when changes are carried out to put a stop to unscrupulous practices there are those who do good, who also fall into the same net.We must not however, become as some would wish a Society where personal injury claims are frowned upon. There is a risk the pendulum might swing in that direction. I see no benefit to the factory worker who has fallen 12 feet, sustained a fracture to his back through no fault of his own and instead through the entire fault of his employer who then does not bring a claim but struggles on to the detriment of him and his family. We must therefore find the right balance.Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker.If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.