Injury Cases Lose Personal Touch
In winter, dark mornings and nights coupled with the recent cold does mean that this is the time of year both drivers and pedestrians are at a greater risk from accident and injury.
As a personal injury specialist, I have noticed a sizeable change in the way my work is perceived by the public. People often make jokes, use names such as ‘Ambulance-Chasers’ or simply have a look in their eye that shows they have made a clear judgement on what I do for a living.
This perception has arisen mainly due to the sudden and rapid growth of claims companies, employing unqualified staff, who advertise in such a way as to appear to act as cash machines by turning every accident into a case for financial compensation whether warranted or not. This has led to the wide use of the phrase “claims culture” but the reality is that the number of claims made is down on previous years. Whilst there may be “bogus” cases, this should not stop injured persons seeking proper redress.
The public should also be aware of a hidden agenda on the part of insurers to attempt to squeeze Solicitors out of the personal injury process. Insurers would prefer to deal with people making claims directly, cutting out lawyers and their fees and paying subsequently lower settlement figures. The reality is that Claimants represented by lawyers invariably receive higher settlements.
The insurers’ growing domination of this market can be seen the massive growth of legal expense cover offered with car and home policies. This has led to the public being forced to use Solicitors engaged by insurance companies who operate on low cost/high profit margins and for whom financial viability can have a greater importance than the client’s interests. The opportunities for people to independently choose their own representation for help and guidance are rapidly reducing and there is a real danger that personal service will, rather ironically, be lost from personal injury work.
Sometimes I wish people could see and experience the true nature of personal injury work. For example, the case of one teenage couple were in a car accident that left the young man paralysed from the neck down and the girl with so much metalwork in her spine, that she has not been able to undertake regular employment. Thanks to legal representation, the couple are now living together with full-time care and have even had a baby.
This is what my job is about – being approachable and sympathetic to cases that can be simply heart-wrenching and giving people involved the opportunity to live the best lives they possibly can in unfortunate and sometimes tragic situations.