As a specialist cycle and motorcycle accident lawyer I spend my day pulling together all the evidence to make sure my often catastrophically injured clients recover every penny piece of the damages and compensation they deserve due to the negligence of another.
Clearly my work entails forcing the other driver’s insurance company to part with a large chunk of the vast premiums they have taken in and to be fair some insurers play by the rules. There are even reputable ones who will properly engage with us in providing rehabilitation services to include building home extensions and even providing private tuition to allow an injured client to re-train towards a more sedentary career.
There are however many that sail far too close to the wind to ever be described as ethical and as I near the end of another busy week I look back and realise that most of it has been spent explaining to unsuspecting members of the public how, in my view, insurers are tending more and more to protect the interests of their shareholders over those of the injured victims of their client’s negligence. Let me explain.
I have just had a conversation with a lovely client who was dramatically knocked off his beloved Vespa scooter. There he was on his way to the job he had only started a month ago and was patiently waiting at red traffic lights when he was slammed from behind by a sleepy eyed commuter. The impact was so hard he was propelled backwards onto the car injuring his hip, neck and other parts and being rendered unconscious.
Subsequently he was taken to hospital and he returned home with fortunately no broken bones but faces at least a month off work and may even lose his job given he was only in his probationary period. Whilst licking his wounds and watching endless repeats of Homes Under the Hammer he was called by the insurers of the other vehicle who, in the first conversation they had, offered him compensation of £1,950 for his injuries. No doubt they had a report from their, now wakened, driver highlighting the accident being akin to a scene from Fast and Furious 27 or whatever we are up to now and the insurers panicked that they would face a substantial claim for damages from the victim.
Fortunately, as a scooter rider, the client came across my advertorial in the wonderful magazine Scootering, in which I plead with accident victims to take advice from qualified and experienced lawyers before talking to the insurers. Having chatted for a while I learn that he is still “hobbling” around some two weeks post accident and has doubts he will be able to return to his job any time soon. In a nut shell I had no hesitation in telling him to tell the insurers to take a running jump.
In my view an insurance company who make literally billions of pounds by providing compulsory insurance to a trapped market should not be allowed to act in any other that a scrupulously fair way. They are after all seeking to protect and compromise the legal rights and obligations of their insured client and should be subject to the rules as much as I am. They consistently however prey on the naivety of the public.
This pre medical offer seeks to settle the claim without the victim having the benefit of seeing a doctor trained in medico legal reporting in order to know precisely what the future holds and then, and only then, converting that into compensation. To settle otherwise is an unacceptable risk of under compensating innocent victims and leaving them facing an uncertain future.
Suffice to say I had no hesitation in saying to my client that he would be crazy to accept their offer or deal with them without my help and thankfully he agreed.
The insurance companies have certainly had the benefit of recent rule changes to reduce the amount they pay in legal costs and are pressing ahead, and pressing the present government, to even consider banning certain types of claims. By clicking on this text and following the link attached, you will see how they were asked in return to stop this practice of making offers without medical evidence.
As can be seen they, true to form, back tracked and now continue this scurrilous practice unabated and continue to justify all their actions by spewing out to any lazy journalist they can find the diatribe of the fact that almost every claimant there has ever been was a fraudster and this puts £50 on all our premiums. Here’s an example of such regurgitation of a cash for crash story:
What utter tosh! For a start, and you will have to trust me on this one, the insurers have never been able to produce any audit of such astronomical figures in relation to supposed fraudulent claims. Never, and they have been asked. They have literally invented it, or as Vic Reeves famously said, “88.2% of statistics are made up”!
If I am wrong then it begs the question what the hell are they doing knowingly paying out £400 million pounds every year to fraudsters. Think about it. That is what they are saying. So it is either that they have made it up or they are crazy.
More worrying still is insurance companies drift towards becoming complicit in their customers’ attempts to avoid claims being made against them and in my week of dealing with pesky insurers, a colleague has just sent me the following article:
Admittedly the driver of the other vehicle was an obvious bad egg that thought more of saving a few measly quid off his next premium that allowing the innocent cyclist to recover the £17,000 of compensation he deserved, merited and was legally entitled to. I applaud our colleagues north of the border for taking this one all the way but we too have such examples of clear and unequivocal bad play on the other side of the fence.
Here we have the example of the case of our client Adam Evans. Adam is a motorcycle courier and with the proceeds of a case we fought and won for him he purchased a go-pro and religiously used it as he went about his job. Here is the video of his crash from which you will see the green lights and the vehicle move into his path. (For those of a nervous disposition please mute the video as it contains, understandable expletives aplenty)
Well imagine our surprise when we received a defence to court proceedings containing a signed statement of truth, saying that Adam negligently collided with the stationary vehicle. Needless to say once the video was disclosed in the proceedings the insurers made him an offer he couldn’t refuse so the fraud of the denial would never see a courtroom. We did however usher our client to appear on Car Crash Britain for his 15 minutes of fame.
So if you have an accident do not ring or talk to an insurance company without talking to someone on your side who knows all the secrets of claiming for compensation and damages following an accident. They are not all happy bulldogs and cuddly meerkats you know.
Lampkin & Co Solicitors
Office address: Newgate House, Broughton Mills Road, Broughton, Chester, CH4 0BY. Telephone: 01244 525725. Vat registration number 736 401 842.