Reasons to instruct a Personal Injury Solicitor, and not use an Insurance Company
This is by no means a new issue. For as long as the personal injury solicitors at MG Legal have specialised in all matters personal injury, insurers have attempted to make quick, low settlement offers to injured clients, that have little reflection or regard to the injuries that you have sustained.
Changes are indeed afoot, and the impending changes to the Road Traffic Accident protocols for claims valued at less than £5000.00 brings it to the fore once again. Following any type of incident, usually a Road Traffic Accident, but this applies to Employer’s Liability and Public Liability Claims, the fault party provides their insurance details, and your own insurer, in the case of a road traffic accident, for example, want to be informed - and so before long, you’re speaking to the case handler at one company or another, instructed by your insurance company, and telling you how smoothly everything is going to go.
Should you believe them, or should you instruct your own, local trusted personal injury solicitor? Read on, and make your own mind up. The following provides some information about why using your local personal injury solicitor, makes perfect sense, when you think about it.
Firstly, why you definitely shouldn’t trust the fault party insurer with your claim.
It is a common occurrence for the fault party insurer to contact you to try and deal direct. Whilst this is not illegal, it does not sit well with us here at MG Legal, as a specialist Personal Injury Solicitor. Our solicitors specialising in personal injury, have never yet settled a client’s claim for the first offer received from the fault party, or failed to beat an offer made by an insurer who has contacted one of our injured clients, directly. And why is this? Because the aim of the fault party insurer is to minimise their financial loss from the incident.
MG Legal’s expert Solicitors will never try to settle your Personal Injury claim without expert medical evidence, giving a definitive diagnosis and prognosis for your injuries. Often, Insurance Companies will try to settle on a “Pre-Medical” basis, simply offering a sum of money to quickly conclude your claim. You will always be expected to sign an acceptance confirming you will not be able to claim more monies later, no matter how long you continue to suffer for.
Here at MG Legal our local solicitors dealing with personal injury cases, use Case-Law and other supporting reference material, such as the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines to negotiate the best possible settlement for our injured clients. We have combined experience of decades in the Personal Injury (30 plus years’ experience) field and we know that often, insurance companies know you won’t have the knowledge of the true value, or the ability to use the Court system to dispute a poor final offer.
In short, it makes no sense to give the person with a vested interest in saving money set the amount of money they say your claim is worth.
Why should you use a Personal Injury Solicitor, instead of your own insurer?
Particularly for Road Traffic Accidents, where it is a legal requirement, we all have our own insurance policy, and we’ve paid our policy premium to have them in place. So, on the face of it the decision to use your own insurer, or potentially their ‘in-house’ or ‘panel’ solicitor, seems like a good, common sense thing to do. Here at MG Legal, your local Solicitor in Garstang, Lancaster and Longridge, we believe using an independent Solicitor, with Personal Injury experts, is by far the better choice. We regularly handle cases and because we are independent, we can do the best for you. A list of reasons why you should consider using an independent Solicitor is here:
1. Your insurer is not independent and so, nor are their Solicitors. Whatever the “friendly face” might say on the advertising, ultimately insurers are there to make money and so, it follows that their chosen Solicitors will be in step with them. Your insurer is the “hand that feeds them” and in the case of in-house Solicitors, they truly are your insurance company, so whilst they might be acting for you, they have a second Master with whom they have a long-standing business relationship, which does not make for a focus on your best interests. Why should an employee at an insurance company have a say in accepting any fault for what you, the driver of the car, have done in any given incident?
2. Your insurer does not want a long, drawn out case. Whilst this is true of everyone, sometimes it takes time to get the best result. MG Legal’s team of expert Personal Injury Solicitors know that everyone wants the best result quickly, but unfortunately, sometimes this means taking extra steps to fight for the best result, such as commencing Court proceedings, rather than just conceding quickly. If your insurer decides they want to settle on a 50/50 basis, meaning you will be recorded as being 50% at fault, they can recover their money by increasing your premium next year and it gets your case closed quickly.
3. Your insurer’s Solicitor will be dealing with your insurer’s losses too. As part of the “privilege” of being passed to your insurer’s in-house or panel Solicitor is the fact that not only does the Solicitor have to deal with your Personal Injury, they also have to deal with your insurer’s losses. Your insurer, in this case, will have your own vehicle damage and associated losses to deal with, as well as the potential losses of your opponent, the fault party. If both drivers have a claim for vehicle damage, if the case settles on a 50/50 basis, your insurer deals with 50% of your damage and 50% of the other driver. If there is an imbalance of vehicle damage, settlement on a 50% basis may be preferable for your insurer as they might only be liable for 50% of the damage to your brand new car, whereas the other driver has a scratch on the bumper of their 4x4. When weighed against the increased legal costs of achieving the same result later in a case, it is common for Insurance Companies to make what are known as ‘economic decisions’ based on the money involved. So, in a contested case, your insurer may actually lose nothing and potentially gain if they settle on a split liability basis. MG Legal only has one person in mind – you. Our advice and work will be only for you and with your best interests in mind every step of the way.
4. Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) doesn’t really give you anything. We’ve all seen the advert that says “Free Legal Cover” or “Legal Expense Insurance only £4 per month”. All this really does is gives your insurer more chance to pass you to their preferred, or in-house, Solicitor. MG Legal does not charge you £4 per month, every month, on the off-chance you might one day need to start a claim. Additionally, a specific Law, which applies to all Personal Injury Claims, called “Qualified One-way Costs Shifting” (QOCS) protects you against having to pay the third party costs if you do not succeed. Your standard car insurance policy takes care of any third party losses and so, there is no saving of money.
5. Your insurer wants your claim because they get paid twice, even if they don’t get the best result. You’ve already paid for your insurance policy and maybe a Legal Expenses Policy too. As your insurance company’s Solicitor is entitled to recover costs at the end of the case, they effectively get paid twice. With every Personal Injury claim, there is an automatic entitlement to costs for the Solicitor as long as some element of the claim goes in your favour. So, as already covered in point 1, even if your insurer’s Solicitor doesn’t fight very hard and settles on a split liability basis, they still get paid. In effect, they are rewarded at the start and end of the claim, whether they do a good job or not. MG Legal’s specialist Personal Injury Solicitors get paid once, at the end of the claim. As a local firm of Solicitors who enjoy a strong reputation for excellent service and results in the local community, we will ensure that you can tell your friends and family that we went that extra mile to achieve the best possible result for you.
6. Your Insurer and their Solicitor often have very harsh standards, leaving you in the lurch. As your insurer can set the standard for their claims well in advance, usually written into various pieces of your policy and your LEI policy, you can quickly find that their appointed Solicitor no longer want to deal with your claim for personal injury, or, as soon as they are faced with adversity, setting a condition that you have to accept a portion of fault for them to keep working. Whilst every Solicitor will insist on having a winnable case, because it doesn’t truly matter to your insurer’s Solicitor how the claim settles, they can apply over-harsh standards. Many Legal Expenses Insurance policies insist on obtaining a Barrister’s Opinion on the case (sometimes at your expense and always a barrister of their choice) to assess the prospects of success. If this does not entirely suit them, they can use this to pressure you to settle on unfavourable terms or in some cases, to cease acting entirely, meaning you either have to concede fault for the incident or change Solicitors mid-case. Finding a Solicitor mid-claim, particularly when it is because a previous Solicitor has ceased acting based on poor prospects of success can be difficult. MG Legal’s expert Personal Injury Team keep an open mind and we have accepted and succeeded in many cases following transfer from a previous Solicitor who was unwilling to put in the hard work to succeed.
7. With MG Legal, you know who is handling your claim and they know you. Many insurance based Solicitors work on what the legal industry refers to as a “conveyor belt”. In short, their claims department will be a massive office of non- qualified and overworked individuals with set targets of settling a set number of claims per month. Because of this, you will likely be rushed through the process, never knowing who is handling your claim and speaking to a different person every time you call. MG Legal’s policy is to ensure that you won’t be dealing with “Claim Team 3”, you will know the name of the specialist personal injury Solicitor in charge of your claim, and you will speak to only one or two people, who are actively involved in your claim. We don’t hide behind switchboards, Customer Service Representative or secretaries: we are a hands-on firm of solicitors specialising in NO WIN NO FEE personal injury cases, who aren’t afraid of hard work and getting into the finer details of a matter. Because of this, we can get to know you, understand your version of events, your injuries, the impact on your life and the expectations you have for the claim. This way, our advice is tailored to you and your claim alone and you won’t get some generic response that truly tells you nothing about your claim. Because of this, you can rest assured that we will review your claim and your settlement in depth, ensuring that when we tell you the offer on the table is the best one, it truly is the best offer you could receive.
8. If it means you get more money, we aren’t afraid of the Court process. Nobody wants their claim to go to Court and the truth of the matter is that each year, MG Legal only have to attend a couple of Trials. Attending Trial is the very last step in the Court process, which usually takes nine months for a standard Personal Injury claim. Issue of Proceedings, which starts the Court process is more common. Often, the other driver and their insurer will dispute liability or another aspect of the claim such as the value of your injuries and commencing Court Proceedings is the way to show strength and confidence in the claim. Whilst we always assess the prospects of success and it is important to recognise that going to Court isn’t a ‘silver bullet’ MG Legal’s Personal Injury specialist Solicitors repeatedly achieve a more favourable result long before the Trial comes around. Many insurance companies and their Solicitors do not like the Court process as it means their file is open longer and they have to do more work. MG Legal aren’t scared of hard work any more than we are scared of a bluff from the fault party in an attempt to leverage a settlement that they don’t deserve.
9. You deserve a choice about who represents you. Your insurer will only have one ‘in-house’ or panel Solicitor. In house Solicitors work directly for the insurance company and for panel Solicitors, there is likely a reason that the firm in question are in league with an insurance company rather than acquiring their own work by word of mouth and with a host of positive reviews. When you come to MG Legal, we want you to instruct us because we are good at what we do and because you feel comfortable in the knowledge that countless clients previously have used our services and left not only happy but satisfied that their result is the best possible outcome. So, read our reviews and speak to us before you settle for the lacklustre service offered by your own insurance company.
Ultimately, you have the choice of who represents you and here at MG Legal, we genuinely believe we are the best at what we do. With a combined experience of decades, working on all manner of Personal Injury claims, we have seen it all and most importantly, won it all – our success rate in excess of 99% speaks for itself. We demonstrate our confidence in our ability by handling every case we accept on a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) so that if we don’t win your claim, we don’t get paid. You don’t need to have a Legal Expenses Insurance Policy to use us and in return, all we ever ask is that you cooperate with us to help you bring your claim to the best possible conclusion.
We have offices in Garstang, Lancaster and Longridge and we are also well versed in dealing with cases at distance. All consultations, conferences and other matters can be done via telephone or video link and so, wherever you are, you may rest assured your claim is in the hands of a knowledgeable, confident expert Personal Injury Solicitor who has your best interests at heart throughout your claim.