Advice From a Road Accident Solicitor

Many of us will never, thank goodness, need to enlist the services of a road accident solicitor. But accidents do happen, so imagine this. You’re minding your own business driving along when another driver hits the back of your car. The accident wasn’t your fault. So, as the law states that you must, you both stop and swap contact and insurance details and you go on your way planning to contact your insurers later on in the day. Then, also imagine that at home, before you have even found the time to call your insurers, a representative from the other driver’s insurance company knocks on your door. He or she then offers to write you a cheque on the spot in compensation for your injuries and losses. So you think, this is super!

But a road accident solicitor would suggest that you take a moment to consider whether or not this really is such a good deal. It is more common than ever for insurers to contact the claimant making offers of compensation right away. When companies do this it is almost always very promptly. Believe it or not, there have been reports of insurance company representatives arriving at the scene of an accident offering to resolve claims on the spot.

This might all seem like an efficient service for the aggrieved party, your road accident solicitor might disagree. Ask yourself why an insurance company would be so keen to settle a claim so quickly. Certainly, claimants should be suspicious of the motives of an insurance company which is trying to encourage them to accept an offer of settlement before the full extent of their injuries is clear.

Road accident solicitors’ organisations such as the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers have issued warnings to claimants that under the guise of providing good service, insurance companies are actually trying to save themselves some money. This is simply because if they accept the offer of compensation, they are required to sign a form stating that the offer is accepted in full and final settlement of the claim. This simply means that once that form has been signed, there is no going back, regardless of any circumstances or injuries which later become apparent and regardless of the involvement of road accident solicitors.

Consumers therefore run the risk of accepting a claim worth less than what they’re entitled to and what they may need. Following a road accident, the full extent of any injuries may not be clear until several days or even weeks have passed. Compensation is partly intended to pay for ongoing treatment of accident victims’ injuries, so a full understanding of the extent of the injuries is important before accepting payment. A road accident solicitor would therefore advise that claimants take both legal and medical advice before accepting any offer of settlement.

The Association of British Insurers has drafted a voluntary code of practice to try and avoid consumers being left out of pocket. It states that insurers should make sure that a claimant is aware that they have the legal right to obtain independent legal advice. It also suggests that making initial contact by letter or telephone rather than in person at a claimant’s address avoids intimidation.

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Always use an experienced road accident solicitor to protect your interests in the event of having to make an accident claim.
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