Thursday, 27 October 2011

Scumbag Ambulance Chasing Lawyers

I just discovered one of the reasons that insurance costs continue to rise.

A few weeks ago someone drove into the back of my shiny new car. It was a reasonably low speed shunt but caused a reasonable amount of damage. Yesterday received a call from a company asking if me or any passengers had experienced 'injury or discomfort' since the accident and wanted to go after the other driver for damages and compensation. On asking how they got my details I was told that the insurance company, the hire company or the repairer would have passed them on. Since I have no injuries (other than almost having a coronary at the thought of a careless driver spoiling my shiny new XF) I told them to go away. So, it looks like someone in the claim process is involving ambulance chasing lawyers who will then encourage people to make spurious injury claims. And the people who pay for this are the other road users who fund the cost through their insurance premiums.

This matter has been debated widely and you can get a flavour of it below
Jack Straw outlines his Bill to crack down on referral fees

The Motor Insurance Regulation Bill will be introduced on 20 January 2012.
The five provisions tabled in the motion are - to make it unlawful and a criminal offence to solicit, offer, or pay referral fees relating to a personal injury traffic claim; to introduce objective evidence for whiplash claims; to half the MoJ fixed fee for road traffic claims pursued through the portal;to prohibit insurers from isolating risk on the basis of a geographic area smaller than a region; and to bring forward certain provisions in Data Protection Act.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said: "Jack Straw is deluded if he thinks a lawyer could possibly give advice to an injured person for the price of £100. In all cases the solicitor needs to talk to the client to understand the symptoms, and the impact of the injury on the client's life, as well as obtaining a medical report. These were the factors taken into account when fixed costs for road traffic accidents were agreed with the insurance industry only last year.
"Mr Straw should also be aware of the Association of British Insurers' own report of 2008. In Tackling Whiplash: Care, Prevention, Compensation it is said that "vehicle bodies have become stiffer since the late 1980s, increasing crashworthiness in high speed rear-end crashes. This helps reduce the incidence of serious injuries, but may increase the incidence of whiplash, due to higher relative transfer of energy in a crash."
It added: "Surely Mr Straw would not prefer to see a return to increased serious injuries? Of course fraud must be discouraged, and we support the Transport Select Committee's recommendation that insurers must take a lead in this. Insurers should be under a duty to inform claimant lawyers the minute that they have suspicions that a claimant is fraudulent. Fraud is crime and claimant lawyers are also on the front line. They can't help to fight it with their hands tied behind their backs."

As I see it, this is largely rubbish. The real problem arises because a company that makes money out of spurious injury claims got my number and then called me to encourage me to claim. If I had been slightly more thick/desperate then I would have been tempted to make up an injury, and I'm sure that the scumbag, ambulance chasing company who called me would have encouraged it.

So, the sooner that it becomes illegal for anyone to pass my details or for them to solicit for claims the better.

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