In the past, insurance companies were known for referring personal injury claims, selling on details of personal injuries to legal organisations across the country. But in 2011, it was announced that this would change. In a bid to tackle the ‘compensation culture’ sweeping the nation, the government announced plans to make changes regarding referring personal injury claims. These changes meant that it was illegal for firms to pay or receive fees for referring personal injury claims.
Premiums for honest motorists rocketed as a result of firms receiving fees for referring personal injury claims, as insurance companies struggled to cover the costs of compensation claims. In an article published at the time by the BBC, Mr Djanogly, the Justice Minister, said, “Many of the claims are spurious and only happen because the current system allows too many people to profit from minor accidents and incidents. Referral fees are one symptom of the compensation culture problem and too much money sloshing through the system. People are being encouraged to sue, at no risk to themselves.”
The ban on fees for referring personal injury claims, which at the time was applied across England and Wales, was designed to make people think more carefully about whether or not to proceed with a personal injury claim.
What happened next?
Things changed yet again in April 2013 when Lord Justice Jackson’s Review of Civil Litigation Costs came into play. This put in place a total ban on referring personal injury claims which affects all companies involved in the process. This ban covers companies such as solicitors, claims management companies and insurance companies, and effectively means that referring personal injury claims is now illegal. Anybody found to be breaking the ban can be reported to the relevant governing bodies, including the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), The Bar Council and the Claims Management Regulator.
How does this apply to Accident Advice Helpline?
Accident Advice Helpline takes the ban on referring personal injury claims very seriously and we adhere to the recommendations and regulations. We don’t refer personal injury claims to any third parties or receive details of anybody involved in accidents. We are a professional firm of personal injury specialists and we have our own team of solicitors, handling all claims in house. We’re proud of the reputation we have built up since 2000 and we have over 16 years’ experience handling a range of different types of claims.
What can you do if you’re aware of somebody referring personal injury claims?
If you have dealt with a solicitor, insurer or claims management company who you believe is referring personal injury claims, you can report them to the relevant authorities. You’re best to deal with a reputable law firm who don’t break rules and regulations, which is why Accident Advice Helpline should be your first port of call after your accident.
What is all this talk of ‘compensation culture’?
In recent years, rising knowledge of personal injury compensation has led to an increase in the number of claims for compensation in the UK, most notably for injuries such as whiplash (one of the most common injuries sustained in a road traffic accident). Compensation culture is a term that is generally used by the media, in a bid to discourage people from making a claim for personal injury compensation. Provided your claim is genuine and you have been injured in an accident that was caused by somebody else’s negligence, there is no need whatsoever for you to feel guilty about making a claim, or feel that you are in some way contributing to the country’s compensation culture.
If you have been injured and somebody else is at fault, you are entitled to make a claim, and you don’t have to suffer in silence after your accident. You have three years in which to make a claim – just stay away from any companies who are referring personal injury claims.
How do I know if I’m eligible to claim compensation?
We are asked this question a lot – more than you might expect. The short answer is that the only way to find out if you’re eligible to claim compensation is to get in touch with us and speak to one of our personal injury advisors. You can claim compensation for almost any type of accident and there is no need to deal with companies who are referring personal injury claims, when you can just call Accident Advice Helpline directly. Here are just a few examples of the types of accidents and injuries you could make a claim for:
- Slipping on a wet floor, for example at work or in a supermarket
- Suffering a spinal injury after a fall from height
- Head injuries sustained after tripping on damaged pavement and hitting your head
- Food poisoning after dining out or eating a takeaway meal
- Sprained ankle after a slip, trip or fall
- Industrial illness or injury such as noise-related hearing loss or occupational asthma
- Repetitive strain disorder from carrying out repetitive tasks at work
- Machinery injuries from working in a factory with faulty machinery
- Whiplash, broken bones or more serious injuries sustained in a road traffic accident
Provided somebody else was at fault for your accident – for example, if you were injured in an accident at work, it could be your employer that is liable – you could be eligible to receive compensation.
Am I at risk of losing my job if I claim compensation?
Besides worrying about compensation culture, many people miss out on the opportunity to make a personal injury claim as they’re worried about how it might affect their job. The good news is that anybody can make a personal injury claim after an accident at work, provided somebody else was to blame. It’s up to your employer to ensure that you stay safe whilst you’re at work, whether you are employed on a building site, in a warehouse, a shop or even in an office. This means they have to adhere to health and safety regulations, carry out risk assessments, ensure that machinery and equipment is safe to use and so on. Should they fail to do any of these things, leading to an accident which leaves you injured as a result, you could find yourself in a position to make a personal injury claim.
Employers have liability insurance in place (all employers in the UK must have this by law) to protect them in the event an employee makes a claim – so even if you work for a small business, your employer won’t be paying the claim out of their own pocket. This means there is absolutely no need for you to feel guilty or worried about making a personal injury claim, as you’re entitled to compensation for their negligence, and you are at no risk of losing your job, whether your claim is successful or not.
Choosing the right personal injury solicitors
One of the most important aspects of making a claim for compensation is ensuring that you choose the right personal injury lawyer to handle your claim. Not only do you want to choose a law firm which adheres to regulations and isn’t referring personal injury claims, you also want a firm which specialises in personal injury law and has the necessary experience to give your claim the best possible chance of success. Look for a law firm with a team of solicitors with experience handling different types of claims.
Accident Advice Helpline’s team of lawyers includes solicitors with experience in industrial illness claims, road traffic accident claims and more, so we will have a lawyer who is used to handling claims related to your type of accident, however you have been injured. You also want to choose a firm that doesn’t charge the earth to make a claim. After an accident, your finances can be affected if you have needed to pay for treatment, or if you’ve taken time off work to recover from your injuries or after surgery.
The last thing you need are expensive legal fees. Accident Advice Helpline’s lawyers work on a 100% no-win, no-fee basis, so there are no upfront fees to worry about and it’s even free to call our helpline from any landline.
What else should you consider when making a personal injury claim?
You might want to think about how much compensation you will receive, as your legal fees will be deducted from your personal injury settlement, if your claim is successful. For an idea of how much compensation you could get, you can take the 30-second test on our website. Please note though that this will only give you a ballpark figure for how much you could expect to receive. It may be that you receive more or less than this figure. That’s because all claims are handled on an individual basis, taking into account a range of different factors that can affect your final settlement.
So what happens after my accident?
Sitting around waiting after your accident isn’t going to make things happen. You need to take action, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing. If you or somebody you love has been seriously injured in an accident, you may need to take time off work to recover. Thinking about personal injury compensation may not be your top priority, but once you have received medical treatment and are on the road to recovery, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. This is a positive step which can help you to move forwards after your accident, and there is a three-year time limit in place for all claims – so if you wait around for too long, you could miss out on the opportunity to make a claim altogether.
Get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline
Stay away from solicitors or claims management companies who are referring personal injury claims and get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline after your accident. Since 2000, we have been providing confidential, no-obligation advice to members of the public, so you can call us at any time without feeling pressured to proceed with a claim.
Even if you’re not sure whether you’re eligible to make a claim or uncertain who is at fault for your accident, why not pick up the phone and call us today on 0800 689 0500 (or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile) to find out more about making a 100% no-win, no-fee claim. Or you could take the 30-second test on our website right now for an idea of how much compensation you could be entitled to claim, before giving us a call.
Our advisors are on hand to answer any questions you may have about the claims process, so get in touch with us today to find out more about making a claim after your accident.