The big question – do companies offering accident claims care about their clients?
The media is full of it – “accident claims companies out to make a quick profit”, “companies offering accident claims care nothing about their customers”. So is it true?
Well, like anything in life, it’s both true and false, depending on what you’re looking at and what direction you’re looking from.
An industry of two halves
It’s no secret that the accident claims industry is made up of a number of very different types of company. There is a general perception that the compensation “bandwagon” is running wild and that companies who deal with accident claims care more about chasing the next ambulance than dealing fairly with the clients they already have. But the statistics simply don’t agree.
With the exception of motor vehicle accidents, statistics show that between 2000 (the point at which legal aid for personal injury ceased and new ‘no win no fee*’ legislation came into force) and 2007, compensation claims rates fell. Claims for accidents at work, medical negligence and the Department of Work and Pensions accident and disease claims all fell over this 7 year period. The only claims to rise over that period were motor accident claims. So if those are the facts, where are the results of all of this ‘ambulance chasing’?
This unfortunate perception has come about because the compensation claims industry, like any other sector, has a few bad apples. There are a few companies out there who cold call, email spam and send unsolicited texts trying to drum up business from people who may or may not have a genuine compensation claim. It’s those companies that have no accident claims care for their customers.
So how can you tell the good from the bad?
For a start, a company that cares about their clients and the outcome for those clients will not charge upfront fees. A good company will offer to take your case on a no win, no fee* basis. This shows you that the company truly believes that it is only taking on genuine claims where there is a legitimate entitlement to compensation. After all, the risk is on their head.
In a company where there is no accident claims care or consideration, the client is often asked to pay a non refundable upfront fee. This means that the company can “have a go” at making a claim, even if there is little chance of success and not really a genuine entitlement to a compensation award. This is safe for the company, because the financial risk has been placed on the client.
The other way to make a quick judgement on a company is to look at the length of time they have been trading. The claims management market came into being with the change in legislation in 2000, becoming widespread within 2001. A claims company who is operating responsibly is likely to have been trading for 14 years or more. If the company you’re looking at is newly incorporated, it’s best to look again.
The only sure way to know what you’re signing up for, though, is to ask. Call a company, talk to them about their services and fees and ask for a copy of their terms. Don’t get stuck with a company who doesn’t care.