Should I run my claim myself?
I had an accident 6 weeks ago on the morning commute and the other driver’s insurance have contacted me and said that I don’t need a solicitor to claim compensation. They have already repaired my bike and have offered me compensation. This seems reasonable to me, but my dad is telling me that I need a lawyer to stop me from being ripped off?
Rebecca, by e-mail
The insurer’s interest is the opposite to yours because they want to pay as little money as they can, but you want the correct amount of compensation in your claim. Because the injured rider typically has no experience of the legal process the insurer is able to get away with paying far less than they should.
It has been common for insurers to make settlement offers very soon after the accident before the injured person has seen a medical expert. The problem with this is the full extent of a person’s injuries, and importantly the prognosis, are unknown. If you then find out you have a more serious injury then there is no second bite of the cherry. The Civil Liability Act introduced a ban on offers to settle whiplash claims without a medical report so if your injury was a “low value” claim of this type then this is a serious breach of the law by the insurer.
The benefit of having a lawyer is that you are likely to end up with more compensation.