Top ten myths – exposed
There is a considerable amount of misinformation and hype surrounding the personal injury sector. Many people that want to claim are frightened off by negative publicity and scare stories.
Here we expose what we consider to be the top 10 myths about No win No fee compensation claims.
This information has been prepared by regulated solicitors not salesmen or unqualified marketers.
Deal with the facts not the fiction.
Top 10 myths:
- You have to go to court to win compensation
There is no absolute need to go to court in order to win your compensation. Most claims that we deal with are settled out of court and long before any litigation is deemed necessary. Insurers recognise that it is cheaper to settle a case amicably and out of the court process rather than waste money on costs and delays. less than 4% of the claims we deal with ever reach court. Most claims actually conclude within 12 months. It is not always possible to avoid court action because occasionally the issues between the parties are too contentious but the key point to make here is that the vast majority of claims are not subject to court action.
- All solicitors are out to take what they can
It would be fair to say that the legal industry does not enjoy particularly good press. According to some observers, solicitors are considered aloof, arrogant, out of touch and out for what they can get. Scare stories about hidden fees and kickbacks abound and it can be hard convincing prospective clients that we are the good guys. These really are unfair and outdated views. Sbelong to one of the best regulated professions in the UK closely monitored by the Law Society. Most reputable personal injury solicitors in England & Wales will deal with your claim without charge under the No win No fee principles adopted through legislation in 1999 / 2000.
- All claims are complex and time consuming
This is inaccurate. Most claims (generally involving soft tissue injuries) settle within 8-12 months providing there are no issues on liability. More complex claims where liability is disputed or where there has been a more serious injury inevitably will take longer to conclude. There is some initial inconvenience because in order to start a claim you have to complete some paperwork but thereafter a claimant has very little to do. Your solicitor will take care of the claim from day one and help to minimise any inconvenience. Despite what you read elsewhere on less reputable websites there is no easy route or quick fix as far as compensation claims are concerned. However a competent lawyer will minimise delay and hassle for their client.
- Conversely there is a view that compensation is easy to acquire.
Only genuine individuals with good cause for making a claim will actually recover damages. The claims process is not going to provide a route to “easy money”. You will receive only what you have lost out of your own pocket or what you are entitled to receive for the pain and suffering elements.
- Compensation claims take years to settle
As stated above, most claims conclude within 8-12 months assuming there are no problems on liability or with a claimant’s general recovery from the injury sustained.
- Insurers will treat you fairly – who needs a solicitor?
Most insurers have drastically altered their approach to claims handling in the UK. They are now far more proactive and cooperative than they have ever been and the personal injury protocol rules which were introduced in 1999 have helped to control the claims process from both the claimant and defendant perspectives. Despite this insurers have one aim in mind when negotiating settlement of a claim – to save costs. They have departments of specially trained staff who will negotiate the best possible deal that they can for the insurance company. That is why you need a solicitor to ensure that you receive the right settlement at the right time. Don’t lose out on compensation by dealing directly with an insurer. It is an unfair contest with only one victor.
- The “compensation culture” is booming – people will claim for anything!
One of the biggest myths of all is that there is a burgeoning compensation culture in the UK and that people really will claim for absolutely anything regardless of whether such a claim might be morally or ethically acceptable. This is complete nonsense – but don’t just take our word for it. The Which? Consumer Group has this to say on their website “Despite claims that the UK has a ‘compensation culture’ the total costs of compensation cases in Britain has stayed the same since 1989. Which? believes it is important to tackle such claims, because they can create the impression that it’s wrong to seek redress”. The stagnation of claim volumes is primarily a result of the legal profession selecting more rigidly which cases are actually viable and which are clearly not merited. The fact that claims volumes have not risen despite legal marketing initiatives and the growth of the internet, confirms that there is no compensation culture in the UK. This does not stop the odd ridiculous case reaching court or being publicised by the national press.
- Making a claim against your employer will get you the sack
Many people injured at work fear losing their jobs if they make a personal injury claim following an accident at work. Most employers would not countenance dismissing an injured employee but this cannot be ruled out in any situation. It would be appropriate to claim for unfair dismissal if any employer sacked an individual for making a claim following an injury sustained in the workplace. The law protects workers in these situations and, although people employed for less than 12 months may not have the same rights, employers have insurance which covers them for claims of this nature. There is generally nothing to fear in pursuing an employer for compensation where they are clearly liable.
- If you need any treatment – you must wait until the case settles
Most insurers now look at claims in a more proactive manner and may arrange to rehabilitate injured parties during key stages of the recovery process. Whiplash physiotherapy for example is now readily available once liability has been assessed. Receiving early treatment can be a huge advantage promoting a more complete and timely recovery.
- The law protects the big companies and organisations
Fortunately the opposite is true. The laws that we have in the UK are amongst the most compassionate and considerate in the civilised world (a rather dramatic statement but accurate nevertheless). The public are well protected with laws governing the state and maintenance of our highways, the use of vehicles or other machinery, health & safety at work or regarding the public generally and much much more. The law protects both the individual and the organisations. Free legal advice on virtually any issue is now available to all and the public have far more powers of legal redress than they have ever previously enjoyed.
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