Personal Injury Claims and Changing Your SolicitorMay 2010: It has become common practice in the road traffic insurance industry to "look after" your customer after they have been involved in an accident. This often involves an injured person being sent straight to the insurance company's panel solicitor for the personal injury claim.
Usually this involves receiving a welcome pack from a firm of solicitors hundreds of miles away from where a client lives and then dealing with the entire claim by way of questionnaires and telephone calls. Injured people often never meet the person who is dealing with their claim and have no opportunity to get across to that person exactly how an injury is affecting their life.
One thing that is rarely mentioned by the insurance company or panel solicitors is that the person dealing with the claim is rarely a solicitor or even a qualified legal executive.
The reason for this arrangement between insurance companies and solicitors is that the solicitor invariably pays huge referral fees of up to £1,000 to the insurance company for each case. The insurance company is only interested in making money and the solicitors have a vested interest in turning over cases as quickly as possible even if it is not in the best interests of the injured person.
At Hough Halton & Soal we are regularly approached by people whose claims are being dealt with by solicitors appointed by their insurers and are far from satisfied about the way in which the claim is being handled.
People often assume that it will be difficult to change your solicitor but in fact the process is extremely straight forward. It is usually just a case of signing a form to confirm that you want the file transferred to a new solicitor and the solicitors then share the legal costs if the claim is successful.