Accident Claims Company: UK solicitor sets out the arguments for and against contacting an accident management company to claim compensation.
Find out what an accident claims company is, what to check before you contact such a company and the advantages of contacting a specialist solicitor direct to start your compensation claim.
What is an accident claims company?
An “accident claims company” can be referred to by several different names, including a “claims management company”, “accident management company” or “personal injury management company”.
The function of an accident claims company is to make money by selling your personal injury claim to practising solicitors.
Accident companies are not staffed by qualified solicitors and as such are not able to give you any form of legal advice or even properly explain if you have a claim or not.
Only a practising solicitor is permitted by UK law to give you advice and run the claim for you.
How do you know that the solicitor the accident claims company passes your claim to is the best to lawyer for the job?
You do not know that the solicitor your claim is passed to by an accident claims company is the best solicitor for making your claim.
An accident claims company will choose a solicitor based on the willingness of that lawyer to pay a large amount of money for your claim.
As already described – an accident management company is not manned by qualified lawyers and as such whoever you speak to would not know which lawyers are the best for you in any event.
Experienced solicitors with the correct expertise and a good reputation will typically have accident victims contacting them directly – the solicitor firms that cannot find the work will be the ones prepared to pay to get your claim.
What is the importance of using the correct specialist solicitor to make an accident claim?
Choosing the correct specialist solicitor to make your compensation claim following an accident is probably one of the most important decisions you can make for several reasons:
1. The best chances of winning your claim
Experience and expertise are critical in the lawyer you choose. To test expertise you should speak in detail with your lawyer to see if all the questions you have are answered and any concerns are satisfied.
It is often helpful to know what trial experience your solicitor has – you might be surprised to learn that many lawyers have not taken a claim to trial. To run your claim you need a lawyer who will fight all the way to the finish to win your claim.
2. Maximise the amount of compensation you can claim
As an accident victim – you are not legally trained and naturally will not know how much you can expect to claim for your injuries never mind all the types of financial loss you can claim.
A lawyer’s fees are in the main typically paid by the person at fault at the end of a claim – some solicitors therefore try to settle your claim as fast as possible at the expense of getting you the correct amount of compensation. You need to know that you can trust your lawyer to advise you when to continue to fight your claim to increase your compensation pay out.
3. Feel you can communicate well with your lawyer
As well as being knowledgeable about the law – you need to know that you can speak to your own solicitor whenever you need to and legal matters are put in a manner that you can understand.
By using an accident claims company – you make an agreement with a middle man and are passed to an unknown lawyer and have to live with that relationship whatsoever it might be.
4. Not be pressurised to settle your claim prematurely
Solicitors who pay large sums of money to get your claim will often need to end your claim quickly, so as to receive payment from the person at fault.
Using accident claims companies can therefore result in too much pressure being put on you to end your claim too soon and for too low a sum of compensation.
What should you look out for if you are considering using an accident claims company?
An accident claims company must adhere to certain rules if it is to be considered a legitimate business, including:
1. Registration with the Ministry Of Justice
As from 1 April 2019 for an accident claims company to be a legitimate business it must be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – so check with the FCA before you speak to such a company.
2. You must not be approached in an unsolicited manner by an accident company
An accident company must not stop you on the street to ask if you have had an accident, telephone you following an accident to see if you wish to claim or post any leaflets to your home address requesting that you get in touch – this is considered an unsolicited approach and as such illegal.
You must make the initial contact with the claims management company. Any solicitor who the accident management company passes you to must check that you have not been approached in an unsolicited manner by the claims company.
3. Declare how much a solicitor is being charged to buy your accident claim
You might be quite shocked how much a firm of solicitors is being charged to receive your claim. This sum must be declared to you from the outset by the claims company and also by the solicitor you are referred to.
The claims management company must also send you a written letter the sum that is being charged and give you a 14 days cool off period. In other words give you a time period to change your mind from instructing them to approach a solicitor on your behalf to make your compensation claim.
4. An accident company must not represent themselves to be a solicitor
It is a criminal offence for an accident claims company to represent themselves to be solicitors either expressly or impliedly. In other words – it must be made very clear in any advert or when you speak to a management company that no legal expertise is held by the company nor that the company is not made up of practising solicitors, lawyers or legal experts.
Claims management companies should not use the word advice or include on search engines suggestions as to legal expertise – only practising qualified solicitors can do this.
5. Solicitor insurance increases
Solicitors who accept claims from accident management companies will often find that their insurance premiums, which allows them to practise as solicitors in the UK, are far higher.
We will leave you draw your own conclusions as to why that is the case.
Should you contact a specialist solicitor direct or contact an accident claims company?
It is our opinion you should contact a specialist accident solicitor direct and never use an accident claims company.
In this way – you will know who you are dealing with from the outset and be satisfied at to that solicitor’s expertise.
Accident Claims Company Summary
On this page we have explained why you should avoid using an accident claims company if you wish to claim compensation and should approach a specialist solicitor direct.
We recommend you see our specialist personal injury solicitor free help to ask a specialist accident claims solicitor about your potential claim or have your claim assessed online.