My car insurer gave me a solicitor for my injury claim – but do they have my best interests in mind?
Mrs A was injured after a car crashed into her from behind.
As the other driver was travelling at high speed, the collision was high impact, and her car was damaged beyond repair.
The insurance company confirmed to Mrs A that liability was not in doubt – that it was the other driver’s fault – and they’d now start working to make things right.
She agreed. But straight away there was a red flag – Mrs A’s insurer-appointed solicitor was based in England.
Why would the insurer do that? Well it’s likely they appointed a panel solicitor - these are legal agents who have a goal of settling your personal injury claim as quickly as possible, meaning you may not get the best legal advice or access to medical experts needed to properly evaluate your case. And the reality of this ‘fast money’ approach means people could literally lose out on tens of thousands of pounds they are entitled to.
Sadly, many people are not aware of panel solicitors or even their right to refuse them. But with the medical, financial, legal and administrative chaos that can follow a crash it is understandable why some simply put their faith in groups like insurance companies.
So with the guidance of her English panel solicitors, Mrs A was sent for three medical appointments, each predicting she would be “Fine in a few months” – predictably however, her symptoms did not improve.
With continued pain, requests for further investigations being ignored, no progress to her case and not even being able to meet her solicitor in person, Mrs A lost faith in her panel solicitors.
After a quick review of Mrs A’s medical reports it was clear she needed an MRI and the expert opinion of a Consultant Neurologist to fully understand her injuries and what it meant for the future.
Despite previously being assured of a short recovery period, Mrs A was told she was likely to suffer ongoing pain.
Gathering this kind of crucial evidence meant David could raise a legal action – this resulted in the case settling for £38,000 – and in the end, Mrs A didn’t even have to go to court. Mrs A said:
“I was very grateful to David
“I was always kept well informed and contacted whenever necessary.
“I would recommend Digby Brown Solicitors to anyone. Many Thanks.”
The reality is that if Mrs A remained with the English panel solicitors then she would likely not have received such a significant settlement. The English firm of solicitors wouldn’t even have been able to raise a court action in the first place as they had no jurisdiction in Scotland.
Our Inverness staff are regularly contacted by people who want Digby Brown to take over their case after being frustrated with insurer-appointed legal agents.
However in many cases they have already signed terms and conditions that means the insurer will try to charge you for the work they’ve already done on your case, which can sometimes prove costly.
We always advise people that they are not required to use the firm offered by insurers - they are legally entitled to select their own independent solicitor.
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