The 6 myths about personal injury claims
Myth 1: “Most people who make a personal injury claim are making it all up.”
From our experience, this is just not true. The press and the insurance industry often portray people who make a personal injury claim as liars and cheats but our experience is that this is far from the truth.
At Digby Brown, we find that the vast majority of the people who contact us have been injured in genuine accidents that were not their fault. It really is rare for us to find someone who is deliberately acting fraudulently -- and anyone who is exaggerating is usually found out pretty quickly. We know it does happen, but it is very rare.
The clients we represent are people who have been injured due to the fault and negligence of another person or company. They have suffered a painful injury. They may have been psychologically affected by the accident and their ability to work and carry out the tasks of daily life is hampered. In all cases, medical records are recovered which help prove that injuries were suffered and all of our clients are examined by independent medical experts who prepare reports which verify that an injury was sustained.
We actively examine every set of circumstances and will, through extensive investigation, ensure that anything that is either fraudulent or exaggerated is found out. It is not in any firm’s interests to pursue fraudulent cases. Not only does it cost money and waste time but the prosecution of those involved can carry jail terms. Anyone with a genuine injury has nothing to worry about.
Myth 2: “If I make a claim against my employer they can sack me.”
A lot of people worry about this but if your employer was to sack you expressly due to the fact you were making a claim for an injury at work, then you would have a further claim against them as this affects your employment rights. Remember: it is your employer’s duty to keep you safe when working and they should have insurance in place to deal with the costs of a personal injury claim.
If your employer began to make your life unbearable at work and you felt you were left with no choice but to resign, then you might still have a case for constructive dismissal.
Myth 3: “You should never accept the first offer.”
Sometimes people will say that they have heard they should never accept the first offer; similar to buying a second-hand car, you should always do a bit of haggling. There is some truth in this but personal injury compensation isn’t about plucking figures out of the air and guessing that they feel right.
There are many factors to be taken into account when considering the merits of any offer and assessing the true valuation of losses. At Digby Brown, we have the legal experience and knowledge to be able to advise you as to whether the offer received from an insurer is a fair offer or not. From our initial investigation of the accident and the suffering you have endured to the longer-term effects that injury could have on your ability to earn money in the future: everything will be considered when looking at the offer received.
If, at that point, the offer on the table is reflective of the valuation assessed then we may indeed accept the “first offer”. Otherwise, we will certainly be advising you to reject the offer. It is common for an insurer to try and “buy you off” with an early under value offer.
Myth 4: “My friend got £10,000 compensation and mine is more serious so I should get more.”
Again, this is not true. How a case is valued depends on many different factors. Yes, your friend’s injury may appear to have been less serious than yours. However, the injury alone is unlikely to be the only part of your claim and it is genuinely impossible to compare your case with that of your friend.
Every injury is slightly different. A one-year injury to your ankle cannot be compared to someone else’s one-year injury to their neck. It just doesn’t work like that. For example: scarring to the face is deemed, in the eyes of the law, more valuable to a female than it is to a male. This is because physiologically a woman might be more affected by a scar than a man.
In addition to your injury, you may also have other components to your case such as loss of earnings from work, treatment costs and so on. Each and every case is unique. We use our experience to advise you as to the value of all the different aspects of your case and then we can advise you whether any offer you receive is in fact a good and fair offer.
Myth 5: “Making a claim will be a lot of hassle.”
This really should not be true. At Digby Brown, we take pride in guiding our clients through the process as simply as possible. We will organise as much of the process as we can for you and progress the case on your behalf. We might ask you to help us with certain aspects such as providing more information or seeing a medical expert -- but you really should be able to rely on us to deal with the work on your behalf. And, in turn, we will keep you updated every step of the way using plain English, not legal jargon.
Myth 6: “All personal injury lawyers are the same.”
Again, this is not true. At Digby Brown we are recognised as experts in the field of personal injury law. We are top rated for Personal Injury by both of the leading independent guides to the UK Legal Profession: Chambers and Legal 500.
We also understand that every personal injury is different, so we have specialist departments right across the firm which deal with different accident scenarios; for example, cycling accidents or industrial diseases. We also have specialists in injury types, specifically serious injuries affecting the brain, spine or limb loss.
We have time and time again been consulted by people who have been represented by other lawyers where they have been given the wrong advice and have either under-settled their case or are being advised to under-settle.
Some people come to us after previously dealing with lawyers instructed by the insurers of the party at fault because they are unhappy about the service they have received or advice given.
Choosing the right lawyer is critical. Read on to learn why it matters that you go to a Scottish law firm.