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Ambulance Chasers

Discussion in 'off topic' started by MarkW, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. MarkW

    MarkW Full Speed & Pagan

    I had a bit of a bump whilst out on the bike last weekend. Not nice, but as everyone observed - "Could have been a lot worse".

    Sat in the ambulance, contacted my insurance mob and went off for an x-ray (broken ankle, plaster, crutches, pita).

    Monday morning before I got any update from the insurers (they had to arrange to collect the recovered bike from the local recovery pound, assess and so on, and I had to provide 3rd party and witness details) I got a call from my insurance company's preferred personal injury partner.

    "No win - no fee" they said.
    "We handle cases like this all the time, you' re entitled to recover all your uninsured costs. All our solicitors ride bikes, we insist on it, so we are best placed to handle your claim."

    They sent me all the contractual guff (mostly outlining their charges which most definitely are not no win, no fee from what I can discern), requests for permission to contact the hospital for my medical information, contact my employer, all sorts of information gathering.

    I am sure there are people who need to recover lost earnings, and so on. But I don't. I work from home mostly, have not lost my ability to work, so no loss incurred there. So I am baffled as to what exactly I would be claiming for.

    A few hundred quid to cover my excess on the insurance claim for the bike (they are telling me it is repairable), a few hundred more for helmet and winter trouser replacement, probably a few taxi fares to the hospital whilst I cannot drive. Hardly worth the hassle of making a legal claim, to my mind.

    The real rational appears to be that I've been inconvenienced. Which I have, so has my partner. But I take responsibility for my actions, I chose to ride, I chose to put myself in harms way. Why should I profit from the consequences of my own actions? (I know the third party has a role in the outcome, but even if she is judged to have caused the collision, I don't expect her insurers to be responsible for my decision making.)

    I just cannot see any way to justify employing these people, it feels like trying to profit from a combination of choices freely made.

    Interested in others' experiences and points of view.
  2. Whaleblue

    Whaleblue Southbound

    You have a rare, old fashioned and decent outlook. Unfortunately most don’t.

    If the accident was “one of those things” I’d hope to be as magnanimous. However, if the other party was being irresponsible I might contact a solicitor of my own choosing for advice on compensation.
  3. Stemcor

    Stemcor I should be listening to music

    I had a similar experience a few years ago. An idiot high on booze and drugs pushed my car into the crash barrier on the M25 - not a pleasant experience. My daughter suffered a nasty cut to her head and my back was shunted all over the place. I was undergoing physio at the time and this pushed back the treatment by 6 months.

    As soon as I advised my insurance broker that said “you need to use xzy for your claim”.

    We decided to go ahead with a claim especially for Miss S who suffered some significant consequential losses as a result of the accident. Two things really stood out for me as a result of the insurance process.

    1. My phone was constantly ringing for a year afterwards from companies who had heard about the accident and were willing to help. I wonder how they found out.

    2. The medical I had was a farce. I was sent to a doctor in Harley Street. He told me to lie down, lift my right leg as far as it would go, leg down and to repeat the process with my left leg. He then wrote a superb report which ran to 20 (yes 20) pages detailing a problem caused by the accident.

    The insurance co paid up for the car and for my personal “damages”. Miss S received a healthy sum but to be fair, it was deserved.

    I can’t help but think that some people are doing rather nicely out of this.
  4. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    I got knocked off my bicycle in 2009 by a driver who was later prosecuted for DWODCAA. I suffered multiple injuries, spent 20 months unable to work, lost my job and had to learn how to live with my new, rather less pleasant, character. I was planning to buy a house, that went on hold. I had to carry on living in a rented place in a tough part of Leeds. For 5 years. It took the insurers 4 years and 6 months to pay for my injuries and losses. Without a good lawyer it would not have happened.

    I now have a nice house, paid for in part by the insurers. The effects of the injuries are something I live with. 90% of the consequence s are negative, with the exception that the ability to be a complete c**t on demand and not give a sh*t about what anyone thinks or does in response is occasionally handy in the factories where I work. It's not so handy around friends and people I love. It took me a long time to learn how to keep that particular arsehole in a box when he's not needed.
  5. Thorn

    Thorn pfm Member

    I spent my working life as a litigation solicitor, handling a lot of personal injury cases. I acted for trade unions, insurance companies and legal expenses insurers, as well as for individuals. I didn't like the legalisation of advertising, as I felt it demeaned the profession.
    Even worse was what follow - claims management companies cold calling. Then came the big insurers, selling their clients details on, as in your case.
    BUT, if you are injured through someone else's carelessness, and if you suffer loss, you have a right to seek compensation. Money can't mend a broken leg, but it can make life a little easier. Petty claims are weeded out by the small claims limit.
    Before advertising the right to make a claim was, in the main, exercised by those who knew a solicitor through the golf club or lodge, or who were in a trade union. It was estimated that in the 1970s only about 30% of those with a genuine claim sought compensation. Don't go all Daily Mail on us because your injuries and losses were minimal.
    And bear in mind that no solicitor who hopes to eat will take on a claim were the odds are less than 65 - 70% in his client's favour. The claims management companies pick up the hopeless or fraudulent cases in the hope of selling them on to a solicitor. But the solicitor has to do his homework, or he wastes hours on unpaid work.
    doctorf likes this.
  6. Stemcor

    Stemcor I should be listening to music

    It’s the consequential damage that tends to get overlooked. A nasty accident can have mental as well as physical consequences. If you did the sums and worked out what the real cost of the accident is then my guess is that the sum would be very significant.

    How do you price the losses suffered by Steve ?
  7. Bart

    Bart pfm Member

    My phone has been ringing for years with people wanting to help me claim on my recent accident which never happened.
    Seriously though, sorry to hear about these real accidents, it’s dangerous on the roads for sensible people these days.
    I cycle quite a bit locally and always use any pavements designated for cycles as well as people, it may not look cool and some people don’t like it but it sure is safer!
  8. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    I was involved in a cash for crash incident about 5 years ago (no injuries but about £12k worth of damage to the car). Insurance company reccomend a claims company. They did appoint an excellent lawyer who after 4 years got me completely exonerated and without the claim on my insurance record. The other parties ended up in court, convicted of insurance fraud.

    Interestingly the claims company badgered me for years to make a claim for injuries, despite me not having any. I still get calls occasionally from other claims companies looking to "support me" through an injury claim.......
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I was knocked off a few years ago, its documented in a thread somewhere. Fault very clearly with other driver (they didn’t look right properly before entering the roundabout I was already crossing). No broken bones, but a lot of cuts, muscle damage, ongoing pain etc and a written-off titanium road bike. I went with a no-win/no-fee lawyer (Slater Gordon) and again had a lot of difficulty proving loss of earnings as my work (this place) is so odd and primarily home-based. Basically it meant I couldn’t go record buying (I always try to have a buffer of a month or so future stock, so I didn’t actually stop listing for more than a week or two) and I struggled to get to the post office, but I could still do the staring at an iPad all day stuff. IIRC in the end I didn’t bother claiming for loss of earnings at all as it was so hard to prove. I still ended up with a cheque for the bike (£2.5k) and another (£2.7k) for the injuries/inconvenience. I’d certainly not recommend it as a way of making money! Getting knocked of a bike really hurts and psychologically it shattered my road confidence for best part of two years afterwards. Its only recently I’m back fairly happily cycling in busy traffic again. That’s a factor no one talks about really.
  10. Thorn

    Thorn pfm Member

    I've been retired for a few years now, and am out of date on damages, but a broken ankle will attract a goodly four figure sum by way of compensation. That's the new speakers sorted.
    You did not choose to be knocked off your bike at more than a person crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing, or pulling up at traffic lights chooses to be struck by an inattentive motorist. The other party has been paying insurance premiums for this very event. Stop being sanctimonious.
  11. MarkW

    MarkW Full Speed & Pagan

    Stemcor, SteveC67 - I am glad the system exists to compensate people who suffer real loss, hardship and ongoing medical issues which have longterm impact on the life of the injured party and those around them. I am pleased the system worked for you.

    Thorn - I think you are right in that the commercialisation of this area of litigation is the issue. Someone is out to profit from my predicament. If I had suffered a big event with longterm implications, I'd be looking for compensation I am sure, would probably need to. But a broken ankle, a couple of weeks with my foot up (no loading my ankle allowed and have to stop swelling under the plastercast) is not in that league of issues. It's a bit inconvenient, but it's not lifechanging.

    Sanctimonious? - Maybe. But that is like saying "everybody is doing it, why should you be different?" isn't it? My mother warned me about following other people's examples.

    So I struggle with it - in my case it feels like profiteering. Dishonest, even if the law says I am entitled to compensation, I still ask - compensation for what?
    Bob McC likes this.
  12. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    I haven't even been in an accident (well, I have, but I started to get identical calls even before then), but I still get calls from a moderately convincingly human sounding computer system saying something like, 'Um...yes, so I'm calling about the...er...accident?'

    When I reply with, 'You'll have to be more specific,' they ring off pretty smartish. Other fish to fry, no doubt.
  13. Thorn

    Thorn pfm Member

    For pain, suffering and loss of amenity, and for your actual financial losses.
    If you don't claim, the other party's insurers have been getting money for nothing. She's paid them in advance to compensate you.
    Don't go to your insurers' tame solicitors. That's a factory operation. Find a solicitor local to you who's a member of The Association of Personal Injury Solicitors, and get proper service. I hated my last few working years, when I was exclusively personal injury, and had clients from Cornwall to Berwick. I couldn't see them and assess them. Telephone conversations are convenient, but no way to take a full statement.
    blossomchris likes this.
  14. MarkW

    MarkW Full Speed & Pagan

    Thorn - Thanks for the advice. I appreciate your perspective from within the industry.
  15. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    If a 3rd party caused the accident, get all you can. I know the system is distasteful but you did take insurance out in the first place. A broken ankle is not insignificant, you could have long term effects from this.
  16. Thorn

    Thorn pfm Member

    I get them, friends of mine who are judges get them.
  17. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    Not had one of those calls for a while but when I did I would tell them I was killed in the accident and see where the conversation goes after the awkward silence.
    Sue Pertwee-Tyr likes this.
  18. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    It's a computer, to start with. If the initial response is considered promising ,you get passed on to a human for further exploitation. If we want to properly waste their time (not just their computer's), we should probably sound more enthusiastic at the start, so we get past the first hurdle. That's the point to mention your recent unfortunate mortality, or just say 'hang on a second' and leave them waiting.
  19. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    Most of the calls I've had seemed to me to be from a human, with office background noise and the obligatory 'how are you?' opening gambit, to which I like to respond, 'alright, who are you?'

    Done the hang on bit too, as well as asking them if they have let Jesus into their life yet.

    One of my first jobs involved cold-calling for a recruitment agency. Bloody awful.
  20. MarkW

    MarkW Full Speed & Pagan

    If a cold caller's opening gambit is "How are you today?" I always enquire if they are my doctor...

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