gillian nuttall All that glitters?

Gillian Nuttall, PR & Marketing Manager

A few days ago I received a call from a very good friend. His young nephew had been involved in a road traffic accident, quite a bad one from what I could gather. He was a passenger in a vehicle and a third party had failed to give way at a side road and pulled straight out in front of them.

Having worked in this profession for 23 years I have spoken to so many clients that this has happened to, and you know when you see the state of the vehicles, that they are going to be hurt. If someone is careless enough to fail to observe the road markings before them, cause an accident where someone is injured, then it is right and proper that the injured party is compensated for their pain and suffering. I’m sure even the hardest of insurance clerks would not argue against that.

I told my pal to see how he was doing and to let me know if he needed any advice. I think it is clear now that he does need some advice. He has been contacted, over the telephone by the third party insurance company. He was asked details of his injuries (I’d like to have been a fly on the wall when he described his injuries – he can describe a pain over the telephone but how could an unqualified layperson, explain that “full recovery may not be achieved, I might need an MRI scan at some stage, I am suffering soft tissue injury to my low back, I will probably need 6 sessions of physiotherapy and if full resolution isn’t achieved in 6-9 months I will re-examine myself and let you know”. No, I don’t think so either.

So, this young lad has had a nice carrot dangled in front of him by the insurance company, only days after his accident.  Why have they done that? Is that to avoid paying the claimant the real value of his claim and of course legal costs to a law firm?  I think we all know the answer to that. I am very uncomfortable with this approach for a number of reasons.

This lad is young, he has suffered an injury but he is a young, fit, athletic lad. This time next week he might be absolutely fine, why then are the insurers so desperate to give him some cash right now? On the other hand, his injuries might continue, affect his work, his personal life and who knows, heaven forbid, he might have sustained a nasty injury to his back which will cause him problems for years to come. So, what appears to be a nice little bit of cash for him right now, in 3 years time when the insurers’ money is long gone, he could be fed back into the already strapped NHS for further treatments, physiotherapy, surgery, drugs etc. All because the insurers wanted to avoid paying what they consider to be “hefty legal costs” to a good, reputable law firm with a reputation for getting fantastic results for their clients.  I say that in the knowledge that Ralli have handled many cases over the last 4 decades and if I described some of the clients whose lives we have helped to change following serious injuries, it would reduce some people to tears.

So, there we are. We have a young lad who has suffered an injury in a car accident. Nothing new, it happens every day.  But I am becoming very uncomfortable with the insurance profession, who seem to be seeking to “pay off” claimants without the benefit of having him medically examined. My stomach turns over when I think that something might be missed which might lead to a disability in later life. What happens then?  Can claimants go back to the insurers and ask them to revisit the case?