The clue is in the name: personal injury claims are very personal to a claimant. You are the victim of an accident which may have seriously affected your life and it is no surprise that emotions can run high. It would be easy for your solicitor to ride on the wave of emotion and to commence the claim process with all guns blazing.
However, it is important to remember that a claims handler acting on behalf of the defendant insurance company will not know who you are and may not appreciate the effect it has had on your life. They will also be instructed to defend your claim and get the best deal for the insurance company. In the first instance therefore, the response may not be cooperative and it may appear that we could be heading towards a tough battle.
Keeping the gloves up
The Personal Injury department at Levi Solicitors LLP has dealt with thousands of cases and can say with certainty that, when the parties approach litigation with a calm and amicable manner, cases tend to settle quicker. This leaves the claimant with a greater sense of closure, allowing them to move on from the trauma without having resorted to below the belt exchanges with an unsympathetic opponent.
The fight goes to the Judges
A recent case has highlighted the pitfalls experienced when the parties fail to co-operate with each other:
Hayden v Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust 2016 – when an accident at work in 2007 didn’t get listed for a trial until April 2016 and then was further delayed due to covert video surveillance being served prior to the hearing, the Judge was critical of both parties having not co-operated effectively:
“I regret to say that a great deal of time and money has been spent by solicitors on both sides attacking the conduct of the opposing party in witness statements which simply generates yet further statements in response… It appears to me that the case has been bogged down in attritional warfare of a kind which used to be far more common that it is now”.
Stepping into the ring – how we can learn from this
As can be seen from the example above, there are disadvantages to taking an overly aggressive stance, the biggest two being:
1. Delays – it can severely drag out the process. Your opponent is far less likely to be amenable to your suggestions if you adopt a confrontational stance.
2. Costs – it will increase costs, which may not be recoverable from the defendant and which may then be deducted from your compensation.
Our aim is to deal with claims quickly and efficiently, avoiding any unnecessary antagonism. That is not to say that we can’t or won’t fight your corner strongly when it’s needed; we just know when to pick the right fight.
If you have been in an accident and want to discuss a claim, or if you are unhappy with the current state of your claim with another firm, please give our specialist team a call on 01924 692125.