The accident claims process has been much the same over the last 20 years. Since 1995, most personal injury claims have been processed on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, and for that, we have the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 to thank, since it was this Act which levelled the legal playing field for everybody, so that everybody could get access to justice.
For example, process all personal injury claims on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, and that applies to all types of accident claim.
A Tougher Stance on Claims
However, over the last few years, there has been a change in the accident claims process from an investigative point of view. In 2010, personal injury claims were at a record high, and the insurance industry was struggling to cope. As a by-product of this, motor insurance prices increased, and that hit home for ordinary people. People demanded that something be done about so-called “false” claims, and in 2014, insurers started to take a tougher stance on the subject; they started to better investigate claims that appeared fake, to weed out the unscrupulous individuals who were conning the industry.
This harder stance has been backed by the Supreme Court in the 2012 case of Summers v Fairclough Homes. Effectively, this case highlighted that courts have the legal power to strike out personal injury claims that are greatly exaggerated. So, for example, if somebody exaggerates their injuries, then the court has the power to strike out and prosecute the untrustworthy party. This verdict also covers so-called “phantom passengers”.
More Thorough Investigative Processes
Because of the tougher stance taken by insurers, and the Courts, when building a personal injury case, evidence must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the claimant was not responsible for the accident. Or, it must prove that the claimant has a certain level of liability, to the extent that it satisfies the other party. To do this, a good lawyer will investigate the claim thoroughly, and request medical files and items of evidence, while complying with the Data Protection Act 1998. Evidence might include CCTV footage, dash-cam footage, emergency service reports, witness statements or media footage.
It is also necessary now for the claimant to attend a medical examination. A few years ago, this was not always necessary, if there was some medical history, however now the industry requires an up to date and current medical report. This report will determine once and for all the extent of the victim’s injuries, their recovery period and their prognosis for the future, and a fair and proportionate settlement demand will be created based on this info.