Nuisance Phone Calls and Personal Injury Claims
The Law Of... avoiding claims management companiesNuisance calls and spam texts from companies looking to drum up business for personal injury claims has become one of those modern day thorns in the side that proves impossible to pluck. Rose Gibson, a Complex Personal Injury Partner with Simpson Millar, examines this nefarious practice and the companies that engage in it.
Regardless of whether you've had an accident or not, you have more than likely received either a cold call or an unsolicited text from a company touting for your business. You know the type – the ones that promise untold riches if you make a personal injury claim
Despite what you might think, the source of this annoyance here in the UK is not the humble law firm. Solicitors, quite rightly, are banned from cold calling and employing similar methods of communication in an effort to gain new clients. The blame lies squarely at the door of Claims Management Companies (CMCs)
, which operate outside the legislation solicitors have to adhere to.
The Trouble with Claims Management Companies
A claims management company acts as a sort of middle man between claimant and solicitor. They are unregulated and in most instances staffed by unqualified personnel who take a cookie cutter approach to the guidance they offer. This means that if you are using the services of a CMC – often unwittingly, as many remain unaware that it is not a properly regulated law firm they are dealing with – you may well receive inaccurate advice, as well as hazy information regarding the claims process.
Once a claims management company has your details, it will then sell them on to whichever solicitor is willing to pay the highest amount for them. This is regardless of where the law firm is based, meaning you might never actually meet the person handling your case.
Bombarded with Unsolicited Texts
It is not only the working methods of these companies that raise an eyebrow, but also the ways in which they acquire their trade.
Cold calls and spam texts are a proverbial pain at the best of times, but if you are recovering from an injury, or you are the family member of somebody who is incapacitated due to an accident, being inundated with live/automated phone calls and unwanted texts can be an absolute nightmare.
Imagine you were the parent of a comatose child, an appalling and emotionally draining experience in itself. To then be bombarded with unsolicited texts and phone calls from insensitive claims companies, whose only concerns are selling its wares, would only exacerbate the psychological turmoil you were already going through. Particularly when you might naturally be jumpy every time the phone rings or you receive a text, in case it is an update on your child's condition.
A lot of the time these companies can be quite pushy in their 'sales pitch'
, even when you politely tell them you have no interest in using their services; what can be both distressing and unfairly persuasive when you are in a vulnerable state of mind.
How do they Target You?
So, ignoring the speculative texts and phone calls that claims management companies employ in their relentless drive to get your money – which is why you get them even if you've not had an accident – how do they manage to target you when you have suffered an injury?
Rose Gibson explains:"Insurance companies are a big part of the problem, logging each accident that occurs and informing their panel law firms – as well as other agencies – with little thought for the suffering of the injured party and their family.""For them, a claim is a claim, and their network of 'cosy deals' and automated processes are often far more important than giving consideration to what families may want in these situations.""Most people are capable of finding a good lawyer on their own and prefer to operate on a recommendation basis rather than being 'allocated' a representative, which is how the CMCs operate.""The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers is helpfully running a 'Can the Spam' campaign, which will hopefully not only raise awareness of cold calling and unsolicited text messages, but also look into ways we can prevent the whole idiotic practice in the future. If more people realised there are personal injury lawyers out there that can offer a far better personal service on more favourable terms, they would not only save more money, but also have a better opinion of lawyers as a whole."