Are you as irritated as I am at the number of spam emails arriving in my inbox telling me that if I’ve been injured in the recent past, I may be entitled to compensation, and to get in touch without delay?
It’s all part and parcel of the compensation culture spreading like a rash and at an alarming rate. As evidence of such nonsense, there’s a commercial on independent television, possibly run by the same spammers, and introduced by a feisty woman posing as a legal expert, telling me much the same. In the States they are known as “ambulance chasers,” tracking down accident victims and throwing business cards at them like confetti at a wedding.
The commercial runs two cameo videos of accident ‘victims,’ who each received the princely sum of £7,500 by way of compensation, stretching credibility to breaking point. The first shows some twerp up a ladder, the ladder suddenly slides back in best Buster Keaton fashion, dumping him unceremoniously on the ground, and the second, some old fart who should have surrendered his licence years ago, tooling along behind the wheel of his car with his thoughts on anything and everything except the road ahead, colliding with another car. In both cases, it looks, even to the untutored eye, that there was no basis, in fact or in law, for any compensation, let alone £7,500.
My experience in personal injury cases tells me that insurers are far too ready to cave in to wholly unmeritorious claims, and if I were a loss adjustor watching those videos, I would burst out laughing, not just at the stupidity of the claimants, but also at their temerity in bringing their claims in the first place.
The insurers blame the high cost of litigation as one of the reasons for caving in so readily, and they may have a point, but an unmeritorious claim will be dismissed, together with their reasonable costs, so there are times when it’s worth standing up to be counted. The courts could, and should, do more to list these claims for trial more promptly, instead of the inordinate delays under the present regime. I had a case the other day where the accident happened over three years ago, and with the passage of time, memories, especially for detail, inevitably fade.
Caving in simply encourages lawyers posing as ambulance chasers to spam emails and front television commercials, for the sole purpose of hounding these timid insurers into paying out and, to add insult to injury, if you’ll forgive the pun, paying their costs as well.
And the corollary to this spineless approach is higher premiums for us, the insured, and in extreme cases, no insurance at all. It’s time for a more robust attitude and a large dose of common sense.