Why Do You Get a Call From a Solicitor Within Hours of an Accident?

Ever wondered why you get a call from a Solicitor that you have never heard of within hours of a road traffic accident?  Read on to find out.

The process is known as “third party capture”.  You have an accident.  You report the details to your insurer.  Your insurer then sells your personal information on to a firm of Solicitors who are on the insurer’s panel.  The firm will have to pay the insurer for the privilege, and they will ring you to say that they have “been instructed” by the insurer to deal with the case on your behalf.  When you express your bewilderment they will inform you that the instruction falls under the terms of your insurance contract.

It is all legal and above board.  However, what they will not tell you is that you do not have to use those Solicitors.  You are free to choose whoever you want, and it should not cost you anything.  Worryingly, I have taken conduct of cases where clients have been told by the panel Solicitor that they “must” use that firm, that other firms “will charge” if the client uses them.  Not only is this totally incorrect, it is actually a downright lie.

But it gets even more worrying.  Some of my clients report being contacted by non-panel firms of Solicitors or, even worse, companies which (it turns out) are actually accident management companies.  How have they got your details if you have not provided them yourself? Only you and your insurance claims handler know about the accident, surely?  Worryingly, the answer would seem to be “no”.

The unfortunate by-product of a competitive personal injury market is illegal third-party capture, cold-calling, and harassment.  It has to stop and hopefully some of the changes which are due for implementation in April 2013 will do so.

David Mayor

About David Mayor

David is Head of the Preston Office's Civil Litigation team and deals with all types of private Civil Court disputes. David’s blogs cover his expertise in all aspects of personal injury law from low value Road Traffic Accidents right through to complex large loss claims. David also writes and has a vast array of experience in Public Liability (trips and slips), Employer's Liability (accidents at work), and Motor Claims (motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents).
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