Personal Injury Claims - time to ban cold calling

According to a recent article published by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), there were more than 160 million cold calls and spam texts about personal injury claims received by UK adults last year.

You know the type of call, where a digital voice states ’We understand you’ve recently been in a road traffic accident.’ The caller then proceeds to invite you to start a claim over the phone with their anonymous company.

The YouGov study commissioned by APIL found that between June 2021 and June 2022, 22 million people or 42% of UK adults, received either a cold call or text message with an average of seven calls or texts received by each person affected.

Four years ago rules were introduced and championed by the government to end these nuisance calls and texts. Claims management companies were only allowed to continue making cold calls providing that they adhered to certain rules on consent.

The YouGov study found that 88% of those surveyed supported an outright ban on this cold calling with the figure rising to 93% from those who had been on the receiving end of such calls.

The new Data Protection and Digital Information Bill that received its first reading in July has offered the perfect opportunity for MPs to address this issue and push for an outright ban. The bill was due to be debated in the House of Commons on 5th September. Unfortunately, this was delayed following the election of Liz Truss as Prime Minister, and Rishi Sunak’s new government has yet to reschedule the second reading for debate.

Although a nuisance, the claims management companies wouldn’t make so many calls if it didn’t bring them business. So what do you do if you have a personal injury case to answer, but don’t want to discuss your accident claim with an anonymous caller?

One option is the Official Injury Claim service. Operated by the Ministry of Justice, this offers those with minor injuries from road traffic accidents the opportunity to claim an amount of compensation (up to £5,000) without the need for legal help. We covered the independent scheme, nicknamed the ‘Whiplash Portal’ and what we believed to be its benefits and pitfalls in a blog when the service was launched in June 2021.

In short, we came to the conclusion that an online portal, however easy to complete couldn’t compensate for the advice and guidance offered by a professional personal injury specialist.

The government is now proposing to include a compulsory one hour telephone mediation in each of these small claim cases. But just as we highlighted this may still result in claimants being under-compensated in the injury claims process as the balance between well-resourced insurance companies and claimants will still be skewed in the insurer's favour.

Both these schemes have been introduced to streamline personal injury or illness claims and make the whole process easier without the need to instruct expensive specialist lawyers. However, most independent personal injury solicitors, like Poole Townsend, offer advice on a no win no fee claims basis, where claimants have the benefit of their expertise without the upfront cost.

‘The benefit of using a local solicitor is the ability to speak to an expert face to face’, explains Joanne Copeland our personal injury specialist. ’Claims can be complicated and having one contact throughout can take away a lot of the stress that the process undoubtedly can cause.’

So, our advice would be, if you have recently been in a road traffic accident, or experienced an accident at work, don’t wait for the cold call, contact the Poole Townsend team.

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