Do I have to instruct a solicitor to deal with my claim?
You do not have to instruct a solicitor to deal with your claim. In our view, however, if you want to receive expert, independent and honest advice that is provided solely for your benefit and ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to, then instructing a solicitor is always your best option. You may think, well, you would say that, wouldn’t you?! However, there are genuine reasons why we think you should always instruct a solicitor to deal with your claim.
Your options when dealing with a claim:
You may deal with the case yourself and deal directly with the Defendant’s insurance company and solicitor. We would not advise you to do this simply because this is likely to be the first accident claim you have been involved with and you will not have the knowledge or expertise to deal with the claim against an insurance company or solicitor who will have lots of experience in dealing with these types of claim. It is in the Defendant’s insurer’s or solicitor’s interest to pay you the minimum compensation they can and so, without expert, independent advice from a solicitor, you are not likely to receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
You may also deal with your case with a Claims Management Company (CMC). You may have come across CMCs on the internet or seen their adverts on the TV or on Facebook. Before you decide to instruct a CMC, you need to know the differences between them and a solicitor.
What is the difference between a Solicitor and a Claims Management Company (CMC)?
The main difference is legal qualifications. A solicitor will be legally qualified to deal with your claim and to pursue your claim through the court system. A solicitor will have trained for 6 years before being legally qualified to act for you, they will be members of the Law Society and will be strictly supervised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Solicitors must complete professional training every year to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest legal procedures and cases and they must hold a formal Practising Certificate from the SRA to confirm that they are qualified and experienced to act for you.
A CMC does not need to have any legal training or qualifications and may not have any legally trained staff to assist you with your claim.
Solicitors must also hold Professional Indemnity Insurance with a minimum value of £3 million. A CMC does not need to have this insurance.
Solicitors are not allowed to make “cold calls” or send claim text messages and must comply with a strict Code of Conduct in our dealings with our clients at all times. CMCs do not need to comply with these rules and regulations and therefore if you have received cold calls or text claims messages about an accident, it is likely to have come from a CMC.
In accordance with the rules and regulations that govern a solicitor’ conduct, a solicitor must act in your best interests at all times, advise you about the costs of the claim throughout and will act for you until your case has concluded. A CMC does not work under these rules and regulations and will simply often pass your details on to another company to deal with your claim and this may involve a hidden cost to you.
Who will you choose: Solicitor or CMC?
The aftermath of an accident is likely to be a painful and upsetting time for you dealing with your injuries, going to see your GP or visiting the hospital, arranging medical treatment etc. It is also likely to very busy and possibly confusing for you dealing with your insurance company to ensure your car has been recovered and will be dealt with, dealing with car hire companies to arrange a replacement car, dealing with your employer if you have to take time off from work or dealing with customers if you are self-employed.
A solicitor can help you with all of these aspects and consequences of an accident and assist you every step of the way in making a claim. A solicitor will aim to get you back on your feet as soon as possible and will take the worry and stress out of the process for you so that you can concentrate on recovering from your injuries.
A CMC will not necessarily do this for you and may simply pass you on to another company for them to deal with your claim.
A solicitor will deal with you and your claim, but a CMC will only deal with your claim.
What to do next?
To put it simply, a claim for compensation after an accident is a legal process. In our view and for all of the reasons explained above, the sensible option for you is to instruct a legally qualified and experienced solicitor to deal with your claim for you.
Contact Leech & Co now to discuss your case with one of our specialist personal injury lawyers so that we can start to take the worry and stress out of the process for you and give you the peace of mind that your case is being dealt with by a legally qualified and experienced lawyer.