Why you should instruct a solicitor to make a personal injury claim?

There is no legal requirement to instruct a solicitor to handle your claim. Legally you are perfectly entitled to act on your own behalf and pursue your claim without the assistance of a solicitor.

There are, however, a number of factors which can affect the success of your claim, and the amount of compensation awarded, which you should consider before making your compensation claim without the help of a solicitor.

Act on your own behalf or instruct a Personal Injury Solicitor?

Many insurance companies, particularly in relation to road accident claims, will offer to deal directly with you. The insurers may tell you that you don’t need a solicitor, and may even go so far as to encourage you not to contact a solicitor.

It may seem that pursuing your claim on your own is a cheaper and simpler option. This could well be an attractive proposition if your aim is simply to obtain some kind of payment from an insurer. The question then arises: how much damages am I entitled to?

How much personal injury compensation am I entitled to?

If an insurance company offers you say €2,000 for your claim, how do you know if that offer is reasonable? What if they offer you €3,000, or €4,000, or even €10,000? The offer might seem generous, but how do you know that your claim isn’t worth double that amount, or triple the amount, or even ten times that amount? Quite simply, you don’t know.

Problem: How do I know how much my personal injury claim is worth?

You might consider looking on the internet for similar cases and trying to judge the level of compensation that way. The problem is that if you Google ‘how much is my claim worth?’ you will be faced with answers which provide a wide range of figures.

For example, the guidelines for a minor back injury in the Book of Quantum go up to €14,800. More severe back injuries can attract awards well over €100,000. You would not be expected to know where your injury falls in relation to these figures but an experienced personal injury solicitor will have a good idea based on their knowledge and expertise.

Ask a friend?

You might ask your friends for advice about the value of your claim. Most people know someone, who knows someone, who has received an award for a personal injury claim. The chances are that the claim made by the friend of a friend is not exactly the same as your claim. Every claim is different and is assessed on its own individual facts and circumstances.

Should I trust the insurance company to make a reasonable offer?

You might ask the insurance company making the offer. No doubt the insurance company will tell you that the offer is reasonable. Well, let’s face it, they would, wouldn’t they? Remember: the insurance company is not acting in your best interests. The insurance company is acting in the best interests of the insurance company.

It is important to understand that there is a conflict of interest between you and the insurance company: the insurance company is only interested in settling your claim for the minimum possible amount. Your aim should be to be properly and fully compensated for the injury sustained, recompensed for any past and future financial losses and expenses that have been or may be incurred, and to be awarded for any future impact that the injury may have your physical condition or your finances. The aim of the insurer to settle the claim for as little as possible is at odds with your right to full and fair damages..

Problem: ‘Full & Final Settlement’ means no going back for more!

One further important point to consider: once you settle your personal injury claim, by accepting the insurance company offer, there is no going back for more, even if it turns out that your injury is more serious than you first thought or if you don’t make a full recovery as anticipated.

If you under-settle your claim with the insurers you are stuck with that settlement.

Settlements obtained by solicitors are, on average, 2 or 3 times higher than DIY claim settlements.

Making a claim for damages without the help of a solicitor can have serious drawbacks when it comes to assessing the value of your claim. Using a solicitor to make your claim is very likely to result in a higher award.

What if the insurance company dispute my personal injury claim?

Handling your case yourself is even harder if the insurance company dispute your claim. If you submit a claim to an insurance company and the insurer responds to say that they dispute the claim, and therefore no damages will be paid, what can you do?

There are a number of considerations to take into account:

  • Do you accept the insurer’s stance that there is no case to answer, or do you fight on with the claim?
  • How do you know if the insurance company defence to the claim is valid and likely to be upheld by a court?
  • Which process do you follow to progress the claim?
  • How do you know what evidence will be required to support your claim?
  • How do you know which laws apply to the claim?
  • How do you know which procedure must be followed?

Without legal training it is extremely unlikely that you know the answers to these questions and will be able to proceed without help.

Solicitors are experts at dealing with insurance companies

The fact is that most solicitors train for 6 years before they are qualified. Once qualified, solicitors have to undertake ongoing training every year to ensure that they keep up to date with the (very frequent) changes in the law.

A specialist personal injury solicitor will also have years of experience of dealing with insurance companies and bringing claims; that is valuable experience which cannot be ‘taught’.

It would therefore be completely unrealistic to expect you, as an injured Claimant, to have the knowledge, skills and legal training required to successfully pursue your claim and achieve the right result, particularly against an insurance company which disputes the claim or refuses to pay the proper and justified amount of damages.

Do I need a solicitor to handle my personal injury claim?

If you are happy to handle all the work (and the potential stress) of making the claim yourself, and if you simply want to obtain some kind of damages (which may or may not be the ‘right’ amount of damages that you are entitled to) the answer to that question could be, ‘no’ you don’t need a solicitor.

If, however, you want to make sure that you are properly and fully compensated for your injury it would be sensible to use a solicitor. A solicitor will ensure that your claim includes all financial losses, any future financial losses, and any future deterioration in your condition or any future complications which might arise from the injury. If these things are important to you the answer is, yes – you could be much better off instructing a solicitor to handle your claim.

If you have suffered injury as a result of an accident you should contact a personal injury solicitor. It all starts with a conversation. So call us for a confidential chat on 1890 252467 or tell us what happened so that we can best advise and guide you.

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