My insurers say I must use their solicitors

by John Depner

You have just had been involved in an accident. You report it to your insurance company. They offer to put you in touch with their panel solicitors to deal with your compensation claim and tell you it is a requirement of your legal fees insurance policy that you must use their appointed solicitors. What do you do?

The short answer is whatever you like. You are free to choose whichever firm of solicitors you want to pursue your compensation claim for you. In some instances you may not be able to make use of the legal fees insurance but with Ross Aldridge Solicitors you are guaranteed 100% of your compensation as we will take out our own policy of insurance at no cost to you.

One of the reasons insurance companies have their own panel of approved solicitors is to control the quality of the legal service provided by those solicitors. Personal injury law is a specialist and complicated area of law. Sadly there are solicitor firms who will "dabble" in it and often end up making a mess of the claim. A firm being on an insurance company’s panel will at least ensure they are not dabblers and will have the necessary specialist knowledge to deal with the claim.

However, it is important you understand that many insurance companies will sell your claim to their panel solicitors for a substantial sum of money. This is why they are keen to persuade you to sign up with their panel solicitors. The selling of personal injury accident claims is big business for insurers and it gives them considerable control over the panel solicitor who will be beholden to them for their sources of work. This is why Ross Aldridge Solicitors will not join an insurance company panel. This way we maintain our independence and concentrate our resources on fighting for the best deal for our clients.

If, despite this, you are happy to allow the insurance companies panel solicitors to deal with your claim all we would ask is that you request (both from the insurance company and the solicitors) details of the financial arrangement between the insurance company and the solicitors. Professional Conduct Rules require the solicitors to make sure the insurance company inform you in writing of the amount they are selling your claim for before they do so, and the solicitors must inform you in writing of how much they have paid the insurance company for it. You may find the answer quite surprising! Just remember, if they are spending this amount of money on buying you as a client how much does that leave over for actually spending on the running of the claim!

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