Sometimes it doesn’t seem very ‘fashionable’ to make a claim for damages and the British stiff upper lip gets in the way of recognising the blindingly obvious – that it wasn’t your fault and, yes, you are entitled to claim for what you have gone through. That doesn’t mean that at Thompsons we encourage people to claim when there isn’t fault – the law requires you to prove fault. And we aren’t in the business of encouraging claims for the sake of it – some accidents are just that and others are too small to get an award of damages.

A red car crushed at the front from a road crash.

But if there was fault and you did suffer injuries and loss, what happens when you come to us with a claim?

All road traffic accident claims are dealt with under a Protocol which has pre-set stages, with a timetable for each stage. Our job is to get you through those stages in the shortest possible time to achieve the maximum compensation.

Over the nearly 100 years we have been acting only for claimants (and never for insurers) we have got used to insurers not always behaving as perfectly as they claim they always do.

What don’t insurers want you to know about?

So what are the tricks the insurers can play when you have a road traffic accident? Drawing on our experience, we’ve listed the five things motor insurers don’t want road accident victims to know about.

They choose not to play ball

That means they don’t respond within the timetable set by the Protocol and either ignore us or muck us around by not providing the evidence that we seek. If they delay or prevaricate or ignore, we have no choice but to wait for them until the time they are allowed by the Protocol expires. Once it’s expired, however, if they still haven’t admitted liability for the accident or they haven’t given us the documents or agreements we need, if you have a good claim, we will issue court proceedings without delay.

They go to you behind our backs

Even when we are ‘on record’ i.e. they know that we are acting for you, some insurers have gone to clients direct and tried to put them off claiming with threatening letters that talk about fraud and the consequences of that. You know you weren’t fraudulent (and we wouldn’t have taken your case if we thought that you were) but that doesn’t stop them trying to put the frighteners on you.

They encourage you to settle your case for less than it’s worth

Once we have a medical report in your case and evidence of your losses we will have a pretty accurate idea of what your claim may be worth and we will share that with you. However, typically at a time when people are under the cosh financially after an accident, say their sick pay is about to run out or Christmas is coming up, insurers have been known to make low ball offers in the hope that desperate clients will go for them. If a client wants to take that offer and won’t take our advice to stick it out because we are confident that the client will get more, we have to act on those instructions given by the insurers.

They can make an offer before you have a medical report in your claim 

This is a variation of the last trick but it is done without any evidential basis at all. A medical report will tell us what the consequences of the accident were for the client personally and if there are any possible long term complications. The offers that come in before we even have that report are based on pure guesswork, they are plucked out of the air and they deliberately overlook the chance that what looks minor now may develop into something more serious later. You can’t generally re-open a road traffic accident claim once settled but again, if the client’s instructions are to take an offer and they won’t take our advice to avoid settling without the certainty an expert medical report provides, then we have to act on those instructions and accept what they have put forward.

They can take your case all the way to the door of the court

Sometimes this seems to be the result of insurers not getting their act together and at others it looks like pig headedness. Sometimes they may have made a low ball offer, sometimes they may have not offered a penny. We may not be able to fathom why insurers fight a claim all the way to court even though it looks clear cut to us but we know it’s worrying for the client and increases pressure on you to take any offer they make. When this happens you really do have to trust us and we will ‘hold your hand’ extra tight. We will only tell you to grit your teeth and plough on if the offers they are making are silly ones (or none at all) and we are confident that a judge will likely award you more.

Making a road traffic accident claim

If you would like to claim compensation after suffering a personal injury on the roads, don’t hesitate to contact us. Call us on 0800 0 224 224 or fill in our quick and simple online claim form to start a claim. Alternatively, visit our guide to making a road traffic accident claim for more information.