Should They Claim?

Campaign against spurious personal injury claims launched

Law firm Spencers Solicitors puts the spotlight on absurd claims as part of campaign to reform the personal injury system

The campaign features the microsite which aims to educate the public on what constitutes a legitimate claim and an advertising campaign to draw attention to the serious side of Personal Injury work. The microsite hosts a game where players are shown clips of accidents and have to decide whether a claim would be justifiable. We hope that the campaign will change the public's attitude towards Personal Injury claims.

"Aggressive marketing by claims management companies and some solicitors has created an environment in which certain people believe they can claim for anything. This, together with the willingness of insurers to settle claims before they are properly assessed, has resulted in the PI system becoming devalued and dysfunctional.

"A glut of arguably ridiculous claims are at best helping to push up the cost of motor insurance premiums and, at worst, damaging access to justice by creating a stigma around the industry which is potentially putting off legitimate claimants."

John Spencer, Director of Spencers Solicitors

To illustrate the problem, we have also compiled a list of spurious personal injury (PI) claims. Ranging from a man who attempted to make a claim for a car accident when he was not actually in the car at the time, to someone trying to reach his one dozenth PI claim, the collation of attempted claims is a snap-shot of a system which has lost its way.

John Spencer has long campaigned against dubious practices within the PI market, particularly the use of referral fees - the sale of accident victim information by insurers or claims management companies to solicitors. Spencer continued:

"The PI system is clearly not working as it should - we have even received enquiries from people wishing to earn money by referring claims from their own family members to us without their knowledge, let alone agreement.

Beyond reforming the market, what is needed is a change in attitude; the public need to know that PI claims are not a means for making money. Rather, their purpose is to, as far as is possible, put an accident victim back into the position they were before their injury. A change in perception will only be achieved if the industry cleans up its act by ceasing aggressive marketing practices, tackling dodgy practices and shifting the emphasis to helping clients, rather than making money."

Examples of Questionable Claims

  • Attempt to make a claim for a car accident which was caused by the claimant being distracted by waving to a man who he struck with his car the previous week
  • Claimant attempted to pursue PI claim despite admitting he was not actually in the car at the time of the accident
  • Spencers received a seemingly legitimate claim. However, investigation revealed that the claimant had twelve previous PI claims which he had not disclosed
  • A gang in London made £3 million worth of false claims against insurers in three years, for car accidents they caused deliberately. If they believed the damage to their cars post-crash was insufficient, they would take a baseball bat to the car

(Source: Spencers Solicitors, Hoot Car Insurance, Aviva and LV)

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