When someone has been injured due to no fault of their own in a road accident, most but not all injured people decide to instruct a solicitor or law firm to act on their behalf.
There are compelling reasons for doing so including:-
• Injured people usually have little or no experience with the law or the legal system and usually no experience regarding personal injury law;
• The statistics from the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (“MAIC”) clearly demonstrate that there is a huge difference in average settlement outcome for an injured person who is legally represented as compared with someone who deals with the CTP Insurer direct and in the order of $8,000 v. $90,000 with the injured person who is legally represented achieving enormously better settlement outcomes on average
• Instructing a solicitor or law firm with expertise in personal injury law immediately imposes on the solicitor or law firm the responsibility of ensuring the injured person’s rights are fully protected including ensuring that all time limits are observed as well as advancing the claim in a timely way towards resolution;
• It is the duty of the solicitor or law firm to ensure that the claim is not under-settled and to maximise the value of the claim and to ensure that the claim is resolved for a reasonable and appropriate award; and
• Instructing a solicitor or law firm immediately provides a protective buffer or barrier between the insurance company and the injured person
In 2002, the MAIC published a Guideline regarding the possibility of CTP Insurers contacting legally represented claimants with respect to the injured person’s rehabilitation needs.
Unfortunately, even in circumstances in which an injured person who is legally represented has informed the CTP Insurers that they do not wish to be contacted by a CTP Insurer, certain insurers have regularly and routinely been contacting the injured person.
When contacted, injured people are understandably surprised and often taken back by the fact that the insurer has contacted them directly rather than respecting their wishes not to be contacted directly.
We have previously raised our concerns with the CTP Insurers who have engaged in this conduct and we have also made complaints regarding this conduct with the MAIC.
In response to our most recent complaint on behalf of one of our clients, the MAIC acknowledged our complaint and that of our client and in this particular case the MAIC expressed the opinion that the conduct of the particular insurer was unreasonable. We agree.
The MAIC have also advised that they are currently developing a new Guideline and in conjunction with relevant stakeholders.
As the best interests of the insurers are the opposite or opposed to the best interests of injured claimants, we think all CTP Insurers should respect the wishes of injured claimants if they have informed the CTP Insurer by or through their solicitor that they do not wish to be contacted directly under any circumstances.
We do not think it is reasonable or appropriate for a CTP Insurer to contact an injured person who is legally represented directly under any circumstances.
We look forward to the MAIC finalising the new MAIC Guideline to bring certainty to this issue once and for all.
This blog was written by Greg Black, Director
Phone: 3379 2513 or Toll Free 1800 316 716