Should You Choose A Solicitor Or A Claims Company For Your Workplace Accident Claim?
If you have suffered an injury during a workplace accident and you decide that you want to look into making a claim for compensation, should you use a claims company or go straight to a solicitor? We have prepared this article to explain how claims companies and solicitors work so that you can make an informed decision.
It is worth considering initially why claims companies came into existence. The main reason is that the government decided to abolish legal aid for workplace accident claims. Until this point there had been no large claims companies and if you had an accident you would go straight to a legal aid solicitor.
However, once legal aid was abolished, claims companies realised that there would be many workplace accident victims looking for help but not sure where to turn to. Solicitors had been seen as not being so easy to approach and so claims companies came into being as a first point of contact for an accident victim. They would answer the accident victimís questions, assess whether they thought they had a good claim and then sell on the claim to a solicitor to cover their advertising and administration costs.
The Position Now
It is now much easier to get in touch with solicitors. They have generally become more approachable and made it easier for people to ask questions about a claim without incurring any initial expense. This makes your choice to approach a claims company or go straight to a solicitor more challenging now, so here are some points to consider.
You need to consider who makes it easier for you to get in touch with them. Do they provide free telephone numbers, easy to use websites and do they offer home or hospital visits if you are immobile?
In addition to this, do you find it easy to speak to them? If both the claims company and solicitor meet these criteria then it is time to move onto the next question.
This is often the crucial question. Claims companies are a business as much as a solicitors practice is, and initially they could only make money by charging the solicitor an introduction fee (known as a referral fee). However, many companies now charge the workplace accident victim an administration fee, as well as charging the solicitor. It is vital that you ask whether you will have to pay the claims company any fees for their introduction service before deciding to ask them to help you.
If you go straight to a solicitor, you need to ask them whether you have to pay them any costs whether you win or lose your claim. Many solicitors now will ensure that you pay nothing if you lose your claim, and if you win you will keep all of your compensation.
If your solicitor and claims company confirm that they are not charging you any costs and that you will keep all of your compensation, you can move onto the final question.
Who Do You Feel Will Do The Best Job For You?
If it is easy to contact both the claims company and the solicitor, and both confirm that you will not pay any administration fees and will keep all of your compensation, then you should make the decision based on which business you found it easier to communicate with. After all, a workplace accident can take a few months or two to three years, depending on your injuries, and having a good relationship with the person helping you is vital.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Nick Jervis is a solicitor (non-practising) and a consultant to Work Accident Solicitors who specialise in Work Accident Claims.