Q: I was driving my 3-year old son home from nursery when a bus ran into the back of my car. My son and I both suffered whiplash and several weeks on I am still in pain and my son is terrified of getting into the car and screams hysterically every time I try to get him into his car seat. My life is a nightmare. My insurance company says they will claim compensation for our injuries as well as the damage to my car, but how will I know if they will get me a fair sum or whether they will just advise me to accept the first offer to close the case?
A: Firstly, it is your right to instruct an independent solicitor to make a claim for injury compensation on your behalf. Generally insurance companies will suggest that you are likely to receive more if you do not do this, but that is simply not true and it has been proven that insurance companies want to buy off victims of injury and illness to save themselves money.
Insurance companies regularly offer what they think is just enough to tempt you to settle your claim, rather than what the claim is really worth. Furthermore they are likely to try and settle quickly, offering a relatively small sum of money when in reality neither they nor you can know at that stage of the proceedings how long lasting the effects of your injuries may be or even if they have yet fully manifested themselves.
Recent research by the Financial Conduct Authority (the government regulator for insurance companies) found that people who turn down an initial offer from an insurance company and instruct a solicitor instead will receive approximately two to three times more compensation. You need to make an appointment to see an experienced local personal injury lawyer.