Can The Spam

Following on from a previous post here I thought it would be helpful to raise awareness of the Can The spam campaign.

When I was dealing with personal injury claims in the past, I heard case after case where people were considering not claiming as they thought we were all national companies, employing cheap staff who didn’t know what they were doing and were only in it for making money for the company rather than the claimant. I’d ask why they thought that and in most cases it was down to the cold calls, automated calls or text messages from cheap call centres. Most people have the same reaction as I do when they receive a claims company cold calling them – to hang up the phone. It just gives the impression of a poorly managed sector in the personal injury claims sector that put people off.

The fact is, from my experience, that some companies do employ cheap lead generators. They think they can call, call again and keep calling and people will give in. Or if they aren’t successful then they sell your details on to another company. Even worse than cold callers is when you run halfway through the house to answer the phone and there’s an automated message offering you the services of a claims management company. How many people listen past the first few words these days? As soon as I realize it’s an automated call I simply hang up.

Can The Spam campaign

Well back in June 2016 APIL (the association of personal injuries lawyers) launched the “Can The Spam” campaign and I am fully behind it. It’s about time! Solicitors are unable to cold call, by law, and APIL are calling for that to be a blanket ban on everyone including claims management company’s (not that they all cold call).

According to the Information Commissioner the number of cold calls and text messages doubled from 2014 to 2015 and shows no sign of stopping, so I’m saying that everyone get behind APIL to stop this practice. Even people who are using the free Telephone Preference Service, which should stop unsolicited calls to their number, are reporting the nuisance calls.

When APIL held their annual conference back in May they were lucky enough to get Lord Faulkes as their key note speaker. He said that society has a cost directly from the “substantial industry that encourages unnecessary, inappropriate, or even fraudulent claims through cold calling and other social nuisances and which increases premiums for customers.” In effect he was basically saying that the cost of insurance premiums for everyone else goes up because of wrongly claimed injury compensation.

Neil Sugarman who heads up APIL said “Cold calling for personal injury claims is exploitative, tasteless, and intrusive. Solicitors are not allowed to do it, for these very good reasons. But some claims management companies continue to hound people in this way and we want the government to put a total ban on the practice.”

What APIL want is for people to log any nuisance calls with them via Twitter or their Facebook page and give as much detail as possible, like: when was the call received, what number was it from, was a company name mentioned, was it a phone call or text message and any other relevant information you can give. APIL will then pass this on to the regulator.

APIL wants a total ban on cold calling (and I agree) but the government hasn’t taken this step as yet so the more companies that can be forced to stop by collating this information the better. The government has also linked cold calls and nuisance calling with removing the right of some claims against whiplash injuries which I think is ludicrous. If you’ve been genuinely injured then you have a genuine right to be compensated in my eyes. If some unscrupulous claims firms are inventing or helping people to claim for invented injuries then it’s got to be a good thing for everyone if APIL’s actions are successful in reducing these types of companies or reducing their practises.

In my opinion the sector should be allowed to advertise their services, should be allowed to take calls from customers and should be able to work reactively not proactively. Cold calls are usually very annoying and put pressure on the agent to make false claims or offer unrealistic amounts of money for claims which can never be achieved. The pressure on sales agents then passes down to the consumer who can be led down the path of making false or fraudulent claims that they would’ve never considered themselves before the cold caller made contact.

G Macs final thought

Call centres cost money to setup and more money to pay the staff each day, the only way that money is recovered is by making claims against insurance policies and the only way that money is earned back by the insurers is to increase the premiums that everybody pays for their insurance. I say ‘Can The Spam’ now to improve the costs of insurance for everyone.

Personal Injuries, What Can I Claim For?

I still often get asked what sort of injuries can I claim compensation for and I generally give the same response, “If you were injured, are made ill or contract a disease and it was somebody else’s fault then you can almost certainly make a claim”.

The next question that usually follows is “How much can I get?” and my response for that one is always “It varies”.

So many factors contribute towards compensation payouts that I will never give an estimate to anyone, especially friends, without full understanding what the injury was, what affect it had on the person and what negligence took place to cause the injury.

It’s very easy to look at websites that claim ‘we can get you £10,000 for your broken little finger’ but the truth is I’ve never put a price on any claim without knowing all of the details.

When looking at the types of things people can claim for I usually fit them into one of these types of claims:

  • Traffic accident

Traffic claims are one of the most common and cover a fair few types of accident. Pedestrians and cyclists involved in collisions with motor vehicles, driver and passenger injuries following collisions and motorcyclists being knocked off of their bikes.

If you’re injured as a result of the driver of a vehicle colliding with you or your vehicle then you’ve got every right to make a claim for compensation against the drivers insurance.

  • Accident in the workplace

Workplace accidents do happen and if they happen due to negligence then you can make a claim. Even if your employer has safety systems in place you may still be able to claim if another employee or manager were negligent.

Under the health and safety at work act all employers must protect employees, visitors and customers on their premises by completing risk assessments and working out what can be done to reduce the risks.

  • Serious injury

The main reason people make claims for serious injuries is because there are usually serious financial losses involved for the injured party. Temporary or permanent loss of employment and temporary and ongoing medical costs that can’t be paid for any more.

Serious injuries can involve brain injury, spinal injury or very serious head injuries amongst others.

  • Environmental health injuries

Bacterial food poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning and conditions caused by pesticides are some examples of environmental health injuries. Exposure to chemicals or gases can also be looked into if there was a short or long term affect on your health or disfigurement of your body.

  • Accident in a Public Place

I used to see loads of accident claims for accidents in public places. Potholes and poorly maintained paths are a big reason, poorly maintained stores or slippery store floors are also common reasons for making a claim.

If there were warning signs then the case is less likely so gathering evidence (photographic) to show there wasn’t any is useful for claim evidence. In the case of poorly maintained roads if the local authority or one of it’s contractors has highlighted the defect then get evidence of that to.

  • Medical negligence (Clinical negligence)

Examples of medical negligence can include surgery mistakes, poor or misdiagnosis and injuries at birth.

You often hear of wrong parts of the body being treated reported in the press as well as leaving medical instruments inside the body of a patient following open surgery. This is quite a specialist area in personal injury compensation so you do need to deal with a specialist.

  • Product defect or dangerous products

If you have an injury while using a product and you were using within the manufacturer’s recommendations then you may have a claim.

Chemicals leaking and burning you, products setting on fire or seating which collapses are all good examples of product defects.

Try to get photographic evidence of the defect and the damage it has caused. You’ll need to document as much as possible as large companies can have legal teams that don’t want to pay out to avoid an influx of complaints of a similar nature.

G Macs final thought

Once the accident has been defined I usually look at the severity of the injury ranging from fairly minor injuries through to fatalities to work out a compensation amount.

The main thing with all personal injury claims is that it has to be down to someone else’s negligence. If you have an accident and it was just that, an accident, then there is no one to claim against.

If somebody or an organisation has forgotten to do something or deliberately chosen not to do something then they are to blame for your injury and you can claim compensation.

Thanks,

G Mac.

The Leveller Of All Men

So I was out with my wife the other morning and we’d taken a lovely walk into town. It was a really fresh morning for the summer but I like the breeze in my face on a morning stroll. When we arrived I was feeling a bit peckish so I suggested breakfast at McDonalds, but Sal wasn’t having any of it – she was here to shop but sent me on my way and suggested we meet up in an hour.

As I got in line (or queued up as you say here) for my breakfast I realised how McDonalds is a leveller. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you’re from if your hungry or want a morning tea or coffee then McDonalds is there for you, they don’t discriminate against any walk of life.

In the queue were 2 policemen, a roguish looking man who looked shady to say the least (but who am I to judge?), a very smartly dressed man in a suit worth hundreds of pounds (if not more), 2 lads dressed in basketball kit, and me. It occurred to me that I could think of no other scenario in the world where we’d all be stood together. Maybe in court I suppose, the police as prosecution witnesses, the rogue was the man on trial, the smartly dressed man the barrister but why were the basketball players there? OK, I couldn’t think of another scenario where we’d all be together again.

I sat down with my breakfast and poured the milk in to my coffee and decided to watch as people arrived through the front door.

Builders were popular as there were some roadworks just outside in the main street and bus drivers who were finishing their early morning runs. Then there was a group of school aged kids, all well behaved and even held the door open for a lady who looked like she spent the night, or a fair few nights, sleeping rough (she actually came round and asked everyone for their free coffee sticker).

I tried to imagine where in the world would this group of people share a meal together and couldn’t come up with a damn thing! McDonalds is comfortable and probably unhealthy but it’s also quick and tasty and suitable for everyone.

Then I watched one of the kids blow the paper off his straw and refuse to pick it up when one of the staff asked him to. The rest of the group laughed at the poor girl who was probably not much older than the rude boy. They stopped laughing when one of the the policeman who had seen the same as me stepped up and came towards them. He didn’t say anything but the paper was picked up and taken to the bin without a word from anyone!

G Macs final thought

Until the rudeness occurred I was lost in the moment thinking that I wish more of life was like this. Maybe one day, just maybe…