No fault car crash, no injury pay out
I’ve written, deleted and then re-written this post about three times over the course of this afternoon because, with the best will in the world and with the desire to give as much information as possible, it was so long no one would’ve got to the end of it when what I’m asking is a fairly simple question…
Namely, what are my sister’s options with regard to the law firm handling her injury claim ?
A bit of backstory…
Over a year ago my sister was involved in a very serious car accident outside her house, not her fault, she was stationary, indicating to turn right across oncoming traffic, with the intention of turning into her drive.
She got rear ended by a council vehicle travelling at speed, the driver admitted he wasn’t looking at the road at the time of impact, there was a first class witness and the driver was subsequently charged with careless driving.
The emergency services that attended were so concerned about her breathing shortly after the impact that an air ambulance attended the scene. She was, however, transferred to hospital in an ambulance and after a full body CT scan showing no broken bones, was subsequently discharged later that day.
The car was written off and the company who insured it paid out fairly quickly on the car and then subsequently passed an injury claim onto their law firm of choice.
She is a professional musician, not a ‘recording artist’ but a very successful teacher and over the following days and weeks she was in significant pain with her neck, shoulders, back, legs, wrists and thumb joints, the latter very much affecting her ability to play to the standard she had always achieved.
She was offered some physiotherapy early on but on attending the appointment was still in so much pain could not even stand being touched by the physiotherapist.
A full report was submitted to the law firm detailing all the problems she was experiencing but there was complete radio silence from them despite endless calls chasing them for an update.
With zero response from the company and no improvement in my sister’s condition, my sister has started to pay for her own treatment, or at least the early stages of it, as the physio she went to who other members of the family have used over the years quite rightly wants scans done to assess what kind of damage she is dealing with before coming up with a plan of action.
On the advice of her physio my sister has also attended a pain clinic who did a full examination of her and provided a detailed report on what treatment they believe is needed before she can even think about physiotherapy – the treatment detailed is very expensive.
The law firm take the line that they’ll only pay out when my sister is better and then assess the financial impact all this has had on her life/career etc and come up with some sort of figure.
The fact that she will only get better when she has the treatment (treatment that she can’t afford to pay for herself) seems to be entirely lost on them.
They won’t entertain the idea of some sort of interim payment which would allow her to start the treatment, not to mention, replace the car.
I have no experience of these sort of claims so perhaps I’m naïve to think that after a year she should’ve seen some money but following a recent call with the law firm who have said that they want her to go through yet another examination, she feels that, frankly, she is being given the run around.
I’ve also Googled the firm in question this afternoon and they have some truly shocking reviews for this type of claim so my question(s) is this, where does she stand with this company that she had no say in handling her claim? Does she have an option to request to move somewhere else? Is there an ombudsmen? Is Citizens Advice worth a shout?
She is obviously worried that if she can and does jump ship, any new company would want to start at the beginning and have all their own scans done etc delaying the process even more.
Sorry, my attempt at a much more succinct post hasn’t really worked but any advice is greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your time.
Did you know there's an MSE app?
It's free & available on iOS & AndroidMSE App
Regifting: good idea or not?
Add your two cents to the discussionMSE Forum
Energy Price Guarantee calculator
How much you'll likely pay from AprilMSE Tools
That aside, assuming liability isnt in dispute then it is generally possible to request interim settlements however its only a request and they cannot be enforced as that'd be taking it to court and you can effectively only do that once for one incident. The solicitors are correct in that they need a definitive diagnosis and prognosis before being in a position to calculate the overall settlement value and commencing negotiations with the third party.
There is a Legal Ombudsman but like most official ombudsman you must first have gone through the firms own complaints process. You'll have been given information about the partner that deals with complaints and so if you dont think you are getting the service you should get from them then they are the initial point of escalation.
The reason an interim payment would help with replacing the car is that the payout from the insurance company was so low, market value I guess, that they've been unable to replace the car with a similar sized vehicle.
I completely understand the need for the company dealing with the injury claim to be satisfied about her injuries etc but to my mind this is a complete stale mate - she will not improve without the correct treatment and she cannot afford to pay for that treatment herself.