My experience in having to make an insurance claim

I would like to relate my experience in having to make an insurance claim for a non- fault car accident which occurred to me on the 12th January 2014.

I am an ex-professional Tennis & Squash coach who keeps fairly fit and played the sports regularly. My wife and I have annually taken part in a charity 20-mile walk for several years up to last year.

I now earn my living as a chauffeur, running my own private hire company for the past 27years. I have been a member of The Institute of Advanced Motorists for the past 19 years, travelling an average 80,000miles a year. This is my first experience of an accident apart from collision’s with deer.

Travelling on a Sunday morning to Bournemouth airport with four passengers, I was struck almost head on by an oncoming ar overtaking the car in front of it that was turning into a gateway.

The police were involved and stated that the driver was travelling too close and too fast. His insurance company admitted their client was at fault and unbeknown to me took over dealing with my claim, although I had reported the accident on the same day it had occurred, to my own insurance company’s dedicated hotline.

This caused me some consternation as I was getting mixed messages as to what was happening to my car. I was eventually forced into accepting a much lower price than what the car was worth, in my opinion, as it was considered to be beyond repair.

I was diagnosed with cracked or broken ribs on my right side under the arm pit, which effected my right arm to an extent, and had soft tissue damage, some neck pain from the whiplash which altogether was very painful – without the use of powerful painkillers I had trouble sleeping. I was unable to work for three weeks, and for weeks after I had to be very cautious when lifting luggage and even getting in and out of the car was uncomfortable.

With bookings mounting up and being bored stuck at home I searched for a replacement Citroen C5 Executive online (similar to what I had, had).

There were just two available, both around six months younger than mine was, one with less miles and the other with more. They were both over 200 miles away and I was not fit enough to even contemplate the trip to check them out. My local mechanic recommended that I take a look at a garage that specialises in second hand prestige cars. My wife drove me and she chose the car I drive now, a Mercedes e class. I must admit now, I do not regret the change but at first I missed my Citroen. Having taken a bank loan out for my Citroen in the previous July, I was advised that I would have to clear this loan before I would be considered for a further loan. By using my savings etc I managed to do this but was charged an additional months payment as I was clearing the original loan early.

The Mercedes is 2 years younger than the Citroen was and cost twice as much and is not as economical mpg and frequency of servicing etc. but I now love it, as a work horse, it is ideal.

I was awarded some physio treatment after an initial examination, which helped to a certain extent. Having been examined by a Doctor specialising in the assessment of injuries, his prognosis was that I would recover by the end of the October. This has not been the case.

After a number of treatments, the physio felt that they had done all they could and so I was then in the hands of the solicitor to make my claim. I made it clear to her that I was still having trouble walking for just a comparative short distance, working in my garden or attempting to play tennis to an acceptable standard for a reasonable period of time.

According to the guidance sent to me by Silverbeck Rymer I should expect between £1700 to £1900 which having had no experience of claiming I accepted this. However one year on from the Doctors prognosis, is this fair compensation for what now appears to have permanently effected my enjoyment of an active lifestyle and my hobbies.

Many of my out of pocket expenses that I incurred in consequence of this accident were not acceptable apparently, so I was also financially disadvantaged .

As far as my business was concerned, having had to sub contract all my pre booked work out to other businesses, there is a concern that I may have lost clients to competitors

Communication has not been very good from Silverbeck Rymer throughout this very traumatic time for me. I have had to repeatedly chase.

On the 22nd December I received a call from Silverbeck Rymer telling me that they had invoked Part 36 and the third party had offered £5500 being a global offer, so less the cost of treatment (£765) it would give me a balance of £4735.

Again stressing the fact that I am not experienced in this sort of thing and having to make the decision within 21 days, I rang one of my passengers who I know had used a local solicitor. She told me that she had been awarded £4250 plus expenses. I was amazed, as she was a back seat passenger who had only been shocked and ‘shaken up’ by comparison to me, as the driver and having taken the brunt of the impact.

Was it because she had used a local independent solicitor ?

I made my feelings clear to my solicitor in a letter before I accepted the offer, forced upon me under the threat that my insurance company would probably withdraw funding my claim, leaving me with a possible bill for all costs of court proceedings. I have neither the funds nor the confidence to risk that.

Again I feel that as the innocent party I have been treated as the guilty one, and that my solicitor, appointed by the insurance company, has not acted in my best interests, but in the interests of keeping the insurance company’s costs down. Should I ever have occasion to claim for another accident I shall never take up legal cover, I will take my case to a local solicitor.

Having been forced into signing the agreement on 11th of January 2015, I am writing this on the 21st February and am still awaiting the money, despite the fact that under the agreement, settlement should be within 14 days!

Can I claim compensation for the late payment ? Apparently not, so why are they going to rush to pay out ?

Conclusion

Drive safely !

Should one ever need to claim, use an independent solicitor and not one offered by your insurance company.

At least then, you can be assured that they will work in your best interests and not that of the insurance company.