Third party capture is a growing problem and you might be at risk.
Third party capture is where an insurance company for the other party involved in a claim contact the injured party directly to settle their claim. What’s the problem with that you might think? Well, in contacting the injured party early it means the insurers can get to them before they get legal advice and as a result this can mean that the victims of accidents can under settle their claim. It is understandable that following an injury a victim will be anxious to get compensation.
Like most victims, Veronica did not see her accident coming. The care worker had been on her way to visit an elderly client in Belfast when a taxi pulled away from the kerb and into her car.
It was January this year and she had only had her car a few months.
“I was really, really scared. I thought the car had gone on fire,” she said.
“I’d taken a deep breath and I couldn’t breathe. It was the stuff that comes out of the airbag when it opens up but I didn’t know that at the time.
“I couldn’t get the door open and I just panicked. When I finally got out I was shaken and scared.
“The man got out of taxi and said ‘I’ll put my hands up, it was my responsibility’.
An ambulance was called but the mother-of-two just wanted to get home.
“I wanted to be around people I knew, but the ambulance man advised me that there was so much adrenalin going through me I wasn’t feeling anything but when that wore off I would feel pain.”
Soon she was suffering pain in her head, neck and back and a medical examination would diagnose “severe muscle damage”.
“I had to take a week off work, it was an absolute nightmare,” she said.
“My father-in-law came round and he phoned a solicitor for me.
“When I saw him [the solicitor] he told me that in a couple of days time I was going to get a phone call [from insurers] offering me money and it was up to me what I did.
“Someone rang on the third day after the accident and wanted to make arrangements to come and meet me.
“When I said I was going to my solicitor he said I didn’t realise how they work, that instead of going through solicitors they would do an assessment and we come to an arrangement with a cheque within a couple of weeks.
“But he said I would have to lose my solicitor.
“He started telling me how much I would get and I said ‘You don’t even know what’s wrong with me’.”
Veronica was told she would be given a few days to think about it but said she began to get persistent calls from the same man.
“He kept ringing me and one time it was 10 o’clock at night,” she said.
“In the end my partner went on the phone and told him to leave me alone and if he wanted to talk to me again to call my solicitor.”
Veronica said the differential between what she was offered and what she eventually received was not as large as some cases, but the way that particular insurance company conducted the negotiation left her feeling hounded.
“They were torturing me. They just wouldn’t leave me alone.”
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