Understanding the insurance process...
MOTOR LEGAL EXPENSE INSURANCE (MLEI)
Insurance Companies encourage policyholders to take out Motor Legal Expense Insurance. Some now even include it within the policy, whilst others list it as an add-on with the associated cost. Motorcyclists often take it because they worry about legal costs. In truth, you don’t need MLEI and I will explain why.
LEGAL COVER FOR THIRD PARTY CLAIMS
Insurance for motorcycles is compulsory. You can opt for ‘fully comprehensive’ or ‘third party’ cover. If you’re involved in a road traffic collision that was your FAULT, your Insurer will make good any claim against you and will instruct Lawyers to defend any court case raised against you at no cost to you.
NON-FAULT AND INJURY CLAIMS?
You are obliged to report any collision to your insurer. If the collision is NON-FAULT, you have a choice. You can claim on your comprehensive policy or you can elect to claim against the third party. Your insurer will deal with the 'insured loss' claim to repair your damaged motorcycle or provide you with the pre-accident value in the event it’s written off. Often, insurers instruct other organisations to process such claims and it can be confusing dealing with so many different companies. All of this is just in relation to your motorcycle, so imagine the further confusion when you’ve been injured.
THE INSURERS’ APPOINTED LAWYER
If you’re injured, you will need a Lawyer to recover compensation for 'uninsured loss' and that includes your injuries, loss of income and other expenses. Often insurers will tell you they have appointed a Lawyer for you. Some law firms even write to you to say they have been appointed to represent you. So, why are insurers so keen to appoint Panel Solicitors and remove that important decision from their policyholders? What criteria do they use and what’s in it for the Insurer and Panel Solicitor? Does money exchange hands somewhere along the line? The very important matter of appointing a good lawyer to pursue a claim for uninsured loss must remain with you. It’s your choice. If you’re injured following a collision or other non-fault loss of control, why would you trust your insurer to appoint a Lawyer for you? Unlike the actor Daniel Craig, your body is not insured by your motor insurer, your MOTORCYCLE is.
YOUR OWN SPECIALIST LAWYER AT NO COST
Many believe pursuing a claim for loss is an expensive business but it’s not. For over a century, Lawyers in the field of Personal Injury have operated on a speculative basis. Many will be familiar with the term ‘no win no fee’. Lawyers fund cases if there are reasonable prospects of success, so you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket. If the case is lost, you walk away with nothing to pay. Access to justice at no cost. It’s been in place long before insurers came up with so-called ‘motor legal expense insurance.’
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE
If you need a tradesman to do a job around your home, you will ask people you trust for their opinion and recommendation. You will ask others if they have had a good experience. Did they turn up on time? Were they skilled at their job? Did they have the requisite knowledge to do the job? Did you feel you got value for money? So, how should you appoint a Solicitor and what criteria should you look for?
- Experience of Personal Injury work is high on the list.
- Accepting your case on a ‘no win no fee’ basis to avoid any financial risk on your part is imperative.
- Experience and knowledge are key.
- Can your Lawyer speak with authority about motorcycle collisions, road surface defects, filtering, rural and urban riding?
They can if they ride a motorcycle!
PANEL v SPECIALIST
Motorcyclist, Graham Clark, was seriously injured in a road traffic collision that was not his fault. He was appointed a Solicitor by his Insurer but never even met him. Graham sustained multiple fractures but his Solicitor didn’t recognise that Graham also had a serious brain injury. Nine months later and feeling both let down and confused, he contacted Motorcycle Law Scotland. Transferring across was easy and that’s when the journey began. We met Graham on a number of occasions and with our experience, we were able to identify some of the best medical experts in Scotland to provide reports on his multiple injuries. Due to his brain injury which was subtle but caused confusion, Graham had to give up his work. We raised an action in Court and secured settlement to reflect his extensive losses. Thankfully, Graham has a new life today primarily because:-
1. We knew, as Lawyers, exactly what we had to do.
2. We got to know Graham and his family. There were no claims packs. The only form we will ever ask clients to complete is a request for medical records.
IT’S YOUR CHOICE, NOT YOUR INSURERS’
There is no doubt, after a collision, it’s difficult to think straight. It’s at the point of initial contact with your insurer where the problem arises. Many motorcyclists believe their insurer is entitled to make decisions for them and the appointment of a Lawyer is just one of those decisions. It may seem like one less problem for you to deal with, but remember, you are still far more important than your damaged motorcycle. You need a Lawyer you can trust. You need a Lawyer with the requisite experience and knowledge.
MOTORCYCLE LAW SCOTLAND
We are experienced Lawyers and motorcyclists. Of course, there are a number of good Personal Injury Lawyers in Scotland. Choose your Lawyer carefully and wisely. Always remember, it’s your choice, not your Insurers'. If we can encourage all injured motorcyclists not to fall into the hands of appointed panel Solicitors, we will have achieved something. If we can encourage more Personal Injury Lawyers to ride motorcycles to improve the quality of their service, then even better.