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Avoiding Frustration with Third Party Insurance Claims

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

According to recent figures, insurance companies pay out £57m every day to settle general insurance claims. For many people, dealing with insurance companies after an accident is a frustrating and drawn out process.

After suffering damage through someone else’s negligence or being involved in a car accident, the prospect of claiming against another person and dealing with their insurance company can be daunting.

This should not put people off making a rightful claim and getting professional help can ease the process.

Buildings Melting Cars

Unfortunately, unexpected incidents happen every day ranging from the mundane to the extraordinary.

In a bizarre recent example of a third party claim, an unfortunate driver returned to find that a building had melted panels on his car. The developers responsible for the construction of the “walkie talkie” skyscraper being built in London found themselves on the receiving end of this somewhat unusual compensation claim after intensified reflections from the building began causing damage in a street below.

How to Deal with Damage Caused by Third Parties

So, what should you do if you are involved in an incident that has caused you injury or damage to your property?

Firstly, to make a claim against a third party an injured party will usually need to contact the third party to notify them of their intention to make a claim and to request the details of their insurance company, including the company’s address and the policy number. If the party suffering damage has their own insurance, they will normally need to inform their insurers who will usually then handle the claim on their behalf.

Negligence claims require proof that there has been a breach of a duty of care by the third party that has caused harm. Therefore, a record should be kept of all damage and expenses caused by the incident such as the cost of hiring another vehicle. As much evidence as possible should be gathered to support the claim such as photographs of the damage, photographs of the vehicle in situ and details of any witnesses.

Often people feel uncomfortable claiming against other individuals or small businesses but it is worth remembering that any compensation will usually be covered by their insurance company. Where a third party is unable to pay a compensation claim due to insolvency, recent changes to the law mean that injured parties can now pursue an insurance claim directly against the third party’s insurance company, provided liability has been accepted by the third party (or ordered by a court).

Out of Court Settlement

Often, as in the above “walkie talkie” building claim, a compensation amount will be agreed without the need for court action and this is sometimes facilitated through “alternative dispute” procedures run by lawyers and other advisers who aim to settle the claim on your behalf without having to go through expensive and lengthy court proceedings.

Insurance claims are not always straightforward and it is important to obtain the support and advice of an insurance lawyer to ensure the level of compensation sought is appropriate and that any communications you make with the third party and their insurers do not affect your ability to claim against them.

If you are claiming against a third party for an injury or damage to your property, our specialist insurance lawyers can guide you through the process from the initial claim to the negotiation of a settlement through to court action where necessary. For more information, contact Peter Gourri today by email PGourri@rollingsons.co.uk or telephone 0207 611 4848.

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