Beware the dangers of Third Party Capture
Many people are unaware what this term refers to and the very real dangers of being caught out by it.
Third Party Capture refers to the increasingly common practice of Third Party Insurers contacting an innocent victim of their own insuredís negligence. They will then commonly seek to agree a sum of compensation with them direct and before they have had a chance to seek independent legal advice.
This practice almost always results in the innocent party agreeing to settle any claim they might have at what is very often a massively reduced figure.
I deal with this all the time and some insurance companies are notorious for it. My clients are bombarded with telephone calls and enticed to settle their injury claim for a figure, usually around the £500 to £800 level. They are promised a quick settlement and in todayís economically challenging times this can prove hugely attractive to many people. The insurers know this and are cynically exploiting this situation.
A very recent case I dealt with illustrates this problem. I acted for the driver of a vehicle who was unfortunately involved in a straight forward rear end shunt. It was not her fault; she had stopped at red traffic lights. She and her passenger both sustained very similar injuries and were treated at their local hospital. The driver contacted me and she requested that I act for her. At this stage both she and her passenger had received a number of calls from the negligent driverís insurance company. My client, the driver, had very wisely told them she would be seeking independent legal advice. Her passenger however needed the money being offered in compensation and against my clientís advice decided to accept the sum of £800 in full and final settlement. I settled my clientís claim a few weeks ago and managed to obtain £3,700.00 in compensation for her. This was a fair sum and reflected the value of her claim. Her friend and passenger felt sick when she heard this but there was nothing she could do as she had already agreed the grossly inadequate sum offered by the insurance company. She could not go back on that agreement. She lost out.
The moral of this story is NEVER to accept an offer made by the Third Party Insurer without seeking independent legal advice. A proper valuation of your injuries is needed before the appropriate level of compensation can be assessed and this can only be done by obtaining a medical report. Further if a need for physiotherapy is identified then your solicitor can generally organise this for you at no charge. You have nothing to lose from seeking expert independent advice; in fact you have everything to gain. Please donít be caught out in this way!
Joanne du Plessis, Partner at Shires Law Solicitors