I have seen several references to third party capture on your web page. Please could you outline what is third party capture and how it might affect my injury compensation claim?
Third party capture is a term which refers to a direct approach by an insurance company to a potential plaintiff who has sustained a personal injury due to the negligence of their policyholder. Often these approaches are made soon after an injury has been suffered and when the potential plaintiff is at their most vulnerable.
However unsolicited offers of compensation from insurance companies may or may not be appropriate to the level of injury the potential plaintiff has sustained and they should always be referred to a solicitor as, without a full assessment of an injury and the effect it has on the potential plaintiff´s quality of life, it is impossible to accurately calculate how much injury compensation the accident victim is entitled to.
Insurance companies are often accused of considering their own profits before the financial health of an accident victim who has been injured by the negligence of their client but, although the term “third party capture” has a sinister overtone to it, there is no proof to suggest that an offer of compensation from an insurance company is any better or worse than may be attained through application to the Injuries Board or by negotiation through a solicitor.
Why it is so important to have an offer of compensation from an insurance company assessed by a solicitor is because if you or the potential plaintiff accept a compensation settlement from an insurance company, which later proves to be insufficient to pay your medical costs or support your family, you cannot return to the insurance company and ask for more. However, in addition to this negative aspect of third party capture, there are several positives to consider.
- The first positive is that the insurance company, by their unsolicited approach to you, have effectively acknowledged their policyholder´s liability for your injuries. This should quicken any application for assessment made to the Injuries Board
- More importantly, it will allow your solicitor to enter directly into settlement negotiations with the negligent party´s insurance company – which often has the effect of resolving a personal injury compensation claim much quicker than it would be through the Injuries Board
- Finally, if all the consequences of your injuries are not yet established – or there is a need for immediate finances to pay for medical treatment – your solicitor can apply for interim payments of compensation until such time as your compensation claim is fully and satisfactorily settled
Because the chance always exists of being undercompensated by third party capture, it is important that any potential plaintiff seeks professional legal advice at the first practical opportunity and, should an offer of compensation from an insurance company be forthcoming, ensures that is it referred to a solicitor in every situation.