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Ivan Baxter, Director of O’SheaDyer Solicitors, is the senior lawyer in charge of our Personal Injuries Department. He has been representing the interests of injured clients for over 30 years.
In the last couple of years, and even before Covid-19, we recognised a change in the way that many Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurers involved in Motor Vehicle Claims, are handling claims made against them.
Previously, Insurers were proactive in the way they managed claims. They were keen to work with us to quickly progress claims. They were open to negotiating settlements at an early stage of the process and were reasonable and genuine in their attempts to finalise claims. This was ideal as clients could move on with the rest of their lives.
We have noticed that CTP Insurers have become less proactive in progressing claims.
Arranging medical assessments for reports to be obtained, and early attempts to resolve claims, which usually take place at the Compulsory Conference, are often not successful due to some CTP Insurers being slow to arrange medical assessments and only being prepared to make low offers at the Compulsory Conference.
Having recognised this change in attitude, at O’Shea Dyer Solicitors, we plan pro-actively to force these Insurers to progress our client's claims as quickly as possible.
At O’SheaDyer Solicitors, we have recognised that it is essential to plan the progression of your claim in advance. We get right on to things, asap. And we talk to you about the plan and why we are taking the action that we are taking.
After being involved in an accident resulting in an injury, doctors generally state it will take 9-12 months for an injured person to receive necessary treatment and for their injuries to stabalise.
Once injuries have stabilised, it is all-systems-go to obtain medical reports from specialist doctors (Medico-Legal Reports) in support of your claim.
We plan well ahead and arrange for you to have necessary Medico-Legal appointments so that at the 9-12 months mark these assessments take place and we can quickly obtain the evidence we need to support your claim.
The other side (the CTP Insurer) is also entitled to have you assessed and will usually obtain reports from their own Doctors. CTP Insurers will often suggest to us that they need to see our reports before they decide whether or not to have you assessed by their own Doctors.
Our approach at O’SheaDyer Solicitors is to insist that the CTP Insurers arrange for their assessments to take place soon after our assessments take place. If upon receipt of our report they don’t wish to proceed with their assessment, then they can simply cancel the appointment they have made.
Obtaining medical reports quickly ensures that your claim progresses to a Compulsory Conference quickly.
Once medical reports are obtained (or the other side confirms that they do not intend to obtain a report) we are able to arrange with the CTP Insurer a date for the Compulsory Conference.
Once these reports are obtained, OSheaDyer will put forward several dates we are available for a Compulsory Conference. If the CTP Insurer is slow to agree to a date for the holding of the Compulsory Conference, we can apply to the Court for an order that the Compulsory Conference takes place on a certain date.
Previously in this article, it was identified that not only are some CTP Insurers slow to progress claims they are also unlikely to offer reasonable amounts of compensation at the Compulsory Conference.
The earlier we are able to progress our client’s claim to a Compulsory Conference the sooner we can identify whether or not the CTP Insurer intends to be reasonable with the claim.
It is always disappointing for a client to receive an unreasonable (low) offer that doesn’t come close to reflecting the value of their claim.
At least we know this sooner rather than later and we can get on with progressing the claim through the Courts system.
If the CTP Insurer is unreasonable, then 14 days after the Compulsory Conference, we are able to commence proceedings in the Court.
We are then able to rely upon the Court Rules to progress claims to both a Court Hearing and to a Mediation Conference (which takes place prior to the Court Hearing).
Court rules are strict and we are able to go to the court to ensure time limits for filing documents are complied with. As the matter gets closer to the Court hearing date, a date is usually arranged for a Mediation Conference.
At the Mediation Conference, the CTP Insurer will have a final opportunity to resolve the claim prior to the Court determining the claim. Often, matters will resolve at the Mediation Conference or shortly after.
Insurance Companies need to see that we will not allow our client's claims to progress slowly.
They also need to see that if they are not prepared to be reasonable in negotiating a settlement we are ready to go to Court. Our priority is to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve as a result of their injury.