Taking on the personal injury chancers
I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.
This story starts about a year ago. Minding my own business as I sat in my parked car, I watched as another driver attempted to drive into the space next to me, misjudged it, and sideswiped my front wheel arch. My car rocked, and the other driver, possibly genuinely, denied any knowledge that he’d hit me at all, even when I showed him the marks and my paint on his bumper.
The point is that it was a gentle rub, rather than anything that deserves to be called a crash or even an impact.
So when I got home, I contacted my insurers, got the car booked into a body shop, and it was all sorted out without any impact on my no-claims discount. But it couldn’t be that easy, could it?
Shortly after this, I started to get a lot of calls to my mobile, wanting to talk to my wife about her recent car accident. That was curious. She hadn’t had an accident, and it wasn’t her phone. The only possible explanation I could come up with (they wouldn’t talk to me) was that they were fishing for an injury based on her booking the car in and giving my mobile as a contact number for various reasons. I certainly couldn’t imagine any genuine reason for the calls.
After a while, the calls started to change. Now they were asking for me, calling either my mobile or my home number, and clearly knew a lot about my case. They knew my car, and they knew what had happened and when. Some even seemed to know who insured me, and claimed to be representing them. All of them wanted the same thing – an injury.
It didn’t need to be much of an injury, they told me. Maybe I hadn’t even noticed it at all at the time. Possibly a slight stiffness around the shoulders? There was a child in the car, wasn’t there? Can you be certain that they haven’t suffered from it? Just go to a doctor, get them to say that you’re feeling a bit stiff, and we can make sure you get the money you deserve.
But I don’t deserve anything, I told them, time after time – I haven’t suffered any injury. To claim for such a thing would be fraud. Maybe you were injured and you just haven’t noticed, they smoothly replied. And the money’s already been allocated for you and set aside, it just needs to be claimed. I came to recognise all their tricks.
My favourite was the ones who phoned up, promising to do something about “all the calls you’ve been getting”. It turned out that their solution was to make a personal injury claim. Because apparently, my case (with these “funds set aside”) has been placed on a list of unresolved claims, and will stay there for three years unless the money’s claimed.
Can’t you just remove me from the list? No, sadly not. Where does this list come from? Uh, I’m not completely sure, I don’t deal with that side of things. And so on.
I’ve made a few reports to the Telephone Preference Service about these unsolicited calls, as I’m registered with them, but even if I had the time and inclination to report each one so that they can be slapped on the wrist, most have the sense to withhold their number and carefully avoid giving their company’s full name. And the real source of the problem is whoever gave them my number in the first place. That’s who I want to go after.
This isn’t acceptable, and not just because I’m being phoned up all the time, but because the system could almost have been designed to rip off ordinary consumers. I’m being encouraged, begged, to come up with a fraudulent claim which would increase the cost of everyone’s insurance. My reward for being honest is constant and unstoppable harassment.
Just think about how this industry works financially. I’ve been phoned up by these people more times than I can count, and that’s ignoring all the times they called when I was out. They’ve put hours into this, but they’re obviously successful enough (and take enough of a cut) to make this behaviour pay. Even without considering the payments to the actual “victims”, that must add a huge burden to the insurance industry, and every single car driver ends up paying the salaries of these chancers in the form of higher premiums.
No more. I’m standing against this, and I’m looking for support. I’ve written to my MP, and I’m going to stick at it until I get some results. This needs to stop.