Until this afternoon I had sympathy with colleagues who specialise in claimant personal injury work; that was until I received an unsolicited call from a north-west firm. About 18 months ago, my vehicle was involved in a collision where a car collided with my driver’s door, causing damage. I was not in the vehicle at the time; I was in the pub having a quiet pint. The only person caused any form of distress or upset was my wife – it was her car. The cost of repair was dealt with between insurers.
I was therefore surprised to receive a call this afternoon on my mobile phone from a private number. I am a criminal defence solicitor so assumed it was the police station calling me. It was not. I was asked by a gentleman whether I had had an accident in the last two years. I confirmed that I had reported the above incident and was surprised to be told the insurance company had put ‘£1,850 pounds to one side’ for injuries.
I informed the caller that I had suffered no injury and had not reported any. He advised that injury included not only physical injury but also ‘distress, upset and psychological injury’. I repeated my comment. He asked whether I was certain I had not suffered any form of injury. I informed the individual concerned that I had not (although I was becoming increasingly ‘upset’ by his call).
I informed him that I was a solicitor and objected to the call and its tone. He replied that he did not believe me because, and I quote,‘we act for firms all over the country and I don’t believe you are a solicitor’. At that point I told him to send the money back to the insurance company, put the phone down and got back to my work. I now wish I had taken his firm’s details.
This call was unsolicited. I had never reported any form of injury, and yet nearly two years later I receive a call effectively urging me to commit a fraud from a firm of solicitors or claims managers (I know not). Is it any wonder the media and government accuse us of being greedy and ‘doing anything for a quick buck’? I always argue against such allegations and yet today I have received a call which exemplifies the very worst of our profession.
Such unsolicited encouragement to commit fraud, I am afraid, will make me think twice the next time I seek to defend the reputation of my colleagues in the RTA claimant PI profession. For me it is a sad day.
Rob Barley, QualitySolicitors Norton Peskett, Lowestoft