Advertising watchdogs have rebuffed an insurer’s attempt to ban a television advertisement promoting the services of a personal injury firm.
Somerset firm Harris Fowler depicted a series of accidents and ran with the commentary: ‘If you’ve had an accident at work, or a road traffic accident – an accident anywhere it’s your right to claim.’
A commercial insurance broker reported the firm to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) arguing that it implied it was possible to make a claim for compensation irrespective of negligence. The broker said the claim of ‘an accident anywhere it’s your right to claim’ was misleading and broke ASA rules.
But the authority today ruled the firm had no case to answer and that the advertisement merely pointed out that injured people should seek a solicitor to check if they had a valid claim, not that they could claim no matter what.
The ASA pointed out that the advertisement said consumers ‘could’ be entitled to compensation and ‘perhaps’ had a lot to gain, which emphasised compensation was not guaranteed.
The ASA ruling added: ‘We did not consider that the claim implied compensation claims would be valid even when no fault could be established and therefore concluded that the claim was not misleading.’
Harris Fowler said the advertisement had run since 2009 with no complaints and that the use of ‘an accident anywhere’ indicated a ‘generalisation of location’ rather than implying a claim could be made where there was no fault.
The use of examples, such as a wheel falling off a wheelbarrow, a car collision and a worker falling off a ladder, was to show that the firm dealt with a range of types of accident.
The advertisement was cleared by standards monitor Clearcast, which said that in some cases it would not be obvious to consumers if negligence had caused the accident.
Clearcast said the firm was entitled to suggest consumers should ask for legal advice to establish if they had a valid claim.