Many claimants are still suffering from the symptoms of their injuries during the process of claiming personal injury compensation and are not sure how best to go about life and pursuing their regular day-to-day activities, hobbies or pastimes.
Are you being watched?
In an effort to reduce the chances of a fraudulent or dishonest claimant succeeding with their claim for personal injury compensation, 3rd party insurers have been known to use secret surveillance and private investigators to monitor claimants to see whether or not they really are suffering as they have claimed. Such activities usually happen with claims relating to a substantial settlement value as to obtain large settlements, serious injuries will be involved with ongoing problems and the claimant will not be able to live life normally as they would have done before their injuries.
Whilst it is reasonable for a 3rd party to want to be sure that they are not being cheated, it has lead many claimants to be frightened about trying to get on with life in case they are filmed and then labelled as a fraud. We’ve all read the stories of someone who has claimed to be severely disabled and bed-bound only to be filmed playing golf or out cycling by the defendant insurers. Whilst the attempted fraud is wrong and condemned by all, including Direct2Compensation, the volume of fraudulent claims is extremely small. We welcome fraudulent claimants being caught out as it helps to prove that the personal injury claims process within the UK is reliable, well balanced and that the personal injury compensation industry can be trusted. However, it does place the majority of genuine claimants under an unfair level of scrutiny and suspicion.
With this in mind, it is vital that people who are considering whether to claim personal injury compensation do not attempt to exaggerate their injuries, suffering or losses. Indeed, there is no need for any genuine claimant to do so as with Direct2Compensation and our specialist expert solicitors, we can advise you how to legitimately maximise your claim value and how best to help ensure that your solicitor can do the best job for you.
Getting on with life
Amongst the common questions asked about injury compensation claims, is one that relates to taking part in physical activities during the making of a claim for injury compensation. Many people are worried that they should not be seen to be getting on with things in case it were to reflect them in a poor light during the claims process. This is a mistaken worry. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying your hardest to live life.
Medical experts agree that in most cases, the best way to maximise recovery from injury after an accident is to be mobile and as active as possible – whilst not overdoing it and causing further harm. For example, many of our clients who sustain soft tissue injuries such as ligament damage, sprains, muscle pulls and bruising are advised by their doctors to mobilise the affected area rather than just rest up for weeks on end.
However, many clients are frightened to attempt basic activities such as walking their dog, taking grandchildren to the park or even going out for a walk around the block. Why? Because they think that they could be filmed and accused of fraud by a defendant insurer. This is not really the case and is a bit of a myth. The only people who need to worry are cheats and liars.
Follow your doctor’s advice
Genuine injury victims make up the overwhelming majority of injury compensation claimants. These people will get medical advice after their initial recovery regarding their ongoing rehabilitation and lifestyle suggestions. Whether you have ongoing treatments such as physiotherapy or other assistance, you will be advised to remain as active as possible and to, work hard to recover fully. Everyone involved in the injury compensation claims process want claimants to recover fully and for them to return to the level of health and ability they had before the accident in which they were injured.
If you have been injured, seek advice from your doctor about what you should not do so that you know what you can legitimately attempt physically. If you discuss such issues with your GP, they will note the same on your medical records and should you then ever be filmed doing something your doctor has advised is fine, then your medical records will support you in your claim.
Key to making a good recovery is to be relaxed and free from unwanted stress. It is important to get on with the normal things in life as soon as you can after an accident. Returning to work, getting back to active life, socialising and living normally as far as practically possible will greatly boost your recovery. Direct2Compensation have worked hard to take the stress out of the injury compensation claims process. We believe that this enables injury compensation claimants to relax and concentrate on recovering.
A real life example
I have experience of a claimant who suffered life changing injuries in a car accident. His pelvis was fractured in 7 places and required surgery with screws and pins permanently left within his pelvis. The claimant was 30 years of age at the time, a county tennis player, amateur footballer and generally keen on sport. He was also a chef in a Michelin starred restaurant.
Medical opinions from both his side (instructed by his solicitor) and a second opinion at the request of a 3rd party insurer agreed that the injuries would prevent him from playing sports properly, or to any level near to that which he had previously enjoyed, and also unable to work in the same way or in the same job as he could not stand up for long periods. They confirmed that the screws could not be removed from his pelvis and that he would never be able to run properly or without pain due to an altered gait. Despite this prognosis, our client was advised by his surgeon that he should continue to do what he could as if he became inactive, his condition would worsen. To this end, he was told that he should play tennis if he wished, that he could ride his bike and do things like cut the grass. Luckily, his surgeon had recorded his advice within the claimants medical records.
It came as a shock to our client when he realised 2 years later (his claim was a substantial claim value due to the injuries and loss of income so it took 5 years to settle) that he was being filmed by a private investigator whilst playing tennis with his father. Our client was obviously unable to move properly or run and his father aged 70 years (and although a good tennis player in his day) was able to match his son some 40 years his junior. Our client was also filmed cutting the grass at home – all this despite the 3rd party admitting liability and both sides having medical opinions agreeing the extent of the injuries and the long term affects that they would have. Our client was very distressed when he contacted us and his solicitor to report the filming. He felt that he was being called a cheat and undermined, despite both sides appearing to agree to two expert medical opinions.
This shows how the 3rd party insurance sector can work in a bid to reduce the level of compensation someone should receive – even when they are clearly entitled to it.
The advice here is to make sure that you get the approval from your doctor to do any activity before you do it. It is in the interests of everybody; claimants, insurers and wider society for recoveries to be as full as possible and for people to enjoy the best quality of life possible, so if you are injured, try to be active, try to get on with life normally, but don’t overdo it and never try to cheat your way to a higher claim settlement.
If you are not sure about where you stand regarding your injuries and your recovery, your life and what to do, contact us. We have experience and knowledge that can help to put your mind at rest and allow you to focus on recovery and life.