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Title: Independent lawyer needed

Date: 29 September 2014

I was riding in central London in midday traffic and I was indicating to turn left as the traffic lights were green for me to do so. Some tourist pedestrians ignored the traffic lights and went to cross the road in front of me causing me to slam on the brakes. A car driving behind me crashed into me causing a lot of damage to my bike and me. I got whiplash injuries and a sprained wrist as well as cuts and bruises. The car driver’s insurance company just called me and admitted liability but what is odd is that they have offered to appoint me a lawyer to act for me in my personal injury claim. I think this is a bit strange as surely I get to choose a lawyer to act for me and it certainly wouldn’t be their choice!? Do I get penalised in some way if I say no to them and instruct my own lawyer?

Jack M, Shoreditch

I don’t see how a firm of solicitors appointed by your opponent’s insurer can represent you in your claim. There is a clear conflict of interests – in other words they are only interested in minimizing the cost of the claim to their shareholders whereas you are keen to ensure you receive the maximum available compensation for your injuries and out of pocket expenses.

Your solicitor should be acting in your best interests and whatever they say I simply do not accept that a law firm paid by your opponent’s insurer can do so. In my opinion they would be under pressure by the company who is paying them to settle the claim for as little as possible, despite the obligation that solicitors owe to clients to act in their best interests. There must be a financial reason/benefit for the TPI to be wishing to deal in this manner.

I strongly suggest that you do not accept the services of your opponent’s insurer’s lawyers and you get yourself a solicitor who will act in your best interests to present your claim in the best possible light.

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