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Are Self-Represented Claimants Treated Differently by Insurers?


Whether you’re making a workers’ compensation claim or a compulsory third party (CTP) motor vehicle accident claim, it is possible to make the application and deal with the insurance company on your own, without legal representation. Doing so makes a person a ‘self-represented’ claimant.

Many people take this course of action because they feel they can’t afford the fees charged by law firms, or they don’t wish to use any potential compensation pay-out to meet lawyers’ fees.

While these motivations are understandable, becoming a self-represented claimant also carries considerable risk. Compensation claims can not only be very complex, but also extremely time-consuming. Evidence needs to be collected, medical appointments organised, reports sourced and restrictive time limits met. In short, it’s a lot of work.

For this reason, the most sensible course of action is to secure the services of a specialist compensation law firm, such as Lifestyle Injury Lawyers, to represent you in any compensation claim. Moreover, our ‘No Win No Fee’ policy makes professional legal representation a more affordable option.

How do insurance companies deal with self-represented claimants?

Naturally, large insurance companies will do what they can to avoid making a pay-out under a policy. They have the obvious advantage of size and resources when dealing with a self-represented claimant, and can call on experienced legal representatives to either deny a claim on a legal technicality, or offer an amount substantially lower than that to which the claimant might be entitled.

A common tactic of insurance companies when dealing with a self-represented claimant is to offer a settlement amount early in the process in the hope that the matter will be quickly resolved and proceed no further. They may even offer to pay any costs the claimant has incurred in preparing his or her application. If accepted by the claimant, in many cases the settlement will include clauses which prevent the claimant from making any further claims against the insurance company.

As mentioned, compensation law can be complex. Insurance companies in some cases will deny claims, or reduce the amount they say is payable to the claimant, by arguing that the claimant contributed to the injury for which they are claiming.

The insurer may also dispute the severity of the injury, or claim that an old injury has been aggravated by the accident, and compel a self-represented claimant to attend a medical examination with a doctor of its choosing.

All of these tactics can leave a self-represented claimant confused, uncertain and keen just for the whole thing to be over. The result is acceptance of an amount which might not adequately reflect the impact and costs associated with the compensable injury.

How can a compensation specialist help?

Deciding to self-represent is understandable when an injury is minor and the award of compensatory damages is clear and straightforward.

But for more serious injuries which cause a person to lose income, sustain high medical costs, require ongoing care and rehab, or result in permanent impairment, the reasons outlined above show it’s much wiser to seek legal representation from professionals with expertise in compensation.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will do the time-consuming legwork for you and take the stress out of the process. Should a disagreement about what you are entitled to arise with the insurer, they will also be able to handle the complex legal work involved in dispute resolution and/or litigation through the court.

A specialist legal professional will:

  • Conduct relations and negotiations with the insurance company.
  • Gather and collate the necessary supporting evidence to support the claim. This can involve photos, documents, reports, eyewitness statements, police reports, medical reports on your injuries and more.
  • Provide a clear-eyed assessment of what you can claim for – pain and suffering, past and future wage loss, past and future medical costs, domestic and care needs – as well as what amount you are likely to receive.
  • Meet deadlines on filing applications and responding to insurers.

Speak with us today

At Lifestyle Injury Lawyers, we are expert compensation lawyers whether your matter involves public liability, motor vehicle accident claims, workers’ compensation, superannuation or total and permanent disability (TPD) claims.

We work on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis, meaning you will only pay our legal fees if your claim is successful.

Call us Gold Coast compensation lawyers today on 07 5627 0321 for an initial consultation to discuss your case.