Cold Call – Have You Been Injured In An Accident

Date Added 12.07.16

A friend of mine recently posted a comment on social media regarding a number of spam calls she had received.  She was being badgered by call centres seeking to pester her into pursuing a personal injury claim for “a recent accident you have had”.

This system of calls to mobile and landline numbers appears to be the “new double glazing”.   An opportunity for somebody to make money by finding a person who has been injured in the last three years and who may now wish to pursue a claim.

Injury claims are generally made with a Lawyer supporting the injured person.  This is because the process is not straight forward and the person (who can be quite vulnerable because of their injuries) may need some guidance and assistance.  Claims are made against insurance companies whose sole aim is to make profit for their own shareholders.  The rights of the injured person are not their concern.  A Lawyer is a professional, able to use their experience and knowledge to guide and help them through the process is invaluable.

Lawyers have a strict code which prevents them from cold calling potential clients and which can lead to disciplinary action including fines and/or the “striking off” of the Lawyer concerned – effectively meaning he or she cannot work as a Lawyer again.

Similarly, if a call centre obtains a claim to pass onto the Lawyer by cold calling the Lawyer can be disciplined.  For that reason it is important for Lawyers to vet any company offering to provide work to them.  The Lawyer is not allowed to pay a referral fee for the claim details to be passed to them, but it is usual in the industry for firms to enter into collective marketing agreements in various forms to outsource marketing to a specialist agency known as a Claims Management Company (CMC).  CMCs have to be registered and regulated but the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

With all these rules and regulations you may ask what is going wrong? Well, I think the answer to that is that some call centres are willing to take the risk of prosecution for spam/cold calling.   Others hide behind the suggestion that the recipient of the call has, at some stage, given permission for companies to call them as a “select trusted partner” of a company they have bought from before.  The MOJ have made it clear that this type of “permission” is only valid if the recipient of the call has given permission to be called about an accident.

Of course, as call centres are still prepared to take the risk this means that they don’t feel that they are likely to get caught.

News of Government action has been sparse but on 6th May 2016 the MOJ reported a major success in raiding two companies, one in Swansea and the other in Birmingham, understood to have made 1000’s of cold calls.  Arrests have been made and prosecutions expected.

Further, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have now launched a campaign that they call “Can the Spam” which gives the victims of these nuisance calls the opportunity of reporting the cold call and allowing a follow up check to be made.

These cold calls are a nuisance and can also be a scam.  There are large companies out there targeting lots of people with significant numbers of unwanted calls.  It is little wonder that a recipient of a call will feel the system was a joke or that even making a claim was a scam.  This is particularly so when they have not even had an accident as claimed.

For Gemma, it is an annoyance and frustration “They call me and tell me about how much I can claim for an accident I have had, I haven’t had one! At first I would tell them this and they would say something like: “Oh the insurer must have sent the wrong details”. Now I just ask them to remove me but I still get the calls.”

Actually, it is more than that.   For those of us who are professionals involved in real claims for vulnerable clients suffering from serious injuries, such as fractures, head injuries, spinal injuries and the like, our work is being undermined.  If people are being approached to claim for non-existent injuries in non-existent accidents then aren’t those who are claiming to be seriously injured also scamming too?  Well, invariably, the answer to this is no.  Tollers vet claims, read the medical records, get claimants checked out by doctors.  If there is fraud then the doctors will spot it.    Unfortunately, the system is tainted and so Tollers would urge anyone who receives one of these calls to “Can the Spam” and give the caller’s number to APIL using any of the methods below:

Call:                       0115 958 0585

Email:                   canthespam@apil.org.uk

Facebook:           facebook.com/CanTheSpam

Tweet:                  @APILCanTheSpam

Hopefully they will take action and close the net on those who peddle this offensive practice.

Gemma’s frustration is understandable but what is worse, she is a District Nurse and combines this with running a Charity which offers treatments and therapies to those with long term or terminal conditions.

The random nature of these calls and the time they take Gemma to deal with them could be preventing her being able to receive an important call from one of her patients or their loved ones.  We call them nuisance phone calls but they are a blight and plague and in this context can strangle opportunities to give a fundamental health service.

If you run one of these cold calling schemes and are reading this then stop it.  Just stop it now.

This article is written by David Boobyer, Partner at Tollers Personal Injury.  David is passionate about helping his clients claim compensation for sometimes catastrophic injuries.  These injuries are life changing for both the injured person and their family.

If you have suffered as a result of an accident and would like to explore the possibilities of making a compensation claim, then please call us now on 0333 414 9123.

We are not personal injury lawyers by accident!

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