Teamwork is something most of us learn at school; whether it is as part of a sports team, orchestra or academic club. The skills we learn as children and young adults are further developed when we join a workplace. Many of us work as part of a team in order to increase efficiency and improve service.
At Pedestrian Law Scotland, ‘Teamwork’ is one of our core values as is ‘Responsive’. We can’t be ‘Responsive’ without ‘Teamwork’ as they go hand in hand to help us provide a first class service to our clients.
Busy Solicitors can often spend time away from their desks at Court but our clients can rest assured that calls will be answered immediately and emails responded to promptly. We work as a Team, which means that our Support staff and fellow Solicitors will always be in a position to respond to any client and ensure swift progress and prompt communication even when the acting Solicitor is in Court or on vacation. It’s difficult to comprehend any other way of working but in our experience, some insurance companies simply don’t know what teamwork is.
‘Day in, day out’ we are met with excuses from insurers as to why our letters, emails and calls have gone unanswered:-
• “the handler is off sick “
• “on holiday”
• “it has been transferred to another team”
You name it, we have probably heard just about every excuse.
However, the most shocking example of the consequences of a complete lack of teamwork can be found in the case of Adam Ridley.
Adam was seriously injured as a pedestrian. The car driver mounted the pavement, hit Adam and sent him through a plate glass window. His injuries were life threatening. In due course, Adam advanced a claim against the car driver’s insurers. Liability was admitted within a matter of weeks. However, for no apparent reason, all communication from the insurer just stopped without explanation. Our emails, calls and letters went unanswered. Two months passed and we were told the original claims handler had retired and someone else would be taking over.
Undeterred by a lack of correspondence, we continued to prepare Adam’s case and proposals to settle his claim were sent to the third party insurer. Astonishingly, the silence continued leaving us with no option other than to raise a Court Action.
At that point, we received a letter explaining a new handler had been assigned following the retirement of the original claims handler seven months previously! Thankfully, Adam’s case settled not long after proceedings were raised on his behalf.
Raising Court actions is what we do. There are often disputes on liability or the value of the claim and the only way to secure resolution is to raise proceedings in Court. In fact, 98% of our cases settle after proceedings are raised and before the final court hearing. Our clients are happy to accept our advice that in order to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement, litigation is the right option. The difficulty is explaining to clients that litigation is necessary because an insurer has simply failed to respond.
In Adam’s case, our experience was that his case “fell asleep” at the insurer’s end because there was no teamwork. Without teamwork, you can’t be responsive. If insurers aren’t responsive, then resolution is only possible by way of litigation. It’s litigation costs that trouble insurers most, so why not be responsive and embrace teamwork? It leads to efficiency and improvement of service, which is why it will always remain one of our most important core values.