Experiencing a motor vehicle or work accident can be a traumatic event that can leave you injured, confused, and unsure about your next steps.
Suddenly, you may receive calls from unfamiliar people enquiring about the accident and/or suggesting that a lawyer has been appointed to you, or you may even receive a direct call from a law firm. No Law firm can be appointed to you by another party. Therefore, if you did not contact a lawyer or law firm regarding your claim, then you are likely being claim harvested.
More and more individuals in Western Australia are falling victim to claims harvesting, which involves passing your personal information to a third party or law firm for a fee.
You should ask yourself a few questions, such as:
· Who passed on your personal information?
· How did they obtain it?
· Are you comfortable with your information being passed on without your consent, knowledge, or clear understanding?
Additionally, you should consider how much your personal information is worth and who will ultimately pay for the claims harvesting fee. Do you want to be represented by a firm that pays to claims harvest, or would you prefer a reputable law firm that obtains work based on their reputation?
Some law firms pay claims harvesters fees of $2,000.00 or more per claim, but it is ethically wrong to support a process that commercialises people's misfortunes. Personal injury lawyers make a living as a result of people's accidents and injuries, but it should be done in a non-predatory, ethical, and informed manner, ultimately benefiting the injured person and not third parties selling your information.
Claims harvesting is also unlawful, and legislation is in place to prohibit it.
If you have received one of these calls, know that the particular law firm has not been appointed to you. You have the right to choose who represents you in your claim, and you do not have to remain with the law firm that has harvested you.
If you suspect that you may have been claims harvested, ask your lawyer how they obtained your details and request an itemised account. You are in control of your claim and who represents you, and if you have concerns, contact an experienced personal injury law firm that does not participate in claims harvesting and caps your contribution to their fees at no more than 10% of the settlement amount. You can reach PPIL at (08) 9443 5312