I have seen several references to third party capture on your web site. Please could you explain what is third party capture and how it might affect my injury compensation claim?
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Editor in Chief
Third party capture is a term which relates to a direct approach by an insurance company to a potential claimant who has suffered a personal injury due to the negligence of their policyholder. Often these approaches are made soon after an injury has occurred and when the potential claimant is at their most vulnerable.
Inasmuch as the offer of compensation from the insurance company may or may not be appropriate to the level of injury the potential claimant has sustained, they should always be referred to a solicitor as, without a full assessment of an injury and the effect it has on the potential claimant´s quality of life, it is impossible to accurately determine how much injury compensation the accident victim is entitled to.
Insurance companies are often accused of considering their own profits before the wellbeing of an accident victim who has been injured by the negligence of their client but, although the term “third party capture” has a sinister overtone to it, there is no evidence to suggest that an offer of compensation from an insurance company is any better or worse than may be obtained by application to the Injuries Board or by negotiation through a solicitor.
Why it is so important to have an offer of compensation from an insurance company assessed by a solicitor is because if you or the potential claimant accept a compensation settlement from an insurance company, which later proves to be inadequate to pay your medical expenses or support your family, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more. However, in addition to this negative aspect of third party capture, there are several positives.
- The first positive is that the insurance company, by their approach, have effectively acknowledged their policyholder´s liability for your injuries. This should speed up any application for assessment made to the Injuries Board.
- More importantly, it will enable your solicitor to enter directly into settlement negotiations with the negligent party´s insurance company which often has the effect of settling a personal injury claim much quicker than it would be through the Injuries Board.
- Finally, if all the consequences of your injuries are not yet established – or there is a need for immediate finances to pay for medical attention – your solicitor can apply for interim payments of compensation until such time as your compensation claim is fully and satisfactorily resolved.
Because the risk always exists of being undercompensated by third party capture, it is advisable that any potential claimant seeks professional legal advice at the first practical opportunity and, should an offer of compensation from an insurance company be forthcoming, ensures that is it referred to a solicitor in every circumstance.