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Lawyers call for insurers to recognise the impact of serious injury on family members

Serious injury lawyers have urged the insurance industry to adopt a better and more consistent approach to supporting family members after a loved one has suffered from a serious injury. If a loved one is injured and liability (fault) is established, there is generally no ability for family members to seek reimbursement for the cost of counselling or other forms of therapy as part of the claim. Although many insurers do agree to fund this cost outside of the litigation, this is inconsistent.

David Withers, a Partner of Irwin Mitchell, specialising in serious injury litigation said:

“The reality is that when a loved one suffers from a serious injury, the lives of their family and friends are turned upside down. There is the immediate shock and concern as to whether the loved one will survive. If and when they do, there is the next phase of learning what deficits and problems they may have in consequence of their injury. 

"There are a number of insurers who adopt a collaborative and sensible approach to rehabilitation. They understand that treating the family helps the injured person to make the best possible recovery. They also accept, rightly so, that a serious injury has a catastrophic impact on family life. They feel morally obligated to support. 

"Unfortunately, we also see other insurers take a less constructive approach and only offering to pay the bare minimum and seeking to exclude the family from private provision to assist them to come to terms with their loved one’s serious injury. We urge all insurers to adopt a consistent approach. It should not be the case that a family member is unlucky because their loved one was injured by a less forward thinking insurer.” 

Kelly Lingard, a solicitor specialising in serious injury cases added: “We have seen too many cases where family members are not seen as requiring urgent support themselves and are regularly referred to NHS services with long waiting lists. In many cases, family members have so much to deal with following a loved one sustaining serious injuries and rarely prioritise themselves. Providing early private provision of support to family members can make the world of difference to them and they can then feel much more capable of providing support to their loved one.” 

David Withers leads a team specialising in serious injury cases. He is also the secretary for the Association of Brain Injury Lawyers’ Brain Injury Special Interest Group. 

Kelly Lingard specialises in serious injury cases. She recently qualified having supported clients who have sustained serious injuries throughout her previous roles and training over the past five years.