Polish immigrants are being encouraged to launch personal injury compensation claims as thousands of unscrupulous operators promise them no win, no fee deals.
Insurance experts say that this exploitation is fuelling an increase in premiums for millions of honest householders and drivers.
Polish language publications in the UK have recently started printing glossy full-page ads for no win, no fee companies. The latest editions of the four most popular Polish newspapers contain ads for 20 different firms of personal injury companies. One firm, One Call Claim, has an interactive diagram that highlights how much compensation the organisation says it can secure for a person lodging a personal injury claim for that area of the body. Examples of the sums quoted are between £6,000 and £13,500 for an injury to an ankle ligament and up to £29,000 if an arm is broken.
Three Polish citizens set up One Call Claim in January 2010 and they boast that they can get the highest compensation in the shortest possible time. One of the directors of the company, Ewa Skorupinska, explained the way the system worked to a Polish worker who was accompanied by an undercover journalist from the Mail on Sunday.
She explained that victims visited One Call claim’s doctor to get a medical certificate. This appears to be something of a formality as the doctor doesn’t perform a full medical and accepts what the victim tells him as true. She went on to explain that an insurance company paid for the firm’s services and the personal injury solicitor who would represent the victim.
The Association of British Insurers said it was irresponsible to lead people to believe that every accident results in a successful claim. A spokesman for the Association said they were concerned that these unscrupulous firms were fuelling the perception of a compensation culture in the UK.