Follow these 12 Steps if Someone Brings a Public Liability or Employer’s Liability Claim Against You.

Big businesses, local authorities and other large organisations receive claims from their employees and the public regularly and have people and systems to deal with them.  You may not be so lucky, and receiving a claim when you are not used to it can be confusing and stressful.  If it is a motor claim you can probably rely on your motor insurers to deal with it, but if it is a liability claim here are some tips on what to do.

If you want to avoid paying a claim you did not need to, or paying more than you should, follow each of these steps and keep a record of everything you do at each stage:

  1. Acknowledge the letter, without commenting on the contents.
  2. Ensure it is a claim, i.e. a demand for money (“compensation” or “damages”) and not just a complaint or request.
  3. Check whether you are covered by any of your insurances.  This may be a specific Employers Liability, Public Liability or Combined Liability policy or it may be included as part of a Household or Business policy, so do check.
  4. Certain kinds of claim may not be covered, or may be on a separate policy, such as:
  • Libel and slander
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Cyber Risk (claims arising from the use of computers)
  1. If you are covered, or if you are not sure, inform your insurers or brokers.
  2. Always comply with any instructions they give, otherwise you may invalidate your policy.
  3. Always give your insurers promptly any information or documents they ask for, OR let them know you do not have them.
  4. Let your insurers know of any suspicions you have that the claim may be fraudulent, but remember suspicions are not the same as proof, frustrating as that may be!
    1. If you are not insured, you may be able to investigate and deal with the claim yourself, or you may wish to seek help from a professional.  They should be able to give you some initial advice to enable you to decide whether to engage their services.
    2. Whether insured or not, you may be able to get some help from any trade or professional association you belong to.
    3. Whether insured or not you may be able to save time, money and stress by employing a claims-handler to advise you and manage the process.

 

Finally, deal with the claim promptly: it will probably not go away, and there are time-limits set by Law.  Then keep the process moving: time really is money as far as the claimant’s solicitors are concerned.  If you have not got the time to deal with it properly, make sure somebody does so for you, whether an employee, friend or someone you are paying to look after your interests.