There are few areas of the insurance market that are subject to the same levels of complexity, diversity and public scrutiny as the personal injury arena.
Research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicates the number of hospitalisations has increased each year for the last decade, and currently the annual figure exceeds 460,000 hospital admissions. Coumarelos et al (2012) estimated that each year 7% of Australians over age 15 experience a personal injury problem that is likely to be “justiciable”. While not all of these will result in a claim, each case has the potential, particularly in our increasingly litigious society.
On the work front, the number of serious claims resulting from accidents at work has seen a steady decline over the last 12 years as a result of stringent regulation and more robust health and safety practices. Yet, Safe Work Australia reported that 2016-2017 still saw over 106,000 serious claims, with the average time out of work and the cost of compensation both increasing.
Given the range of potential sources of injury, specialist knowledge is critical when working to achieve a swift and satisfactory resolution. Personal injury claims can stem from incidents as diverse as exposure to defective or harmful products, a breach of care by someone in authority, or an instance of healthcare malpractice, each representing a different legal environment.
However, while the scope of such losses is vast, the fundamentals of handling any personal injury claim remain the same. Effective handling is always about early intervention.
At Crawford & Company in Australia, our adjusters hit the ground running by identifying key parties and interviewing witnesses as early as possible while also carrying out a thorough accident scene inspection or recreation if required. We are familiar with policy wordings, relevant legislation, regulation and standards; investigations are tailored accordingly. We commission additional experts when needed, while also providing litigation support. Settlement negotiation is, of course, also a critical aspect of the suite of services offered, as well as exploring potential recovery or subrogation avenues.
Our personal injury team spans multiple different specialty areas, ranging from product liability and sports injury to occupiers’ liability and professional negligence. With city-based lead liability adjusters supported by branch adjusters that deliver on-site services, our reach is both peril-wide and country-wide.
But, of course, we’re always strengthening the team with new talent. Most recently, John van Wetering, a sector veteran with over 35 years of liability adjusting experience under his belt, has joined our ranks. He joins as National Manager for Injury Claims, based in Melbourne. With over three decades of experience, his areas of practice are far-reaching, and include public liability, product liability and professional indemnity, as well as niche areas such as education claims and special interest matters.
Every personal injury claim brings its own unique demands. At Crawford, our focus is always on early intervention, managing expectations, gathering information while fresh, providing our clients with thorough but concise investigation reports, and keeping the cost spend down.