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Legal Expenses Insurance

What is Legal Expenses Insurance & How it Helps You

What is Legal Expenses Insurance and how can it help you?

You may be considering bringing a claim against your employer or former employer, but you are hesitating because you don’t think you can afford it. But, don’t worry help may be at hand. It is possible that you may have Legal Expenses Insurance, which will help fund your case.

The potential cost of bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal can be enough to put anyone off.

Being left out of pocket is a fear that could prevent you from enforcing your legal rights, such as:

But, if you have it, Legal Expenses Insurance may cover the costs involved in you pursuing your case.

Cover normally starts from the point that it becomes necessary for you to issue a claim. A cap is often put on the amount that is covered (usually £50,000), but this amount is usually plenty. The Legal Expenses Insurance will typically cover your solicitor’s costs as well as disbursements such as obtaining a medical report, expert’s charges and barrister’s fees.

How can I check to see whether I have Legal Expenses Insurance?

Legal Expenses Insurance can be found attached to:

  • Household Contents Insurance
  • Household Buildings Insurance
  • Bank Accounts
  • Life Insurance

Are you living with somebody else, such as your parents, then you should check to see whether they have Legal Expenses Insurance because it will often cover all household members.

If you are in doubt, you should ask your insurer/bank for further information and they should be able to tell you straight away whether you have it.

Find out if you have Legal Expenses Insurance, if so then you should request a claim form.

What types of claim are covered?

This does depend on the policy, but Legal Expenses Insurance will normally cover claims for:

  • discrimination
  • detrimental treatment for raising health and safety issues
  • detrimental treatment for whistleblowing
  • unfair dismissal
  • unlawful deduction from wages
  • breach of contract
  • wrongful dismissal

Your policy is most likely not going to cover advice that you receive prior to you issuing a claim. Therefore, it is unlikely to cover the cost of any help and assistance you seek during a capability, sickness process, disciplinary or grievance process. That said, you should still check as all Legal Expenses Insurance policies are different.

How do I make a claim on my Legal Expenses Insurance policy?

The first thing for you to do is to contact your insurer to notify them of your potential claim. Your insurer will usually want you to do this as soon as you can and it is often a term of your policy that you do this.

Once you have made contact with your insurer they will then follow their own procedure. This will most often entail you completing a claim form, but some insurers will do it over the phone.

Whichever procedure your insurer follows it will almost certainly ask you to provide a summary of your employment law problems, together with supporting documentation and evidence. If you already have a solicitor acting for you then your solicitor may do this on your behalf.

Next, your Legal Expenses Insurance provider will review your application to make sure

(a) that the type of claim you are making is covered by the policy

(b) that you have reasonable prospects of success in that you have a greater than 50% chance of winning.

Can I use my own solicitor?

If your claim is accepted, then unless you tell your insurer that you want to use your own solicitor, it will encourage you to use one of its panel firms.

The panel firm could be anywhere in the country and will often use less experienced or unqualified lawyers to keep the costs down. Panel firms will generally have a very high volume of work (to make up for the fact that they charge lower rates to the insurer) and they do not usually meet with their clients because they are not local.

We often find that once a client has instructed us and we have helped them through the early stages of their case then they want us to continue to be at their side.

The Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990 give you the right to choose your own solicitor and for your insurer to pay most if not all of their fees. So, although your insurer may want you to use one of its panel solicitors (because it will normally cost your insurer less), you have the right to use your own solicitor, such as us here at Kerseys.

However, you do need to inform your insurer that you wish to exercise the right to instruct the solicitor of your choice and tell them which employment law solicitor you wish to instruct.

You can also change firms part way through your case. If you are not happy with the way that your appointed solicitor has handled your case then you can ask to instruct your own solicitor.

We are happy to take on cases that have already started.

How Kerseys Can Help

If you find that you do have Legal Expenses Insurance then please call us and we can talk you through the next steps.

Contact us by clicking here.

To find our more information on our employment law services please use the links below.

Employment Law Individuals