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Last Updated: Friday, 30 May, 2003, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Q&A: What does it mean for customers?
Personal injury claims firm Accident Group has collapsed, and about 2,500 of the firm's staff have lost their jobs. But on the receiving end are also thousands of customers with as many as 500,000 outstanding claims, who had hoped that Accident Group would help them to get compensation for accidents and injury.

What will happen to Accident Group's customers?

The situation is very unclear.

Administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers are now running the company, and say they will "work closely with creditors and underwriters to ensure existing claims are handled in an orderly and expedient way."

About half a million claims are thought to be outstanding at the firm.

What about the insurance premiums paid to the firm?

Someone pursuing a personal injury claim on a "no win - no fee" basis takes out an insurance policy to cover the cost of the case - and pays for legal costs if the decision goes against the claimant.

Only those who win compensation have to pay the premiums for their policies - and the premiums can be high.

But personal injury accident claims services are not regulated.

This means it can be very difficult to get any money back that has been paid to a firm, once it gets into difficulties.

Any loss incurred by some customers may be compounded if they took out a loan to pay for the cost of pursuing the case.

What if a solicitor is already dealing with my case?

Accident Group was effectively a middleman, referring claims to a "panel" of 700 solicitors.

The group was not a legal firm per se and is not a member of the Law Society, which regulates solicitors.

It is not currently clear how solicitors were contracted to the firm - and whether they will continue to pursue cases.

The other worry for Accident Group customers is that the insurance policy they took out to avoid being saddled with hefty legal fees could now be invalid.

More will emerge in the coming days.

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