Warren Collins, a partner in the personal injury team at Penningtons Manches LLP, has obtained a substantial settlement for a client who suffered hip and psychological injuries in a traumatic head-on collision, despite being instructed at a late stage in the claims process.
The collision took place in November 2013. The claimant broke his hip in the accident and subsequently suffered some flashbacks - the other driver, a young man, died in the accident. Although his earnings were modest at the time, the claimant had already secured an offer of employment with a financial adviser based in Jersey. He was due to start the job in January 2014 but delayed his start date until April 2014. That job did not work out and he did not pass his probationary period. He left in July 2014.
After undertaking research, the claimant identified a firm of solicitors in London which promoted itself as a PI ‘specialist’. Soon afterwards, his solicitors secured a settlement offer of £60,000. The claimant felt that he was placed under considerable pressure to accept this offer before the full extent of his injuries and losses were investigated and was worried that this would not be an adequate settlement given his ongoing limitations. He therefore carried out research into alternative solicitors and transferred his instructions to Penningtons Manches in late 2014. The firm took a different approach to the case and agreed that further investigation was needed before the claim was capable of settlement. On the evidence available, the offer of £60,000 seemed inadequate.
After arranging extensive testing (including 4T MRI scanning) to eliminate a head injury, Warren and his team concentrated on the psychological component of the injuries which was still having a very significant impact on the claimant. Interim payments in excess of £130,000 were secured while High Court proceedings were launched to keep up the pressure on the insurers facing the claim. Judgment in full was entered for the claimant. Although the insurers initially cancelled a settlement meeting, arranged for the week after the discount rate was adjusted, that meeting was reinstated in July 2017, resulting in a settlement of £1 million.
This is one of a number of claims where the personal injury team at Penningtons Manches has been asked to take over an ongoing case because the claimant is unhappy about the advice being given and/or a lack of investigation and pressure to settle early while he or she is still experiencing significant difficulties. In almost every case that has been taken on in such circumstances, a very substantial settlement has been achieved. In one case over £5 million in damages was obtained for a brain injured client advised to accept an offer of £120,000 by his previous solicitors.
It is vital that claimants with serious injuries ensure that they instruct solicitors with proper experience of serious injury work. They should be accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and/or be included on the Law Society panel of accredited personal injury lawyers.
The personal injury team at Penningtons Manches is happy to provide initial advice without charge or obligation. Where a claimant is unhappy with his or her existing legal team, Penningtons Manches can usually agree to review the file and advise as to whether it agrees with the approach being taken or feels that its personal injury team would do things differently and could achieve a better result for the claimant.
For an initial no obligation discussion, please contact the team on freephone 0800 328 9545 or email email@example.com. Please bear in mind that Penningtons Manches may need access to an existing solicitor’s file (or a copy of this) to be able to provide detailed advice.