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Seeking a second opinion: Penningtons Manches asked to take over conduct of a series of substantial personal injury claims

Posted: 19/03/2018


In the early part of 2018, the personal injury team at Penningtons Manches has been asked to take over the conduct of several significant personal injury claims from other firms of solicitors. In all these cases, the injured claimants have sought advice either from a local solicitor or in response to advertising and have been offered a no win no fee agreement. Over time they have become concerned at either the lack of expertise of their current solicitors and /or the lack of attention to detail and progress. While the initial injuries have seemed relatively straightforward, as time has passed the implications and effects of the injuries have been significant. Most claimants feel that they have been encouraged to accept early offers or settle claims early when they have ongoing symptoms and have no idea of the long term impact on things such as their ability to work or respond to treatment. They have either been personally recommended to approach Penningtons Manches for a second opinion or have been signposted to the firm as a specialist via organisations such as the Law Society or the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

Philippa Luscombe, partner in the personal injury team, comments: “Frequently the real impact of a serious injury does not become apparent until a year or longer after the accident occurs. This means that personal injury claims may not be able to progress quickly because of the need to assess the full consequences, which can be frustrating for clients. It is however absolutely crucial not to agree a settlement until the long term prognosis and effects of injuries are known. The claimants who have approached us have been concerned that they have ongoing difficulties, a limitation in work capacity or a need for further treatment which is not reflected in their settlement.

"While we are not always able to take over a case, depending on the stage it has reached, or would necessarily change the approach currently being taken, it is fair to say that our experience is that the pressure on costs in the personal injury field and the use of case handlers with limited experience and supervision means that some cases are being significantly underinvestigated and undervalued. We have therefore been able to take over conduct of cases and achieve a substantially better outcome than suggested to claimants. Where we do think that we can assist, we normally agree a transfer of files and funding so that claimants see no change in their costs position and liability – although this does depend on the cooperation of the existing firm of solicitors."

It is important that claimants consider the following points when instructing solicitors on a personal injury claim:

  • seek out specialist personal injury solicitors who are accredited by bodies such as the Law Society and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
  • ask about their experience of dealing with the type of injury you have sustained
  • be clear on who will actually be doing the work on your case
  • provide full details about your injuries and their impact – if you are struggling with things then tell your solicitor
  • keep clear records of any financial losses you incur and evidence in support when you can and provide these to your solicitor
  • wherever possible complete any ongoing treatment before looking to settle the claim so that you know the outcome
  • ensure the medical evidence obtained covers all the injuries that you sustained or a clear explanation is given as to why that is not being done
  • ensure that you are clear on what medical evidence has been provided and what this says about your long term prognosis
  • speak to your employer about any difficulties you are having at work as a result of your injuries and see what can be done to help you
  • advise your solicitor if your injuries have changed or delayed your career plans
  • follow recommendations for treatment if funding can be arranged
  • ask for an explanation of the figures behind offers you are advised to make or accept and ensure you understand what is and is not being factored in
  • ensure that you understand the next steps in your case and timescale – ask if you do not.

 


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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP