This last week gave me another example of why, if a claim is strong, an injured client should have nothing to fear by instructing their solicitor to start Court proceedings.
When we initially start a claim on behalf of an injured person, it is almost always dealt with by an insurance company, or a claims adjuster, acting on the insurers’ behalf. In our experience insurers do not always make sensible decisions about which claims to settle and which claims to defend. If an Insurer defends a claim when there is strong supporting evidence and the client is likely to succeed, it is often beneficial to start Court proceedings as the file will then be passed from the insurers to a firm of Solicitors that they instruct.
Generally speaking, the Solicitors will deal with the claim more sensibly and efficiently than the insurers. They tend to have a better grasp of the law and a more pragmatic approach as to which claims should be settled. Last month I started Court proceedings for a client who had been badly injured at work. His employer, a local authority, had refused to make any offers of settlement, even when presented with significant supportive medical and engineering evidence. The client accepted my advice to start Court proceedings.
Just yesterday, the Solicitors (who have now taken the matter over from the local authority’s claims handlers) made a sensible offer of settlement, which the client was happy to accept.
Most clients are understandably concerned when their Solicitor advises them to start Court proceedings. It is important to remember that in most personal injury claims, the Solicitor is working under a Conditional Fee Agreement (often known as a “No-Win, No-Fee agreement). A sensible personal injury Solicitor is unlikely to advise a client to start Court proceedings in a hopeless case, as they would stand to lose out and would not receive a fee if the claim failed! Most claims settle between the issue of proceedings and the final hearing before a Trial Judge, so even if you do start proceedings, the prospects of attending a daunting Court hearing are still much lower (about 5% in our experience) than the public believes.
So if your Personal Injury solicitor recommends that you start a Court action, it is usually for a good reason. You can contact us to discuss this further on 0114 218 4000 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.