The Personal Injury Blog

My personal injury solicitors have lost my case – Should I sue them?

This is a question I am asked on a fairly regular basis by enquirers who have instructed other firms to handle their claims and have ended up with no compensation or much less than they think they should have received.

My answer is usually given after I have discovered what happened whilst the previous solicitors were handling the matter and I view each case on its own merits.

If the solicitors have failed to start court proceedings by the statutory limitation date (usually three years after the accident, but different in cases involving children, industrial diseases and medical negligence) then the answer is usually “Yes”, provided that the injured person had reasonable prospects of succeeding with the claim in the first place and had sustained an injury that was clearly due to the accident.

In cases where a claim has failed after a Trial of the issues, it is more difficult to succeed with a claim unless the solicitors had been clearly negligent in their preparation for the hearing and for example, had not called witnesses who should have been at trial or had not included documents in the bundle that would have helped to win the case. It is rare that claims against solicitors succeed in that situation.

If the enquirer thinks that they should have recovered more than they finally received by way of damages, then I will obtain the file from the previous solicitors and examine it closely to check for many possible failings such as if they obtained the appropriate medical reports and took full details of all the client’s losses and how they were affected by the injuries before they settled the case.

Three cases I have dealt with come to mind:

In Case A, the client had been involved in a Road Traffic Accident and the claim was settled quickly based on a medical report from a GP who had examined our client for no more than five minutes. The solicitors arranged a settlement without realising that the client had severe ongoing symptoms. In that case the client succeeded with a claim for damages.

In Case B, the client received six thousand pounds, but due to clear negligence by his solicitor, who had not advanced the court proceedings in accordance with the Court Rules, he was denied the opportunity of claiming more. We succeeded in obtaining over £100,000 in further damages for the client.

In Case C our initial instructions suggested that the claim had been under-settled but a detailed analysis of the solicitors’ file showed that they had been meticulous in investigating the client’s medical history and examined several sets of medical records which showed that the injuries complained of were clearly not all due to the accident and had agreed a very reasonable settlement with the opponent’s insurers.

These are known as professional negligence claims and I will be happy to consider them after an initial discussion with the person concerned and often after obtaining and reading the file of papers from the solicitors concerned. This is all subject to the alleged act of negligence being less than six years ago, otherwise the client’s action against the solicitor may well be out of time.

If you would like to discuss any type of personal injury claim with me or one of my team here, please call on 0114 218 4049 or email me at jonathan.stittle@tayloremmet.co.uk

Due to Walsall FC having three players on international duty, my weekend will be surprisingly devoid of football. I hope that I will be able to fill it with something more to my taste than shopping and home improvements. I also hope that Mrs Stittle doesn’t read this blog!

Jonathan Stittle

 

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