- May 30, 2022
- By Katherine Browne
- 0 comments
The Importance of Proper Representation in Serious Injury Claims
In April 2017, Ms C was injured when the car she was travelling in was hit at 40mph by a drunk driver. She had instructed a solicitor to act for her in a claim for injuries resulting from the accident. Ms C approached me in 2018 because she had been advised by her previous solicitor that she should accept an offer of £7,000 made by the driver’s insurers.
Ms C had been examined by a GP expert for the purposes of her claim. This expert had advised that further medical evidence was needed. He could not comment fully on Ms C’s injuries, and in addition he recommended she be examined by an orthopaedic expert and psychiatrist.
Oddly, Ms C’s previous solicitor had told her that she would either have to fund the further medical reports herself or accept the driver’s insurers’ offer. Without the money to fund further reports, this put Ms C in a difficult position.
Access to Justice
One of the reasons I became an injury solicitor was to ensure injured people had access to justice: this clearly wasn’t happening here. I was happy to take over the case and, despite the previous solicitor withholding her file, was able to quickly piece together where we were with the claim and progress it.
I advised Ms C to reject the offer and arranged for her to be examined by the recommended experts.
The case was complicated because Ms C did have some mild pre-existing symptoms in her back. I don’t know for sure, but I expect that this was one of the reasons she had been advised by her previous solicitor to accept £7,000 – essentially, they may have considered that this was likely to be just a minor exacerbation of her existing difficulties.
Exacerbation and Amplification of Previous Injuries
This is of course sometimes the case, but the medical evidence in Ms C’s case warranted the instruction of a pain expert. I instructed a pain expert who found that whilst Ms C had had existing symptoms, the accident had created a post-accident pain state that amplified and exacerbated the effect of underlying intermittent back symptoms. This had led to a continuous and significantly debilitating pain condition diagnosed as a chronic post-trauma pain state.
Ms C had approached me initially not because the settlement offer was too low, but because she was still in a lot of pain from the accident and the reasons for this had not been explained or explored. She felt her solicitor wasn’t acting in her best interests and just wanted the case settled. With new representation and proper investigations, Ms C was diagnosed with extensive musculoskeletal injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and a debilitating pain condition.
The experts that I instructed recommended extensive treatment to include cognitive behavioural therapy and comprehensive treatment under the care of a pain management clinic. Negotiations on settlement commenced and our offers made to the driver’s insurers included the cost of the recommended treatment.
Ms C’s claim ultimately settled for £85,000. Ms C was delighted, not least because she could now access extensive support and treatment to enable her to focus on her recovery and get her life back on track.
I do not know why Ms C’s previous solicitor was not prepared to investigate her claim fully. I hope that her experience is unusual. However, it highlights the importance of instructing an experienced and knowledgeable firm to act for you in any serious injury claim. Anthony Gold solicitors are top ranked in The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. We always strive to get the best results for our clients.* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*
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