Good afternoon, John here blogging again.
Forgive us if we have gone on a bit about the rapidly changing world of injury compensation claims, but this year has been the biggest year of change ever and, being in the business, it is fascinating to us (sad, I know). The volume and impact of the changes has been huge and the fallout is still happening.
The aspect I want to blog about today is the type of solicitors and firms who have been caught out by the changes and why. Also, what does that mean for ordinary folk who have an accident now and want to claim?
The latest two things to happen in this amazing year arise out of two court cases that have just been decided.
The first is one small part of the infamous “plebgate” case. One outcome from this case has been little noticed by the press and public, but it concerns the overall attitude of the courts to claims and how they are to be progressed in the courts. Put very simply, the courts have now told lawyers loud and clear to make sure they have all of their papers and evidence in place in advance because defaults, missed dates and errors in the court process won’t be tolerated. Seriously draconian sanctions will meet any such errors.
The second case concerned an old coal miner’s claim against his own solicitors for failing to advise him well enough. He argued that they didn’t advise him effectively and so he lost out on part of the value of his claim because of that. The suggestion was that the solicitors in question had taken on thousands of such claims and failed to provide a personal service to each and every client. Once again, put very simply, the suggestion was that the claim had been relegated to a factory farm process and the court held that the miner had indeed lost out because the advice wasn’t good or thorough enough.
So what is the theme coming from these two cases and what do they tell us?
I’d argue that the theme is that solicitors who take on work for clients had better know what they are doing AND that they ought to provide a personal service to each and every client. Hardly rocket science or too much to ask.
What the cases tell us is that for too long some clients have had to put up with a factory farm style approach to their claims, rather than the proper personal service they ought to receive and to which they are entitled. They tell us too that lawyers had better listen up and do the right job. The use of bland questionnaires, the infuriating call answering of “press 1 for this, 2 for that and 3 for the other” and never speaking to the same lawyer twice are not good enough.
I’d be so bold as to suggest that what clients really need is often dismissed as “old fashioned” personal service, like we offer. If I take on your case and you call for an update, then you get to speak to me, or if I am not around, I call you back. If Lorraine takes on your case, then the same applies. You don’t get fobbed off with a procession of “file handlers”. If we have something complicated to advise you on then a face to face meeting is often appropriate or maybe a long phone call. Not a standard questionnaire with no guidance or advice. There is a definite advantage to using a lawyer who is based near you.
These (often massive) firms who reduce YOUR important claim or case to a conveyor belt “process” are having to wake up and, in many cases, are shipping out. The changes are too uncomfortable for them and ask too much of their poor profit driven processes.
So, in conclusion, demand more as a client. Don’t put up with shoddy service and aim to see the “whites of the eyes” of the lawyer who will be dealing with your claim – face to face is best, but at least have a long chat on the phone. Ask yourself, can you get on with this person who is running your claim? Do they make sense? Can you understand them?
If you have had an accident call me or Lorraine or click on the enquiry button below.
All for now,