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What to do about negligent solicitors who miss time limits or mess up claims

Afternoon all, John here again.

Most of our work here at Ibbotson Brady Solicitors involves us acting as expert personal injury solicitors helping clients who have suffered accidents and want to claim compensation. Sadly, we are sometimes presented with new clients who come to us because they already had a good injury compensation claim up and running, but their solicitors have made a mistake and so the claim has failed (or is failing), or it has ended up being worth much less than it should have been.

I say that these are sad cases because the poor client has been doubly injured; they suffered the injury in the accident in first place and then suffered again when the solicitor who they instructed and trusted got it wrong.

In many of these cases there is no second chance at bringing the original injury claim against the person or company at fault for the accident – in fact those opponents have had a very lucky escape. This can mean that the only recourse that the poor client has is the daunting one of bringing a professional negligence claim against their own former solicitor.

Of course, just because a claim has failed or you are unhappy with the outcome doesn’t necessarily mean that the solicitors have been negligent, or done anything wrong at all. There are naturally strong claims, weak claims and those that are on a knife edge. The outcome of the original case is not always the dictating factor in whether there is a strong professional negligence claim and negligence claims are sometimes hard to win.

Some common themes I have seen with genuinely strong professional negligence claims against solicitors include chaotic law firms or situations where perhaps the solicitor or “file handler” is either very junior and out of their depth, or else their identity constantly changes all of the time, so that you barely talk to the same person twice. Also, situations arise where the solicitor doesn’t explain things properly, or at least in terms that can be understood. Sometimes clients might feel pushed into taking steps without really having the chance to consider them properly or agree anything. Sometimes this takes the form of too much bland standard written explanation without any actual specific case related advice in it; disappointing when a 20 minute face to face meeting or telephone call would make things much, much clearer.

It doesn’t automatically follow that these worrying themes equal negligence either , but they do seem to be common indicators of problems to come.

One small crumb of comfort in cases like these is that solicitors must, as a condition of being able to call themselves and practice as a solicitor, have professional negligence insurance. This compulsory insurance is pretty comprehensive, specifically so that the client is protected and to maintain public confidence in the profession.

If something like this has happened to you it can be gut wrenching and it often feels like you are starting again at square one.

Some of these professional negligence claims against solicitors are pretty simple and straightforward, such as where there has been a very basic and obvious mistake, like missing a crucial time limit. Others are much more complicated and subtle.

There is a prescribed protocol that must be followed for these claims and it is even more important than ever that you go to a solicitor who knows what they are doing second time around!

If you think you might have one of these situations then give me a call or send me an email. You can also use the case evaluation button below to make a free enquiry and we’ll call you and have a free chat.

Have a great weekend,

John

Ibbotson Brady Solicitors Limited
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