Morning all, John here again.
I am shamelessly paraphrasing an old article I wrote about what you can do if your solicitors mess up your compensation claim or do a very poor job with a poor outcome. This is because I have now been contacted by quite a few unlucky people in just this situation. If that is you – read on…..
Our average day’s work here at Ibbotson Brady Solicitors involves us acting as expert personal injury solicitors helping people who have suffered injuries and accidents and want to claim damages or compensation. Sadly, we are also sometimes contacted by new clients who come to us because they already had a good personal injury compensation claim up and running, but their existing/old solicitors 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’m not talking about cases where the solicitors had a good go, but the claim wasn’t strong enough. I’m talking about messing up strong claims.
These are sad cases because the poor client has been doubly hurt; they suffered the injuries in the accident in first place and then they suffered loss again when the solicitor who they instructed and trusted got it wrong.
In many, in fact most, of these cases there is no second chance to bring the original compensation claim against the person or company who caused the accident – in fact those opponents have often had a very lucky “windfall” escape. This can mean that the only real option available for the poor client is the pretty daunting one of bringing a professional negligence claim against their own former solicitors.
Of course, just because a claim has failed or someone is 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 and disorganised law firms, or situations where perhaps the solicitor or “file handler” is either very junior and out of their depth, or else the identity of the person dealing with it constantly changes all of the time, so that you barely talk to the same person twice. These are sometimes referred to as factory firms who probably bought in a lot of work, perhaps through television advertising, but were never really up to the job. The personal service needed is often entirely lacking and so important things are missed. Put simply, your solicitor ought to be talking to you, writing to you, keeping you updated, going through medical reports with you etc.
We find also that situations arise where the solicitor simply doesn’t explain things properly, or at least in simple terms that can be understood. Sometimes clients feel pushed into taking steps without really having the chance to consider and understand them properly or agree anything. Sometimes this takes the form of the solicitor sending out too much bland, standard written explanation without any actual specific case related advice in it. There is a feeling that they have just pressed a button and a document has churned out that is vaguely relevant, but doesn’t really equal advice. That is very disappointing when a 20 minute face to face meeting or telephone call with the same client would make things much, much clearer.
It doesn’t automatically follow that these specific and worrying themes lead to negligence either , but they do seem to be common indicators of problems to come.
One small crumb of comfort for disappointed clients in cases like these is that solicitors must have, as a condition of being able to call themselves solicitors, professional indemnity negligence insurance. This compulsory insurance is comprehensive so that the client is protected and to maintain public confidence in solicitors.
If something bad like this has happened to you and your claim it can be gut wrenching and it often feels like you are starting again at square one.
A few of these professional negligence claims against solicitors can be fairly simple and straightforward, such as where there has been a very basic and obvious mistake, like missing a crucial time limit. Most others are much more complicated and subtle and solicitors with their insurers can be tough opponents.
There is a written Protocol that has to 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!
So, if you think you might have one of these problems/situations then give me a call or send me an email for free. You can also use the case evaluation button below to make a free enquiry and we’ll call you and have a free chat. No win, no fee and other funding options might well be available.
Have a great weekend,