You expect a personal injury solicitor to look after your compensation claim and handle your case professionally and competently. When things go wrong, they can be very distressing and result in financial loss. We can help you take action.
Personal Injury Claims
When you choose a personal injury solicitor to look after your compensation claim, you expect them to handle your case professionally and competently. If this is not the case, and your case was handled poorly, it can lead to you not receiving the compensation you are entitled to.
If this has happened to you, you may be able to make a negligence claim against your personal injury solicitor.
Here at Been Let Down, we understand how truly devastating a decision against a personal injury claim can be for those affected. Should you feel like you’ve experienced negligent treatment by your solicitor that led to you not receiving the service you expected, get in touch with us today and we will do all we can to help.
What sort of situations can be claimed for?
Your solicitor could be negligent if they handled your claim poorly, or the compensation received was far less than you were led to believe. You may also have experienced negligence if you were treated without due care, causing you to suffer financially or emotionally.
If your personal injury claim has been concluded, but you feel let down by the service received and/or the compensation paid out, it is worth considering making a negligence claim.
Your personal injury solicitor has a duty of care to you, meaning they must properly follow procedures and act in your best interests during the claims process. Should this not be the case, seeking compensation for the way they handled your case can be the best course of action for you.
Why did I experience negligent care by my personal injury solicitor?
Government reforms designed to speed up the claims process and reduce the costs of seeking compensation have led to some law firms, in particular those specialising in personal injury claims, seeking new ways to increase their profit margins. For some of those firms, the level of service provided to their clients has been compromised.
How can personal injury solicitors be negligent?
As a result of the compromised service offered by some personal injury solicitors, there have been more personal injury negligence complaints and claims brought against solicitors. Below are some examples of negligence.
Missing limitation dates
Limitation is a vital part of any claim, as this defines the latest date that a claim must be filed with the court. In a personal injury claim the limitation date is usually three years from the date of the incident (or knowledge of the damage caused). The rules are slightly different for children and protected parties, allowing more time to bring a claim.
If your solicitor has missed the limitation date on your claim and/or the court had refused permission to allow you to bring the claim, your solicitor may have acted negligently. If you can demonstrate that your claim had merit before the claim was refused on limitation grounds, you might be entitled to pursue them for your losses and damages in negligence for your injuries.
Failing to comply with a court order or deadline
If your solicitor has failed to comply with court orders or deadlines, or not acted quickly when needed, your claim may have been compromised.
Recent amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules and the application of those rules by the judiciary have led to a stricter approach to non-compliance with court orders. This stricter approach taken has caused many problems for solicitors.
If your claim has been struck out by the court preventing you from recovering your compensation, your solicitor may have been negligent. You may, therefore, be entitled to recover your damages from your former solicitor.
Under-settling a personal injury claim (including medical negligence claims)
Solicitors have a duty of care to ensure their clients get appropriate compensation for personal injuries and losses sustained. This applies in all cases, even more complicated personal injury claims that include clinical negligence.
Due to pressures and targets for settling personal injury claims, we have seen a rise in negligent under-settlements. Common under-settlement mistakes are:
- Accepting an offer without your permission/instructions
- Making an offer to settle without your permission/instructions
- Not providing clear advice to allow you to make an informed decision when accepting an offer
- Settling your claim when you are still injured and not advising you of the consequences
In addition, we have seen a large increase in the number of inexperienced personal injury claims handlers who are not legally qualified. This, in turn, has led to an increase in the volume of claims being under-settled, due in part to the lack of proper investigation into injuries or the provision of clear and sound legal advice needed for clients to make decisions on whether to accept an offer.
Failing to identify heads of loss that should have been recovered
When pursuing a claim for personal injury, you will likely need to claim for other losses associated with the accident and injuries, including:
- Loss of earnings
- Care and assistance
- Rehabilitation and other treatment charges
- Future losses, such as the cost of surgery and future loss of earnings
- Disadvantage of open labour (employment) market claims
- Vehicle losses
- Damages items
If you think your solicitor did not recover some of these items or simply failed to advise you they could be recovered as part of your personal injury claim, your solicitor could be negligent.
Issuing court proceedings against the incorrect defendant
It is common for county court proceedings to be issued in personal injury cases. However, from time to time things can go wrong, resulting in your claim becoming defective and time-barred. Issuing proceedings against the wrong party is one reason why this might occur.
Investigations should be carried out by your solicitor to ensure they issue court proceedings against the correct defendant. Problems can crop up when the defendant is a business and is no longer trading, or the defendant is a company but trades under a different name.
If the claim is issued at court naming the wrong defendant, you will not be able to recover damages as the party has no interest in the claim. This could result in you becoming liable for the opponent’s costs, or more seriously that your claim may be statute barred (meaning it can no longer be recovered through court action) if the proper defendant takes issue with time limits.
Providing incorrect legal advice
Due to their qualifications, knowledge and experience, solicitors are trusted by those who instruct them to guide them in a wide range of legal matters. As a result, the advice solicitors provide can determine the outcome of a problem/dispute or issue. It is no exaggeration to say that the lives of clients may be in the hands of their solicitor.
If you believe your legal advisor, whether it be a solicitor or barrister, has provided an incorrect legal opinion that you relied on, resulting in you suffering a financial loss at your detriment, you may have a negligence claim for the way your personal injury claim was handled.
It is important to note that solicitors often instruct barristers on your behalf. Therefore, you may not have a contract directly with the barrister. Even if this is the case, if the barrister’s advice is incorrect and the solicitor relies on it, the solicitor may not be able to escape liability as your solicitor had a duty of care to ensure the advice you received was accurate and correct.
Failing to instruct an appropriate expert
If your solicitor fails to instruct an expert to prove your claim and/or your claim fails due to insufficient expert evidence, they may be negligent. For example, if a claim is brought against a surveyor for failure to investigate a property correctly, and your solicitor did not get an expert surveyor’s report confirming this, then your claim is likely to fail due to insufficient evidence.
Your solicitor may also be negligent if they do not seek the court’s permission to rely on expert evidence, or if the court refused permission to get an expert report due to a mistake made by the solicitor. Normally this happens when the solicitor did not seek permission soon enough and there was a delay in making an application to the court.
Failing to properly investigate evidence
Your solicitor might be negligent if they failed to gather all the necessary evidence in support of your case, which later causes your claim to be unsuccessful. An example of failing to investigate correctly might include not getting statements from an independent witness that supports your version of events and losing a claim for damages as a direct result.
Please note that the solicitor is not negligent if the independent witness does not want to co-operate. Likewise, this applies if the witness is not traceable, or if even with the witness evidence your claim was likely to fail.
Other examples of negligence
Claims for personal injury must follow strict guidelines. Other ways that your solicitor may have been negligent include:
- Not proceeding with a case when it would have succeeded
- Failing to send documentation within the timescales
- Not preparing for your case in detail
- Not sticking to your instructions
- Settling the case without all the information
Any of these reasons – or more – could have been behind your case failing to achieve any compensation award. Alternatively, these reasons may be why you received less compensation than you were entitled to.
If any of these sound familiar to your case, you may be able to make a claim for personal injury negligence. Your complaint against your solicitor is likely to be valid if there is proof that any of the above occurred.
How can making a claim help?
The circumstances of your personal injury are likely to have had a significant impact on your life. Perhaps you were involved in a road traffic accident or you were injured at work. Maybe you have encountered personal injury followed by medical negligence, resulting in several grounds for compensation.
Whatever you went through, you have likely experienced both physical and emotional stress. If you had to miss work due to your injuries, you may also have found that your finances have been severely impacted.
To then go through the claims process only to experience negligent care on the part of your solicitor can be detrimental to your wellbeing. Should you feel badly let down by your personal injury solicitor and the way they have behaved, you should consult an expert today.
While we understand you may be reluctant to pursue a negligence claim against your personal injury solicitor, we can help you claim for professional negligence against them. This will help you to recover the losses and compensation you were due during the first claims process.
By working with one of our specialist solicitors, you can relax in the knowledge that your claim is back on track, and any financial or personal losses have the best chance of being recovered.
Are there any time limits?
If you feel your claim is being mishandled, a negligence claim against your personal injury solicitor may now be the best route to achieving your original goal of securing the compensation you entitled to.
Time limits to bring professional negligence claims are typically six years, but there are some exceptions so it is worth speaking to us as soon as possible. This is especially important as your original claim was for a personal injury case and you are more likely to recall the details of this case – including the incident itself as well as how your solicitor behaved – if it happened recently.
Will my claim be No Win No Fee?
The personal injury sector has seen significant growth over the past 15 years, with many solicitors now specialising in pursuing compensation claims.
Once we have assessed your negligence claim and decided that you could have a successful case, we will let you know if we can take on your case on a No Win No Fee basis through what is called a Conditional Fee Agreement.
How to make a claim
If you think you can make a negligence claim against your personal injury solicitor, speak to us as soon as you can. Here at Been Let Down we are experienced in handling claims like yours and will work with you to find out what happened and how to proceed.
During your first call with us, we will talk to you about what happened. You will be asked questions about your personal injury solicitor, so you should have any documentation or notes to hand.
When you talk to our team, we will listen to you to understand what happened and advise you of the next steps. The solicitor will then tell you if your compensation claim could be successful.
We understand that your faith in solicitors is at its lowest. That is why we will talk you through the process and take you through your claim at a pace that works for you. We do not pressure clients into pursuing a claim and we are always honest about whether we think you have a case.
If you think you have grounds for a claim, speak to us today. Our first conversations are provided free of charge and we will never pressure you to pursue a claim.
Contact us today
Get in touch today and find out how we can help make a negligence claim against your personal injury solicitor.