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An "Expert” View

As those of us in the field of personal injury face more uncertainty as to the future of claims and how they are conducted, it should be remembered that it is not just the lawyers who work in this field, there are many other professions who work alongside the lawyers to help cases go from cradle to grave, as quickly and smoothly as possible.

A couple of recent articles have caught our eye here in Box Towers, that relate to one group of experts, yes those medical experts, without whom personal injury claims would not even get off the ground.

Both of these articles should give some cause for concern, albeit for differing reasons.

Firstly, we have seen articles relating to a poll conducted by Nockolds Solicitors in Hertfordshire. Nockolds, conducting their poll of healthcare case managers through an online and hard copy questionnaire as well as telephone interviews, found that a staggering 81% from the 143 case managers who responded, had experienced a situation where a claimant solicitor has not acted in the best interests of their client.

The poll found that as examples of this, Claimant solicitors had amongst other things;

  • neglected to give their clients the right amount of support

  • pushed their clients to continue with a case when they were not fit to do so

  • cajoled clients into manipulating their personal circumstances in an attempt to get the maximum amount in a settlement, this included in one instance a solicitor advising a client against accepting a part-time job because it may have reduced their eventual settlement

Nockolds’ research also found that 69% of case managers have experienced a situation where a family member has not acted in the best interests of the client.

All rather worrying as this would suggest that there are some claimant lawyers and family members who may be more concerned with their own personal gain than what may be in their clients best interests.

Following hot on the heels of this article came news from Bond Solon that research conducted by them found that 76% of medical experts would not accept instructions from a litigant in person.

This may not come as too much of a surprise to PI lawyers but will also be an area for concern given that it may not be too long before the Government implements its latest reforms to the PI market, with the small claims limit rising to £5,000 for RTA claims and £2,000 for all others.

It is plainly evident that in the vast majority of these claims which will then fall into the small claims track, that the case will need to be supported by an expert’s report. How else will an injured party be able to prove their injury and loss and how will they be able to obtain that evidence if acting as a litigant in person?

It is indeed a challenging time for the legal market, which may well have been a factor when also considering if some claimant solicitors may not have acted in their clients best interests in the past.

Experts will still be required in these cases which will fall into the Small Claims track and those experts will also need to be paid for their work.

As an After the Event Insurance provider, we see the benefits of insuring these claims early so as to protect a Claimant from having to pay such costs of experts reports should the case fail. How will this pan out once the next round of reforms are implemented?

As a leading ATE provider, we are always looking to new and innovative ways to help our customers. We are ready to listen to your needs and ideas in order to move forward. If you would like to discuss this further, do please get in touch.

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