In the vast majority of personal injury compensation claims, claimants report high levels of satisfaction with the service they receive from their specialist personal injury Solicitor.
Direct2Compensation work hard to ensure that our Solicitors are able to settle the majority of claims for personal injury compensation quickly and in our clients favour. Over the years, we have developed a specialist claims process that provides a great service. Our clients are kept up to date, know how to communicate with their Solicitor and understand what the claim means to them in terms of costs. So, luckily for us, we don’t have an issue with clients complaining about their Solicitor or wishing to switch Solicitors during the process of the claim – unless the claimant is coming to us having had a bad experience elsewhere!
Sadly, a good personal injury claims experience is not the case for everyone. When a claimant has instructed a Solicitor to pursue their claim for personal injury compensation on a conditional fee agreement basis, how easy is it to switch to a different solicitor if the claimant is unhappy with the way in which they are managing the claim?
The claim must be financially viable
One consideration a ‘new’ Solicitor must take in to account when considering a claim that is already under instruction with another, is whether the matter will be financially viable for them. This is due to the requirement for a new Solicitor to meet the costs incurred by the previous Solicitor should the new Solicitor go on to successfully settle the claim for the client.
As Solicitors work on quite restricted fees in standard personal injury compensation cases, sadly it is often just not financially viable for a new Solicitor to undertake involvement in a claim where a previous Solicitor has acted. Solicitors must undertake a considerable amount of working hours and incur costs when pursuing a claim for compensation and if they then had to hand over the majority of the fees recovered on success of a claim, there would be no merit in the effort and cost that they had incurred. With this in mind, claimants need to be careful when instructing their Solicitor to ensure that they are instructing the right specialist with the right expertise in order to minimise the risk of the claim not being handled correctly. Claimants must also be very careful when considering withdrawing from their current Solicitor or seeking to cancel their claim – on two counts: The potential exposure to costs under the terms of the CFA they have signed when instructing their Solicitor and not being able to find a new Solicitor able to take on their ongoing case.
In cases where the potential settlement value of a claim is substantial, it is much easier for a new Solicitor to undertake involvement as the potential fee recovery for the successful Solicitor would be higher and this would render the financial viability issue redundant.
Of course, if you can’t find a new solicitor there’s always the possibility of claiming by yourself, but this can be fraught with difficulty.
Switching if your solicitor closes your claim
The most common reason that someone comes to us after having already instructed another claims management company or Solicitor is because their Solicitor has closed their claim, having taken the view that the prospects of succeeding are less than 50%. Remember, your solicitor only gets paid IF YOU WIN. If a Solicitor believes that a claim is unlikely to succeed, they will close the matter. It’s important to remember that by pursuing a claim that is unlikely to succeed, a Solicitor is only risking further costs to themselves should the claim fail. Whilst it costs you nothing if you lose, there are costs to the Solicitor and they must make a decision as to whether it is in your or their best interests to continue.
If your solicitor has closed your claim and advised that the 3rd party will not admit liability and that the defendant has a very strong defence to the claim that the courts would likely accept should your Solicitor continue to take the matter to court (their only option other than close the claim if liability is in dispute), A new Solicitor will not view the case any differently without new evidence available to strengthen the claim or weaken the defence raised. With this in mind, if your claim has ‘failed’ and been closed by your Solicitor due to a robust defence, you should be prepared to accept that there is no realistic prospect of succeeding with a new Solicitor unless you can uncover new evidence that had not previously formed part of your claim.
However, you do have a right to seek a second opinion and to that end, if you feel strongly about your claim, you can contact us as we can get a Solicitor to consider whether there is merit in undertaking a review your claim file to see if there is a way forward. Understandably, any claimant who has a claim that has been closed or failed will be disappointed, yet most understand why this happens as long as they are given a simple and clearly understandable reason for this by their solicitor.
Complaints against a current or previous solicitor
Occasionally, clients come to us when they believe that the Solicitor they have instructed to run their claim for personal injury compensation has acted negligently or handled the claim poorly. It is rare that Solicitors manage claims poorly or neglectfully, but we’re all humans and mistakes can be made. Indeed, when we look in to such enquiries it is often the case that the Solicitor has given the client bad news regarding their claim and the client doesn’t like it. We all want someone to blame when things don’t go our way and this can happen in personal injury compensation claims too. However, when there does appear to be a genuine case of poor claim management by a Solicitor or negligent behaviour, there are things that a claimant can do in order to rectify the situation, with the last resort being switching solicitors to a new firm.
When it comes to personal injury compensation claims, it is always important to be honest and transparent. With this in mind, Direct2Compensation advise clients that it is not always in their best interests (or even needed) to switch Solicitors with their claim. There is a correct way to handle a complaint about a Solicitor and their handling of your claim and often things can be resolved with your current Solicitor which if done, will see your claim settle more quickly than if you switch to a new Solicitor. If you believe that you have a genuine complaint against your current Solicitor, here is a list of the things you can do about it:
- Complain to your Solicitors office and ask for a written reply to your complaint. In the majority of cases, you will find that there may have been a lack of communication about a certain point of interest in the claim or that you may not have received an important bit of correspondence. By complaining, your Solicitor will have every chance to rectify the situation quickly.
- If you are not happy with your Solicitors response to your complaint, you can contact their regulator – the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. They have a complaints department and can hold your Solicitor to account for their actions.
- If you are not sure what you should expect from your personal injury compensation Solicitor, contact us as we can advise you on this and let you know what you should expect from them.
- If you feel really aggrieved about your current Solicitor, that the relationship with them is beyond repair and that you have no faith in them it is probably then best to end their instruction and authorise a new firm to investigate taking the claim forward. This should only be done once the above process has been attempted and exhausted.
Of course, you might just want to discuss the way in which your claim has been handled and not yet be sure that you wish to switch solicitors. We’ll be more than happy to give you our honest opinion and let you know what you can do about it and if needs be help you to instruct a competent specialist no win no fee Solicitor to pursue your claim for personal injury compensation.
Direct2Compensation can boast a proud record of excellent service and work with some really great specialist firms – we call them our Solicitor partners. Find out what is so special about us, or take a look at the feedback shown on our testimonials.