1. Are they actually a solicitor? Many claims factories employ unqualified paralegals and claims managers (whatever a “claims manager” is”.) Check out whoever is dealing with your personal injury claim on the Law Society website to see if they are a solicitor here: http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/?Pro=True. Just because someone works at a Solicitors practice it doesn’t necessarily make them a solicitor! Many Legal Executives regulated by CILEX are brilliant, so you don’t necessarily need a solicitor. Perhaps for more complicated injury claims you may want a solicitor but it’s all about the quality, supervision of, and experience of the solicitor or Legal Executive who is handling your accident claim.
2. Have they dealt with a case like yours before? Ask them – go on – ask them. Not only is the type of accident important but also whether the personal injury solicitor has experience in your specific type of injuries. It’s scandalous that some claims farms have unqualified “claims managers” dealing with really complicated injuries. Each person is unique. Each injury impacts upon a person differently. The failure to accurately comprehend a complex medical report is the reason why Truth Legal is top for “change solicitor” in the UK. My goodness do we see some incorrectly analysed medical reports!
3. Ask – how many cases do they have? We have around 500 cases between 12 of us. The only people who run personal injury claims at my firm are experienced personal injury solicitors. Now I know some unqualified paralegals who used to have 600 road Traffic Accident claims at the same time! Please digest that. Yes, I personally know paralegals who ran – or tried to run – 600 road Traffic Accident claims at the same time. Whatever job you do, please imagine trying to do a competent job running 600 claims. It’s farcical. Please do not use such a solicitor’s firm. Ask your “claims handler” – go on, I dare you – how many claims they are running at the same time as yours. You won’t believe the answer. Pick a solicitor who knows who you are when you call them. If they don’t know you – instead, they ask for your reference number – you’re probably with the wrong law firm.
4. Ask them whether they can handle your case at every stage. It’s weird but it’s true that some claims factories use unqualified people to take the call; then inexperienced paralegals to submit the claim; and then if it gets complex, they often allocate your claim to someone more senior. Ask your solicitor (and I hope that you are using a solicitor or qualified Legal Executive) whether they can handle every stage of your claim. If they cannot, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to build a rapport with this person and, also, you’ll find yourself repeating what you’ve previously said to the other person. Your time is precious, so don’t waste it repeating yourself.
5. At the outset, ask your lawyer to value your claim. Generally, if they attempt to accurately value your claim, please ditch them. Valuing a claim is complicated and requires the full evidence. At the start of the claim you cannot have the full evidence, therefore it cannot be properly valued.
6. Do they return your call and emails in a timely matter? Do they? If they don’t, then you should consider switching solicitors. Solicitors get paid for successful cases. Take your case elsewhere.
7. What does your gut say? If you think that you’ve got the wrong lawyer then you’re probably right.
Me and my team of personal injury solicitors are happy to give you a second opinion about your personal injury claim. We won’t contact your current solicitors unless we have your signed authority. If we can’t help you, we will tell you. That’s what we do at Truth Legal.