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A couple listen to their legal adviser illustrating what to expect from a legal adviser

Louise Jenkins is the Head of the Serious Injury team at Brain Injury Group member firm Irwin Mitchell. Drawing on over 20 years of experience in acting for clients who have sustained serious brain, spinal cord injury and other complex injuries, Lousie looks at what to expect of legal advisers in a personal injury compensation claim.

What should clients expect from their solicitor in the early stages of a personal injury claim following a serious injury?

The difference early support and advice can make is huge, it isn’t just about exploring the circumstances of the accident and looking into whether there is a viable claim, it is really important to provide early practical support and guidance alongside legal advice. This might be around managing family finances in the short term (including entitlement to state benefits) or support with understanding the injury and the effects of it. Guidance is also often needed on what to expect in terms of NHS treatment and what the options might be after discharge from hospital for ongoing treatment and support at home including rehabilitation.

What should a client expect in terms of communication and updates?

A client should receive first class technical expertise delivered in a way that works for them and meets all their needs. Clients should be able to state their preferences around how they prefer to be communicated with and agree how regularly they would like to receive updates. A tailored approach should be adopted for every client to ensure what matters most to them at each stage is always the priority because everyone’s situation is different.

How soon are interim payments likely to be available?

Access to interim payment funding as early as possible in the legal process is vital to help ease financial hardship and pay for rehabilitation and medical treatment. Prioritising recovery and restoring quality of life should always be at the forefront of the solicitor’s mind and drive the decisions in the claim. The compensation claim should provide for long term financial protection and support, to include lost earnings, ongoing rehabilitation and care, for as long as it is needed depending upon the impact of the injuries upon daily life that can be linked to the accident. The solicitor should be ensuring an interim payment is dealt with as soon as possible depending on the case.

How do I know if my solicitor is a serious injury expert?

It is important to have a serious injury specialist. Claims can be complex and particularly so where serious injuries have been sustained which could have a life changing impact. It is important to research specialists through the Law Society, Brain Injury Group or Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). Some charities also have approved lists of solicitors eg Headway (for cases involving brain injury) and AVMA (for cases involving medical negligence). You can also research law firms and individual lawyers in the independent legal directories, Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500. A specialist lawyer will know how to conduct the claim in a way that promotes recovery, choosing the right experts and treating specialists to work with the client to get the best possible outcomes and quality of life.

What if I am not sure about my current legal representation?

It is really important to have trust in your solicitor, feel confident that you are safe in their hands and that they truly understand, listen to and respond to your individual needs. If you feel unsure, you are always free to seek a second opinion. Most solicitors offer a free initial discussion without obligation. If you decide to take things further, everything can be taken care of on your behalf and you don’t need to worry about contacting your current solicitor, with your permission this can all be dealt with for you, allowing you to focus your energy on your recovery and day to day life.

What about other legal services I might need after an injury?

Access to a range of other legal services as and when they are needed is an important part of supporting clients and their families after a serious injury. For example, there might also be a need for advice on one or more of the following issues – family law, conveyancing, wills and trusts, public law, court of protection, employment or financial advice. It is a good idea to check if the law firm representing you also offers these other services so that you can be provided with everything you need by one firm who understands and can take care of any other legal, practical or financial needs both for you and your family.

This article was produced with the assistance of Louise Jenkins of Irwin Mitchell.

Louise is a Partner in the Sheffield office of Irwin Mitchell and the Head of the Serious Injury team comprising 60 team specialists. She has more than 20 years of experience in acting for clients who have sustained serious brain, spinal cord injury and other complex injuries.

Louise is an accredited brain injury specialist and Fellow with APIL. She has been published in NR Times in relation to topics focussed upon rehabilitation, promoting recovery and restoring quality of life after serious injury.

Louise is also the pro bono Lead for the Sheffield office coordinating local initiatives to support free legal advice being given in the community through charities and to individuals directly to ensure access to justice for all.

About Irwin Mitchell

Brain Injury Group member firm Irwin Mitchell are a national law firm whose solicitors work hard to make things easier for their clients and their family. Over the past 2 years they have helped clients recover more than £1 billion in compensation, but this is only part of the story, their solicitors also help clients access the rehabilitation, medical care and support needed to achieve the best recovery possible.

How can Brain Injury Group help?

Brain Injury Group is a network of approved personal injury solicitors with brain injury expertise. Moreover, our member firms have the complex injury experience to get the best possible rehabilitation and compensation for brain injuries.

Brain injury rehabilitation is important; to us, to our members, to you and towards getting the best outcome. We can help get you that best outcome. Get in touch to find out more from our brain injury experts.

Contact us – to get in touch you can either:

  1. Call us on 0800 612 9660 or 03303 112541
  2. Email us at enquiries@braininjurygroup.co.uk
  3. Complete this short enquiry form and we’ll get back to you
  4. Find a specialist brain injury solicitor near to you
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