The first time you may ever need to use a solicitor is if you get injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault. You decide to make a personal injury claim against the party responsible for causing the accident.
Here are some of the ways you may find yourself signing up to using a solicitor without actually giving the matter any detailed consideration:
- One of your friends recommends a solicitor (the solicitor has little experience in handling personal injury claims).
- You receive a call from a claims management company (CMC) trying to persuade you to use their solicitor to deal with your claim. CMCs sell accident claims to solicitors prepared to pay the CMC a hefty fee. Whether the solicitor is good at personal injury claims will be anyone’s guess.
- The garage you took your car into for a repair quote after a car accident may also be able to recommend a solicitor (from whom they receive a commission, much as in 2 above).
- The insurance company of the person who caused the accident in which you suffered injury may offer you the services of a lawyer from one of their ‘panel’ of solicitors.
- You search the internet for a personal injury solicitor and go with the first name you see because they are on the first page of Google. You assume that because they appear on the first page of Google, they must be good at what they do.
These are just some of the ways people go about finding a personal injury solicitor to act for them. The lawyers they choose (or have imposed on them) may perform very well in many cases.
What if they don’t cut the mustard, though? Here are examples of some people’s complaints about their injury compensation solicitors.
- They can’t get a response from their solicitor. Messages get left without being returned.
- They are kept in the dark about the claim because they receive no updates from the solicitors firm.
- The solicitors say they will do something, but when chased up weeks later, they still haven’t done what they said they would.
- The person handling the injury claim is inexperienced and gives off the sense that they don’t understand how to deal with the case properly.
- The solicitor repeatedly makes mistakes. They miss court deadlines, for instance.
- The solicitor’s firm pressures the client to accept the first offer of compensation from the insurance company despite the client believing the amount on offer is not enough.
- The client doesn’t feel comfortable with the advice about their claim.
They feel they need a second opinion about everything their lawyer tells them.
- The client worries their claim is going to be under-settled.
Do you have to stick with the solicitor acting for you, or can you change solicitors part way through the claim?
You will be relieved to hear that you can switch personal injury solicitors at any time if you aren’t happy with the service you are receiving from your current lawyer.
However, before you change, you have to find a new solicitor. Make sure you don’t jump from the frying pan into the fire. You are now more street-savvy and can use the bad experience with your first solicitor to your advantage. You know what you don’t want from your new solicitor, as well as what you do want.
Searching the internet is a good way of finding the right solicitor for you, as long as you know what to look out for. Here are our six top tips for finding the right solicitor:
- Search for ‘personal injury solicitors’ instead of simply ‘solicitors’. There are quite a few firms that specialise in personal injury compensation claims. Try and find one.
- The solicitor doesn’t need to be local in the digital era, but they need to be good and suit your needs.
- Check out the online reviews of a particular firm. Do they consistently get 4- or 5-star reviews? Read through what the reviewers have to say about the firm you are interested in. From their client reviews, you can find out a good deal about a law firm.
- Pick up the phone and call them. Tell them that you are a potential new client. Use your bad experience with your current solicitor to find out how the new solicitors would handle similar situations to those your current solicitors have got wrong.
- Try calling a few firms. Jot down notes when you talk to them and after you have made all your calls, weigh up the pros and cons of each.
- Make your decision, having evaluated each firm, and choose the firm that your instinct tells you will do the best job for you.
Finally, you may be worried about what happens in terms of the legal costs due to the first firm of solicitors. This rarely causes a problem in switching solicitors, as long as your new solicitors are prepared to give ‘an undertaking’ to include a claim for the previous solicitors’ costs when the claim is settled.
To discuss switching your personal injury claim, contact Mooneerams Solicitors.
Shirley Mist has been involved in fashion and design for many years. She has also written extensively for many online publications. She currently writes for The Tribune World and is a valued member of our team.