What is it really like to be a personal injury lawyer? And what advice does British personal injury lawyer Michael Pace have for those facing an insurer with their “recommended law firm”? Take them, or not?
Writing in the Lincolnshire Echo, Michael Pace talks about the challenges facing both personal injury lawyer and client in a profession often dogged by claims of simply chasing money regardless of client interests.
Not so, he says.
As a personal injury lawyer I am very proud of my profession.
The people who instruct me to act for them have often suffered terrible, life-shattering injuries which they and their loved ones have to cope with for the rest of their lives.
In many cases they need ongoing specialist care or treatment and can no longer work. In the past month alone Andrew & Co has secured almost half-a-million pounds-worth – £431,000 – of compensation on behalf of five clients who had been injured in accidents which weren’t their fault.
The settlements had varying degrees of value, but the outcome from all of the cases will have a huge impact on the lives of the people involved.
For example, £150,000 was awarded to an elderly and disabled widow who sadly lost her husband in a fatal road traffic accident. We spent just over three years working on the case for her owing to complications surrounding the cause of the accident. But now this money will provide her with the much-needed care she requires for the rest of her life.
But what about insurance companies that recommend their favourite law firms?
In England . . there is a legal principle which prevents this so the Government ruled that the losing party (or their insurer in most cases) had to pay the claimant’s solicitor a “success fee”.
But insurance companies didn’t like this and put pressure on the Government to change the law. As a result the claimant now has to pay the success fee.
In the case of a road traffic accident insurance companies, who nearly always work on commission, will also do their best to offer you a “recommended” law firm to work with who you will probably never meet. It’s very difficult to assess a person’s mental state over the phone so psychological problems and more serious brain injuries often get missed.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realise they can appoint their own solicitor so very often they don’t get the compensation they deserve.