Terry was a highly skilled tool maker for a precision engineering company. In 2012 he was injured in an accident at work. He suffered nasty soft-tissue injuries to his foot. Rather than improving, as time went by his symptoms deteriorated. His first solicitors obtained a report from an orthopaedic surgeon through a medical agency. This ‘expert’ could not explain why he was not getting better or why he was suffering excruciating pain as well as a range of other symptoms. Nevertheless, despite this uncertainty, his solicitors produced a schedule of his losses and arranged for him to meet a barrister.
Terry’s barrister advised what she thought were reasonable settlement parameters based upon the orthopaedic evidence. His solicitors recommended that he make an offer to settle his claim based upon these recommendations. The offer they recommended was £7,500. Terry was extremely unhappy with both the medical experts opinion and the legal advice he had received. After some hesitation, he decided to speak to us.
Following an initial telephone conversation, we agreed with Terry that we should meet with him in order to agree a way forward. Following our meeting, Terry was happy with our proposed course of action and felt confident that we would be able to help him. He instructed us and we obtained the papers from his first solicitors. Once he decided to instruct us he did not need to have any further contact with his first solicitors. We dealt with that for him.
Terry’s first solicitors had not obtained his full medical records. This is vital in every case. We obtained and carefully reviewed them to enable us to tailor detailed letters of instruction to each medical expert. Letters of instruction to a medical expert should always be approved by a client before they are sent. The medical records should be professionally collated, paginated and indexed and a medical chronology prepared. These should then be sent to the medical expert with the approved letter of instruction.
It was clear that Terry’s first solicitors and barrister had not understood his medical condition and had seemingly advised him that he had to accept, at face value, the opinion of the orthopaedic expert.
By then he had been diagnosed by a treating consultant with CRPS Type 1. As the claims process does not allow you to simply abandon a medical expert, even a poor one, we put questions to the orthopaedic expert instructed by Terry’s former solicitors, who agreed with us that the Court would benefit from a specialist opinion from a Consultant in Pain Medicine and a specialist Pain Psychiatrist.
As soon as those further reports were available, we made a successful application to the Court and Terry was given permission by the judge to rely upon the further medical evidence. The further medical evidence had a dramatic impact on Terry’s case. It recommended specialist treatment and supported his claims for domestic and related assistance. It also confirmed that his capacity for work was seriously impaired.
Interim payments provided Terry with some short term financial security and also funded further treatment.
Following treatment, he was re-examined by our medical experts, who produced updated reports with a settled long term prognosis for Terry’s condition. Terry had been able to find himself some light, part-time work. The opinion of the medical experts was that Terry should be capable of continuing with this for the foreseeable future. After properly collating his claims for past and future loss we prepared a detailed schedule of those losses to be approved by Terry.
Following disclosure of all the evidence an offer of settlement was received from the Defendant which was unacceptable. However, following further negotiation, Terry’s claim settled for £420,000.