Denise was a 42 year old auditing assistant who was involved in a car accident in 2010. She suffered what were initially described by her doctor as “whiplash type injuries”.
She was referred to a large firm of solicitors by her insurance company, where she felt like a number rather than a valued client and was worried by the lack of client care she received. Within the first few months there were three changes in the person acting for her and nobody ever seemed to respond to her telephone calls and emails promptly, if at all.
Within a couple of months of the accident she was referred through a medical agency to a GP who prepared a medical report. The report was riddled with inaccuracies, which Denise pointed out to her solicitors. They seemed disinterested in her concerns and referred continually to settling her claim.
Denise did not get better as the GP had suggested. After about 6 months her solicitors reluctantly arranged for her to see “a specialist”. He wasn’t! His report also contains many inaccuracies and was unsupportive. Denise now felt under increased pressure from her solicitors to settle her claim. They advised her that her claim was worth around £1,650. That did not even cover her loss of earnings. She was desperate and looked for new solicitors.
Thankfully Denise contacted us. We had a number of conversations and read the correspondence and medical reports she had received from her solicitors. We understood her concerns and set out clearly an action plan to put her claim back on track. It was a big decision but Denise decided to instruct us. We contacted her former solicitors on her behalf.
It transpired that Denise had not been properly advised about how her claim should be funded. Her first solicitors would not release their files to us on reasonable terms and they sent Denise a bill – for their inadequate service! We helped Denise to complain and the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) advised her former solicitors to withdraw their bill, which they did. They then agreed to release their papers to us on the same terms we had originally requested.
Denise’s claim was complicated. Whilst liability for the accident was admitted, medical causation and quantum (valuation) were in dispute. Despite the dismissive attitude of her former solicitor, this was a far from straightforward case. Denise needed help and her claim required careful consideration and attention to detail. We could see that her claim was likely to lead to a significant award of compensation and so we advised that she create a Personal Injury Trust to receive and protect her compensation to ensure that she was still entitled to receive her state benefits.
We arranged for Denise to be seen by the right experts, as did the Defendant.
The orthopaedic experts agreed that Denise had suffered soft-tissue injuries, but her ongoing pain and disability could not properly be explained by them.
The expert psychiatrists agreed that Denise had a chronic pain disorder/somatoform disorder (now called somatic symptom disorder). The Pain Management Consultant we instructed thought, in addition, that Denise was suffering from myofascial pain syndrome.
Medical experts instructed by the other side disagreed with these diagnoses and suggested that Denise would likely be able to return to at least part-time work within two years.
We instructed a specialist barrister, who played an important role in Denise’s case. He met her in conference and advised throughout. He helped assess the evidence and prepared the lengthy and detailed final schedule of her financial losses.
Court proceedings had been issued and Denise’s claim was heading for an assessment of damages hearing before a judge. However, a Joint Settlement Meeting was arranged and the parties were able to agree settlement at £345,000, which is over 200 times what her former solicitors advised her claim was worth!
Suffice it to say that Denise was delighted. In her testimonial she said “I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me. To think what might have happened if I hadn’t had the courage to pick up the phone to you. I’m still in pain and don’t really expect that to change but at least I still have a roof over my head and can look to the future without constant financial worry.“