Developing a pain condition like Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) from an accident that wasn’t your fault can be utterly devastating. One thing that can help mitigate that devastation is using a specialist chronic pain solicitor like Richard Lowes of BLB Solicitors to pursue your personal injury claim.
That’s exactly what a recent claimant did, and they walked away with a life-changing settlement of £1.3 million. It’s a staggering sum, but it’s even more stunning when you learn that this claimant was initially told by another firm of solicitors that he would never get more than £25,000. Whilst no amount of money will make the pain and suffering go away, having the funds to pursue treatment and the care you need can certainly make the burden less difficult to bear.
How did the claimant get hurt?
This claimant was in his early 30s, working in an industrial setting, when a very heavy weight was accidentally dropped on his foot, leading to a crush injury. In a scenario that will seem familiar to many with chronic pain, he did everything to try and get the injury to heal, but the pain kept getting worse and worse, leading eventually to a diagnosis of CRPS.
As a father of young children, not only was the pain overwhelming but his inability to work caused huge stress and financial worry for his family. It was a dire situation, so soon after his diagnosis he had no choice but to pursue a personal injury claim to try and get his finances and family back on an even keel.
Initial approach to a big legal firm
At first, this claimant approached a large national legal firm with a huge personal injury department amongst many others. Despite the fact that this firm claims to have an expert understanding of the life-changing nature of CRPS and other pain disorders, they stated that the claim was worth no more than £25,000. That’s a valuation of under 2% of what the claim was really worth!
It became rapidly apparent that, despite the expertise this firm claimed to have in CRPS and chronic pain, the claims handler he was speaking with didn’t actually know how to handle this particular claim; in fact, the handler had never even heard of CRPS. And the claims handler wasn’t even a qualified lawyer! After getting increasingly frustrated, the claimant decided to start looking around for another solicitor to represent him.
Starting again with BLB Solicitors
That’s when this claimant discovered BLB Solicitors. BLB Solicitors is very different to the enormous law firms out there. I speak from experience as I went through an almost identical process myself when pursuing my own personal injury claim for CRPS; I initially contacted a large national firm of solicitors and realised, when they sent me to see a GP instead of a pain expert, that they didn’t really understand my illness or know what to do with a claim like mine. They may be ok if you’ve suffered a whiplash injury, but not any life-changing.
As my pain got worse and worse, my savings disappeared and I eventually lost my job. I became increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress and understanding I was experiencing; in the end I found BLB Solicitors and found it very easy to transfer my claim to them. It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made; my claim settled extremely successfully in 2015 and has been life-changing. If you’d like to know more about my experience then click here.
One thing to note is that changing solicitors is a very simple process. I was terrified that I’d have to speak to my original solicitors myself to tell them I was appointing new lawyers but BLB Solicitors took care of everything for me which was a huge relief. If you’d like to know more about how to change solicitors, please click here.
Richard Lowes of BLB Solicitors represented this claimant. After talking at length with him to ensure he understood the facts and his situation fully, Richard essentially went right back to basics and started the claim all over again. One of the first steps in every claim is getting the full medical records and work history, so that you can establish where a claimant would likely have been, both health- and work-wise, if the accident and subsequent illness had never taken place.
Visits with medical experts
Richard then sent the claimant to see a series of true experts in this field: a leading pain management specialist, who could both comment on the prognosis and also recommend treatments that might help, and a psychiatrist, who could write a report on the terrible mental strain such a devastating illness can have. He also obtained reports from a foot and ankle surgeon to comment upon the original injury and a spinal surgeon to comment upon the claimant’s pre-existing low back problems. In addition, a case manager was appointed to co-ordinate all aspects of the claimant’s care, taking yet another burden away from the claimant and his family.
Off the back of these reports, Richard was able to persuade the defendant to pay privately for a variety of medical treatments so that the claimant avoided waiting and received the best care possible. Rather than waiting months for referrals and then more months for treatment, he was able to see CRPS experts very quickly and get treated much more quickly than he would have been on the NHS. Rapid treatment can make all the difference in CRPS so this is of huge benefit. Richard was even able to persuade the defendant to fund a much-needed family holiday!
Dealing with the defendants
Of course, it wasn’t all plain sailing. As much as the doctors instructed by BLB Solicitors were sympathetic to the claimant’s situation, there were doctors instructed by the defendants who tried to claim that he was nowhere near as badly hurt as they said. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is rare and poorly understood, and there are some doctors out there who will regularly dispute whether a claimant really has this condition; as you can imagine, they are instructed far more regularly by defendants than by claimants!
This is a deeply unpleasant part of any personal injury claim, but one that has to be expected. I went through it myself, and as horrible as it was, Richard Lowes’s careful planning meant that we had pre-empted any potential stumbling blocks and his constant reassuring presence at the end of the phone got me through it.
Crucially, Richard was also able to obtain significant interim payments that greatly lessened the financial worries of this young family. Interim payments are sums paid on account against the final claim; basically, money is paid to the claimant in advance and then is taken off the final payment the defendant makes when the value of the claim is agreed and settled.
In the end, like many personal injury claims, this one was finalised at a Joint Settlement Meeting (JSM). This is a meeting, typically with three rooms; the claimant and their team in one room, the defendant in another, and a third room where the barristers representing both claimant and defendant go to hash out a final number that everyone can agree to. Of course, every claim has to be prepared as if it’s going to trial, but generally this hardly ever happens as defendants are normally keen to settle before incurring astronomical trial costs.
In this case, the JSM ended wonderfully for the claimant and his family: a £1.3 million settlement that would fund his care, reimburse their losses and enable them to have a bright future once more.
Removing as much stress as possible
It’s impossible to take all the stress out of a personal injury claim. For a claim to be as substantial as this, it means that the illness or injuries you’re claiming for will have very significant negative effects. You can’t take all of that away, but I can personally attest to the difference it made when I transferred my claim to Richard Lowes.
Rather than having someone who didn’t really know me or care very much about my situation like I experienced with my original solicitor, Richard was always at the end of the phone, no matter what. He got to know me and my family very well – we even invited him to our wedding!
The best result possible
And possibly most importantly, really, is that Richard was able to settle my own CRPS claim for a very significant amount that has changed our lives. It may not take the pain away, but it has made this devastating illness so much easier to cope with. Just as he has done for the claimant in this case, who walked away with an overwhelming 98% more than he was initially told he would receive.
If you asked me to sum up what makes BLB Solicitors different it would be exactly this: their personal injury team are genuine experts in the field of chronic pain. Rather than taking on as many clients as they can, each solicitor only works on a few claims at a time, meaning that they have the time and energy to truly get to know and understand the people and illnesses they’re working with.
To put it in a nutshell? Given my own experience and what I’ve heard from many others, I’m not even slightly surprised that there are what should be six- or seven-figure chronic pain claims being handled by other law firms where the claimant is told they’ll only receive 2% of what they truly deserve. The difference with BLB Solicitors is that they have the skill, expertise and experience to obtain that extra 98%. And at the end of the day, as a claimant, making sure you get as much compensation as you possibly can is really the only thing that truly counts.