How do I choose the best injury lawyer for my claim?
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an illness or injury that was not your fault, you may decide to make a compensation claim through a personal injury lawyer.
With thousands of PI firms across the UK, how do you know if you have found the best personal injury solicitor to handle your injury claim?
Where do I start?
Finding a injury lawyer online
An online search is a good place to start, and will enable you to find local or national firms with the most relevant expertise for the type of accident and injury you have suffered.
You can check whether your solicitor has accreditations relevant to personal injury, including:
- The Law Society’s Personal Injury Accreditation
- The Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation
- Membership of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
- Membership of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS)
If you know someone who has made an injury claim in the past, asking for a recommendation may help. You could also talk to them about their claim more generally, to get an idea of what they liked or didn’t like about the experience.
You may get recommendations from friends or family for a local firm they used for another service (usually conveyancing).
There is a risk that a smaller or multi-discipline firms do not have the necessary experience or expertise. You might have had a very positive experience working with a conveyancing solicitor in the past, but that doesn’t mean that their firm can deliver the best result for an injury claim.
Picking up the phone
Once you find prospective firm, there is no substitute for picking up the phone and speaking to a member of their team. You will quickly get a feel for how the firm operates and what the level of service is likely to be.
Red flags include:
- Failing to call you back at an agreed time
- Delayed responses to emails
Don’t be put off if the person you speak to can’t answer all your questions on the spot, particularly about your chances of success and the value of your claim. A good solicitor firm will explain why these questions are difficult to answer at the very outset of the claims process.
Do all injury lawyers offer the same level of service?
Solicitors must adhere to strict regulations regarding the legal advice and services that they provide to clients. They also follow a code of conduct that requires them to act honourably and with integrity.
That said, service levels can vary considerably between firms. Some solicitors are very efficient, but may be hard to contact at times. Some firms use email and online document signing, whereas other solicitors take the slower approach of sending out hard copies of documents by post.
A poor first impression of a prospective firm’s approach to speed and customer service may be an omen of what’s to come.
Will I get the same outcome for my claim regardless of which lawyer I choose?
Not always, no. In theory, your claim’s chance of success and the level of injury compensation you will get should depend on the facts of your case, not on your lawyer.
In practice, however, the claim success rate between different lawyers can vary, particularly if liability is disputed and a claim goes to court.
Are some lawyers more likely to win my case?
Because of the requirements of No Win, No Fee agreements, the majority of lawyers will only take on a case if they are very confident they will win. If your lawyer is uncertain about your claim’s prospects of success, they will tell you so at the outset (assuming they do accept your claim).
Choosing the wrong solicitor could see you losing an otherwise-winnable case, but is more likely to result in under-settling your claim and receiving less compensation.
Will some lawyers get me more compensation than others?
Sometimes, yes. In addition to claiming ‘general damages’ for your injury, you can also claim ‘special damages’ for all the costs and expenses you have incurred as a result of your accident and injury.
An experienced, specialist lawyer will ensure that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to claim for, including some special damages that a generalist lawyer may miss. Gratuitous care and diminution of value are two examples.
However, less compensation may not always be worse if it means the claim is settled much faster, and particularly if you need the compensation urgently to fund ongoing care, treatment or living costs. You should discuss your needs with your solicitor from the outset, so they can take the appropriate course of action when negotiating your compensation.
Are some lawyers faster?
Yes, but a faster result isn’t always better. If your lawyer quickly negotiates a compensation amount with the defendant’s insurance company, that outcome may be better for you if you need the money urgently.
The risk of accepting an early settlement if your symptoms are ongoing is that you don’t receive enough compensation if your injuries take longer to heal than planned, or worsen. You cannot claim more compensation later. If you do get an early offer, your solicitor should discuss the pros and cons of accepting the offer with you.
More generally, you should avoid firms who insist on sending letters and paper copies of everything by post. This ‘traditional’ approach can add weeks of unnecessary delay to the claims process.
Should I use my insurance company’s recommended solicitor?
If your insurer recommends a solicitor, you do not have to use them. With No Win, No Fee, there will be no additional cost to you if you choose an independent law firm yourself.
The claims process can take months to complete. You should choose an independent lawyer that you are comfortable discussing financial, health and legal matters with, rather than having that choice made for you.
Choosing an independent solicitor also avoids the risk of there being a conflict of interest.
What is the difference between a solicitor and a Claims Management Company (CMC)?
We would recommend that you always use a solicitor with a specialisation and successful track record in handling your type of injury. The question is, how do you know you have found the right solicitor?
This is where Claims Management Companies, or CMCs, can help.
CMCs are often essentially panels of solicitor firms. The composition of the panel will be based on covering a broad range of expertise that just cannot be matched by an individual solicitor firm. Panel firms will also be selected for their track record of winning compensation claims.
CMCs will also be very focused on their solicitors providing the best possible customer journey and client satisfaction.
Furthermore, you get the CMCs service for free. Although CMCs are paid a marketing or administration fee by the solicitor, this will come out of the solicitor’s marketing budget and not your compensation.
Do I need to choose a specialist law firm?
it is not necessary to choose a firm that specialises solely in personal injury. You should, however, check that the individual solicitor specialises in your specific type of claim.
Some solicitors will ‘turn their hand to anything’ - e.g. a road accident claim solicitor taking on an accident at work claim. These generalists are unlikely to have the level of expertise required to deliver the best result, particularly for higher-value and complex injury claims.
Look for a solicitor with a proven track record in your specific type of claim. If you are working with a CMC, ask them why they have recommended a specific solicitor.
Do all lawyers offer the same No win no fee terms?
No, terms do vary from firm to firm. Unless you have existing legal insurance in place, you will probably fund your case with a no win no fee agreement known as a ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’ or 'CFA'.
A CFA is essentially the terms and conditions under which the solicitor will act for you.
You should, therefore, check the small print before signing anything. You could ask for a specimen CFA right from the outset and ask the solicitor to go through it with you.
Do Success Fees vary between lawyers?
Under a no win no fee agreement, the solicitor will almost always charge a success fee if the claim is successful.
The law restricts success fees to a maximum of 25%, but the solicitor may charge less. Be upfront and ask what the success fee will be if they win your claim.
What is the injury lawyer’s track record?
Ask your solicitor if they have handled any similar claims before and what the outcome was. You could even ask for them to send you a case study.
Do I need a local solicitor?
Personal injury claims are almost always carried out remotely, by phone, email and post. It will not be necessary for you to attend a solicitor’s office to make a claim.
As part of the process you will usually need to attend a medical assessment to support your claim. The medical will be arranged with a local doctor or medical expert. The medical professional will then forward their report to your solicitor.
Does the solicitor believe in your case?
Try and get a sense of whether the solicitor feels you have a strong case and that he or she believes they will win it.
A solicitor in this positive frame of mind may fight harder for you than one who is simply going through the motions. They will also conduct negotiations with your specific needs in mind, rather than taking a generic approach.
Do you like the people you have spoken to?
Even if you haven’t yet spoken to the individual solicitor who will handle your claim, ask yourself what was the attitude of the people you have dealt with at the firm? If they were helpful, friendly and professional, the chances are this attitude is echoed in the culture of the firm as a whole.
How accurate are solicitor reviews?
Checking online reviews is a quick and easy way to confirm that your prospective solicitor offers the sort of service you are looking for. Look out for comments about communication and proactivity in particular.
Bear in mind that some firms offer multiple services, and that negative reviews may not relate to their personal injury team’s performance. For example, a large firm can have bad reviews solely due to unavoidable delays in property conveyancing, much to the frustration of the other legal departments.
What do I do if my choice of injury lawyer rejects my claim?
If your preferred firm cannot take on your claim, you should get a second opinion. There are several reasons why a solicitor may reject a claim that have little to do with whether or not the claim has a good chance of success.
Reasons for rejecting a valid claim include:
- Capacity - The firm may simply be too busy to take on more work.
- Cost - Some smaller firms are not able to bankroll the cost of long-running and complex injury claims.
- Expertise - Some firms lack specialist knowledge in niche areas of personal injury law.
- Quantum - This refers to the ‘quantum’ or value of your claim. Some firms will reject what they view as low-value claims, as the work involved won’t cover their fees.
Put us to the test
Why not contact us and ask how our service measures up? You can discuss any questions you may have, and will be under no pressure to start a claim with Quittance.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Questions about the injury claims process?
Frequently asked questions:
- How will a personal injury claim affect my benefits?
- Will I have to pay tax on my injury compensation award?
- Can I make a personal injury claim for someone else?
- Can I claim injury compensation if there were no witnesses?
- Can I make an injury claim if I don't know who's to blame?
Get all the answers in our comprehensive FAQ section:See more FAQs