Would you get your hairdresser to fix your car, or your mechanic to cut your hair? Choosing the right solicitor after suffering a catastrophic injury is no different – it’s important to instruct someone who specialises in serious injury claims, who you feel you can trust, and who you like too – claims of this type can take many months to reach settlement and its important you, and your family, feel supported through what can be a very difficult time.
When a loved one suffers a major trauma injury, initial concerns will be for their health and wellbeing. However at some point, it is natural to have concerns about finances and the future, this can be particularly concerning if the injured person is the main breadwinner, or perhaps time needs to spent caring for a partner, parent or child, involving long periods of unpaid leave from work. The injured person may require ongoing care once discharged from hospital, or there may be long term mobility issues which require the purchase of specialist equipment, or even adaptations to the existing home.
Who can assist?
It is unfortunately the case that many injuries are caused by the negligent act or omission of a third party. In circumstances such as this, instructing a specialist catastrophic injury lawyer at an early stage can relieve some of the stress and strain facing the injured person and their family. An experienced solicitor will be able to signpost or refer to ancillary services who can help with finances, perhaps arranging a welfare benefits check up to ensure the correct benefits are being claimed; an employment expert to advise on rights at work; providers of support in the home or specialist equipment – all with the intention of making life a little easier and helping the injured party to make as full a recovery as possible.
Another important factor to consider is accessing the correct rehabilitation as early as possible. By instructing a solicitor in the early days, they will likely be able to provide access to private rehabilitation services, which can greatly impact the long-term recovery of the injured person. Understanding the nature of catastrophic injuries and a commitment to arranging rehabilitation should be high on the list of any solicitor you choose to instruct.
In cases where the injury was not the fault of someone else, help is still available; charities and not-for-profit organisations like Major Trauma Group can still connect you to organisations who can assist with welfare benefits check-ups and signpost you to other support services who can assist your specific personal circumstances and requirements.
Why is it so important to choose an experienced solicitor?
Many solicitors deal with personal injury claims. However there is a huge difference between a minor road traffic accident for instance, which has resulted in a whiplash injury, and a major road traffic accident which has resulted in multiple limb damage, spinal injury or amputation, just as you wouldn’t get a general handyman to build a new house from scratch for you, you shouldn’t instruct a general low value personal injury lawyer to run a multi-million pound claim for you.
Traumatic injury claims can be stressful and demanding at times, so a solicitor who understands this, who you are confident is working in YOUR best interests and who you will be happy to work with for several years is vitally important. It is a relationship that must be built on trust. Trust that the right advice is being given, trust that all your concerns are being listened to, trust that you can ask any questions and be given an honest answer and trust that you know your solicitor understands all your needs. Because it is not just about receiving the right compensation for the injury you have suffered but also making sure you receive all the rehabilitation and treatment available to you.
It is crucial to instruct a solicitor who understands the complexities of major trauma injuries to ensure your claim is not undervalued, to ensure you have access to the right rehabilitation at the right time, and that you have the funds, and support, to meet your long term needs, which could include ongoing rehabilitation, adapting your existing property or purchasing a new one, the purchase of specialist equipment, as well as compensation for the loss of any future earning capacity if you are unable to return to your existing employment.
Whilst the internet allows us to communicate easily with people who are many miles away, instructing a solicitor within your region of the country means they will have knowledge of local services and support groups and may actively work in the community to improve facilities for those affected by catastrophic injury.
So how do I choose?
Let’s start with how not to choose; do not just choose any lawyer, such as your local solicitor who prepared your Wills and does personal injury work. The lawyer you choose must be a specialist lawyer in major trauma injuries; they must be passionate about rehabilitation and, importantly, you must like them – it is likely you will need to deal with them for many months, speaking and meeting with them often. It’s a good idea to look for a solicitor who is a member of an organisation such as Major Trauma Group, The Law Society Personal Injury Panel or a solicitor accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. Membership of any of these organisations’ panels would suggest a special interest, experience and expertise in the field of catastrophic injury claims.
About Major Trauma Group
Major Trauma Group is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company that was set up in 2020 to provide nationwide access to specialist major trauma solicitors and supporting services. Law firm members were chosen for their commitment and dedication to rehabilitation for the victims of major trauma, to enable them to make the best possible recovery following an accident. They are supported by a number of organisations including medical advisers, case management companies and independent financial advisers to ensure they can provide the complete package to clients.
With member firms throughout England and Wales, we are uniquely placed to get the best of your compensation claim for major trauma injuries. By aligning crucial legal expertise and specialist serious injury experience to local knowledge and rehabilitation understanding, we can help you get the best legal and rehabilitation outcome following major trauma.