Changing solicitors during the course of a personal injury claim
- AuthorKim Daniells
Individuals contemplating any legal action or transaction think carefully about the solicitor that they are going to approach to deal with the matter. Most then remain happy with their choice of legal advisor and indeed may go back to instruct that solicitor again at at some point in the future in relation to other issues.
From time to time a client may need to change solicitor part way through a matter. Occasionally this is necessary because the original solicitor is no longer able to deal with the matter. From time to time a client may wish to instruct a new solicitor because they are unhappy with the service provided by the first. The client may have genuine concerns about the quality of advice they are receiving from the solicitor or might have to deal with a number of different Individuals, rather than a dedicated contact.
Changing solicitors during the course of a personal injury claim is possible and, in many cases, quite straightforward. Generally there are four steps to follow:-
A. Decide to change
In some circumstances difficulties can be resolved simply and quickly. Difficulties might stem from communication problems which could be capable of resolution swiftly if you explain your concerns. For simple claims which may resolve fairly quickly, changing solicitors can prove to be time-consuming and not actually result in a better outcome.
B. Choose a new solicitor
You will need to make sure that the new solicitor is in a position to help you and can take on your case. Ideally the new solicitor should be willing to speak with you on a free, no obligation basis.
C. Agree how the earlier solicitor’s fees will be dealt with
Your new solicitor should be able to explain the options to you so that you are happy with the arrangements.
D. Transferring the files
This can generally be quite straightforward. The new solicitor will provide a form of authority for you to complete and sign. This is a simple document that can be sent to the first solicitor and authorises release of the papers to the new solicitor.
Occasionally there are issues that might discourage you from changing solicitor. Some claims are supported by legal expenses insurance, or Legal Aid, and you may be concerned that this will not be available to any new solicitor that you instruct.
If you think any of these issues might affect your case then it is a good idea to raise them with the new solicitor when you approach them. Ask how they propose to deal with the issue. If you are able to provide a solicitor with detailed information at the time of the first approach then they will be in a better position to decide if they can help.
CNCI, a dedicated team within Harrowells, have a wealth of experience of dealing with complex and higher value personal injury claims including those arising from catastrophic injury, clinical negligence, occupational stress and asbestos related disease. The CNCI team regularly work closely with legal expense insurers and have a Legal Aid contract to enable them to pursue claims for brain injuries suffered at or near the time of birth.
If you have a claim that is ongoing and would like to consider instructing a new solicitor, contact CNCI for a free, no obligation, confidential discussion.