In the past few years a number of niche personal injury firms have developed highly competitive business models based around their abilities to process a large number of personal injury claims with small margins per case.
However, in a recent case, a Judge has criticised such a firm for doing so and has awarded a Claimant compensation for the negligent handling of his claim.
In 2009 Andrew Proctor (the Claimant) made a claim against two of his former employers for Vibration White Finger (VWF) sustained during the course of his employment as a miner between 1976 and 1994. This claim was made under a Government scheme for mining injuries and he received compensation of over £11,000.
The Claimant later consulted alternative solicitors who brought a professional negligence action against his original solicitors, who then defended the case on the basis that the original VWF claim may not have been wholly successful in any event.
In his Judgment, HHJ Gosnell explained that a professional negligence claim should not re-try the original issues of the claim.
However, the settlement reached by his solicitors failed to properly take into account all of the parts of a potential claim that the Claimant should have made and has been held by His Honour Judge (HHJ) Gosnell at Leeds County Court that he had been under-compensated due to negligence from his former solicitors.
It appears that the solicitors in question had successfully handled over 10,000 similar cases. They largely relied on Claimants providing information in relation to their claims via questionnaires rather than face-to-face or by detailed telephone conversations. According to the Judge they should have done so and also should have explained everything thoroughly in layman terms.
In his Judgment, HHJ Gosnell suggested that by doing so, the Claimant had missed the opportunity to maximise his claim and accordingly found that the original solicitors should compensate the Claimant for this loss.
He also provided guidance as to how the original solicitors should have better pursued the claim, in order to avoid such negligence actions in the future.
Personal Injury Department
0113 227 9355