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Choosing a solicitor

It is important to make sure that you choose the right solicitor for you and your specific case.  You need to have confidence in their experience of brain and spinal injury litigation and in their ability to get the best possible result for you. 

Recommendations
A recommendation is a good starting point.  It is worth speaking to other families who have been through the same process and to anyone working within the field of brain injury, such as support organisations.

Accreditations
Accreditations are important.  Depending on how your brain or spinal injury was caused, it is wise to use a firm with solicitors on the Law Society Personal Injury Accreditation Scheme and/or the Law Society Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme.  Also look for membership of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (“APIL”) and their specialist interest group for brain and spinal injury.  If your injury was caused as a result of medical negligence, check whether your solicitor is recommended by the charity Action against Medical Accidents and on the AvMA Clinical Negligence Specialist Panel.  For an injury caused by medical negligence, check that the firm holds the Legal Services Commission quality mark and has a legal aid franchise to carry out publicly funded medical negligence work.  

Knowledge and experience
Check your solicitor’s knowledge and experience by asking about other brain and spinal injury cases which they have worked on.  They should be able to clearly explain the medical and legal issues and how they have helped similar previous clients.

There are so many facets to living with a brain or spinal injury that it is important that your solicitor sees the bigger picture beyond the legal case.  A holistic approach is vital to understanding how the injury has changed your and your family’s lives and to therefore securing the best outcome.   

Your chosen firm should be able to demonstrate a commitment to the field of brain and spinal injury by involvement in support organisations or related charities.

Named solicitor
It is important to know how your case will be managed and by who.  A partner of the firm should have day to day contact with your case, even if they supervise another solicitor for elements of the work.  You will need a named solicitor who you can trust to be available and contactable.  Check that the person or team has capacity to give your case the time it deserves.

Funding options and fees
Do not be shy in raising the issue of fees. It is important to understand the funding options which your firm will give you and whether you will ever be at risk of paying the defendant’s costs.

Lastly, ask your potential solicitor why you should instruct them and why they have the skills, knowledge and experience to help in the specific circumstances of your case.

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