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Home » Latest News » How Do I Find the Right Solicitor to Help me Make a Personal injury Claim?

How Do I Find the Right Solicitor to Help me Make a Personal injury Claim?

How Do I Find the Right Solicitor to Help me Make a Personal injury Claim?

How do you go about finding the right personal injury solicitor?

When you’ve been involved in an accident, have suffered personal injury, and the accident was caused by someone else’s carelessness (or as it is referred to in legal terms, “negligence”) it is highly likely that you will want to be compensated for the injury itself and any losses that being injured causes you. 
For the purpose of this article, when we refer to ‘personal injury claims,’ as well as road traffic accident claims, accident at work claims, brain injury claims, work accident at sea claims and all other types of accident claim that involves personal injury, we are also including in this loose definition of ‘personal injury’, occupational disease claims, such as industrial asthma claims and asbestos and mesothelioma claims. (A comprehensive list of the types of claims that a large regional/national firm like Bridge McFarland LLP can help can be found by checking out our website.)
So, just how do you go about finding the right personal injury solicitor?
 
1. Should I go to a solicitor that I have used before?
If the solicitor has done legal work for you before and you were satisfied with the job that they did, it is tempting to make that firm the first port of call if you have been injured in an accident. 
However, if the previous work that they did for you was, for example, house conveyancing or they prepared a Will for you, then those are entirely different fields of law to personal injury. It does not automatically mean that the same solicitor that did your conveyance so well, would be able to handle a complex injury case. Unless that solicitor that is also a specialist in personal injury cases, then our advice would be to look for someone with more knowledge of this specialism to handle your injury claim. We are very much of the opinion that solicitors should specialise in one particular area of the law and not take on matters in which they have little or no experience. 
 
2. Look for a solicitor who specialises in personal injury claims 
We strongly believe that you are most likely to get the best service and achieve the best outcome for your personal injury claim, if you instruct a solicitor who is an expert in personal injury claims and only handles personal injury work. Solicitors only become experts in a given area of law by devoting many hours to honing their skills in their chosen field. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” It applies to solicitors just as much as those engaged in other trades or professions.
 
3. Should I find an expert personal injury solicitor who is local to where I live?
Fifty years ago, it was much less likely that anyone would ask a solicitor to act for them, unless the lawyer’s office was local to where they lived. Time has moved on and with it so too have advances in technology. The world feels, as a result, feels a much smaller place. It’s now possible to communicate with each other instantly via email, social media, Skype and video conferencing, without having to set foot outside our respective doors. It’s as easy to communicate with someone 10,000 miles away as it is with your next-door neighbour.
Where your solicitor is based is much less important now, than it was in previous years. What is the most important factor in choosing the right solicitor, is whether they have the necessary expertise to deal with your claim. 
Sometimes, there can be a definite advantage in hiring a personal injury solicitor that is local to you. This is when the solicitor has additional specialist knowledge of a type of claim that might be peculiar to the local area. 
For example, at Bridge McFarland the asbestos disease compensation solicitors working out of our Hull and Grimsby offices have specialist knowledge of dealing with asbestos claims for clients who got the disease whilst working on trawlers off the North Sea coast, or from working in the local steel industry. Likewise, our partner Kathryn Hudson who is based in Grimsby is an expert in diving claims and work accident at sea compensation claims and agricultural accidents
 
4. Feeling comfortable in the relationship that you have with your solicitor
If finding an expert personal injury solicitor is the most important consideration when choosing your lawyer, a close second is, feeling comfortable with the solicitor you take on. It is important that before making your choice of solicitor, that you speak with them first. Fire off as many questions as you like at them. From their answers and the way that they communicate with you, you will get a gut feel as to whether this is someone you feel comfortable with. 
Many people still like to be able to speak with their solicitors face to face, particularly if they have been involved in serious accidents or have developed asbestos disease. An experienced, expert personal injury solicitor should always be able to make time to see his or her clients at their offices, both at the outset of the claim and at important stages throughout the life of the claim. Ask them if you will be able to visit them? If they insist on communicating with you only over the phone or by email, ask yourself whether this is the solicitor for you. 
Bridge McFarland’s personal injury and asbestos specialists not only encourage their clients to come in for personal appointments with their solicitor, they will even visit clients at their homes, wherever they are in the country, if necessary!
 
5. Should I choose a solicitor from a big firm or a small firm to handle my case?
Just because a firm is one of the biggest in the country and perhaps advertises on TV regularly, doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to get the best service from them. We have taken over many cases for clients who have become dissatisfied with the service that they have been receiving from some of the largest personal injury firms in the country. In general, they cite their reasons for wanting to change solicitors as;
• Poor communication 
• Don’t return calls or emails
• Claim being dealt with by a junior unqualified person
• Feeling that the person handling their claim is out of their depth
• Mistakes being made
• Case not being progressed quickly enough
• Client keeps being told that someone else has taken over their file
• Client gets the feeling their case isn’t important to the solicitor
Equally whilst you might expect to get the most personal and attentive service from a very small personal injury firm, you might find that if your solicitor is away on holiday, or out of the office frequently, that your claim stagnates a bit, as there isn’t anyone else to move the case forward in your solicitors absence. 
Bridge McFarland solicitors have offices in Hull, Grimsby, Lincoln, Louth and Market Rasen. We are positioned in the market place as a strong regional firm that has a national reputation. We combine the best features of a large national company with the very personal service that your claim deserves. 
 
6. What about one of these CMCs, I hear about?
Claims Management Companies or CMC’s as they are known, are not solicitors. The owners of CMCs do not usually have any legal qualifications. When you receive annoying cold calls telling you that you have had an accident within the last three years, it is likely to have been someone from a CMC that called you. If you do sign up with a CMC, then in the vast majority of cases they will sell your claim for a fee to a firm of solicitors. Those solicitors will then contact you to sign you up as a client. You will not be provided with a choice of solicitors. The solicitors will become your solicitor because they have bought your claim from a CMC, not because they are the best personal injury solicitors that you could have working for you. 
If you are taking time to read this article, then we suspect that you will be thinking that this is not the ideal way to get a solicitor. We think you’d be right to take that view too.
 
In Conclusion
The beauty of the internet is that we can do all the research that we need to find whatever we want to buy as consumers. That goes for choosing professional service providers such as personal injury solicitors, too. However, when you are ‘shopping’ for professional services, those services are still provided by human beings (thankfully). We get along with some human beings better than others. It’s a very personal thing. That is why it’s important, once you have drawn up a list of potentially suitable solicitors’ firms, to each of them. Make personal contact with them. Find out who will deal with your claim if you instruct the firm and then ask to speak to that person. Ask them your list of questions and depending on their responses, trust your judgment. Trust your gut instinct, because it probably doesn’t let you down very often!
 
Make sure you that you remember to call us here at Bridge McFarland first! 
Speak with either James Burrell or Leanne Keating at our Hull office on 01482 320 620 or Kathryn Hudson at our Grimsby office on 01472 311 711. 
Alternatively email us on info@bmcf.co.uk and we’ll get straight back to you. After all, we wrote this article. So, put us to the test. You’ll be glad that did!