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Hi,

 

I'm looking for advice on a personal injury claim.....not sure if I am posting in the right place though.

 

Had an accident just over two and a half years ago.....very old man missed the stop sign on a dark and wet night and crashed into my nearside.....third party immediately accepted liability. My knee was damaged and I had whiplash. I initially saw a G.P through the solicitors dealing with the case but because of ongoing symptoms was referred via a medical agency to see an 'expert witness'. His report wasn't exceptionally helpful in that he said that I had a pre-existing neck condition.....cervical spondylosis - had never been diagnosed or seen a doctor for this except 10 years earlier had some neck pain and my G.P referred me for physio.....never had problems again after this. Told by my doc that anyone my age would have cervical spondylosis of varying degrees but usually symptom free.

The cartilage in my knee was badly damaged and later resulted in surgery.....I now have osteoarthritis but this doc also put that down to my age even though he entirely agreed the cartilage damage was caused by the accident.

 

Solicitor advised that we should seek an opinion from another expert but this was even more unhelpful......he kept me waiting for an hour and a half.....saw me for 6 minutes and wrote a report stating that my injuries were not due to a car accident but rather to my being overweight.

 

Solicitor advised me to stick with the first expert witnesses report and try to settle on that. Didn't agree but she gave me no option as she said if we pursued it they may not be able to recover their fees. She said she thought she could get it agreed that I would not have to pay for the second report (£650.00) as it was biased and he was obviously prejudice against overweight people.

 

Settlement was agreed several weeks ago and I have been waiting for the cheque which just arrived. The solicitor sent me a breakdown of the settlement a month ago but the accompanying letter sent with the cheque states that I have had to pay for the second report.....this has been taken out of the settlement before it was sent to me. She said in her letter that she had "attempted to obtain a credit against the report but the only compromise was a reduction to £500", which they have taken.

 

Is there anything I can do or any way I can get this money back? Was thinking of the small claims court?

Edited by clarion48
typo

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You shouldn't really have to pay for the second report. I would look through your previous letters from your solicitors to see if they ever informed you that obtaining a second medical would cost you as ergo if you relied upon the second medical you would not be relying upon your first medical etc... If they have never informed you then they are in breach of a number of regulations and you can report them to the LCS if they do not agree to refund the cost of the medical.

 

If they have told you then it get's a little trickier. In all likelyhood you will have probably signed up for an insurance premium called an 'After The Event' policy. This protects you from any costs being found against you or disbursements incurred. if they haven't signed you up for one then they haven't represented your interests properly and again you can report them to the LCS. Solicitors don't like claiming off these policies as they usually have an agreement with the insurers to get good deals and if they start to get claims off them all the time then they are not going to get good deals anymore.

 

I would also look at your initial client care letter which the solicitors should have sent out to you in which they will details all the funding etc that you will be reponsible for. If you don't have one or it is limited then you can again make a complaint to the LCS who are usually very happy to sort such things out for you.

 

Initially I would write to the complaints partner at the firm and his/her name HAS to be given on the client care letter that was initially sent to you at the beginning of the claim. They have to send you this letter by law. List your grievances and the complaints partner will have to look at it and respond to you ASAP. If you don't like the outcome then write to the LCS here:

 

http://www.legalcomplaints.org.uk/home.page

 

They usually take great delight in kicking solicitors if they have done anything wrong and are not usually partisan.

 

The main problem you will have is if they have told you that you would have to pay and it was you that insisted that you obtained a second medical report against their advice.

 

Concentrate on what advice they gave you and what informed choices they gave you as a result. If you didn't know you were going to be charged then they don't really have a leg to stand on, no pun intended.....

 

Good luck.

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Hi.....thanks for reply.

 

It was my solicitor who suggested the second report and arranged the appointment. She did mention the fee but also told me firstly, that if we relied on the report I would not have to pay......and then later, after she saw the report suggested that she could get the fee waived because it was a biased report.

 

When the settlement was agreed she telephoned me and gave me the settlement details over the phone, which I wrote down. By the time she wrote to me two weeks later this figure had been reduced by £650.00, which she said had been paid to the medical agency in relation to an MRI scan the doctor sent me for. There had previously never been any mention of me having to pay for an MRI scan. A further letter then reduced the settlement amount by £1065.00, which she said was to pay for my physiotherapy.....the final total given then was what I would actually receive. It was therefore quite a shock to receive the cheque and find that another £500 had been taken off to pay for this medical report.

 

I have come to the conclusion throughout this two and a half year, very stressful process, that not only do the insurance companies rip people off but the solicitors working with them are obviously in cahoots with them and rip people off big time as well.

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I would definitely write to the senior complaints partner in this one. It is fairly shocking in my opinion that they have deducted anything from you having not informed you of the risks.

 

I suspect, not having agreed with you that these disbursements were yours to pay, are in breach of the Solicitors Account Regulations 2009 as well.

 

Are your solicitors a large firm and your solicitor actually a qualified solicitor ?

 

It may be the case that your physio and mri scan was part of the agreed settlement, however, prior to any settlement your solicitor should have ensured you were aware that the overall figure included these deductions etc.

Edited by Endymion

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It seems a long time before coming back to this thread but if you read on you will understand why.

 

I wrote a letter to the senior partner of the solicitors firm in October 2010 concerning the fee for the second report, which I strongly objected to paying and also mentioned disbursements. Having had no reply within four weeks I contacted my case handler. She asked me to scan the letter and email it to her and she would speak to the senior partner. I did this.....but every time I asked her about it there was another reason why it hadn't been dealt with. In April this year she told me it was her fault but assured me it would be dealt with straight away. A month later and no response I wrote to the senior partner again and sent copies of all the emails that had gone backwards and forwards.....no reply. I then contacted him by email. He told me he had allocated the case to one of the managers who should have been in touch with me. I explained that after nine months I was somewhat frustrated.....he assured me of an answer this week.

 

I finally received a call from this manager a couple of days ago......throughout the conversation he blinded me with jargon that I barely understood but the crux of it was that he said I had gone for the second referral and therefore the fee was down to me. He answered my question about disbursements by telling me that it would of had to have been claimed off the third party insurers and therefore I would have had to prove there was a 50% chance or higher that if we went back to the expert, he would have changed his report? Didn't understand a word of it although he says he will put it all in writing....but I will not get my money back.

 

Any suggestions on what to do now?

 

Many thanks

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Hello there. I haven't read all of your thread, but have you spoken to the LCS [Legal Complaints Service]? You should find them via the Law Society website. They should be able to advise you what to do next and will mediate if you decide to complain, as your treatment sounds terrible.

 

We did this about a probate matter and they were OK.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thanks HB. The LCS has closed.....there is a notice on their website to say they are no longer taking cases and referring everyone to the Legal Ombudsman. I will get on to them tomorrow.

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Thanks HB. The LCS has closed.....there is a notice on their website to say they are no longer taking cases and referring everyone to the Legal Ombudsman. I will get on to them tomorrow.

 

Really? I'm stunned. Still, you can use the ombudsman as a threat. If it's like the insurance one, it costs the firm money whether they win or not, and not to mention all the paperwork they would have to provide.

 

Please let us know how you get on.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I have now contacted the Legal Ombudsman and they are going to investigate my complaint. Will keep you informed of where it is at.

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That sounds like good progress. I'll be really interested to hear how it goes.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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A dilemma......

 

I made my complaint official with the Legal Ombudsman and have now received their letter to say that an investigator will be appointed in about 10 days time. In the meantime, I have just received an email from the senior partner at the solicitors firm. He does not acknowledge any liability for the medical report costs and has said he is sorry we have reached this point and because of the delay in getting to this point.....is offering me £200 compensation.

 

The big question is.....do I take it.....or do I leave things in the hands of the Legal Ombudsman? I contacted them this morning to let them know about the offer but they cannot advise on what to do now. They said that the investigation could go either way.....they could find that a fair offer to resolve has been made and on the grounds that I didn't accept, I end up with nothing......but on the other hand they could find that is not a fair offer and award much more.

 

What to do eh? :???:

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I can't say I've experienced the Legal Ombudsman, this being an insurance forum and all that.

The FOS would make the insurer honour any amount offered prior to their involvement.

You have to decide

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Thanks, but don't really understand your post. This is an insurance forum and my claim is for personal injury through my insurance company. Because the claim is dealt with by a firm of solicitors appointed by the insurance company they are governed by the Legal Ombudsman. Not sure why you think this is a case for the FOS....it has nothing to do with them.

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Ok, my post was speaking from experience of the FOS, being another Ombudsman Service you would assume their guidelines are simlar when it comes to settlement.

Fully aware of the merits of the FOS and the Legal Ombudsman when it comes to LEI policies.

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