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Personal Injury Lawyer: How To Choose The Best UK Accident Solicitor To Make Your Personal Injury Compensation Claim
Personal injury lawyer: discover what a specialist personal injury lawyer actually is, how to check a solicitor's level of expertise and the things you should be careful of before signing a legal fees agreement.
What is a specialist personal injury lawyer?
A lawyer in the UK is the name given to either a solicitor or a barrister.
A solicitor is the lawyer you will instruct to run your compensation claim.
Solicitors can practice in many areas of law or just one. A solicitor who practices only in personal injury is a specialist personal injury lawyer.
What is the law society personal injury panel?
Personal injury lawyer
A specialist personal injury lawyer who is experienced should be a member of a recognized law society approved panel.
The Law Society monitors all the solicitors practising in the UK and it has various panels for solicitors who can prove that they specialists in an area of law with a high level of expertise.
The "law society personal injury panel" is the panel for specialist personal injury solicitors.
To be a member of this panel a lawyer must be a solicitor with at least three years experience as a personal injury specialist with a high level of expertise.
Often lawyers with many years experience are not accepted on the personal injury panel, because they are unable to prove their expertise is high enough.
To ensure you receive the maximum level of compensation I would recommend you only instruct a specialist personal injury solicitor who is a member of the law society personal injury panel.
Are there any other law society approved panels relevant to personal injury?
The Law Society considers clinical negligence to be a type of personal injury requiring specialist expertise so another panel exists known as the "law society clinical negligence panel".
If you have suffered clinical negligence I recommend you instruct a specialist solicitor who is a member of the law society clinical negligence panel.
Click law society clinical negligence panel to check if a solicitor is a member
What is an insurance company panel solicitor?
You may have an insurance policy which pays for your legal costs in making claim and if so the insurance company will ask you to use one of their panel solicitors.
The use of the word panel solicitor can be slightly misleading, as it only means that the firm the solicitor works in is approved by the insurance company and not necessarily that the individual solicitor is a law society personal injury panel solicitor.
If the legal costs insurance is part of a motor policy you will normally only be able to claim your legal costs if you use the insurer's panel solicitor, but if it is part of a household insurance policy you may be allowed to use a solicitor of your choosing if you ask.
I would recommend you always use your legal costs insurance policy even if it means not being able to choose your own solicitor - it is the cheapest way to meet your legal costs.
What is APIL and does a lawyer who is a member of APIL have special expertise?
APIL stands for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. It is a body set up for specialist personal injury lawyers.
A lawyer need only pay a membership fee to be a member of APIL and does not have to prove any level of expertise.
Beware - a lawyer who advertises that he is a member of APIL only might not be an expert personal injury lawyer. To check ask the question, "Are you a law society personal injury panel solicitor?"
Be careful of who exactly you are speaking to before signing an agreement?
Some businesses have slightly misleading names that they use to advertise.
For example, the word "lawyer" or "expert" may be used in a business name, but this does not mean it is a firm of solicitors.
The word "solicitor" however cannot be used in a business name unless it is a solicitor business.
If the word "solicitor" is not used - the business may be "referral business", which is often run by non-lawyers who are not qualified and so not able to advise you on your compensation claim.
They should however pass you to a solicitor firm that will deal with your claim - they will charge that solicitor a fee, which they should tell you of.
The question then arises: "Are you being passed to the best solicitor for the job?"
Before you sign any agreement - be sure that the person you are speaking to is a specialist personal injury solicitor or will pass you to a specialist solicitor. If you are not happy - hang up and contact a specialist solicitor directly.
Personal injury lawyer page summary and recommended links
On this page you have seen how to choose the best specialist personal injury lawyer to make your compensation claim.
Next, I recommend you:
Click no win no fee to learn the cheapest ways to fund your personal injury solicitor's legal costs in claiming your compensation or click personal injury lawyer to make use of my website's free online legal help and assistance including having your question answered online by a specialist "personal injury lawyer"