66% of expert witnesses in personal injury cases will not accept instructions from a litigant in person.
Research conducted by Bond Solon has found that out of that 66%, 76% of medical experts would not accept instructions from a litigant in person whereas 54% of non-medical experts would do so.
The research comes less than a year before the Government hopes to implement its latest reforms to the PI market, which will see the small claims limit rise to £5,000 for RTA-related claims, and £2,000 for all others. The small claims track regularly sees claims by litigants in person where the case might need to be supported by an expert’s report.
Bond Solon has also reported in its Annual Expert Witness Survey Report that 68% of the 801 experts surveyed who are involved in civil matters act as an expert in PI cases. And PI cases are still a major area of work for expert witnesses. 80% of the medical experts surveyed act as an expert in PI cases whereas 60% of the non-medical experts surveyed act in them.
Of those experts who act in personal injury claims, 38% also indicated that they have been affected by a law firm or other instructing party going into administration.
“It’s a challenging time for the legal market. Competition between law firms is high,” said the report.
“Law firm mergers are now commonplace placing great pressure on smaller firms with some of them going into administration. Clients are also demanding greater value for less money. In addition to this, alternative business structures have impacted the legal market allowing non-lawyers to own and invest in law firms. “Law tech” start-ups using technology to streamline routine aspects of legal work are also threatening the business models of established law firms.
“These pressures are not likely to reduce. More law firms, currently struggling with debts and unbilled work, may go into administration, so before accepting work, experts should conduct some due diligence.”