The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has launched a new competency standard for members who specialise in spinal cord injury.
APIL asked two of the country's leading lawyers – Daniel Herman and Warren Collins – to conceive the new kite mark to ensure that the most seriously injured are guided to legal advisers with in-depth knowledge of both the law and medicine.
Herman is a partner in the personal injury department at Stewards Law and and Collins heads up Simpson Millar’s catastrophic injury team. The pair are also on the panel that will evaluate applications and carry out assessments from September 2013 onwards, which require spinal cord accredited solicitors to demonstrate the same expertise required by lawyers who work in brain injury and clinical negligence.
"A growing number of solicitors are offering advice on highly complex claims such as brain and spinal injuries. Making sure that claimants know where to turn for specialist legal representation is critical,” said Collins.
“This new guidance which will clearly identifies professionals who have a track record of handling the most complicated personal injury claims will be of enormous value to people who have sustained a spinal cord injury."
Collins, who is the only inaugural member and assessor for both the brain injury and spinal cord APIL accreditation panels, said that the most accomplished lawyers in the field of spinal cord injuries were those who appreciated the future implications of a serious injury.
“Parts of the body which might not seem immediately affected by a spinal cord injury can, over time, begin to suffer from the stresses and strains that comes with, for example, being wheelchair-bound. To be able to determine the correct and appropriate level of compensation, solicitors must be able to anticipate the life-long challenges that often follow on from the immediate injury,” he said.