A poll conducted by Nockolds Solicitors has found that 81% of healthcare case managers have experienced a situation where a claimant solicitor has not acted in the best interests of their client.
Nockolds received responses from 143 case managers through an online and hard copy questionnaire and also conducted telephone interviews as part of its research. It discovered that some solicitors have neglected to give their clients the right amount of support, pushed them to continue with a case when they were not fit to do so, and cajoled them into manipulating their personal circumstances in an attempt to get the maximum amount in a settlement.
The firm has reported that one case manager had witnessed a solicitor advising a client against accepting a part-time job because it may have reduced their eventual settlement. In another claim, an immigration solicitor took on a high value personal injury case and the client suffered because he did not receive the support, treatment and interim payments he desperately needed.
In a further example, a client developed psychosis following her injury and was admitted onto a mental health ward with paranoia. The claimant solicitor insisted that expert witness appointments must continue despite the case manager advising that it would not be in the client’s best interests due to her mental health issues.
Yasmin Ameer, a serious injury specialist at Nockolds Solicitors, said that the issues raised in the research were as serious as anything that she had encountered in over 30 years as a solicitor.
“Never in a million years did we expect our research to deliver this finding. It is extremely concerning and has wide reaching implications – but we mustn’t rush to judgement. We need to consider all the factors.”
“In my experience, personal injury solicitors provide an outstanding service for seriously injured clients but case managers play a hugely important part in the rehabilitation process and we must respect what they are saying.
“There is clearly a perception – rightly or wrongly – that solicitors are, on occasions, not acting in the best interests of their injured client. Now we know that this perception exists, it is our duty to make doubly sure that we act in a way which reassures case managers.
“It is particularly worrying because in a serious injury cases, traumatic brain injury for example, survivors are likely to have complex long-term problems affecting their personality, their relationships and their ability to lead an independent life. They are extremely vulnerable.”
Nockolds’ research also found that 69% of case managers have experienced a situation where a family member has not acted in the best interests of the client.
“This is also alarming,” said Ameer. “The injured person’s rehabilitation must always be the priority and family members should not be distracted by material benefits.”