The time following an accident can be very confusing. Disoriented from pain and the unfamiliarity of the law, a lot of accident victims rely on the support of others, including a lawyer, to see them through what is a very difficult time.
If you are in this boat, then it goes without saying that it is absolutely vital that you have absolute faith in your lawyer. You need to be able to accept, value and trust your accident lawyer’s legal advice, so that you can make the right decision regarding making a claim.
When it comes to whether or not you can trust your lawyer, there are a few different things to consider. These are: Whether your lawyer is qualified, and how experienced your lawyer is with your kind of claim. So, let’s address these things one at a time:
Is my lawyer qualified?
In England, Wales and Scotland, all lawyers are required by law to have a practicing certificate. This certificate guarantees that a solicitor is qualified to practice and it is your right to see this certificate prior to making any claim. You can do this by requesting it from your lawyer, or by contacting the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
It’s important to remember that admission to the SRA roll, and completion of qualification stages (including attaining a law degree), are not proof that a solicitor is a solicitor. Only a practicing certificate is a guarantee, so always request it to ensure your lawyer is legitimate.
Is my lawyer experienced?
There are two kinds of experience with accident lawyers: Years’ experience and case experience. Case experience is more important, because a lawyer who has practiced for 30 years may only have 1 years’ experience working accident law.
When you contact a law firm, they will usually pass your case onto the best solicitor for the job. This solicitor will invariably have handled cases similar to yours before. However, this is not a guarantee, so it’s always best to ask a solicitor about their experience. It’s not an insult to ask and most lawyers will recognise the fact that you just want the best support possible.
My lawyer is qualified and experienced, but I still don’t have confidence in them?
If you don’t like your lawyer, it is possible to switch. However, the issue of who is going to pay your lawyer’s fees will come up. A binding promise is usually made in this case to satisfy all parties. A binding promise stipulates that upon case success, your old lawyer’s fees can be recovered from your compensation amount or from the other side. It is possible to either change your lawyer to somebody in the same law firm or within a different firm entirely.