Serious personal injury law: it’s what we do

From the outside, the job of a serious injury lawyer may seem very simple: we help and support each of our injured clients to win their case and obtain the best possible award of compensation. However, especially in high value and complex cases, what distinguishes an expert and experienced lawyer from the rest, is an ability to guide and support each client through the twists and turns of the legal process to help them get their life back on track.

In my experience it is vital to demystify for my clients what needs to happen, when, and why, to remain human and good humoured throughout, to explain and avoid excessive legal jargon, and always to be open and straightforward. Yes, it is important to follow the evidence and build a case that will stand the test of time (and withstand the insurance company’s wrecking ball) but it is vital to remember that the legal claims process can be tough and daunting for clients – and it is not enough merely to be a good lawyer.

Empathy is key: listening, and truly caring, whilst maintaining professional boundaries. As personal injury lawyers we wear our hearts on our sleeves, we roll up our sleeves, and we get stuck in. We must tell our client’s story, convey the true impact of what has happened and how lives have been devastated. We must be clear about what needs to be done to ensure their peace of mind and a decent future. Securing interim payments, treatment and rehabilitation are often a key part of this.

A good personal injury lawyer is a team player who understands that all the relevant professionals involved should coordinate their efforts on behalf of the client. It can sometimes be tempting for professionals to get stuck in their own area of expertise and not take the time or trouble to have a goal-planning conference with the client. A good professional will never tell a client what to do; rather, they will give best advice to enable fully informed decisions to be taken.

For me, it is a pleasure and a privilege to be part of my clients’ journeys, whether it be seeing them get back on a horse, return to sailing, climb Ben Nevis or walk 5k for the first time since injury. Without doubt, my strength and determination to fight the good fight comes from witnessing my clients’ bravery and fortitude in the face of adversity – for me truly it is an honour to be a serious injury solicitor.

Serious personal injury law: it’s what we doPaul Fretwell, author of ‘Serious personal injury law: it’s what we do’ is Partner & Head of Personal Injury at George Ide LLP

This blog has previous appeared on George Ide LLP’s website

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MASS promotes the highest standards of legal services through education and representation in the pursuit of justice for victims of road traffic accidents.