If you use a solicitor to bring your claim for Clinical Negligence they should explain the process to you in a clear and concise way. But you should also make sure you understand the process fully yourself. We’ve put together a list of the top five questions you should be asking your solicitor at the initial consultation.
1. What funding options are available?
2. Have you won similar claims to mine before?
3. Will the same solicitor deal with my case from start to finish?
4. Who will pay the expenses of the claim?
5. What do I do if I have questions?
What funding options are available?
A lot of Clinical Negligence claims can be dealt with by a No Win No Fee Agreement. These agreements, also known as Conditional Fee Agreements, mean that if you are successful a portion of your compensation will go to the solicitor in legal fees, and if you are unsuccessful you will not pay any legal fees. But No Win No Fee Agreements are not your only option. You may have insurance which will allow you to keep all of your compensation, although it is not guaranteed.
Have you won similar claims to mine before?
Experience can be crucial in winning your claim. Clinical Negligence is one of the trickiest areas of law to bring a claim in due to it having many highly specialized areas. The more experienced your solicitor is then the better off you will be. However, don’t panic if your solicitor is young, as long as they have the support of an experienced senior solicitor then your case will be in good hands.
Will the same solicitor deal with my case from start to finish?
It is not uncommon for cases to be exchanged between solicitors within a firm as caseloads fluctuate regularly, and it shouldn’t affect your claim’s chances of success, as all the solicitors will be part of the same team. However, the solicitor-client relationship is important and having to deal with someone new each time you attend an appointment can be difficult.
Who will pay the expenses of the claim? Will you be liable to pay them if the claim does not succeed?
The firm you instruct may want money up front to pay for obtaining your medical records, or for requesting the medical report. If you are instructing a larger firm who are confident in your claim then they may cover these costs for you, if the firm is smaller or less confident they may ask you to pay up front for these expenses.
If you have signed up on a No Win No Fee Agreement and your claim is not successful you will not pay any legal fees, however, you could be liable for these expenses. Make sure you know what you will or will not be paying for.
What do I do if I have questions?
This is a good question regardless of the type of case you bring! Ease of communication is important; will you be able to contact your solicitor directly by telephone or are they easier to get hold of through email?
In conclusion, you should now have an idea of what questions you should be asking in order to make an informed decision. You should ask as many questions as you have, you cannot make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed with your claim if you are not fully informed.