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Title: Can I claim from my solicitors?

Date: 04 March 2015

Question

I am very annoyed at the service provided by my solicitors and I would like to make a claim against them.

It was a straightforward situation of a car turning across my path. Most of my injuries recovered within 6 to 9 months although there have been some serious implications to my right hand and wrist which has affected my job as a music teacher due to a reduced range of movement and strength. It is now nearly 4 years since my accident.

My solicitors provided as part of my insurance forgot to issue my claim at court and have written to me to apologise. They say they are trying to sort it but surely this is a big problem? Either there is a time limit or not.

Answer

You are right to be annoyed. In personal injury claims arising from road traffic accidents (other than in rare circumstances) court proceedings have to be commenced by issuing the claim at court by the third anniversary of the accident (the limitation period) otherwise the claim becomes statute barred – in other words you cannot pursue it without permission of the court.

Failing to issue a claim within the prescribed time limit is negligence on the part of the solicitors.

It sounds like your solicitors are hoping they can persuade a judge to disregard the time limit but the problem they face is based in statute and they may well find that the judge, rather than assisting your lawyers, deems the claim struck out, and directs you to your solicitor’s insurers to pursue a negligence claim against them.

Missing a limitation period is the single most common reason for claims against solicitors. Your claim against them will entitle you to recover what you should have recovered from your opponent’s insurer had your solicitor not messed up. I have dealt with numerous of these cases and when you know what you are doing they are fairly straightforward. This time appoint a specialist so you don’t find yourself potentially suing the second firm if they also get it wrong!

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