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Title: Do I have to use solicitors appointed by the other side?

Date: 21 April 2016

I had a bad accident in January 2015. I had multiple fractures to both legs and was in hospital for 6 weeks. I was discharged with an external fixator frame on my left leg and it has only recently been removed as it took ages for the bones to knit. Early on the insurer of the car that hit me wrote to me telling me that they have instructed solicitors to act for me free of charge. Back then I was grateful for the assistance as it was something less to worry about. However as time goes on they don’t seem to be getting anywhere and I am now thinking that surely they are not acting in my interests as they are being paid by the insurer of the driver who hit me. My internet research tells me the law firm acts for insurers not Claimants like me. Am I right to be worried or is this normal?

Ken Harries, Newport

Answer

I think you are reasonably concerned. Irrespective of the fact that solicitors have a duty to act in the best interests of their clients there will always be the concern over a conflict of interest here. You need to ensure that you obtain completely independent advice and I would ask another firm to take over conduct of your case for you. That way you can be sure you are getting truly independent advice and can be confident of a fair settlement when the time is right.

You can transfer your claim to another firm of solicitors free of charge. All you have to do is sign a form of authority and your new firm will send that to the old firm requesting the file. It sounds to me that you need rehabilitation which the proposed Defendant’s insurer should agree to provide at no cost assuming liability is not in dispute. Remember you are entitled to private treatment/surgery and don’t be worried if your opponent suggests you must go through the NHS as this is not correct.

I suggest switching firms as soon as possible.

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