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Day In The Life Of A Personal Injury Trainee

My name is Grace Donnelly. I started my training contract with HJA in September 2021. Before joining HJA, I was a commercial and residential property paralegal. I chose HJA because I am committed to helping those in need and “fighting for what’s right”. The Firm put the client at the heart of everything they do and listen to both the client and their families to help work towards a brighter future. As part of the PI team, I have fought for our clients who have been injured through no fault of their own and helped ‘put things right’, by arranging early rehabilitation and obtaining interim payments to help aid recovery.

When I was assigned Personal Injury as my first seat, I really did not know what to expect as I had no previous experience in this area. However, I received a warm and friendly welcome from the wonderful team on my arrival at HJA, and I soon became familiar with the day-to-day workings of a Personal Injury trainee.

I have detailed my day in the life for anyone like me or a budding lawyer, curious to learn more about this area of law.

Day in the life

9:15 Arrive in the office, make tea, check emails and task list and prioritise accordingly.

9:40 Today I have been allocated a new case. As soon as I receive the documents for a new client, I review them in order to progress the matter. I have been allocated a fast-track claim (which is a claim valued under £25,000). I will therefore be submitting a Claims Notification Form (CNF) through the MOJ Portal (a tool for processing PI claims valued at £25,000 or under). I have a few questions for the client before I do that, so I give the client a call. Fortunately, they answered the phone and provided all the relevant information I needed to progress the claim. I then complete and submit the CNF. I ensure key dates are in my diary, send the relevant documents to the client and update them on the next stage.

11:15 I received a denial of liability from a defendant’s insurance company on a case a few days ago. I sent it to the client for their comments yesterday. This morning, I received my client’s comments by email. I review the comments and risk assess the claim. I decide that the claim has merit and think it is proportionate to instruct Counsel to advise on liability and prospects. I approve this with my supervisor and draft the instructions to Counsel and collate a corresponding bundle of exhibits. I email the instructions and bundle to Counsel’s clerk. I update the client accordingly and diarise Counsel’s response.

1:15 I squeeze in a few follow up calls in before lunch. I call the GP surgery to check they have received my request for my client’s records (as I have yet to receive them). I also call our medical agency to ask for an update on a couple of my cases which are still outstanding.

1:30 I have lunch with some of my colleagues in the department. We try our best to get out of the office and enjoy some fresh air. The company of my colleagues presents a welcome break in the middle of the day and allows me to refresh my thinking.

2:30 I am assisting another partner in the department with an extensive witness statement for a client who has suffered a catastrophic injury. The call is at 2:50. Before the call, I read the draft witness statement and made sure I was familiar with the questions I needed to ask. The phone call takes an hour.

4:00 I immediately make the amendments to the witness statement whilst the case is fresh in mind.

5.00 As I come to the end of the day, I receive a call from my client explaining that he would like to make an offer. He subsequently sends across his signed form of authority, and I make the Defendant an offer to settle my client’s claim for £6,000.

5.30 I check all my outstanding tasks for the day are complete, update my task list for the following day, shut down my computer and go home… reflecting on what I have learned during the day, the contribution I have made and look forward to a relaxing evening.

Reflections

I have really enjoyed my time in the Personal Injury Department at HJA.

It has been a privilege to support individuals in what is often a very challenging period of their lives.

I now recognise the importance of personal injury law, not only to help compensate those who are injured, but it also serves as a tool to ensure ‘others’ prioritise health and safety and are accountable for their negligence.

Personal injury has been an incredibly rewarding seat, and I recommend it to any future trainee.

If you have been involved in a personal injury and are seeking expert legal guidance, please contact our leading Personal Injury solicitors on 0808 252 5231 to discuss your situation with us, or request a call back online.