On pondering the title of this blog I have considered the skills I have developed and honed as a Personal Injury Lawyer of 21 years.
I have dealt with many complex serious injury cases, initially as a trainee supporting a partner but now, and for many years, as an experienced serious injury lawyer in my own right.
What makes a good serious injury lawyer?
- Empathy. The no. 1 skill is being able to put yourself in the injured person’s position. Empathy. A person who has sustained a serious or catastrophic injury (and their loved ones) are embarking upon a long journey of rehabilitation. I am going to be their first port of call and support for many many years.
- Good working relationship. It is essential to strike a very good working relationship with the injured person and their family and to show them that by your experience you understand what they are going through and can help them navigate their way through many unfamiliar waters.
- Relatable. Being able to put yourself in their position and understand their concerns with respect to all aspects of their lives: How are they going to pay the mortgage? How are they going to look after their children or grandchildren? How will it affect their relationship with their partner? Will they work again? Will they be able to do their pre accident hobbies and interests?
- Advice and guidance. It follows that being able to give advice and guidance on all those worries is equally important and an experienced serious injury lawyer will be able to do.
- Support Network. Action on that advice is then the next, with the serious injury lawyer acting almost as a project manager pulling together many aspects; rehabilitation; interim payments; back to work assessments; medical reports; preparing the court case and ultimately securing compensation.
The injured person should view their serious injury lawyer as part of the support network and someone to be called upon regularly not some distant person hidden behind books or a PC undertaking complex detailed legal analysis.
- Understanding of legal developments. Of course a good grasp of the law and current legal developments are essential but being able to explain, what can sometimes be complex legal notions into simple non-patronising terms is even more so.
A serious injury lawyer should appreciate that the injured person and their family have never been in this position before and support and guide them through the journey of rehabilitation on to final settlement. This will hopefully equip the injured person and their family to face the new normal with confidence and the financial support needed.
Anne Sanders is a serious Injury Lawyer of 21 years PQE, An APIL Senior Litigator, A member of the Law Society PI Panel since 2007.