How to Change Solicitors
It is easier than you think to change solicitors and most professional solicitors do not want to keep a client who no longer trusts the quality of the legal advice he or she is receiving.
Your panel solicitor may do thousands of similar claims, so can say that they do a lot of a particular type of work - whether it is whiplash claims, motorcycle claims, or car claims. The question for you is how well are they doing their job. It is almost impossible for any solicitor to do a proper job where their client does not trust the solicitor’s judgment.
In our area of motorcycle claims, one of the most common problems we come across are lawyers or claims handlers who have no idea of the physics and behaviour of motorcycles under braking, accelerating, or cornering. If your lawyer does not understand how your accident happened, how will they ever be able to present your case?
When looking to change solicitors you should consider the amount of experience they have of personal injury work and motorbike accidents. Do they specialise in this type of work or do all sorts of work? Will a qualified personal injury lawyer (solicitor or barrister) be dealing with your case? Do they ride a motorbike? Why is riding a bike so important in a solicitor? Frankly it's because your solicitor "gets it" - he or she knows why you cannot brake mid corner and steer, why tyres wash out under heavy braking, why damaged kit needs to be replaced and so on.
Your insurance company refers (for a fee) your case to a claims management company who in turn sells the case on to an unqualified clerk, who may have some supervision from a qualified solicitor - but don’t count on it.
At White Dalton our real expertise is motorcycle claims, and often we take over cases where the claims executive clearly does not begin to understand the basics of the law
So how do I change solicitors?
First of all find the solicitor who you want to act in place of the panel solicitor. All specialist solicitors are used to taking over claims and our procedure is pretty standard across the profession. You ask us or another firm to act, you sign a release form - we or your other solicitors send it off to your current solicitors with a formal promise to protect the file and a few weeks later - we get the papers.
Very occasionally the old firm of solicitors resists. A swift application to the High Court deals with this in just about every case without ever having to go in front of a Judge. The one time a solicitor refused to hand over the papers to us despite the application, the Court ordered the former solicitor to pay costs of over £2,000.00 and the Judge struck out all of his costs for acting. Whilst your panel firm may be quite arrogant on the telephone as to handing over the papers a High Court summons tends to knock them off their high horse.
Will my Legal Expenses Insurance still cover me?
You cannot be forced to use a solicitor against your will, regardless of what your legal expenses insurers tell you. The Financial Ombudsman Service is sympathetic to people who have lost faith or confidence in their solicitors, or want to choose their own solicitor after their legal expenses insurer made a bad decision about who dealt with their case.
Under the The Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990 once proceedings are issued (and this is when you do need insurance) your legal expense insurers have no choice, they have to insure you, but you do not even need to go this far.
We have referred just about every conceivable policy of legal expenses insurance to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Rather than have a test case in front of the Ombudsman every single insurer has confirmed cover on acceptable terms. The legal expenses insurers talk a good fight but they don’t like to get into the ring.
We have no problem at all acting on any form of Legal Expenses Insurance, and the bike brokers know not to resist us. If the terms are unfair to you - we will advise you to challenge them, and we will deal with all of the technical issues.
I definitely want to change solicitors!
If after reading the above advice you feel that you would rather change solicitors to a professional and specialist motorcycle firm, such as White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors, then call us on 0800 783 6191 to discuss your case with one of our solicitors.
Claims Management Company
Member of the Institute of Legal Executives
Legal Expenses Insurance
Financial Ombudsman Service