That was until I got up close and personal with a delivery van dropping off parcels. The absolute donkey of a driver pulled out from a side road directly in front of me. I had no chance of stopping and t-boned him. I took a serious clump to say the least. It was like hitting a 200-year-old oak tree. It rattled me to my roots. I fractured my back, broke two ribs and have testicles like a space hooper.

Summer isn’t looking too fun, but I’m still here! I am not too worried as to who was to blame, but I am worried about the future and making sure I get the right representation.

My insurer has told me I need use to their “panel solicitor”. In fact, they reckon that’s the law. Someone called me from the ‘panel solicitor’ firm telling me they are a ‘Litigation Handler’. Is this the same as a solicitor? And do I have to use who my insurer tells me to?


I like your “I’m still here” outlook and wish you a super speedy recovery. With regards to representation, despite what anyone tells you, i.e. your insurer, you are the client, it is your claim and you can choose your own solicitor. Simple as that. If you do choose to let your insurer dictate what legal representation you have, be very careful what the ‘panel solicitor’ firm tells you as to the status of the person who they propose to use to run your claim.

There are all kinds of phrases bandied about such as ‘Litigation Handler’, ‘Paralegal’ and ‘Solicitor Liaison Officer’. In short, none of these titles mean the person is actually a qualified solicitor or has any legal qualifications at all. You can check on the Law Society website for fully qualified solicitors. Whilst there are some very good litigators who are not solicitors, there are also some very poor ones, in my experience.

Therefore, the take home is do your homework to make sure someone can do the job properly. You only get one chance to settle your claim properly and you can’t come back for any more money later on. i.e. for future treatment costs, etc.

Andrew Prendergast

More Bikes April 2021