Smith Jones Solicitors
Towneley House, Kingsway, Burnley,
Lancashire, BB11 1BJ
I am a Consultant Solicitor practising in the field of catastrophic injury claims with Smith Jones Solicitors. I aim to match the heroic motivation which these victims display in rebuilding their lives with a similar commitment to the preparation of their claims.
Life is about detail. I have developed a technique which ensures that the legal and medico legal teams working with my clients are wholly familiar with the facts vital to maximising physical and financial recovery. It is an approach which I frequently find has been absent from many cases taken on as ‘second solicitor’, when forward process has ground to a halt, my predecessor having mentally placed the file on a ‘too difficult’ pile.
Throughout the past three decades I have strived to focus on fine points of preparation whether in my professional life or in other areas including the ideation and execution of a trans Africa expedition, mentoring and co-driving a junior competitor who subsequently became British Rally Champion or achieving the acquittal from a gross professional misconduct charge of the pharmacist from whom the infamous Shipman contrived to obtain his supply of controlled drugs.
Cycling has been one my key interests since childhood. In my teens I eschewed an off-the-peg all steel clunker and assembled my own bike from proprietary parts: even today I cannot resist running finger and thumb along a spoke for the satisfying feel of a butting at each end. Those of a certain generation will know what I mean.
There are seldom effective short-cuts. Anything done in a rush tends to turn out a mess. The key is in anticipating as many possible eventualities as possible and having a strategy to deal in advance. This is just as relevant in court preparation as in replacing mechanical components before their projected failure date.
Shortly after commencing to practise personal injury law I realized, as a cyclist, the vast majority of my fellows were lacking access to legal resources. True, the BCF, (now British Cycling of which I am a member) and the CTC (Cycling UK) offered such benefits, but the total combined membership totalled only about 200,000: there were millions more who would at some time in their lives, need assistance.
This led to the establishment of The Cyclists’ National Helpline (formerly Cycle-Aid), which has since become Cycle-SOS.
When a cyclist is injured in a crash caused by a pothole, a collision with another road user or a component failure, the consequences can be dire. These incidents will cause a temporary disruption to domestic, working and recreational regimes but if there remains the possibility of life changing injuries. We tend not to refer to these happenings as accidents (which are chance events without identifiable cause) because a forensic evaluation of the circumstances will explain how the incident occurred.
Various minor mishaps over the years which have led to periods of incarceration as a customer of the NHS tend to provide a certain insight into and empathy with those whom I represent.
The costs and consequences of injuries are so extensive affecting the individual, their families and the State through NHS, Police and Court resources that it has become blindingly obvious that everything possible must be done to reduce their occurrence whether in terms of education and sanction of road users and the systems of highway maintenance.
- Royal Grammar School, Lancaster.
- First Degree – Economics and International Politics
- Subsequently Common Professional Examination and Law Society Final examination, College of Law.
- The Cyclists National Helpline (Cycle-Aid, subsequently Cycle-SOS) 1988 to 2009
- Smith Jones Solicitors, Consultant Solicitor (2009 – present)
Professional Memberships and Affiliations
My professional specialisms are complemented by the following memberships:
- Institute of Advanced Motorists
- Cycling UK
- British Cycling
- Accredited Cycling Instructor to the 2006 National Standard (Bikeability)
- Headway lifetime membership
Since 2000, I have also held or currently hold membership of the Law Society’s Personal Injury and Accident Line panels, affiliation to the Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators, membership of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Spinal Injuries Association.
What inspired you to get into personal injury law?
A desire to assist the victims of injury through a maze of procedures alien to them when their lives are already disrupted with the aim of placing them, so far as money is able, in a position as close to before the event as possible.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?
The relief which a claimant experiences at the conclusion of a claim, when they no longer have to worry about courts, lawyers or finances. If the outcome has been in some way dependent upon some collision reconstruction experience or cycling DNA which we have understood but insurers have not then so much the better.
What do you get up to outside the office?
Apart from cycling and supporting a 13 year old aspiring tri-athlete daughter I go fishing.