I am often called upon to wear two or more hats and it is great when the roles overlap. This is the case here. As a director of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers I work to support the rights of injured people. One of those fundamental rights is to rehabilitation, for the injured person to be helped in getting back to how they were before the accident or supported in getting the best quality of life they can after a more serious injury. Both are incredibly important. Smith Jones has always understood that early intervention leads to the best outcomes for their clients.
So I am very pleased to be able to blog about some recent developments in relation to supporting seriously injured people in their quest for justice and for quality of life. The Serious Injury Guide is based upon the premise that early intervention with rehabilitation works, and rehabilitation works best when there is early co-operation between both sides to work towards the best outcomes for the injured person.
The Guide has been a work of some years between APIL, and the lawyers and insurers who represent the defendants in cases. It began as the Multi Track Code in 2008, and has now been updated to be fit for purpose in the modern world. The aim is to achieve a process involving both claimant and defendant lawyers and insurers in catastrophic claims where damages are likely to be over £250,000.
By working in this co-operative fashion the best results for the injured person can be achieved as quickly as possible. Early notification and contact with defendant representatives who are able to make decisions will lead to better and quicker resolutions of issues that matter to injured people at as early a stage as possible. The guide starts with a simple idea – the representatives should work towards resolving who is at fault for the accident within six months as a maximum. If this cannot be done then the barriers to that will be identified and a plan agreed so that the issue can be concluded whether through the courts or alternative dispute resolution.
An early resolution of who is at fault can then lead to funding being made available for rehabilitation, the appointment of a case manager to oversee that, and payment of interim damages to support the injured person whilst the case is resolved entirely. If there is any concern that an insurer or defendant lawyer who has signed up to the Guide is not following it then there is a procedure for access to key personnel to escalate and resolve the problem as quickly as possible.
A commitment to follow the Serious Injury Guide is in many ways an indication that the lawyer you are relying on actually understands what is important to an injured person and is committed to getting the result for that person right.
Smith Jones is one of a select few firms nationally that have supported this Guide during its creation and are one of the first signatories to it. I have been involved in approving its contents as part of my APIL duties. This shows a very real commitment to getting the right and best result for seriously injured people.
The guide can be viewed at www.seriousinjuryguide.co.uk