Choosing a medical negligence solicitor
How to choose a solicitor
Speak to a few solicitors who have experience dealing with medical negligence cases before deciding who you wish to use. An initial meeting with a solicitor should be free and leave you with no obligation to use them.
Making a claim can be difficult and emotional for parents and carers, especially in the early stages. Choosing a solicitor with the right experience, understanding and knowledge can make things much easier.
Questions to ask a medical negligence solicitor
Does the firm have current Lexcel, ISO9001 or equal accreditation?
Lexcel is the Law Society's international practice management standard. This certifies law firms meet the highest standards in case management, customer care and risk management. Lexcel assesses practices every year to ensure they meet the standards required.
ISO 9001 makes sure that firms have high standards in client care and case management. It assesses firms every 6 months to ensure they meet Solicitors Regulation Authority requirements.
Will the solicitor you meet deal with your case?
Find out who will be dealing with your case. Make sure they have relevant experience and that they won't pass your case to a junior. Your solicitor must have enough time to assess your case and take part in all the important steps.
Is the solicitor a member of the Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme?
Members have to maintain a high level of knowledge, skills, experience and practice in clinical negligence. Your solicitor should be either on:
Does the firm have a good record of successful medical negligence claims?
For cerebral palsy claims, choose a practice already pursuing claims in this area. Ask about their experience in conditions like yours or your child's. How many recent cases have they dealt with and what was the outcome of those cases?
How many medical negligence specialist solicitors does the firm have?
This can show a firm's experience, ability to progress a case and keep you well informed.
How will the solicitor keep in touch with you?
Make sure your solicitor agrees to keep in regular contact so that you are well-informed. Is there another member of the legal team familiar with your claim if your solicitor is absent?
You may wish to know how they will communicate with you, in person - in the office or at your home - by email or by telephone.
Read tips on how to get the best out of your relationship with your solicitor and what to expect.
Does the firm have a Legal Aid Agency Clinical Negligence franchise?
Only firms with this franchise can get public funding from the Legal Aid Agency if available.
Does the firm offer education, welfare benefit, community care and public law expertise?
It helps if you can deal with all these issues within one organisation. This will be especially useful when considering the wider social impacts of disability.
Make sure a solicitor is right for you
A good solicitor will expect you to ask questions.
- Make sure you understand their answers and take a note of the key points. If you do not understand the answers, ask for more explanation.
- Meet more than one solicitor. Any firm should provide a free initial interview, without obligation and should be happy to visit you.
- Ask for contact details for previous clients that you can speak to about their experience, as a reference - subject of course to client confidentiality.
- Remember you have the right to change solicitor at any point if you are unhappy with their service. This may need to be approved by the Legal Aid Agency if you are receiving their funding.