Keeping Serious Injury cases moving during lockdown
Minster Law associate solicitor Helen Richardson shares her thoughts on the pragmatic approach taken by Minster Law to progress Serious Injury claims during Covid-19 and the nationwide lockdown.
As Big Ben chimed in the New Year, chances are no one imagined the times we would soon be living through.
Stock cupboards of tins and toilet roll, fears of running low on vital supplies, midnight bookings for online delivery slots, face masks on public transport, elderly relatives grappling with digital technology – to varying degrees of success, and, more recently, socially distanced garden meetings with family.
Bizarre though these new normalities are, they have provided evidence of our human desire to get on with our lives, to adapt quickly and to make the most of opportunities.
As one of the UK’s leading serious injury law firms, myself and my colleagues here at Minster Law Solicitors are no exception.
Minster Law is ensuring any impact of Covid-19 upon case progression for our seriously injured clients is reduced as far as possible.
Since the Government lockdown began, on March 23rd, we have secured more than £14million in payments for our clients.
This came from settling more than 70 serious injury claims and from interim payments we arranged to get them through these difficult times, when lockdown began.
As a business, we have never shied away from continuous investment in cutting edge digital solutions and this meant we were ready to continue working.
Videoconferencing has been a fantastic way to make progress on complex pleadings or to highlight particular sections of witness evidence for further scrutiny.
Documents have been shared, discussed and edited in real time.
The greater use of email and telephone calls as the default means of communication for both our clients and peers alike, rather than costly and time-consuming postal delivery has also expedited case progression as never before.
The move towards greater use of telephone hearings or video conferencing across the wider court system has arguably been long overdue.
Indeed, all the Court procedural amendments in the wake of Covid-19 have been a positive step towards a modern future of less travel for all parties, quicker response times by courts and a more efficient system.
The 56-day maximum extension on directions has permitted (and encouraged) all parties to narrow the issues in dispute and where possible attempt settlement on the basis of the available evidence.
Whatever the future holds in terms of Covid-19, it is unlikely that these positive changes will be swept aside.
As a firm we were ready for such an unpredictable event such as Covid – 19, which means that rather than investing to catch up we are investing to move forward.
Ways the serious injury team have done to keep cases moving forward:
- Utilisation of video conferencing technologies in order to allow medico-legal examination or treatment appointments to proceed
- Ensuring our clients are protected from adverse financial impact through prompt interim payment requests
- Protecting our clients from sanction due to disrupted evidential disclosure through prompt court application
- Taking the time to call our clients regularly, to check on their wellbeing and provide a regular update and reassurance on the claim.