Lawyer Monthly - November 2022

assist on defining location or what has happened in the time leading up to the accident or following the same. If any phone calls have been made then we can get details of the same. Naturally, what is reported to the Ambulance Service (if they attended the scene) is good evidence, as is whatever is subsequently recorded in any hospital notes. Google Earth and Street View can sometimes be of assistance and even the defendant’s own website and social media can also help if you need to establish the position of a certain piece of equipment or the nature of a work location that may have changed since the time of the accident. Ring doorbells and domestic security cameras can also provide some assistance on occasion. If all else fails, then you can simply plead that the accident speaks for itself and leave it to a judge to make the decision based on the veracity of the claimant’s witness evidence. Some injuries can be life-changing for your clients. How do you approach these cases? What additional qualities, other than knowledge of the law, do you need to support your clients through the process? Approaching a life-changing injury for a client is quite different from an injury where the claimant is expected to make a good recovery in a fairly short period of time with no long-lasting consequences. In a catastrophic injury, the additional qualities that are needed (other than knowledge of the law) are those of being able to empathise not just with the claimant but the family as a whole and understand what a traumatic experience it is for everybody involved. The lawyer should go and visit the client and their family at the earliest opportunity, ideally with the barrister who is going to be instructed on the case, to form an early rapport with the client and their family and to build the trust and confidence that their legal team are going to secure the best possible outcome for their loved one. The ability to arrange rehabilitation is key, as the claimant will normally be retained within the NHS for a limited time and the provision of treatment and services will be slowly withdrawn. The worst-case scenario is that the state support is pared back to a level where the claimant and their family are no longer adequately supported and instead have to rely on the help of family and friends and look to pay for private treatment and care. Often what can happen is that one of the family members who was working at the time of the accident will become the primary carer for the claimant and give up their job in order to look after them. If this is a spouse, then this can 54 LAWYERMONTHLYNOVEMBER 2022 Even settlements over £1 million can soon be exhausted without the right level of investment choices when the claimant requires round-theclock care.

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