By Daniel Slade, the Senior Partner at Legal Futures Associate Express Solicitors
When a traumatic motorcycle accident left a man with severe brain and leg injuries, the pathway to justice seemed steep and uncertain. Initially, another firm assigned by the insurers was handling the case. However, when Express Solicitors acquired this firm, the trajectory of the case took a marked turn towards a previously unanticipated outcome. The pivotal role in this drastic shift was played by Daniel Slade, the Senior Partner at Express Solicitors.
Slade led his catastrophic injury team with Associate Solicitor Advocate, Katryn Mercer, and approached the case with an intensity that had been previously absent, underpinning their strategy with in-person client meetings, extensive barrister and expert conferences, and meticulously updated evidence. “The input of fresh perspective and counsel allowed us to view the case afresh and strengthen areas that were previously weak,” explains Slade.
The previous firm, appointed by the insurance company, advised on an offer from the Defendant of £675,000 and suggested a counter offer of £900,000. However, given Express Solicitors’ new approach and independence the team worked tirelessly to secure a substantially increased offer from the Defendant of £1.3 million.
Despite the costs risks involved, the client had complete peace of mind that his potential costs liability was covered and damages protected. Daniel Slade had previously recommended that the client take out an After The Event Insurance (ATE) product that provided specific protection for such a situation, when reviewing the client’s funding upon taking over the claim.
With the full backing of his legal advisers and ATE Insurers, the client was sufficiently reassured to follow the recommended legal advice to reject the offer and proceed to a Joint Settlement Meeting (JSM). After the JSM, a further increase of £100,000 was negotiated by Daniel Slade and his team, resulting in a total damages settlement of £1.4 million.
One of the major breakthroughs of this approach involved instructing two additional experts, a measure not undertaken by the previous firm. These experts provided crucial advice on home adaptations and skin camouflage for scarring, which significantly bolstered the case’s strength in terms of the overall value of the claim.
“In personal injury claims, every detail matters,” says Slade. “Our decision to engage two more experts proved instrumental. Not only did their input allow us to deepen our understanding of our client’s needs and potential long-term consequences of his injuries, but it also helped us to paint a more complete picture of his circumstances.”
Express Solicitors also revisited and revised the calculation for Loss of Earnings, which was previously based on a single career trajectory. Slade’s team collaborated with an employment expert to consider various career paths and potential promotions that the client might have achieved, eventually deciding on a midpoint figure. “Our strategy was to ensure a thorough and honest assessment of our client’s potential earning capacity had the accident not occurred,” Slade comments.
The detailed accommodation report became a compelling argument for increased damages, contributing to the negotiation of a settlement of £1.4 million. When asked how they managed the negotiation process, Slade revealed, “Our client attended the Joint Settlement Meeting in person, which helped set the tone for reasonable progression. Despite the Defendant arguing for a lower retirement age for our client, we held firm and eventually secured an offer that was more than double the Defendant’s initial Part 36 offer.”
Slade also emphasised, “Without an appropriate After the Event Insurance product being in place which provided the right level of protection to safeguard his damages, in the event he failed to beat the Defendant’s offer at Trial, we are unsure whether the client would have simply accepted the lower offer. The risk of the Defendant’s substantial legal costs being deducted from compensation; that is needed to sustain him for the rest of his life is a high one indeed for a claimant. This is why it is crucial for all our clients to have access to the leading ATE products at a reasonable and proportional cost to the claim itself.”
To those considering a personal injury claim, Slade advises patience and thoroughness. “While the process may be long, particularly in cases involving severe injuries, partnering with a firm like Express Solicitors will make a significant difference to the settlement you receive. We ensure that every potential claim is explored and included. We fight tirelessly and never accept the first offer.”
With this case, Slade and his team have not just managed to secure a substantial settlement, but also demonstrated Express Solicitors’ commitment to their clients and to justice. Their determination, diligence, and fresh perspective, aptly combined with their in-depth understanding of the law, stand as a testament to their capabilities, fortifying their reputation as a reliable choice for anyone seeking help with a personal injury claim.
Slade concludes, “We take on cases that are deemed risky and deliver results for clients that other solicitors won’t. At Express Solicitors, our clients’ interests are paramount, and we leave no stone unturned to secure the justice they rightly deserve.”