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Time barred case(18 Posts)
I’m trying to help my friend with finding out advice as to what may be possible.
She was involved in a rear end traffic collision 5 years ago, was injured as a result of the accident. She required surgery due to the injuries sustained and her motor insurers instructed solicitors to pursue her claim for compensation for injuries, loss of earnings as well as the vehicle repair costs. They were instructed via a legal expenses policy that ran alongside her motor insurance policy.
No disputes re liability for the accident or that she sustained injuries. Solicitors had issues with the medical professional that were instructed to prepare a report as he missed out a word in his report which changed his concluding sentence and didn’t match the rest of the report. Along the lines of her injuries are not permanent rather than her injuries are permanent. The doctor who wrote this report then retired and eventually a further expert was instructed who confirmed that in his view this sentence was transcribed incorrectly and gave reasons for his view based in medical records.
The case eventually went to court today regarding her personal injury claim. Barrister was instructed by solicitors who she met for the first time today, no previous advice from barrister was sought and there was no prior conference with the barrister. No offers received from the other side for her claim.
Today the judge dismissed her claim saying that it was time barred and awarded costs against her.
She’s devastated, she has permanent damage as a result of the accident which the medical report confirms impacts on her day to day life and her employment prospects. She has lost earnings, all documentaries and is in constant pain and was hoping that compensation would help fund some lifestyle changes which would assist her.
Does she have any options now? How could the case be time barred?Her understanding is that court proceedings were issued within 3 years. Couldnthe solucitors have made a mistake? Who dies she complain to, her insurers who presumably are paying for the solicitors via her insurance policy.? If she’s not paying for the solicitors herself can she complain to an independent body?
I want to try and help with some practical advice but this is beyond my area of knowledge.
Can anyone offer advice?
If it is a mistake by the solicitor she needs to claim from them. That is why they have insurance.
Does she need to instruct a different firm to claim from the original solicitors and if successful would they be able to claim their costs back?
If proceedings were issued outside the limitation period the solicitor should be notifying their professional indemnity insurance. Assuming the claim was issued 2 years ago limitation won't have been raised at the hearing - have the solicitors been ignoring the issue?
Yep she will need to instruct a new set of solicitors to make a claim against her current solicitors. Assuming they weren't instructed after 3 years and didn't tell her that her claim was statute barred and likely to fail on that basis?
Your poor friend.
If her solicitors were at fault she should first complain to them. Who to complain to will be set out in her engagement letter. They are insured. If they are difficult and won't pay out then she would need to instruct other solicitors to claim against the first firm.
This seems very odd though. Do you know the timeline of when the accident was and when the claim was launched?
My understanding is that proceedings were issued within 3 years. What she has understood from the judge is that her solicitors didn’t submit the medical reports, photos, details of loss of earnings etc within the time frame allowed, apparently they were 3 days late? She is not very clear on the ins and outs and I don’t want to push her too much at the moment.
She overheard the barrister from the other side arriving at court and heard him tell the usher that he was there for the case with no evidence submitted and then her name. The barrister that her solicitor instructed had not met her before, had not seen/been sent some of the evidence re her injuries and loss of earnings that she had agreed could be released.
Does she complain to them and give them the opportunity to try and resolve or is this straight to a new set of solicitors to claim from her current solicitors?
Something about not submitting evidence within court directed timeframe? Does that make any sense?
It sounds like she will have a claim for negligence against the current solicitor who will carry insurance for this. She needs to find a professional negligence solicitor and make a claim for that. She needs to get on witthat fast, and I’d suggest she writes today to the solicitor in charge of complaints at the current firm (it will be in her client care letter) and ask them to put their insurers on notice.
Obviously this depends on her not having delayed in getting the medical report in the first place- not the solicitor’s fault if she only went for the medical appointment two weeks before the deadline, assuming they notified her of the deadline etc
No missed appointments for medical reports, examined once by a consultant appointed by her solicitors over 3 years ago. Follow up report by different doctor was drawn up by review of medical notes, no appointment. She agreed it could be released by return of post and also via email. My understanding is that she has never been given any deadlines.
Can anyone recommend solicitors who specialise in professional negligence? Does she need to involve any regulatory bodies, law society?
I really appreciate all of the responses. Thank you
Complain to the existing solicitors first. It could be the cheaper and easier route to getting this sorted.
The Law Society's website has a find a solicitor function where you can search by speciality. The Legal 500 may also be worth looking at
Complain to existing solicitors using thheir complaints procedure as they may settle with you or they may tell you take independent advice. Where are you based if you do need recommendations?
I'd check the courts directions. They would've directed the evidence to be given over by X date to all parties.
You can appeal on an error of law however it sounds like there hasn't been one.
Her best bet would be to ask for a statement of reasons from the judge & take it from there. I'd also request a copy of the legal bundle to check the directions. I suspect there's been a previous adjournment at the case management stage for evidence
It sounds as though her solicitors ha e failed to file evidence on the timetable set out in the directions given by the court. There will be a court order, specifying that, for example, "witness statements must be filed and served by 4pm on [DATE]".
If a party is not going to be able to meet a court ordered deadline, the correct thing to do is to seek the other side's consent to an extension of that deadline (if it is one that can be extended by consent - some require the court's permission), and if consent is given, for both sides to sign a consent order recording the change, and send it to the court. If the other side does not consent, then you have to make an application to court for the extension, explaining why the extension is needed. The court then decides, at a hearing, whether the extension of time is allowed. Crucially, you must make such an application in good time before the deadline. The hearing itself could be after the deadline but the application must be made before. If it is not, then the court can impose draconian sanctions on the party who failed to meet the deadline, as has happened to your friend.
Your friend needs to ask the solicitors for a copy of the court's directions, and their explanation as to why those directions were not complied with. Failure to meet a deadline is negligence on the part of the solicitor, and your friend may wish to claim against the solicitor.
Everything that @1Wanda1 said. I'm so sorry for your friend. Stressful enough without this
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