The advantages of local knowledge
Date: March 28th 2018
“Have you suffered an accident in the last three years that wasn’t your fault”?
We have all seen the national adverts on TV. The potential consequence of contacting such a company, is that the potential Claimant will often find that his (or her) case is subsequently handled by a lawyer that he’ll likely never meet in person.
It is quite common to face a claim wherein the Claimant, Jack (from Swansea) is represented by a Blackpool based solicitor, whereas Llanelli based Jill is having her case fought by a firm based in Devon.
To this end, local firms that provide a “no win, no fee” personal injury service, will emphasise the importance of a locally based solicitor. A “local” solicitor will perhaps stress the importance and benefit of being able to meet the Claimant in person, so that the injuries can be assessed and photographed first hand.
It also helps, of course, if the instructing solicitor has a strong local knowledge and can pinpoint exactly where an accident happened.
But two can play at that game…
We have found that our local knowledge has proved crucial in investigating, defending and where possible; undermining a Claimant’s case.
We have found that photos on their own can often be ambiguous and open to interpretation and debate. As a result, we believe that it is highly beneficial if the Defendant visits an alleged accident location, in person.
Also, in terms of surveillance and testing a Claimant’s credibility, it can be very rewarding if the Defendant’s solicitor has knowledge of events in the local vicinity.
Last year, after reviewing the Claimant’s details within the pleadings, we knew that his house was very close to a sporting pitch. We also knew that an upcoming and well-known sporting event was held annually on this pitch. We knew this because the Defendant’s solicitor had personally played that event in previous years.
After reading the Claimant’s witness statement, we were suspicious at some of the assertions that had been made regarding ongoing symptomology. We were of the strong belief that the Claimant was going to attend the event and in doing so, it would present us with an opportunity to test his credibility.
Subsequently, the Claimant did attend the event and as a result, the surveillance evidence was so strong, we proceeded to negotiate a final settlement figure that was over £100,000 less than what was originally pleaded in the Schedule of Special Damages.
At Swansea’s Douglas Jones and Mercer our specialist, Andrew Thomas deals with Personal Injury claims. If you have any issues in relation to this, you should contact Andrew with any queries.