Area of law: Personal injury
Complaint reason(s): Failure to advise, failure to keep informed
Remedy: No remedy
Outcome: Ombudsman’s decision rejected by complainant
Mr I asked the firm to help him in a personal injury claim against his former employers. The firm agreed to act for him under a conditional fee agreement. The firm also applied for after the event insurance, which would help cover costs if Mr I lost his case.
In the meantime, the firm discussed and negotiated a compromise agreement with the employers. The firm talked through Mr I’s options with him, and the risks of not accepting the compromise agreement. Mr I rejected the agreement, and the case continued. A barrister was asked to draw up the particulars of his claim.
The firm then emailed the insurers because costs for the other side were expected to be up to £150,000 – and up to £100,000 for Mr I. As this went beyond the current limit on the policy, they asked the insurer to review the policy. The insurance company stated that they would not increasing Mr I’s cover.
Things started going rapidly downhill, when the other side produced documents that damaged Mr I’s case. The medical reports the firm had obtained also varied massively, and did not always support Mr I. The insurers then decided they could not continue his funding. The barrister also said that in light of the evidence, he had to withdraw his services. The claim officially came to a halt when the law firm said they would also have to withdraw their services. A dejected Mr I signed to allow the firm to stop the action.
Mr I then complained to the firm as he felt they had not given him enough advice about his claim, and had not explained why they were no longer acting for him. He was unhappy with their response, so brought the complaint to us.
We decided that whilst Mr I had been left in a difficult situation, the firm had clearly explained why they could not continue acting for him, and had given enough advice throughout Mr I’s claim. We therefore decided that no remedy was due to Mr I. Mr I rejected the decision.