Area of law: Personal injury
Complaint reason(s): Failure to follow instructions
Remedy: No remedy
Outcome: Ombudsman’s decision rejected by complainant
Mrs D appointed a firm to deal with her husband’s personal injury claim. The case seemed to be going well and expectations were high for a generous settlement; however it all fell apart when some medical evidence suggested that there was no direct link between her husband’s accident and the illness he subsequently suffered. When they settled it was for a lot less than Mrs D hoped for.
Mrs D decided to complain to the Legal Ombudsman because she felt let down by the firm. She felt that there was a delay in reaching the settlement and that the amount reached was a lot less than it should have been. She also felt that it was unfair that the firm’s cost were higher than the settlement received and that they had agreed to the settlement with her husband even though it was Mrs D that had instructed the firm on his behalf.
After considering the evidence, the ombudsman found that the firm’s service was reasonable. They were not responsible for a delay in reaching the settlement: in fact, they had worked hard for. The settlement amount was lower than originally anticipated because there was medical evidence that didn’t support Mr D’s claim. The firm had told Mrs D how much it would cost from the beginning, they reflected the work completed and so we thought they were fair. We also decided that the firm was entitled to agree Mr D’s settlement with him, even though Mrs D had originally instructed the firm. Mrs D rejected the ombudsman’s decision.