Trainee Reflections

I have now been at Lanyon Bowdler for nine months, and the time has flown by. At the end of this seat, I will have spent a year of my training contract in areas of tortious litigation (ie negligence), having experienced both the personal injury and clinical negligence departments.

I am very aware that these two areas of law do not always have the best reputation. People brandish solicitors in these areas as ‘ambulance chasers’, or accuse them of being money grabbing, and creating a ‘compensation culture’ within our society, where everyone is out to seize as much as they possibly can for any old trivial claim. Having worked in these areas for even a short period, I can categorically say that at Lanyon Bowdler, this is not the case at all.

Since beginning my training contract, I have been able to witness just how necessary, and important the work of solicitors in this area of law really is. It is not just about blame, and compensating someone for initial pain and suffering.  Whilst this is of course an inevitable part of this type of litigation, (and it is definitely worth noting that the legal tests which must be satisfied in order to successfully bring a claim in negligence are by no means easy hurdles to surmount) I have learnt that the work of a PI/CN lawyer involves so much more than this. 

Often the largest part of the so called damages award is made up of a sum for the future, to help the person who has been injured, or has had their life turned upside down due to the fault of another to be able to live their lives as best they can in their worsened position. For instance, if the consequences of a negligently performed operation are that someone is sadly unable to work again, the task of their solicitor is to ensure that they are sufficiently provided for, for the rest of their lives and do not have to worry about not being able to pay the bills as, through no fault of their own, they are unable to bring in a salary.

In many cases, the solicitors will also work alongside case managers, and various types of therapists, in order to ensure that their client receives the necessary rehabilitation and treatment to progress their recovery, or adapt to their altered situation.

In my short time at Lanyon Bowdler, I have worked upon cases involving catastrophic brain injuries in the personal injury department, and severe birth injuries, delayed diagnosis of terrible diseases and failed operations resulting in devastating consequences whilst in the clinical negligence department. I have seen the dedication and skill of the solicitors, and my own perception of these areas of law has been changed.

Sadly, whilst the majority of the medical profession provide impeccable and skilful treatment, in some cases things do go wrong. In such unfortunate situations, the commitment and expertise of a clinical negligence solicitor can truly help those who may otherwise find themselves with nowhere to turn.