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Or read the transcript below:
Keith: My name's Keith Cundall and I'm a personal injury solicitor at Fieldfisher in Manchester. I'm here with my client, Jo. Jo initially went to a different firm and then chose to move to us.
Jo: I was in the car with my family. My son was driving. I was the front passenger. My daughter was sitting behind me, and then all of a sudden, just as we got onto the junction, we were only going slowly, my son shouted, he's going to hit us. There was an almighty bang.
Jo: Then maternal instinct kicked in and I went from being unconscious to finding the strength to kick my door open. The person who'd crashed into us had apparently said, Sorry, I was trying to get my friend to the train station, so he didn't miss the match.
Keith: How did you go about finding a firm to act for you?
Jo: My son was explaining to somebody at work what happened to us. He just said, Oh, well, my brother works for a solicitor. I'll make sure that they look after you. And we did no investigation whatsoever. We just ran with them. They didn't really have very much to do with us at all.
Keith: Meanwhile, you all had rehabilitation needs that were going unmet.
Jo: The lawyers told us they couldn't get us any help. We had to find our own way for the first 6-9 months.
Keith: How long did you stay with that firm for?
Jo: Too long. They never used to inform us about anything. We used to have to send them an email saying, what's happening? They used to say, Well, we're trying to get you an interim payment or some money for physio, and we'd hear nothing back and then another three weeks would go by. We stayed with them for almost two-and-a-half years.
Jo: Fortunately, I've got a good friend who's got a legal background and she had spent four weeks trying to find the best solicitors she could. 9 o'clock in the morning we got a phone call saying: "We're going to take your case on" and, there and then, everything changed and we realised that they were going to look after us and we realised how the others didn't care.
Keith: Most people are concerned about the cost implications of moving firms, when really it's a very simple process. Your new solicitor will offer you a document to sign, a form of authority, which instructs your old firm effectively to stop work immediately and prepare that file of papers for sending through to us. In your case, the very first thing that we did was to get all the paperwork, whatever evidence they were able to obtain, and go through it with a fine tooth comb.
Keith: I remember our discussion when you were fairly distraught about your situation, having read the papers trying to reassure you that all you had lost was time and that we could try and make that up. The process really is very straightforward. We make up an offer to them to include their costs within our own at the end of the case.
Keith: So there really ought to be no resistance from that firm in sending the file over.
Jo: The other firm that we were with, their lack of response and inefficiency was so different from everybody at Fieldfisher. All of a sudden we went from having you as our main person, but you've also got such a fabulous team around you and everybody cares. Every single person at Fieldfisher cares.
Keith: Rehabilitation is a process and for some clients, it's a very long process. What would you say has been the biggest rehabilitation win for you since you were introduced to your case manager?
Jo: It was so easy. It was such an easy process. We went from having no help with basic needs and physiotherapy to thinking about everything that could possibly be factored in. We have the most amazing bespoke team that has been hand-picked. She has an amazing O.T. that works with her weekly, an amazing physiotherapist. Obviously the case managers and those people come in every single week and work with her to help us to get back to a daily living.
Keith: And one of the outcomes of the case management process and interim payments coming in is that we've been able to get you into far more suitable accommodation.
Jo: That's been so uplifting for us both. My daughter had actually become a prisoner at home and she wasn't able to go to university, she wasn't able to attend therapies because there were days she couldn't get down the stairs and I couldn't get her down the stairs. So the minute you've gotten us into this fantastic place... I remember once I was so sad.
Jo: My daughter, at the age of 20 said, I just want to feel the sun on my skin. We've got this amazing garden now within 7 minutes away from the university she attends and it's just been so life changing. I'm able to relax a little bit now without being so concerned about having to rush back to work because I can't go back to work.
Jo: But thanks to you, fighting my case and wining, I'm in a position where the pressure's off a little bit now. I can't afford to just take time, breathe and look forward with optimism.
Keith: If you were to give some advice to anybody in the situation that you were in who feels trapped with the firm that they're with or they're not getting the service that they want or they feel unable to move, what would you say to them?
Jo: Don't be scared. Just do it. 100%. If we had stayed as we were, Lord only knows where we'd be, we'd probably still be trapped in the flat. So do it. And Fieldfisher - I feel quite emotional because you really have saved us. I know with my daughter, it's ongoing. We've still got a way to go.
Jo: But I know while you're on her side and in our corner, everything's going to work out for the best. And the focus has been on getting us back to just being ourselves.
I remember at the end we said, we don't know if this is professional or not, but can we give you a hug, please? Because we finally felt that we weren't on our own anymore.
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