I Have Legal Expenses Insurance, But Do Not Want To Use Their Panel Solicitor

If you have legal expenses insurance cover, you may well have a policy with a company which will insist on only instructing their own panel solicitors at the beginning. They are entitled to do this.

In a small, straightforward claim, that is probably not a problem. However, in a complex or serious claim however, it may not be the right thing for you.

Most legal expenses insurers have panel solicitors based many miles away. Consequently, generally speaking, those solicitors have to deal with everything by way of telephone, in correspondence, e-mail, or questionnaires. You may never get to meet your representative. Not the easiest way to get your difficult case understood.

You may find your case being handled by a “paralegal” and not by a qualified solicitor.

Also, a distant panel firm may not have specialist knowledge of local medical experts, and will probably tend to use medical agencies, who simply choose an expert from a general panel. Again, this may not be the most appropriate way for your serious case to be presented. For example, you do not really want a general orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in hand injuries, to prepare a report on a complex spinal injury.

As things stand, legal expenses insurers may properly insist on their own panel solicitors acting at the outset, but you later have the right to insist on your own solicitor at if it is necessary to issue Court proceedings, or before that in certain circumstances. And you always have the right to decide whom you wish to handle your case.

Our advice is that in any serious case, or one of complexity or subtlety, or where you would like to speak to your lawyer face to face, you should have your own local, specialist dealing with your personal injury claim. You will then have personal access, and it is in fact our practice to visit clients in their home, to establish the difficulties faced on a daily basis, both for the injured person and family or carers. Complex cases cannot easily (or in our view properly) be dealt with long distance.

Therefore, if your legal expenses insurers will not instruct your own solicitor, how do you overcome this?

If you have a reasonably strong case, we would have no problems in dealing with the matter under a CFA (the so called “No Win No Fee”) or other arrangement (see separate page), if your legal expenses insurers will not appoint us. Then, at the stage of issue of Court proceedings, we would expect the Insurers to agree to us continuing to act for you with the benefit of their policy from that time on. If they decline to do so, we would continue under the CFA already in place. Either way, you will have the benefit of your own specialist legal advisor of choice.

You do not have to accept a solicitor you do not wish to act for you.