SRA issues revised PI Warning Notice
Concerns about how law firms handle personal injury claims, especially when dealing directly with third-party claims management companies (CMCs), has led the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to issue a revised warning notice.
Although, say the SRA, the vast majority of solicitors are doing the right thing, some law firms are causing them concern. These concerns arise from
- reports of failure to meet with and take instructions from clients,
- settling claims without a medical report, or
- dealing with third parties when working on claims and paying damages to those third parties instead of directly to the client.
Apparently, in some extreme cases, firms have even been bringing claims without the knowledge of the named client claimant.
To help address the problems, the SRA is issuing its second warning notice about personal injury work in two years. They are using it to remind solicitors of their responsibilities, as laid down in the Code of Conduct, especially the need to have proper knowledge of clients and work in their best interest.
The warning coincides with the production of a thematic review on the personal injury sector involving 40 firms. The review found that firms generally had adequate systems and processes in place, yet also found some issues which could lead to misconduct. Amongst those issues were:
- relying on just one CMC for leads,
- inadequate staff training,
- failing to obtain evidence of a client’s identity at the outset