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Can I change my solicitor following a serious injury?

The choice of which solicitor to instruct following a serious injury is a complex and significant decision, often made at the point of crisis.

In the majority of personal injury cases, you only have ‘one chance’ to pursue a claim, as cases usually settle on a full and final basis - subject to some limited exceptions.  This means that choosing the right lawyer at the outset of the case is imperative because a solicitor with the requisite skills and expertise will understand the importance of gathering the best evidence at the appropriate time from the right experts.   

The law is as niche as many other professions, such as medicine.  Many solicitors specialise in one area of law and there are fewer and fewer smaller high street solicitors who act across a number of different areas of the law. Finding the right solicitor for you with the required level of skill and expertise can be a daunting prospect, particularly after a traumatic event.

How do I choose the best solicitor for my case?

Research is imperative. Consider the Law Society website or Association of Personal Injury Lawyers website. Consider the Legal Directories such as Chambers & Partners, or the Legal 500 which provide rankings nationally across the legal sector.  Some charities such as Headway have approved lists of solicitors.

A number of law firms, including Irwin Mitchell, are on Trust Pilot so check prior reviews of services. 

Ask friends and families for recommendations but remember that ‘one size does not fit all’ – for example a solicitor who did an excellent job when you moved house might not be the right person to help following a serious injury.

Finally don’t be afraid to ask your solicitor to describe their expertise; for example how many cases have they done like yours? What notable cases have they been involved with in the past?

What should I do if I am unhappy with my current solicitor?

Trust in your solicitor and their ability to get the job done is crucial. You must be able to establish a strong working relationship and have confidence that they will fight your corner at every turn.  

Remember that you are always free to seek a second opinion from another firm of solicitors if you are unhappy with how your case is progressing, or if the relationship you have with your solicitor doesn’t fill you with confidence and trust. The vast majority of solicitors will offer a free initial discussion to talk through any concerns you may have. 

Changing a solicitor is not as difficult as you might think. In the event of needing to change, your new solicitor can deal with the entire transfer of your case with your written consent. 

Any progress made to date in your case will not be lost.  Having taken over many cases over the years, I always reassure my clients that I will read every single document from their previous solicitor– there are no shortcuts and by reading the previous solicitor’s whole file of papers I can quickly bring myself up to speed. 

Case Study

I recently settled a case on behalf of a seriously injured client who had instructed his local firm of solicitors because they had in the past acted for him in a conveyancing transaction.

The firm had unfortunately not progressed the case as he would have liked.  His previous solicitor had recommended settlement of his case for a few hundred thousand pounds.  He was close to accepting the offer but after some deliberation decided to seek a second opinion from me. 

I concluded his case towards the end of last year for over £2 million.  He told me afterwards that he had been nervous about changing solicitor but now realises that had he not done so, he would not have had sufficient money for his lifelong rehabilitation needs. 


In conclusion it is vital that a client and solicitor have a strong mutual relationship of trust.   A client must believe that their solicitor will achieve the very best result on their behalf following a life changing event.  Having that confidence is crucial to the success of a healthy working relationship.

Richard Biggs is a senior associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell having practised for more than 20 years in personal injury.

More information about changing solicitors and Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting clients across all areas of law can be found on our website.

Trust in your solicitor and their ability to get the job done is crucial. You must be able to establish a strong working relationship and have confidence that they will fight your corner at every turn. ”