I had a car crash last year and claimed for whiplash to my back and neck. It was all done very quickly by Solicitors appointed by my insurance company. I settled for £1750 just 3 months from the accident. I have just been told that I actually have a crushed vertebrae and will need an operation and months off work and may be affected for the rest of my life. Can I reopen the case?

Firstly, it would be impossible to reopen the case save for the most exceptional of cases (involving some fraud or similar).

The claimant can only consider raising a claim against the original solicitors (and possibly the examining Doctor) for professional negligence.

It will need to be proved that the solicitors breached their duty towards you by failing to properly advise you on the risks of settling at the point you were offered the £1750.

This is a difficult legal action. You would have to engage a new legal team to take proceedings against the original solicitors to claim the damages they have lost out on now the true situation regarding the extent of you injury has come to light.

A forensic examination of the file of papers will be necessary and if some advice on risk is buried within the correspondence this may allow them to escape liability.

Further, it must be remembered that the claim may not be for the full amount of the loss but just the lost “chance”. Therefore if there is still a dispute on liability or some other dispute that was originally settled on economic terms then this may mean the case will be reduced by a percentage. It is very difficult to get the full loss due to this.

A claim against the solicitors, albeit difficult should be taken where they have failed to properly advise in their rush to settle. If this has happened to you then you need to contact us for advice on the specific facts of your case. If you have a claim against your former solicitors we can act on your behalf on a conditional fee basis (no win no fee). As personal injury lawyers we are well placed to advise you properly on how much your original case could have been worth and what your solicitors may have missed.

With these cases it is important to take action quickly whilst matters are fresh and paperwork available. Solicitors have to keep their papers for up to 6 years because this can be a cut-off point. Cases can be taken after this time but it is difficult to obtain court permission. Basically get advice as soon as possible if you think you have a claim.