Hudgell Solicitors’ Head of Legal Practice Amanda Stevens says she was ‘honoured and humbled’ to be selected for a prestigious national award in recognition of her dedication to ensuring seriously injured people are provided with the rehabilitation support they need on the road to recovery.
Amanda was presented with the ‘Outstanding Individual Achievement’ prize at the Rehabilitation First Awards in London – an award selected by judges to recognise those who have ‘set themselves apart from their peers by the sheer weight and significance of their contribution to the UK rehabilitation industry.’
Having always had a passion to help people who have suffered injury and disability, and with a drive to push the boundaries for better standards of care, Amanda first qualified and worked as a hospital manager in a central London teaching hospital, where responsibilities included patient complaints, medical records and litigation.
She then went on to a career in injury litigation, and it is in this position that she has played a key national role in twice overseeing revisions and updates to the Rehabilitation Code in 2007, and most recently 2015.
The code was initially introduced in 1999 to promote rehabilitation when settling personal injury insurance claims and to provide a framework from which insurers and claimant lawyers are required to consider the health needs of injured people as a priority.
The 2015 update took a year in total to conclude, and for the first time included a separate section for lower-value claims in recognition that there is a different way of handling those cases compared to the more serious ones, whilst retaining flexibility to top up provision where personal circumstances dictate. It also included a guide for rehabilitation case managers and those who commission them.
Rehabilitation Code Revision 2015
Amanda says the 2015 revision was one of the most challenging and rewarding tasks of her career, but one which brought together the unusual strands of her past from healthcare to litigation and allowed her to exercise her problem-solving skills to the full, as there were many different opinions on how the new Code should look.
It is naturally affirming of choices you have made when you are recognised by your peers for having achieved and made a real difference in an area of work you feel very passionate about and have spent many hours of your personal time on as well as during the working day.
But receiving an honour like this is a bonus because witnessing changed lives through rehabilitation, as I have done, is hugely rewarding in itself. That is what spurs me on, as well as my colleagues at Hudgells Solicitors.
I am honoured and humbled to have been selected for this award. It sits as one of the biggest achievements of my career, alongside the work on the Rehabilitation Code.
I have so many people to thank who have supported all we have done in ensuring huge progress has been made in terms of rehabilitation becoming an ever-more central part of the claims process. It has only been achievable with the support and commitment of senior figures in healthcare and the litigation claims process across the board.
I consider myself to have been fortunate in my career as I have simply followed my passion for people to receive the health care they need and deserve. That initially took me to work as a hospital manager, and then to further supporting patients in my litigation career.
I have to say the consultation for the revised 2015 code was much more complicated than in 2007, and it was much more difficult to secure agreements from all parties on best practice.
However, that made it all the more rewarding to deliver modern guidance which ensures injured parties are placed at the centre of the process by all professionals involved in the claims process.
Amanda is a member of the UK Rehabilitation Council and was also a founding Director. She is also a long-serving member of the group responsible for negotiating and drafting the Serious Injury Guide, which aims to address rehabilitation needs of those involved in more complex injury claims. She is also a Past President and Fellow of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
She was presented her award at a lunch in which many stories of superb rehabilitation support were shared and awards handed out in recognition.
Rehabilitation Initiative of the Year
Hudgell Solicitors were highly commended in the Rehabilitation Initiative of the Year category for claimant solicitors, as judges were impressed by an ongoing package of financial, physical, psychological and personal support provided to a family left devastated by a road traffic accident in 2005, which tragically caused the death of a 29-year-old mother-of-three, and her six-year-old daughter.
The accident also caused the family’s 15-month-old baby boy to suffer a serious brain injury, leaving his father having to give up work to care for both his baby and his other four-year-old son, who was not involved in the accident.
Over the subsequent years, and through collaboration with insurers, the family have benefited from a home-based rehabilitation package which has assisted the youngest son with his recovery, independence, educational development and helped to hugely improve his quality of life. That support continues today, and will do so into the future.
It was fantastic to attend these awards and see the great work being done by so many organisations in helping provide much needed rehabilitation support to help people on the road to recovery after serious injury.
The cases outlined on the day were moving, inspiring, and importantly evidence that by pulling together, parties in healthcare, insurance and litigation can work together to provide the best path to recovery for patients when their needs are put first and rehabilitation is central to that support.
The focus has to be on helping people recover as quickly and completely as possible.
Amanda has also been fundamental in developing further guides in her time at Hudgells Solicitors, these include: