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January 22nd 2018

Abuse

Charity being sued for “negligent” handling of compensation claim – why securing experienced and specialist legal advice is crucial

Stacey Flegg

Stacey Flegg

Litigation Executive, Criminal Injuries

Charity being sued for “negligent” handling of compensation claim – why securing experienced and specialist legal advice is crucial

When people choose to pursue a legal case relating to abuse suffered at any point in their life, it is always a huge decision and one which they hope will bring them the justice they seek.

When people choose to pursue a legal case relating to abuse suffered at any point in their life, it is always a huge decision and one which they hope will bring them the justice they seek.

As specialists in supporting people from all circumstances, our team at Hudgell Solicitors know that many initially turn to us simply looking to speak to professional and experienced people who have helped others in similar situations, and will listen.

We appreciate that it is difficult for people to share what has happened to them, often having kept silent about it for a long time.

We keep that at the forefront of our minds as we take our first steps when guiding our clients through the legal process ahead.

We can’t turn the clock back and change what has happened, and we know any amount of compensation won’t achieve that. It can, however, fund support to help the people we represent move forward when they are ready to do so.

This is why we aim to secure the maximum compensation for physical and psychological injuries, and recover damages for any other financial impact the abuse has had on their lives, such as loss of earnings for time off work.

In that regard it was disappointing to read recently how a man who was a victim of child abuse is now having to take action against a charity which actually supported him in a claim for compensation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

Charity was instructed by victim after approaching him directly

The charity involved had approached the man with regard to making a claim after he gave evidence at court in 2011. He had been sexually and physically abused by his mother, who was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment as a result.

Having agreed for the charity to represent him, he was not informed about being potentially eligible to claim for loss of earnings, and as such a claim on his behalf was made for “permanent mental illness and physical abuse suffered as a child” only.

The man only became aware that he could, and should have claimed for loss of earnings when he discovered his brother, who had also suffered abuse, had received a substantially higher damages award.

Whilst we know that such cases are, rarely, if ever,  motivated by money, but having had the courage to speak out during a trial, then agreed to go through the civil legal process only to be let down by representatives who were employed to look after his best interests, must have been devastating.

Thankfully, a court has now ruled that the charity owed the man “a duty to exercise reasonable skill and care” in acting as his representative, and that it was a “basic component” of that representation to inform him of his potential claim for wage loss.

That has seen him now launch legal action against the charity, alleging ‘negligent’ handling of his case and he is seeking further compensation as a result.

This extended legal process and stress should have been avoided completely.

Research into legal experts is key when choosing representation

Our advice to anybody in similar circumstances – especially if approached by an organisation as happened in this case – is to carry out your own extensive research and make sure you choose a lawyer and legal firm with a track record of delivering the best representation.

When people turn to our team at Hudgell Solicitors, one of the first questions many ask is what benefits they get from choosing our team to handle their case.

Our answer is always the same.

They benefit from our genuine compassion and customer care, but also importantly our dedication to using our legal expertise and knowledge to the full, thereby ensuring they get the best support, advice and result.

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