Maximising the Damages Result – an Artform or a Science?

For almost every personal injury claimant, whether it be a workplace injury, motor vehicle accident, a slip and fall or a medical negligence claim, a major source of anxiety at the commencement of the process is ensuring that they are comfortable that the lawyer they choose to represent them understands their individual circumstances, the losses they are suffering and can put them at ease that they will strive to gain them a fair and positive result from their claim.

It is true that in any field of expertise, there are those better at the task than others.

So what does separate the good from the average in a personal injury lawyer sense?

I was fortunate early in my career to have learnt from some of the best in the business (shout out to Travis Schultz and Michael Callow).

The key lessons learnt were essentially:

  1. Preparation is key. Never be caught with your pants down by your opponent due to lack of preparation;
  2. Evidence. Nothing substitutes for proof in a legal matter. Taking the extra steps to obtain detailed statements from all relevant witnesses, obtaining all the required documentary evidence, obtaining the right expert reports and filling the gaps in the evidence before they are pointed out by your opponents will yield positive results every time;
  3. Establishing the narrative. This is where the art form comes in. All of the detailed evidence in the world will not produce the best result if the lawyer cannot express and explain its relevance to the matter in a way which best serves the injured person;
  4. Relentlessness.  The lawyer must be relentless in running down every piece of evidence and scrapping for every positive component of the claim. It is the sum of many positive components which produce a great result overall;
  5. Strength of conviction. The lawyer must always maintain their strength of conviction when dealing with their opponent. That is not to say that the lawyer should be difficult or obstructive. Quite the opposite. The successful lawyer should concede where appropriate but show strength of conviction on the important issues;
  6. Never compromise on your clients’ best interests. This is an issue which worries many claimants. They can be concerned that their lawyer may make decisions on their claim in the lawyers own self interest such as resolving the claim early or for a reduced amount to get a speedy result of fees. Of course, the claimant does not always know what is in their best interests. It is the foremost duty of the lawyer to advise the claimant of what best serves their interest. Communication between the lawyer and the client is key.

These key concepts above are a mixture of both art and science. The gathering of documents, reports, statements and all required evidence is scientific. It is effort over laziness which is crucial in getting that part of the claim right.

The building of the narrative, the relentlessness of pursuit and the strength of conviction is the artform. And the reality is, some lawyers have these attributes and some don’t.

Some of these skills are learnt. Some are personality traits and some skills are lost due to laziness.

My advice to claimants? Look for experienced, motivated practitioners who are prepared to talk and listen. Communication is key!

How can Crew Legal help?

Crew Legal pride ourselves on providing quality advice at the right price. We will ensure that you receive the best advice for your situation and are committed to ensuring that everybody has access to that advice.

We provide a first consultation completely free and with no obligation. If the claim is undertaken, we will proceed with such claims on a ‘No Win/No Fee’ basis.

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