Personal Injury partner Warren Maxwell recently spoke to complex care case management provider Empowering U about the legal and practical aspects of personal injury claims.

Case managers have a key role in a serious injury claim. As the client’s ‘guides’ through their post-accident journey, the case manager’s knowledge of suitable local care and rehabilitation providers is crucial in ensuring the right therapists are involved from the outset, and managed in the longer term.


How important is the case manager in a serious injury claim?

When it comes to working with case managers, collaboration is crucial. Clients who have sustained life changing injuries need a huge amount of support and guidance in order to maximise the benefits of the rehabilitation and support package and regain as much independence as possible. The many ‘moving parts’ need attention and the solicitor can and should support the case manager if needed. Similarly, if funds are running low or there is an unexpected item of expenditure now on the horizon, the lawyer needs to know so that funds can be obtained before it is too late. It’s therefore essential that the case manager feels comfortable enough with the solicitor to pick up the phone and speak if needs be.

Case managers are also important witnesses and I invariably take a witness statement from them to support the client’s claim. They have usually been involved with their client’s rehabilitation from the outset and have an intimate and detailed knowledge of our mutual client, their family and support network, rehabilitation and care needs, and how they have been met over the course of the legal claim.


How do you choose a case manager to work with your client?

Firstly, I always use the starting point that it is my client’s decision as to who they would like to appoint as their case manager. The client is at the centre of the claim and this is integral to developing a trusting relationship, as claims usually take several years to conclude.

When choosing a case manager, I am a strong believer in the ‘meet & greet’ process. This is where clients are introduced to two or three case managers in order to decide who they wish to instruct. The case manager has to “fit” with the client, and with their family. It is important to remember that the client’s family are hugely affected by a life-changing injury to a loved one and must be included in accordance with the client’s wishes.  I am happy to attend the meeting to help guide the client through the process and ask any important questions.

This approach increases the client’s understanding of case management and the role the case manager will have in their rehabilitation journey, which in turn provides them with an informed choice. It also gives the client an opportunity to ask questions of each case manager as to their knowledge, their clinical and case management experience, and their likely approach to the client’s rehabilitation and care needs.


What does the perfect case manager’s file look like?

The claimant has a duty to disclose the case manager’s file notes and it is therefore essential that the file is prepared properly. Disclosure usually starts relatively early with the claimant agreeing to voluntary disclose documents on a rolling, often quarterly, basis.

When receiving documents from case managers, I expect to see all correspondence and telephone notes taking place over the relevant period. It is often also helpful to see notes containing the case manager’s thoughts and views at that time and any justifications for measures they have suggested, or input they consider appropriate.

The least valuable document is a goal sheet that wallows without any update. If goals are not progressing, it’s best to explain why. This is something insurers will nearly always pick up on.

I always review the case manager’s notes and records as they give me another insight as to what is happening in my client’s life and rehabilitation. If there are particular issues that the claimant is struggling, the solicitor can often assist or bring in further support from the client’s barrister and/or experts who can work through any issues the claimant has.


What are your five top tips for case managers?

  1. Talk to your solicitor; we should always be approachable and available to you. Sound us out on your thoughts for our mutual client’s rehabilitation and care. Ask us when funds are due in.
  2. Evidence your work. If it’s not recorded, then it (arguably) didn’t happen.
  3. Give us plenty of warning and lead in time. Often evidence is needed to justify interim payments and various steps may be needed before the request or application for funds can be made.
  4. Help out at expert appointments. You have so much useful information about your client’s care and rehabilitation needs that the court will benefit from hearing.
  5. Talk to your solicitor; it’s so important, it’s worth mentioning twice.

Read the full Q&A, hosted by Empowering U Case Management, here.



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