We spoke to Anne Felmingham, Partner and Head of Personal Injury & Medical Negligence on her route to becoming a lawyer, how she balances a career with being a mum and what she loves about her role.
Q1. What drew you to the legal profession, and more specifically, into personal injury and medical negligence law?
I have been reading legal books since I was 11, I was unsure back then what area I would specialise so when I had an opportunity to work in personal injury during my training contract I really took to it. I was lucky to have studied human biology at university so my background knowledge alongside coming from a medical family gave me a great understanding and insight into my clients injuries which many other practitioners didn’t have.
Q2. What is meant when we say we offer No-win-no-Fee?
There is a lot of confusion still surrounding funding a claim. Things changed a few years ago now so it means that on successfully concluding a case that person must pay towards the costs that have been incurred on their behalf. So, if you win you pay for insurance if this has been sought on your behalf, the success fee which is calculated at the outset of the claim and any agreed shortfall in costs. The deductions are limited, the success fee can never be any more than 25% of past losses and general damages (the injury award).
Q3. What are the most common kinds of personal injury and accident cases?
These depend on what area of specialty, generally in the industry the most common have been road traffic accidents. Other types of claims are slips/trips, accidents at work. In terms of medical negligence work the most common we see is misdiagnosis and delay in diagnosis.
Q.4 Why have you carved the specialism of chronic pain into the PI department at Goughs?
I have been working with clients in the field of chronic pain since 2007. Many years ago we had a fight on our hands to even have the diagnosis recognised now it is more widely accepted although still very much misunderstood. It is evident there are many clients out there who do not have the right lawyer on their case because you need someone who knows how to conduct what are very often complex and long running claims.
Q5. How can Goughs help with compensation for Chronic Pain?
We have an incredible network of experts and barristers which we have built up over the many years of expertise in the field. We understand what our clients are going through, the isolation, family and relationships breaking up, the urgency of an interim payment to help pay the bills and importantly we know about treatment plans and options available. This coupled with the right team working on our client’s cases has seen excellent results and outcomes for both them and their family.
Q6. What advice would you give to someone on how to select which solicitor to use for their claim?
Never just agree to someone provided by your insurance, if you are looking for someone you can call and they will know your name then choose a firm like Goughs where we get to know you and what you need. There are many firms out there who will never really get to know you and have very high case loads so you risk getting lost in the ether. We meet our clients so we really do get to know you. A claim is very personal so without that personal touch there is always something missing, many clients who transfer from their existing solicitor to us comment on this being missing and the fact that this often impacts on the amount of damages awarded.
Q7. The prospect of making a claim might be daunting and overwhelming, what advice would you give to those who are concerned by this?
Trust us to do the hard work, we know what is required to bring a successful claim,and to do what is needed to take the claim forward. We are always available to talk too, so, you know if you have any questions you can get in touch.
Q8. What impact, if any, has the coronavirus pandemic had on your clients?
Many of our clients have been isolated and unable to go out. However, many of our chronic pain clients have found people now start to recognise this is their normal and the isolation they have experienced everyday for many years. Getting the message out there to show this is not a short term change for many of our clients is really important to us. We have continued to see our clients on video so for us our connection with clients has not been affected.
Q9. Tell us a little about a day in the life of a PI & Medical Negligence lawyer?
No day is the same, it really depends on whether I have a court deadline and which court we are litigating in. If things are quiet on that front I may be reviewing medical records from a new enquiry or I may be drafting a witness statement. Some of my time is in conference with experts and barristers with plenty of work to do afterwards, usually drafting letters, case summaries and updating clients or seeking instructions. All of my cases are at different stages and I can spend many hours of my day on the phone. I tend to start early and then rush back to pick up the children for various evening clubs. It is certainly a challenge as a working mum to get everything into my week, but, one skill often overlooked for a lawyer and particularly a litigator is to be super organised to ensure all deadlines are met, clients updated and a happy busy home life.
Q10. And finally, what do you enjoy most about your job?
I love litigation. My skill is certainly in drafting complex documents. I can’t imagine a job without it.
To speak with Anne about making a personal injury or medical negligence claim please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01249 444499 or complete the online enquiry form here.