Choosing a solicitor
Why choose a specialist solicitor?
Clinical negligence is a highly complex and specialist area of law. It requires medical as well as legal knowledge, and an empathy with the feelings and needs of people who have been harmed by negligent treatment.
In our 35 years’ experience in this field, we have seen many claimants badly let down by solicitors who take on clinical negligence cases they are not able to handle. Specialist solicitors are much more likely to accurately assess your chances of success in your claim and give appropriate advice on how to proceed.
Please note that whilst we use the term ‘solicitor’, a small number of our specialist panel members are not ‘solicitors’ but lawyers qualified through the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (click here for more information).
How can I tell who is a specialist in clinical negligence?
There are two well-established ‘panels’ (or approved lists) of solicitors who have been assessed and accredited as specialists in clinical negligence: AvMA’s and the Law Society’s. These panels are recognised by, among others, the Legal Aid Agency, the NHS Litigation Authority in England and the NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership.
To identify an AvMA approved solicitor, look for the AvMA Specialist Clinical Negligence panel logo.
Some solicitors claim to be approved or accredited by an organisation other than AvMA or the Law Society, or imply that experience in personal injury claims qualifies them to act in clinical negligence cases. You should be wary of these claims as this is no guarantee that they are specialists in clinical negligence.
What is special about AvMA’s specialist clinical negligence panel?
AvMA is an independent, patient-centred charity. We were the first organisation to recognise the need for specialist clinical negligence solicitors and we established the original clinical negligence panel in 1983.
We require solicitors to show high levels of customer care and empathy as well as knowledge of other ways to resolve clinical disputes, such as mediation; complaints procedures; inquests; Human Rights law; and fitness to practise procedures. Solicitors have to be reaccredited after five years to remain on our panel and are required to sign up to our code of conduct.
How can I find the solicitor to meet my individual needs?
AvMA’s Find a Solicitor is a free service to help you quickly find a specialist clinical negligence solicitor in your area. Simply enter your location or pick a region to search. You can also choose one or more special interests most relevant to you to help narrow the search.
If you are researching solicitors yourself, always check if they are accredited by AvMA. Look for the accreditation logo.
You can also contact our free advice and information service, which will refer you to a specialist clinical negligence solicitor if appropriate. Contact our helpline on 0845 123 2352 (Mon-Fri 10am-3.30pm) or complete a new client form. We receive no payment for referrals we make.
Remember, the final choice is always yours
Whilst we are here to help, only you can decide on the best course of action for you. There is no guarantee that any solicitor will be able to achieve what you want, but membership of AvMA’s panel is the best indicator available of a solicitor’s expertise in this field. However, you still need to make your own assessment of whether a solicitor is right for you.