Expert witnesses chasing payment, and 'slipshod' instructions

November 3, 2016

An article in the Law Society Gazette on 2 November claimed that just one in 10 expert witnesses say they are paid on time by solicitors who have commissioned them. A survey of 154 members of the Expert Witness Institute found late payment is an increasing problem with law firms. Experts were generally happy with the quality of instructions from solicitors, with 68% agreeing that most are good and know what they are doing. However, some reported they were ‘slipshod’ and appeared to make mistakes due to being under increasing strain.

I have no doubt that these figures accurately reflect a wider picture of growing concern in the personal injury sector.

Two matters arise here of vital importance that can speed up process, create greater outcomes for injured clients and increase profitability:

  1. Where liability is admitted in personal injury claims and evidence has been disclosed, law firms can make requests for interim payments on account of costs and disbursements from their opponents in litigation.  This reduces the problem of outstanding experts' fees and other invoices.  Unfortunately not many law firms do this and education is required to support law firms on this.

  2. Where the quality of law firms' instructions to experts is poor, the outcome in terms of the quality of experts' reports is often adverse. We regularly see poor instructions to experts, with scant information and evidence from clients (a fundamental being a signed witness statement with relevant facts) and client care and expertise is clearly lacking. This need not happen.

If you think that your client service, expert report quality, outstanding disbursements and ultimate profitability could be improved by addressing these areas please get in touch with me. They are very easy to remedy as our client testimonials demonstrate.

For more information or if you feel that you could benefit from our advice and expertise please contact Lesley Graves on lesleygraves@citadel-law.com 
 

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