PI specialist fights writ for negligence

PERSONAL injury specialist Russell Jones & Walker is being sued by a former client who won £1,050 compensation for an injury which subsequently deteriorated, forcing him to take early retirement.

According to law firm Bolt Burdon, which is acting for former policeman William Saul, compensation for the injury should have been substantially more than the £1,050 he settled for.

A writ for negligence, issued at the High Court, says that the Police Federation hired Russell Jones & Walker to act for Saul after he was injured in a car accident in 1991.

Ten months after the accident, the firm advised Saul to accept a £1,050 settlement offer on the basis of a medical report by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who said he suspected the symptoms of Saul's “moderately severe whiplash injury” would “gradually diminish”.

The writ states that after the settlement, the injury “worsened very considerably”, led to surgery and eventually forced the policeman into early retirement. It claims the firm “failed to warn the plaintiff adequately or at all of the consequences of a full and final settlement”.

Tim Quinn, of Bolt Burdon, said: “Settling an action within 10 months of the accident may sound like efficiency, but as far as we are concerned the advice to Mr Saul was inappropriate in view of the injury he suffered.”

John Webber, managing partner at Russell Jones & Walker, said the firm would be defending the action. “The dispute is whether the case was settled on the correct medical evidence and it is our view that it was.”