Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
A not-for-profit organisation representing injured people

Blog: APIL: a change for the better

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APIL: a change for the better
David Marshall | 18 Mar 2015

In the daily fight for our clients’ rights, and with insurers and government over policy, it is very easy to forget just how much we have achieved together in APIL over the last 25 years. In 1990:

  •     there was no ‘cards on the table’ approach to allow early evaluation of litigation risk;
  •      split trials were rare;
  •      a lump sum damages payment was all that a judge could award;
  •      rehabilitation was patchy and outside the litigation process anyway; and
  •     ‘no win, no fee’ was unlawful for those many injured people ineligible for legal aid.

This has all changed for the better, but perhaps the most significant development in helping us to achieve the goal of doing the very best we can to put the injured person’s life back on track back is rehabilitation. APIL’s Think Rehab campaign was a vital contribution to driving this up the agenda.

An example of the real difference this approach can make is the case of a child who sustained a severe brain injury in a road traffic accident when he was 4 years old. He is now approaching his 19th birthday. The nature of his injury is such that the doctors have advised they are not yet in a position to safely evaluate the long term effect so as to allow the court to finally conclude the claim.  But during the last 15 years, with full co-operation from the Motor Insurance Bureau, we have been able to provide him with significant rehabilitation and support, including continuous high quality case management, a placement at a specialist school and currently a trial of independent living.  This collaborative approach has meant he has a much better chance of living an independent adult life than otherwise would have been the case. And the compensation award will be carefully matched to the long term effects of his injury and to his life expectation.

As well as active cooperation with insurers in respect of rehabilitation, APIL members have continued to work closely with the voluntary sector. Their provision of services for the injured (whether or not they have a claim for compensation) has improved vastly over recent years. Many charities now offer frontline care, support and rehabilitation services and in some areas actually take the burden away from the NHS where it may lack expertise and funding to deliver specialist support. It is of course down to the hard work and unwavering commitment of the staff and volunteers that is key to the success of these charities, but APIL members should also be proud of their contribution. Whether raising funds in bike rides and marathons, serving as trustees or volunteers, sponsoring posts or carrying out pro-bono legal work, it is support that is undoubtedly needed, particularly during times of austerity that has seen a greater reliance on the voluntary sector. There for the injured,  long after an accident has taken place or a claim has been settled, or where no legal claim can be brought, charities will continue to remain a vital resource for people following injury. 

Past blog entries

Accident and negligence: what’s the difference and why does it matter? , 02 Aug 2021
Patient safety problems risk waning public confidence in the NHS , 20 May 2021
Consumers will not benefit from Do-it-Yourself whiplash reforms, 28 Jan 2021
Effects of a change in the discount rate: what happens when a review is expected? , 16 Dec 2020
Three per cent drop in premiums does not reflect massive insurer savings, 09 Nov 2020
What help is out there for families when someone is injured?, 02 Nov 2020
Blindly heading into the unknown for injured people?, 09 Dec 2019
Lessons in looking after one another , 18 Nov 2019

About this blog

David Marshall

APIL Fellow David Marshall served as president in 2003-2004. He is the managing partner at London firm Anthony Gold, and has a particular expertise in brain and psychiatric injury, including ‘stress at work’ cases.