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Gordon Dalyell

APIL president

Full and fair compensation for people who are injured through no fault of their own is a cornerstone of a just and modern society. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) strives for justice for vulnerable people, but it surprises some people to learn that this near-3,500-strong group of lawyers is not only focussed on obtaining financial redress.

APIL campaigns actively for better safety standards and lessons to be learned so that needless injuries, and subsequent compensation claims, are avoided. The association also supports the principle of putting an injured person back on track through rehabilitation. Helping people on the road to recovery is as important as securing financial compensation.

The lawyer’s toolkit puts the injured party first

APIL has been a lynchpin in the establishment of the Rehabilitation Code, an approved framework for injury claims within which an injured person’s representatives and those who pay compensation can join forces to put the injured person at the heart of the process.

Information is exchanged between the two sides early on, and the need for rehabilitation takes precedence. The person’s needs are assessed quickly by independent professionals with appropriate qualifications, skills, and experience. The key word in all of this work is ‘early’. The best possible chances of recovery start to ebb away as the clock ticks.

APIL’s Best Practice Guide to Rehabilitation builds on the framework of the Rehabilitation Code. The guide is kept under constant review to ensure it remains up-to-date. It provides information on choosing a case manager and a rehabilitation provider, the different processes for rehabilitation depending on the severity of the injury, and funding options. It is available on the APIL website where members can also search for rehabilitation providers.

Both sides unite

Much can be achieved for injured people when both sides work together. Representatives of APIL, defendant organisation the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) and major insurers have also collaborated to create the Serious Injury Guide. This best practice guide assists with the conduct of cases involving complex injuries which are likely to involve a claim for continuing care and treatment well into the future. In a recent survey of the guide’s participants, 85% of those who answered a question on whether the Serious Injury Guide leads to earlier access to rehabilitation said that it does.

APIL was also part of a cross industry group to develop recommendations to ensure that people with whiplash injury claims in the new, reformed claims process, who will most likely have to run their own claims, can have access to rehabilitation.

The big picture

While it is essential to obtain the damages injured people need, APIL advocates a holistic approach to personal injury claims in which rehabilitation of the injured person is at the very forefront of lawyers’ minds.

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