Sunday, 30 June 2013
Psychological Overlay, and Stress levels
Psychological Overlay, Clients and Stress levels
Two and a half years ago a client contacted me, they were in quite a state, their body was rather twisted, and they were obsessive about the party who they considered had caused their mental and physical state, and personal hygiene was very limited. The client had sustained injuries in a road traffic accident which had initially meant she suffered with some orthopedic injuries but these had now turned into a serious case of Psychological Overlay.
My client had initially been informed by the party who had injured her that they would deal with any rehabilitation she needed, and she had been more than happy to engage with this process, sadly the defendants had been woefully lacking in fulfilling their promise leading to her feeling totally abandoned and neglected. This feeling was compounded by the fact that though the Defendant's own consultant had stated that the client needed three months intensive rehabilitative physiotherapy rather than proceeding and giving her the treatment they had literally dumped him.
Upon returning to her GP her records had been lost. This ongoing delay made her psychological condition worse, the problem was she wouldn't accept. that she had a psychological condition. The client had thereafter been refused assistance by 30 possible legal representatives and turned up with two days to go before limitation had expired on her claim. She had about four bits of paper on her but I made the decision to take on the case, on the understanding that the client would issue their own claim form. I explained what needed to be done and the client did not follow my instructions, in fact limitation expired and I had to almost scream at the client to make her go and issue the claim form. She eventually managed it but we were now two days out of time.
I then asked for the normal forms of authority for release of her medical records etc and the battle commenced to obtain her documents prior to the period for service or proceedings expiring. I had four months. I kept the defendants informed and in the loop, but, could I get her medical notes it was an uphill battle and I didn't really get them until two weeks before they had to be served. They were copious and I didn't truly have time to really thoroughly assess them prior to getting the Particulars of Claim and Schedule of Special Damages prepared, I did manage to assess that she had pre-existing problems but noted they were on the other side of her body to the one that was damaged. The Defendants were unimpressed that we were slightly late issuing proceedings but eventually decided not to take the point.
The client throughout the process was helpful but very difficult, manipulative and very very dramatic, often threatening to take drastic action against the Defendants. At times she was impossible to reason with and she was exhausting to deal with. Despite this I managed to obtain very good lay witness evidence and more importantly good medical evidence supporting her claim though would you believe it, despite initially accepting the evidence I managed to obtain she decided at a later date that she didn't agree with it. I felt a bit like Atlas with the world on my shoulders.
I obtained superb Counsel and between us all we built up a really solid case. The client fought with us all the way, first accepting our advice and giving us sensible instructions and then withdrawing them a couple of days later. To give you some idea of how difficult it was I sent a copy of the client's Statement to her 4 weeks in advance of it being signed but she still turned up at the office to sign the document and something that should have taken no more than 20 minutes took 7hours and 15 mins.
We were offered a substantial amount of money by the other side and initially rejected it. At the very last hurdle I found that the client had lied to me and badly and the impact of those lies was to almost decimate the case, the client would not accept, despite, written proof that they had lied and that they could lose everything, and after a very difficult 10 days when the client was insistent that the matter should proceed to Court they finally agreed and the case was settled for a substantial figure.
Would I take on another similar case. I have always dealt with difficult clients but in 20 years I have never had such a manipulative, difficult, damaged client so I need a bit a break but I more than likely will because despite everything justice was done and my persistence has changed my client's life and that did make it worth it.
Deborah E Aloba