A few days ago I prepared a blog about working from home, which was a little bit work based and partly showing the joys of nature! This one concentrates more on the practicalities of what is going on between parties.
With the Covid-19 lockdown now several weeks on we can all see how life has changed so dramatically in such a short time. Major retailers have closed and talk about not re-opening, British Airways have announced massive redundancies and the possibility of not continuing at Gatwick post lockdown. Obviously this is a very difficult time for lots of people and the economy has faced a major hit too.
From the perspective of a clinical negligence and personal injury lawyer, a lot of work has continued as normal. The major changes of working from home are the use of technology to stay in touch and more electronic communications rather than old fashioned post. I guess this will probably continue post lockdown, which will not be a bad thing. I have adapted my way of working having created Outlook directories to keep my outstanding post in and now getting used to that is something I will probably continue post lockdown.
We were told quite early on that hospitals would adopt a “no touch policy” for medical records. All paper medical records would therefore not be copied for the foreseeable future. Medical records are essential on most clinical negligence cases, so this could delay the investigation of a case. I have not actually seen this happen yet and the local hospital Trusts are still providing records with minimal delay.
Somewhat surprisingly we have still seen a steady influx of clients mostly making contact through our website, so having invested in social media and promoting our website has proved a big plus point at this time.
Courts are running at skeleton staff but are still working and prioritising hearings and such like. Even the senior Courts have adopted to modern technology and had hearings by Zoom which apparently have gone very well. Anecdotally the writer has heard of low value trials are still taking place via Zoom.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and Federation of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) have agreed a Coronavirus protocol aimed at cooperation between major insurers and personal injury lawyers during the pandemic. Let us hope this continues post lockdown too. For a long time the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) have encouraged and promoted an open and collaborative approach between lawyers. Fortunately a large part of my caseload is clinical negligence work and one comes up against the same lawyers constantly and a good relationship generally exists with a fair measure of cooperation between parties. Let us pass swiftly on, in relation to cost issues (where the same cannot always be said!).
So what have I learned about working at home, other than less interruptions to Popmaster and never missing a home delivery? Seriously, collaboration with opponents and a better view than my grey walls of the office. Overall (working) life goes on and hopefully our clients have not noticed any changes in the excellent service we try to give them.
We are continuing to take new enquiries via the usual channels of email and telephone, so please do not hesitate to contact us with your enquiry on 01603 877000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.