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APIL highlights importance of early collaboration in rehab



The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has relaunched its guide for best practice in rehabilitation, highlighting the importance of early collaboration between claimant lawyers and defendant insurers.

Described as an ‘essential part of a personal injury lawyer’s toolbox, APIL’s Best Practice Guide on Rehabilitation covers everything from how to discuss rehabilitation with a client to what to look for when selecting a case manager.

The new edition, launched at APIL’s Catastrophic Injuries Conference in Birmingham on Wednesday 15 May, focuses on the benefits of early collaboration on rehabilitation between claimant lawyers and defendant insurers.

Speaking about this in the guide, Andrew Hibbert, partner at Clyde & Co, says: “The people and families at the heart of these claims have had their worlds turned upside down. We owe it to them to maximise the impact of rehabilitation and to remove conflict and friction wherever possible.”

Ben Hibbs, head of technical claims at LV, also says in the guide: “At LV=/Allianz we passionately believe that we should place the injured individual at the heart of the process and work collaboratively with all parties to make sure effective rehabilitation is pro-actively utilised to maximise their potential recovery and quality of life.”

Michelle Cresswell, partner at CFG Law, added: “I have seen personally how working collaboratively with other professionals equally committed to early rehabilitation can have a significant impact on our client’s recovery.”

The foreword has been written by Victoria Lebrec, a lay member on APIL’s executive committee, who had to have her leg amputated after being run over by a skip lorry as she cycled to work.

Lebrec says having access to rehabilitation at the earliest opportunity is paramount to recovery. This didn’t happen in her case, which meant she struggled with an ill-fitting NHS prosthetic leg, and it was more than a year after she was injured before she had access to key private treatment.

“Countless other people, who suffer devastating injuries through no fault of their own, find themselves in the position that I did. The very least they should expect is the best treatment possible to help them cope and recover, and get their lives back on track,” she said.

The guide is exclusive for APIL members and is designed to be read and used in conjunction with the framework provided by the Rehabilitation Code 2015.

Mike Benner, chief executive of APIL, commented: “The rehabilitation guide is an essential part of a personal injury lawyer’s toolbox. It is extremely encouraging to have comments from insurers on working together early on in the process because helping injured people to recover as best they can must be the primary goal for us all.

“The guide has a very practical approach, with a process map and a range of case studies, and can be applied to all levels of PI case to varying degrees. But we recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to rehabilitation.

“We’ve included helpful examples and points to consider throughout the rehabilitation process, which both lawyers and their clients will find reassuring.”