In the latest of our Meet the Lawyer series, we speak with Steven Akerman, director at Brian Barr Solicitors, about his experience and commitment to supporting clients
Tell us about your experience to date
I gained my law degree from the University of Manchester in 2008, followed by the completion of my Legal Practice Course at BPP Manchester in 2009. Prior to my role as a specialist personal injury lawyer, I honed my expertise as a costs draftsman, gaining valuable insights into the intricacies of legal processes, and in 2011 took the next step in my legal career by joining Brian Barr Solicitors.
Brian Barr are a leading, specialist firm of solicitors who deal uniquely with chronic pain litigation, as well as negligence claims involving everything from fibromyalgia and CRPS to functional neurological disorder (FND), spinal injuries and brain injuries.
What makes brain and spinal cord injury claims different to general personal injury claims?
Brain and spinal cord injury claims differ significantly from general personal injury claims due to the complex and unique nature of these cases. With years of experience supporting vulnerable claimants, I understand all too well how differently these injuries can affect each patient, but in general terms, these types of injuries often result in life-altering consequences, not only for the injured individual but also for their families.
Brain and spinal cord injuries tend to be more severe and can lead to permanent disabilities, requiring lifelong care and support. The long-term implications demand a comprehensive understanding of the medical, rehabilitative, and emotional aspects of the injuries. This means working with specialist medical experts who have a deep understanding of neurology, neurosurgery, and rehabilitation.
The legal aspects of brain and spinal cord injury claims can be intricate, and the costs associated with brain and spinal cord injuries can be astronomical, covering ongoing medical treatment, assistive devices, home modifications etc. Calculating these costs and seeking appropriate compensation is a complex process.
How important is it to appoint a lawyer with specialism in brain and spinal injury claims?
Very important. Given these complexities, it’s essential for individuals with brain and spinal cord injuries to seek legal representation from solicitors who understand this area of law. Such solicitors have the expertise to navigate the intricacies of these cases, ensuring that clients receive the comprehensive support and compensation they deserve. The last thing they need is for their case and their claim to be undervalued.
Can and should a client change their lawyer if they are not happy with how the case is progressing?
Absolutely, of course they can. If you feel your claim is being misunderstood and undervalued, then it is important you change to a specialist firm as soon as possible. You are under no obligation to stay with your current solicitor and are entitled to switch your solicitors for whatever reason you wish, whether you feel you need a solicitor with more specialist knowledge or believe that you are not going to get the compensation that you deserve.
Moving solicitors to Brian Barr is easy and hassle free. We settled a claim for a client for £200,000 after he had been told by his previous solicitor that his case was only worth £10,000, and we regularly have cases transferred to us because of our specialist knowledge.
In particular, with claims concerning brain injury it is important to have a solicitor whose expertise and focus is subtle and traumatic brain injury. A lack of understanding can be extremely frustrating, and it is key that your solicitor understands your case, has access to medical experts, and can reach a settlement that will cover your long-term care costs and lifestyle changes.
Can you share a couple of your personal career highlights
I have had the privilege of experiencing numerous highlights throughout my career through passionately assisting others secure the compensation they rightfully deserve to move forward with their lives.
One such case is when I helped to secure a £4million settlement for a client who developed Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) after slipping on an unmarked and unlit step. She developed the most extreme form of CRPS, which is very rare, and ended up having to undergo a below-knee amputation. In the middle of the claim, a significant interim payment was obtained on her behalf to allow her to purchase and renovate her home to make it suitable for her condition which was of great assistance to her as claims of this nature can take years to secure. Although no amount of money can replace her loss of health, it is hoped that the damages secured will assist our client to live the best possible life alongside her condition.
Tell us a little about your life outside of work
Originally from New York, I made the leap across the pond to Manchester in 2003. When I’m not immersed in the world of law, I cherish moments spent with my family and with my passion for religious studies.
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