Newcomer to This / Needs Advice

Question:  Registered with rsi org 2 days ago/ have acute tennis elbow, bad wrists, the works…….. Employer has been aware of this for a few years, but it had never been as bad as this….now suggest I see THEIR appointed consultant. IN meeting today it was suggested ‘so you are not able to do your job anymore’ etc etc. Me alone in meeting, 2 people from Management present, sounds like I am I being set up? Something tells me they are preparing a case against me, and I don’t know where to go from here. My location is London, has anyone got a solicitor/expert they can recommend so I can get advise as to how to protect me?

Answer 1:  1) Ring the Law Society and ask them to give you the names of 3 Employment Law solicitors and 3 Personal Injury ones in London. You will find the ones whose names they give you are OK.
2) if you have a staff association or trade union see them immediately; if they are busy ring them at home; if you can’t get them there ring the national association or union and tell them you can’t. It happens like this. My employers didn’t try to pull that one on me because they knew I wouldn’t go near them without a Union Rep. there. But they did (someone who shouldn’t have told me said) do it to people they thought, they knew, didn’t know as much as I did about things like that. It is despicable. Disgraceful. And all too typical. Take care. Don’t see those people alone again. Don’t write anything to them. Don’t agree to anything before you have seen a solicitor or a Union official. And if you need more information or advice write to the List again, and again (!). OK? And let us know how things go.

Answer 2:  I had the same sort of treatment. What has your doctor said , have you seen any specialists? Has anyone else got arm or wrist problems? do you have a union or somebody reliable to take in with you? what treatment have you tried, keep a daily log of your pain and what is said to you

Answer 3:  The only thing I can add to Judy’s good advice is make sure you make a note in your diary (or similar) about what is said, what impressions you got (and the reasons for that) who was there etc. It all counts as evidence when you get to an Employment Tribunal for discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act or court if suing for personal injury. Just remember that you only have 3 months from the date of the occurrence to get a claim lodged with an Employment Tribunal

Answer 4:  As a general point to everyone, you are now entitled to have someone else present (i.e. a friend, legal adviser or union rep) at any meeting with your employer/manager. This is a new legal entitlement to help stop stitch-ups like the one outlined above.

Answer 5:  To add to Jane’s advice what you could also do is if you own your own home see if you are covered through your house insurance for Family Legal Protection, if so write to your insurance company detailing your dilemma and they should appoint a lawyer for you and pay all your legal expenses. Worth a try especially if your employment conditions are bad

Answer 6:  If you have a policy like that then you should also have a helpline to ring; they will be able to advise you in various ways. Gillian, I have a more expensive standalone policy brought out before the add-on ones, discontinued because it was costing the insurers too much money! 🙂 they do not automatically meet the legal expenses. They may not support a claim. The general rule when they were first issued was this: if a solicitor said you had a case, they would pay. I have heard they are more wary now. Mine are certainly ready to rush me claim forms — payment guaranteed — if I have a clear case that can be proved; and some of the people on the help line can assure me the claim will be met (not all, I’m not sure why). But they don’t appoint a lawyer for me and they certainly don’t support any claim I happen to want to bring.
Daniela, it is certainly well worth getting in touch with either any legal insurers you have or any free legal helplines — check your policies etc. to see whether you have these — they are often very good at sorting things out and suggesting how you might proceed. And of course they may be able to support a claim. Don’t be downcast if they can’t.

Answer 7:  I managed to get legal cover through my insurance company by telling them about the horrendous working conditions I had to endure and the awful health problems I have been left with. They granted me legal cover and appointed a lawyer for me and that was just over a year ago, so I suppose all companies are slightly different. I’m not saying they won’t do it.  If you read your policy or have a look at a claim form — I have one I didn’t need to use, in the end — or talk to the lawyers on the help line you will find that they don’t automatically do anything (except that the lawyers will listen and advise and if they can say — these things have been said to me:
1) YES. That’s right. You should do (etc.), and we’ll rush you a claim form in case they don’t back down: we will meet the claim.
2) “You have a breach of contract case (if you can prove they said that), yes, we would cover that, up to 50,000.” But they might also say — as on another occasion they said to me:
3) “No. We can’t. Sorry. You see, you can’t prove you sent it back.” — they weren’t getting at me, they were right. I’d sent something back by UPS in a marked box but I still couldn’t prove it. “But, look, sue in the Small Claims Court. I would if I were you. Mind you, my instinct is to go for it.”
I hope that illustrates my point. Policies differ and insurance companies differ but the one thing you must avoid saying to someone is, “they should appoint a lawyer and pay all your legal expenses”. I’m afraid that could lead to someone being dreadfully disappointed if, as is always possible, the insurers said “NO”. About your “appoint a lawyer”: I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get this at first. Perhaps your policy provides for that. Under mine, I choose my own solicitor: they pay that consultation fee if they take the case. I then choose my own barrister subject to the money they’ve allocated me for a given case.
I hope what I said is clear now? If not, think of legal insurance as being like any other kind of insurance: claims get turned down. In 3), they sympathized with me 100 per cent but thought the case wasn’t one they could back. In a personal injury case, there might be a technicality — we don’t know the case, we can’t tell — that would get it turned down. As I think I said, they stopped doing my policy because the policy-holders were doing rather too well out of it, suing everyone, bringing arcane cases a solicitor agreed was a case. They’ve now spread the load by doing all the add-on policies. Yes, I think all that must be clear now — I am only trying to avoid Daniela thinking insurers will automatically meet a claim you and I don’t know enough about. And knowing she’s been treated very badly and is in great pain is not enough.

Answer 8:  One further point: there’s a difference between being covered for something and a claim being met.

 


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