Health and safety: Unite warning on claims management rip off
Unite is taking a professional negligence claim against two high street law firms who failed a former food worker with industrial deafness.
The law firms, acting for a claims management company, were engaged after the former Northern Foods employee and Unite retired member responded to a radio ad by a company offering to investigate deafness cases. The 75-year-old from Nottingham had worked in a confined kitchen using industrial machinery for 17 years without having any protection for his ears and had noticed deterioration in his hearing.
The claims management company visited the Unite member at his home in 2008 to carry out an initial hearing test. His case was referred to one law firm, which went bust. It was then referred to another which, although it issued court proceedings, ultimately had those proceedings struck out because it failed to comply with two Court orders. Last year the retired member of Unite contacted the union for legal advice. Lawyers brought in by the union are now pursuing a professional negligence claim against the solicitors.
The Unite member said:
“When I found out my claim had been struck out because the solicitors representing me had failed to respond to Court orders I was horrified. I’m looking forward to putting an end to this saga and only wish I had contacted Unite the Union earlier to avoid the stress and upset of the last six years.”
Unite’s Ann-Marie Kilcline said: “Aggressive advertising by claims management firms traps people who don’t know what to expect from law firms and end up with a poor service and getting ripped off. If our member had contacted Unite Legal Services in the first instance he would have been dealt with by solicitors who are experts in their field. Instead he was strung along by inept legal firms and nearly lost out on compensation. I’m glad we have managed to find someone to pay up.”