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In the process of dealing with an accident and personal injury, there is the constant requirement to manage your emotions during the settlement process. Perhaps, one of the worst times this arises is in the settlement conference of the pre-trial stage.

The Beginning: How did you find your Brisbane Personal Injury Lawyer?
Before you get to this stage, you need to find a lawyer. Since you live in Brisbane, you Google “Personal Injury Lawyers Brisbane” and find a solicitor that is suited to your claim. From there, all of the initial preparation and lodging is done to start your claim. Time passes and you get to the compulsory settlement conference.

The Compulsory Settlement Conference
Now imagine this. You arrive at settlement conference in your Barrister’s chambers in Brisbane to hopefully resolve your claim. You first meet with your barrister and solicitor to receive advice on how the conference will proceed and what to expect. It seems complicated at first, but slowly you come to realize that this process is not the “end of the line” but rather, a way for both sides to try and save money by resolving the conflict today.

Before the conference, your barrister advises you to keep your responses during these discussions short and sweet. The majority of the negotiating will be done by your lawyers. Yet, anxiety and worry is very common. How will you cope with the claims officer?

When the conference begins, you sit between your lawyers and the claims officer in a small meeting room with several documents all around you. It is hard to believe that contained in these legal documents is the information that will determine whether you can walk away with a settlement and peace of mind, or if you will need to take the next step to prepare for trial.

Submissions are made first on your behalf. Your barrister goes through all of the arguments concerning liability (who was at fault for the accident) and quantum (how much you are entitled to receive). During this time, you remain silent. Everything you have disclosed about your accident, the injuries, the pain and your losses (income, out of pocket expenses, etc.) are summarized in these submissions.

The process can be fairly emotional. Your barrister is trying to convince the claims officer why you are entitled to the amount demanded on your quantum assessment.

The Insurance Company’s Position
The claims officer then proceeds with their own submissions. Thankfully, your lawyers have prepared you for the worst. The claims officer proceeds to highlight the potential weaknesses of your claim, and it is hard to believe how inconsiderate these people may seem.
Despite the obvious pain, fear of the future and need for justice that you are going through, the claims officer explains how your injuries fall on a scale that is far less than what you and your lawyers believe you are assessed. To make matters worse, they say all of these things and then conclude by suggesting a settlement amount that is ridiculously lower than what you had in mind.

Just like that, your life has turned from a tragedy into an auction.

Sometimes, the claims officer asks you a question or two. These questions are not difficult and thankfully you have been prepared in advance by your lawyers. Your barrister fills in all of the extra information and soon, the claims officer is satisfied that negotiations can begin.

The claims officer leaves the room and you are left alone with your lawyers. At this point, your feelings may explode. You rant to your lawyers about how despicable the insurance company is for putting you through this process. Why can’t they just accept a fair amount and let you live your life? Unfortunately, you are now witness to the reality that insurance companies have shareholders to which their best interests lie. You are not a priority. This is why you need lawyers.

Counter-offers are recommended by your barrister and solicitor. You agree to their advice and instruct them to continue the painful practice of going back and forth to negotiate as high a settlement amount as possible…

You start with $300,000 and the claims officer opens with $30,000. You counter with $280,000 and the claims officer replies back with $40,000 and an undertaking to compensate your past expenses for rehabilitation, etc. This can go on for many minutes and time flies.

Finally, there comes a point when the insurance company is no longer willing to pay additional money and they present you with a mandatory final offer (MFO).

Your barrister and solicitor then proceed to guide you on your legal costs and what the realistic prospects of success in court will be.

This is never an easy discussion. You want to continue fighting. You may be still angry and frustrated for suffering the accident to begin with.

But then, your lawyers remind you of the following points you need to figure out for yourself:

What is the cost of your peace of mind? Knowing that the claim is over and you can finally get on with your life.
Are you willing to take on the risk of trial and potentially (even though it is a small chance) lose everything and have to pay the defendant’s costs?
Is proceeding through the trial process and using up more time and money worth putting a minuscule amount in your pocket (maybe an extra $1000-$5,000)?
Can you proceed with your life on the amount being offered now?
You are at that point where you need to decide…should I settle or go to trial?
If you need help to handle this difficult decision, please contact us today.

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    Managing Director

    Sean Delpopolo

    Sean Delpopolo

    Sean is a Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law.*

    Sean specialises in work injury claims, workplace injury claims, motor vehicle accident injury claims, motorcycle accident injury claims, other road accident injury claims, brain and head injury claims, spinal injury claims, public liability injury claims, death and fatal injury claims, psychiatric and psychological injury claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    He has been running personal injury claims in Queensland for over 25 years. Sean founded our firm in 2004 and the firm has grown and gone from strength to strength on the background of outstanding service, incredible results and charging really fair fees.

    With an innate sense of fairness and justice, this motivates Sean and his team to do everything they can to ensure that the results they achieve for their clients are something that they can all be proud of. In Sean’s mind, the interests of the firm’s clients come first, before anything else, and this value has flowed on through to the entire team.

    As a father of two daughters, Sean understands that his clients’ personal injury claims can make a huge difference to their lives and the lives of those around them. This is why he has made it his life’s work to fight for the “little guy” to obtain the compensation they deserve.

    * To find out more about what it takes to become an Accredited Specialist click here.

    Director

    Helen Ashton

    Helen Ashton

    Helen is a Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law.*

    As an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law, having been awarded the highest achiever award for the course in 2015, Helen has a high level of knowledge and technical expertise. Admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2001, she also has extensive experience in running all types of personal injury claims.

    Helen specialises in work injury claims, workplace injury claims, motor vehicle accident, motorcycle accident injury claims, other road accident injury claims, medical negligence claims, construction accident claims, mining accident claims, public liability injury claims, death and fatal injury claims, psychiatric and psychological injury claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    Helen has a friendly and approachable personality and strives to ensure that her clients are kept well informed and are provided with quality and practical legal advice.

    As a mother of three young children, Helen understands the impact events can have on a family unit and works proactively to achieve the right result for her clients in the shortest possible timeframe. Helen has the ability and the experience to assist clients with a wide variety of claims, including any personal injury claims with a high level of complexity and those that have had catastrophic consequences.

    * To find out more about what it takes to become an Accredited Specialist click here.

    Special Counsel

    Nickelle Morris

    Nickelle Morris

    Nickelle is an expert in personal injury claims and has been recognised by the Queensland Law Society as an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law.* She was awarded the highest achiever award for the accreditation course which she completed in 2022. Nickelle was also a finalist in the Special Counsel of the Year category in the Australian Law Awards in 2019.

    Nickelle has been practising exclusively in personal injury litigation for over 20 years. She has extensive experience in catastrophic claims and fatality claims across all practice areas.

    Nickelle specialises in catastrophic injury claims (including traumatic brain injuries, acquired brain injuries and other head injuries, amputations, severe burns and spinal cord injuries resulting in tetraplegia, paraplegia and the like), National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIISQ) claims, work injury claims, workplace injury claims, motor vehicle accident injury claims, motorcycle accident injury claims, other road accident injury claims, public liability injury claims, medical negligence claims, death and fatal injury claims, psychiatric and psychological injury claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    Nickelle prides herself on being a technical, yet practical and compassionate lawyer. She takes her time to understand her client’s situation and to ensure that they have an understanding of their rights and entitlements. Nickelle is a tenacious and passionate advocate for her clients and is dedicated to being proactive in ensuring her client’s needs are met and achieving the best outcome for her clients.

    Outside of work, Nickelle is a mother of two children and is a member of a number of committees both within the legal industry and community.

    * To find out more about what it takes to become an Accredited Specialist click here.

    Special Counsel

    Barry Mcgee

    Barry has always loved a spirited debate, and, with over 20 years specialising exclusively in personal injury litigation, his passion, skill and ability to assist his clients is well known throughout the Queensland profession.

    Barry specialises in work injury claims, workplace injury claims, motor vehicle accident injury claims, motorcycle accident injury claims, other road accident injury claims, construction accident claims, mining accident claims, public liability injury claims, death and fatal injury claims, psychiatric and psychological injury claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    Barry’s legal career began in his native Scotland, where he qualified as a Solicitor in 1998. Upon qualifying, he worked for a boutique practice, and then a top-tier national firm, representing a number of different insurers across a variety of industries. With years of working for insurers under his belt, Barry is able to see matters through the eyes of his legal opponents. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say!

    He was admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2007. In Australia, he commenced working for a large national firm, where he spent 15 years practicing in personal injury litigation. He was made a Partner of the firm in 2011 and spent 11 years as the firm’s dedicated in-house Special Counsel. As Special Counsel, Barry provided expert advocacy and strategical advice and assistance to the firm’s personal injury lawyers and clients of the firm alike.

    Barry has significant and extensive experience across a wide variety of personal injury claims. He is compassionate, personable and straightforward, with a keen sense of what is fair and just and a reputation for not settling for anything less than his client deserves.

    Outside of work he enjoys surfing, the outdoors, music and spending time with his wife and 3 young children.

    Special Counsel

    Charlotte Evans

    Charlotte has practised exclusively in personal injury compensation litigation for over 20 years.

    Charlotte specialises in sexual abuse claims, work injury claims, workplace injury claims, motor vehicle accident injury claims, motorcycle accident injury claims, other road accident injury claims, construction accident claims, mining accident claims, public liability injury claims, death and fatal injury claims, psychiatric and psychological injury claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    She is committed to fighting for the rights of plaintiffs and helping her clients through the legal maze, to achieve outcomes that put people back in control of their lives. She has had experience in taking a number of personal injury cases to Trial and winning hard fought cases for her clients and she does not shy away from a challenge.

    Charlotte has a friendly and approachable personality and strives to cut through the legal jargon to make the personal injury claim process understandable for her clients whilst ensuring that her clients are also kept well informed throughout their claim.

    Out of the office Charlotte is a busy Mum, who now enjoys the privileges of living in beautiful Queensland and making the most of all it has to offer.

    Special Counsel

    Prue Prescott

    Prue has been running personal injury claims for nearly 20 years. This has involved acting for injured claimants in most areas of personal injury law including workers’ compensation injury claims, motor vehicle accident injury claims, public liability injury claims, death and fatality claims, psychiatric injury claims, National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIISQ) claims and total and permanent disability claims.

    Prue enjoys handling the more complex claims, such as traumatic brain injury, fatal injury and nervous shock claims, as well as claims involving complex legal principles. Prue seeks to use her Masters qualification in writing and literature to tell each and every client’s individual story, ensuring they are treated fairly by insurers and that they obtain the compensation they deserve.

    In 2019, Prue was nominated by the Women Lawyers Association of Queensland Inc as an Inspirational Lawyer.

    Outside of work, Prue is a busy mum of boys but also tries to find the time to read, write and explore nature.

    Office Manager

    Julie Hollonds

    Julie is a highly dedicated and experienced office manager who has been an integral part of our team for the past 14 years. Bringing a wealth of knowledge with over 35 years of experience in administration, Julie keeps our office running smoothly and efficiently.

    Outside of work, Julie loves to walk, snorkel, spend time with friends and explore the beautiful Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.

    Legal Assistant

    Aleisha Harrigan

    Having worked as a legal assistant for over five years, Aleisha has a wealth of experience in the field of personal injury. Since joining East Coast Lawyers, she has been an essential part of providing invaluable support to solicitors and our clients. Her abilities extend beyond legal matters with Aleisha providing training to our assistants and administrative team, and streamlining processes and procedures, ensuring that the workflows operate smoothly and effectively.

    Outside of work, Aleisha has a passion for reading and music. She can often be found immersed in a good book or a live concert. She values spending quality time with her family, friends and her beloved dog, Kevin.

    Legal Assistant

    Kym Arrowsmith

    Kym is a knowledgeable legal assistant with fifteen years of expertise in the field of personal injury law. She is passionate about supporting clients through the process and obtaining the best possible outcome for them. As a valued member of our team, Kym takes pride in her work and is committed to sharing her extensive experience and knowledge with our other team members.

    When Kym is not busy with work, she loves spending time with her family and friends, and enjoys discovering new places, whether it be through the pages of a biography or on her push bike.

    Legal Assistant

    Alece Turner

    Alece is a law student who is extremely motivated and passionate about personal injury law. She is hardworking, and always strives to produce the best possible results for our clients.

    Her dedication and eagerness to learn more about the law makes Alece a great addition to our team.

    When not working or studying, she loves spending time with her son at the beach or at one of our amazing theme parks.

    Legal Assistant

    Georgia Ryan

    Georgia recently joined the team in February 2023 and has been working within the industry for the last three years. She is enthusiastic about helping new and existing clients, and with her bubbly personality and can-do approach makes her an excellent addition to our team.

    Raised in Tasmania, Georgia moved to Queensland in early 2017 and hasn’t regretted it since. She loves the warm weather and lifestyle. Outside of work, Georgia loves travelling, dining out and spending time with family and friends.

    Legal Assistant

    Claire Rezny

    Claire is one of our hard working and devoted Legal Assistants. With over 25 years’ administrative experience, her attention to detail, willingness to help others, and calm demeanour makes her a real asset to our team.

    Claire is well travelled and, during her time in the USA, Claire discovered a newfound love for reading, which led her to become a proofreader for several published novels. Claire also enjoys landscape and wildlife photography and spending time with her family and puppy.

    Receptionist and Administrative Assistant

    Ella Donnelly

    Meet Ella, our receptionist and administrative assistant, with a passion for law and criminology. She is currently working towards a career in the police force. Ella is always eager to help others and is dedicated to providing excellent customer service to our clients.

    Ella’s bubbly and outgoing personality shines, making her a perfect receptionist. Despite her busy timetable with working and studying, Ella finds time to pursue her love of acting. Being a performer at heart, Ella has had a chance to showcase her natural flair for the arts in theatre productions.

    RECEPTIONIST AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

    Shayla Riley

    Shayla joined our team in September 2023, coming from an extensive background in customer service.

    Shayla is a law student who is very passionate about personal injury law. With her bubbly personality and can-do attitude this makes her the perfect person for her administration support role.

    When Shayla is not in the office you can find her enjoying all things outdoors, getting lost in a good book or spending time with her two rescue dogs Bear and Ella. 

    RECEPTIONIST AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

    Brooke

    Meet Brooke, our receptionist and administration assistant. Brooke has over 3 years’ administration experience in personal injury law and is eager to provide high quality customer service to our clients.

    Brooke finds joy in helping others and is extremely hard working making her a real asset to our team.

    Out of the office you may find Brooke at a racetrack as she has a passion for fast cars. Brooke also likes spending her time enjoying outdoor activities such as swimming and hiking but will never pass up the opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy.