We’re all missing social contact at the moment.
One group missing their get-togethers is musicians.
Some duos have managed to perform simultaneously by sitting at opposite ends of long couches. Beyond that, with the time delay that comes with platforms such as Zoom, you can’t easily have groups of musicians who are remote from each other all playing in time together.
Skerryvore’s multi-musician video for their hit tune “Everyday Heroes” cleverly synchronises players from a wide variety of locations but that appearance only comes about through careful editing.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be in ‘unison’ with your solicitor in order to be ‘in tune’ and get business completed through your solicitor if you cannot meet face-to-face.
In this article, we’ll highlight three areas of law where we advise you should still consider consulting a solicitor and progressing matters even while social-distancing conditions continue.
These areas are Personal Injury Claims, Wills and Powers of Attorney.
Personal Injury Claims
Though we all have to observe extraordinary restrictions on movement and normal life in the interests of the greater good, time continues to run on critical legal time limits.
In Scotland, most personal injury claims become time-barred and unenforceable after 3 years from the date of the accident.
Some claimant solicitors’ groups and some insurers have reached agreement to “freeze” time limits for the lockdown period but that won’t cover every possible claim. It would be unwise to delay.
If you’re uncertain as to whether you can or should do something about a potential claim, be sure to contact a solicitor so they can go through everything with you to put your mind at rest. It’s unlikely to cost you anything to have such a discussion.
This would also be a good time to check any home or contents insurance policies you have to see if they provide cover for ‘legal expenses’ and, specifically, personal injury claims. Other funding methods – such as no win-no fee and legal aid – are available but you should still check.
Some legal expenses insurers will prefer you to use a firm of solicitors chosen from their panel. However, you have the right to choose your own representation (e.g. a local, specialist solicitor) and you should not feel pressured into instructing a solicitor just because they are recommended by the insurer. Panel solicitors are unlikely to be local.
Your preferred solicitor will be able to help by liaising with the legal expenses insurer. All they will need is the insurers’ contact details, the policy number and the policy terms, if you have them.
Wills are similarly essential services that need to be attended to in the current crisis.
A Will is not something that can be done retrospectively, of course.
And unless a Will is made properly it is of no effect, no matter what the wishes or intentions of the person wanting to make the Will.
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney allows another person who is trusted by you to deal with your financial affairs and/or welfare. This arrangement can continue even if you lose legal capacity for any reason (e.g. illness or accident).
But this is also time-sensitive. Just as you cannot make a Will after you die, a Power of Attorney cannot be put in place after a person loses capacity.
Powers of Attorney must be witnessed. This creates challenges in the context of social distancing, but it can be done safely and in some circumstances remotely, using platforms such as WhatsApp or Zoom.
We are continuing to complete Wills and Powers of Attorney for our clients.
We’re also able to take instructions for new personal injury claims, an area where our local knowledge means we don’t need as much explanation or investigation to understand what it’s about and how it needs to be progressed most effectively.
Wherever you are located, a local specialist solicitor is your best choice if you need to make a personal injury claim.
In many ways, now is the best time to do something about these things.
You may have more time on your hands than usual.
Life is normally so full of urgent deadlines and this is a period during which we can perhaps concentrate more attention on matters which are important rather than urgent.
Once there is a return to some form of normality – whatever that will look like – our urgency-based lifestyles may well return and these important legal matters will be pushed to the backs of our minds once more as we dash off to the next available music session.
By delaying, you may lose the chance to make a personal injury compensation claim, a Power of Attorney, a Will or all three.
How we can help
If you have any queries about your Will or a Power of Attorney or a Personal Injury Claim or would like any assistance with any legal issue, please contact us now on 01343 544077 or send us a Free Online Enquiry and we will make arrangements with you over the phone to get everything taken care of for you.
Or, in the meantime, why not try the Personal Injury Claims ‘True or False’ Quiz on our Moray Claims website?
NOTE: If you would prefer to listen to this content rather than read it, there is an audio version in the form of a podcast on the Moray Claims website here (10 minutes in length).