Matthew Tollitt is a senior solicitor heading up Thompsons Solicitors’ serious injury team in the North West. He splits his time between the firm's Manchester and Liverpool offices, and covers all of the North West, Cumbria, North Wales and, often, beyond.
As a highly experienced solicitor, Matthew deals with a range of extremely serious injury claims, such as multiple injuries, brain injuries, spinal injuries and amputations. Given the extent of the injuries incurred by his trade union clients, Matthew is often involved in negotiating multi-million pound awards.
His main aim is to ensure trade union members have the best chance of living their lives as they did before their accident, even those who have suffered a catastrophic injury. In cases such as this, Matthew always fights to secure a package to provide his clients with the help they need to live as independently as possible in their own home, with their family, and that they have the means to return either to work, or do meaningful activity.
Matthew has been a personal injury lawyer with Thompsons since qualifying as a solicitor 30 years ago. His motivation is to give clients who have been injured the best chance to get proper compensation. He says: “I believe that the odds are stacked against victims of injury who have to battle for compensation against employers, insurance companies and the state, with vastly more resources.”
Matthew particularly enjoys working for Thompsons because of the firm’s commitment to acting only on behalf of injured or mistreated people, and never for employers or insurance companies. Matthew points out that Thompsons is the UK’s most experienced trade union law firm, and says its commitment to social justice sets it apart from other personal injury firms.
His experience, with a few exceptions, is that defendants seldom accept responsibility and, when they do, they often employ delaying tactics and make the process of claiming compensation as difficult as they can for claimants. “This compounds the injury they have suffered,” says Matthew. “I always assure my clients that I am on their side, will fight as hard as I can for them, and make the process as painless as possible. I know how life shattering a serious injury can be for clients and their families.”
Matthew always makes himself available to his clients, even though it means a lot of travel or time on the telephone. Despite the fact that his clients are spread over a wide geographical area – from North Wales to Lincolnshire, and from Cumbria to Cheshire - he tries to meet them face to face whenever needed. “I try to explain my advice and the law in language they can understand and make their options as clear to them as possible,” he says.
The serious and often complicated nature of his cases require a team of people to act on behalf of clients, and he is able to enlist the work of the very best barristers, financial advisers and expert witnesses in medical and other fields. “Even when cases are of lower value, but are still complex and difficult, I ensure that I fight as hard as I can for the client.
“I am never averse to reaching settlements for clients, but only at the right time, and from a position of strength. I will work with defendants where there is genuine goodwill on their part to reach a reasonable settlement.”
Away from the demands of his work, Matthew is a keen runner, but admits to having started late in life. Matthew ran the London Marathon in 2016 and, despite promising he would never participate in another one, completed the London Marathon a year later to raise funds for the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA). In total, he has completed four full marathons and about 20 half marathons.
Matthew's Case Experience
Brain injury claim: Matthew acted for a young man in his 20s who was run over by a car. The client suffered catastrophic head injuries. He was left with permanent brain damage and needed 24-hour care for the rest of his life.
Early on in the process, Matthew was able to secure an undertaking from the insurance company that they would settle the claim in full.
Also, early in the process, he obtained funding for temporary accommodation which was suitable for the client and his family. This meant the young man could leave hospital care and be looked after at home by paid carers, with a full package of therapy for rehabilitation.
The claim was ultimately settled for a lump sum of £2.1 million to cover the client’s past losses (such as his past care, the costs of transport and equipment); £675,000 to buy and adapt a suitable permanent property in which he and his young family could live; and lifetime, index-linked, annual payments of £172,000.
Serious injury claim: Matthew acted for a trade union member, who suffered life-threatening injuries following a head-on collision with another car on an icy road in a remote area. The man, who was on his way to work, apparently lost control of the vehicle because of the driving conditions, and collided with a vehicle on the opposite side of the road.
He suffered multiple serious injuries and was severely disabled as a consequence. He was lucky not to lose his life, and his partial recovery was due to his own resilience and the skill and dedication of NHS clinicians.
The case, at first, looked hopeless. The other driver was in no way to blame and the cause of the accident was the icy road conditions. A claim was made against the highway authority for being in breach of their duty to maintain the highway.
With the assistance of a leading expert witness, who was able to demonstrate how a higher standard of winter road maintenance could have been possible, Matthew started court proceedings. The other side backed down and, through a process of negotiation, Matthew secured £250,000 in compensation for the client, considered to be an extremely good settlement under the circumstances.
Matthew is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel as well as a number of charities, including Headway, the SIA and the Child Brain Injury Trust.
“I will be forever grateful for all the hard work you all put in to winning my case for me. I can now draw a line under the event and move on. The settlement has made a huge difference to me and my family.”