Rising Star interview with Rachael Czaja – Multi-Track Case Handler, Davies

  1. Tell us about your role. What do you do, and what do you find most interesting about it?

I joined Keoghs almost 11 years ago as an Admin Assistant in the Complex Credit Hire team and have remained in this team ever since. I have been in various roles within the team including Paralegal, Case Handler Assistant, Small and Fast Track Case Handler and I am now a Multi-Track Case Handler.

My role involves running a caseload of multi-track cases, which range in value through proceedings. I draft all legal documents including defences, direction questionnaires, Precedent H’s, witness statements and counter schedules, to name a few. I also carry out investigations on the third party and regularly work with our intelligence team. I’m involved in negotiations with the claimant’s solicitors and ensure I get the best possible outcome on every case for my client.

What I find most interesting is reviewing the documents disclosed by the third party and obtained from my own investigations,  cross referencing to find discrepancies within the evidence, which I then pull together to prepare a detailed, updated counter schedule. This helps put our best case forward ready for trial. 

  1. What made you want to work in this industry? 

I always knew I wanted to work in Law but I wasn’t sure what area. I attended university but I took a gap year as I felt a bit lost. I then applied for a temporary Admin Assistant role at Keoghs and I haven’t looked back since. I have worked really hard to get to the position I am in now and I can only thank my colleagues along the way who have trained me, supported me and shared their knowledge.

  1. What do you see as the biggest challenge to your industry in the next year?

Covid-19 will continue to have a huge impact on the industry over the next year and in particular my role, where we are slowly seeing claims coming in from during the lockdown period last year. These claims from the lockdown period require us to take a different approach, given the nationwide restrictions implemented by the government. 

Covid-19 has also changed the way we work, as we have relied more on technology and we have had to adapt to new processes such as the courts listing trials by video rather than in attendance, and ensuring that our clients are able to attend these hearings remotely (some of whom do not use technology on a daily basis). It will be interesting to see what changes will be made as offices and court buildings slowly re-open.

The personal injury reforms will also see a change in the industry, and we will see a reduction in costs payable to the claimant’s solicitors. It is likely that this will result in more credit hire/repair claims being litigated so that the total value of the claim is above the small claims track threshold.

  1. How would you like to see the industry improved next year / 5 years / by the time you retire? 

I hope that technology will continue to improve, to ensure that insurance companies and their panel of solicitors can streamline their services for customers and make the journey as smooth as possible. Many customers have not experienced the claims process before and it can often be daunting when they are advised that they will need to attend court to dispute liability. I would also like to see insurance companies and their panel solicitors working closely together on strategies which are set out whilst the claim is still with the insurer, and then followed through litigation.

Over the next five years, I would like to see an improved database that insurance companies and their panel solicitors have access to, which shows more case specific details: previous road traffic accidents that claimants have been involved in, key facts such as compensation received, details of their injuries and prognosis (to assess overlaps), details of what they did for transport after an accident and if they hired a replacement vehicle the cost and whose services they used This would save a great amount of time for both solicitors and insurer’s preparing and responding to data protection act (DPA) requests.

By the time I retire I would like to see more technology in vehicles that can record precise accident information, such as the black boxes used for inexperienced drivers. I would also like to see more vehicles fitted with cameras, which can offer great assistance when dealing with liability disputes when there are no independent witnesses available.

5. If you could give your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

Take every opportunity you are given, and you don’t always need a qualification to get to where you want to be if you work hard.


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