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United Kingdom > East Anglia > Insurance > Clinical negligence: claimant > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Clinical negligence: claimant
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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    • Sophie Bales - Ashtons Legal
    • David Gabell - Tees Law
    • Ben Ward - Ashtons Legal
    • Sarah Wealleans - Irwin Mitchell

Who Represents Who

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Rightly very highly regarded and deserving of its top ranking’ according to clients, Ashtons Legal has eight lawyers focused on clinical negligence, giving it one of the region’s largest teams. Its excellent reputation is built over many years of experience in complex, high-value claims. ‘Immensely experienced and tenacious litigator’ Sandra Patton is ‘first rate’ and leads the medical injury practice. Leading light Tom Cook is among the region’s best-known practitioners for catastrophic injury claims, particularly those relating to cerebral palsy. Sharon Allison has developed a niche in inquests and suicides arising from failures in the mental health service. Associate Ben Ward is ‘good on detail, efficient and conducts cases very well – he can always be trusted to do the right thing’. He is described as ‘tireless in advancing his clients’ claims’. Also recommended are associates Julie Crossley (who is an experienced litigator and ‘has exceptional client-care skills’) and Carole Watts, who is ‘hardworking and has good judgement’. Solicitor Sophie Bales is ‘one to watch – she has a good eye for detail and leaves no stone unturned’. Crossley acted in a claim relating to chronic pain following the failure to remove a nephrostomy tube before it became encrusted in the client’s kidney, which resulted in the patient having it surgically removed along with part of her kidney. Watts advised a client treated for bowel cancer in 1995 but failed to have adequate follow-up colonoscopies and saw the cancer recur in 2010.

Irwin Mitchell is ‘one of the best in the area, and a national leader for clinical negligence’, according to one barrister. A client describes ‘an excellent clinical negligence team comprising solicitors with a vast amount of experience’. The firm handles cases of the highest value and complexity and is best known for its work in catastrophic injury claims including birth injury, adult and child brain injury; spinal injury; amputations; and fatal accidents. Guy Forster leads the medical negligence team and is ‘very experienced, very able, great with clients and confident with all of the technical issues’; he ‘leads with authority, care and aplomb – clients love him and he is a feared opponent’. The firm’s ‘professional, punctual and empathetic’ lawyers ‘completely understand the client’s best interests, often going beyond their role to help’. Solicitors Sarah Wealleans (who has ‘a particularly good bedside manner with clients’) and Gurpreet Lalli are ‘conscientious and talented solicitors carving out a very impressive reputation’. The team secured a structured settlement of £10m on behalf of an 11-year-old boy with cerebral palsy as a result of a delay in diagnosing hypoglycaemia in the hours following his birth. The firm also acted for a professional in his 50s with locked-in syndrome in a multimillion-pound claim against the A&E department that treated him after the acute onset of stroke symptoms.

Tees Lawapproaches cases sensibly and thoroughly and is always open to dialogue about any ongoing issues’. The team, which is considered one of the strongest in the region, consists of two partners, two associates and six support lawyers, all of whom have sub-specialisms enabling it to provide a rounded approach to catastrophic injury cases. In 2016, the team recovered more than £8m for its clients. Janine Collier, who now leads the team, is ‘meticulous in the preparation of her cases and has a good understanding of the medical issues even in very complicated cases’. Paul Taylor is ‘one of the best in the region; he ensures that he knows a case inside out and is empathetic with clients – always efficient and a pleasure to work with’. Clients also recommend associates David Gabell, who focuses on gynaecology, fertility, orthopaedic and general surgery claims, and the ‘thorough and responsive’ Adam Copeland who ‘goes the extra mile for clients’. Recent work includes the pursuit of a claim against Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust relating to severe brain injury from a stroke caused by a fat embolism following autologous fat injections for velopharyngeal insufficiency; and obtaining an award of £750,000 for a client in a claim against University of Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust for brain injury resulting from a cerebral embolism caused by a cardiac mass that should have been identified at an earlier stage.

A traditional firm with a progressive outlook’, Gotelee Solicitors is ‘a pleasure to work with; it is long established and offers a reliable and professional service to its clients’. The firm is a leader in Suffolk for complex and technically demanding cases. The ‘outstanding’ Tim Humpage is ‘a leader in clinical negligence claims; he commands clients’ respect and epitomises all the features one would hope to find in a solicitor’. ‘Supportive, reliable and caring’ chartered legal executive Chris Moffat is ‘a very experienced clinical negligence litigator who has great empathy for clients’. Both Humpage and Moffat are APIL-accredited clinical negligence specialists. Among Moffat’s recent successes is a £450,000 award for a single mother who sustained injuries from a failure to diagnose and treat a perforated ulcer. Diana Infanti settled a claim involving a fatal pulmonary embolism following a lower limb fracture for the sum of £900,000. Legal executive Sian Mullane now specialises in clinical negligence cases.

At Scrivenger Seabrook Limitedthe level of knowledge is outstanding’, and clients are impressed by the firm’s ‘professionalism, competence and business acumen’. The boutique firm focuses purely on clinical negligence and personal injury matters. In the clinical negligence field it acts on the full range of cases from dental negligence to maximum severity birth injury claims involving oxygen starvation and brain damage. ‘The advice given is faultless’, says one client who praises ‘dedicated, conscientious and empathetic’ litigator Vicki Seabrook for her ‘knowledge of both the law and the legal system, her network of contacts, her professional manner in dealing with vulnerable clients and her tenacity’. Clients also note that she is ‘very encouraging and supportive, and never lets the client give up hope’. Her recent cases include a claim against Bedford Hospitals NHS Trust on behalf of the widow of a man who received no diagnosis following a colonoscopy but was later found to have inoperable bowel cancer. The ‘experienced and informed’ Sarah Newcombe is also recommended. She acted on behalf of a man serving a long-term prison sentence whose developing subarachnoid brain haemorrhage was not diagnosed by prison authorities.

Slater and Gordon’s Cambridge office has developed a strong standing in the region, particularly for spinal cord and catastrophic injury cases. Principal lawyer Tim Deeming is ‘a very able, energetic and intelligent litigator’. He is a Law Society specialist panel member and an APIL senior litigator and spinal cord injury panel member. Deeming’s recent work includes leading on a case of neonatal death at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in which conducted all advocacy at the inquest and represented the child’s family in the subsequent high-profile claim that secured admission of liability from the hospital and led to the provision of additional monitoring equipment to reduce the risk of similar incidents in the future. He also pursued a multimillion-pound claim on behalf of a family whose child was left with cerebral palsy after a midwife failed to call for obstetric assistance during delivery. Further successful matters included a claim for errors during hip replacement surgery, a case relating to the incorrect assessment of risks in elective knee replacement surgery, and a matter involving a delay in diagnosis of an infection in a baby that led to brain injury.

For some, Buckles Solicitors LLP is ‘the best firm in Peterborough for clinical negligence work’. Clients note that it ‘achieves the difficult balance of being 100% behind its clients whilst retaining the ability to assess cases professionally and objectively’. The firm has a strong caseload of multi-track work for clients in the local region. Head of team Roger Clarke and ‘first-class’ associate Martin Herson are ‘always impressive and have a great understanding of the litigation process’. The firm’s ongoing work includes advising a claimant suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis who was being monitored at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Patients with this condition have an elevated risk of cancer and the case centres on allegations that the Trust failed to identify early cancer symptoms; the condition has since been diagnosed as terminal. Herson is also pursuing a claim against a GP who failed to detect early symptoms of bowel cancer in a patient who had to subsequently undergo a complex prostatectomy.

Fosters has a high success rate in clinical negligence claims and handles a wide range of work for clients in Norfolk. Lead partner Stephen Green has more than 20 years’ experience in claims involving negligent surgery, missed or failed diagnosis and inappropriate treatment. Consultant Heather Duffy has built up a strong reputation over the last 15 years of legal practice and draws on her previous experience as a midwife and nurse to handle birth injury and obstetrics claims. Solicitor Barry Grogan is also an integral part of the team and is now running his own claims. Green acted for a client with Type 1 diabetes who presented to his GP with circulation problems that were affecting his left foot. After referral to the Community Health Trust he was given only physiotherapy despite skin ulceration. A £100,000 claim was settled following amputation of the patient’s lower limb. Grogan’s cases included settling a claim for a client who underwent negligent hip replacement surgery.

GMS Law Ltd is a niche firm whose specialist clinical negligence practice ‘punches above its weight in the region’. Senior solicitor Penny Horne has been in legal practice for more than 11 years and is praised for her ‘industrious and intelligent approach’ in addition to her ‘profound insight into clinical matters and the spectacular results she achieves’. She has specialist skills in dental and gynaecological claims. Senior solicitor Stephanie Mort also handles clinical negligence cases alongside asbestosis claims. Horne’s recent work includes settling a claim against a hospital that failed to adequately manage a client’s labour and did not identify that the foetus was mal-positioned. The patient suffered bladder and bowel damage as a result. She also secured a £45,000 settlement in the case of a hospital infection acquired during shoulder replacement surgery.

At Greene & Greene, highly respected litigator and head of dispute resolution Michael Batty handles complex clinical negligence matters as part of his broader professional negligence practice. He is supported by senior solicitor Andrea Nicholls and solicitors Ben Fox and Kate Struthers. The team is currently handling a claim against a regional hospital for a client who suffered a ruptured kneecap immediately after knee surgery. The rupture was not identified by the hospital, physical therapists or the GP, which resulted in further damage. Another on-going claim against a hospital centres on a post-operative infection suffered by a client. The delayed diagnosis resulted in the client’s admission to the intensive therapy unit.

Rogers and Norton’s busy practice in Norfolk handles multi-track cases and has two respected practitioners in Tim Nobbs and Mark Hambling. Nobbs, who is lauded for his ‘hard work and persistence’, has a broad caseload of claims against hospitals, GPs and dentists in East Anglia. He also acts in matters involving physiotherapists and pharmacists. His caseload included the recovery of a substantial sum for a client who underwent a delayed caesarean section and who alleged that the hospital was in breach of its duty of care; and representing a client who was recommended for pregnancy scans that did not take place resulting in the failure to identify a nutrient deficiency and the baby being stillborn.

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