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  1. Personal injury: claimant
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Ashtons Legalnever leaves anything to chance and gets results both medically and financially’. Clients also note that ‘it gives a more attentive service than you might get at a bigger PI firm’. ‘Extremely good negotiator’ Richard Foyster leads the team and is ‘willing to take on and win difficult cases’. He specialises in high-value workplace and employers’ liability claims. Another leading light is Hannah Clarke, who specialises in catastrophic injury claims with an emphasis on fatal incidents, amputations, spinal injuries, psychiatric injuries and traumatic brain injuries. She is ‘first rate for complex and high-value claims; she is never satisfied with second best and is always pressing to ensure the best result for her client’. The firm’s many respected practitioners include ‘exceptional all-rounder’ Michael Wangermann, who focuses on accidents and industrial disease claims, often with a foreign element; ‘extremely efficient, hardworking, patient and reassuring’ associate Tom Ranson; associate Siobhan McWhinney, who stands out for her ‘client care, attention to detail and keen strategic judgement’; and solicitor Phoebe Osborne, who handles catastrophic and industrial disease cases. One recent example of the firm’s work is a mesothelioma claim brought by the widow of a maintenance engineer who was exposed to asbestos between 1982 and 2011, leading to his premature death. After a hearing at the High Court the matter was settled for a significant sum.

Irwin Mitchellgets on a claim very quickly and efficiently, and always seems to get an excellent settlement’. The firm is ‘at the top of the tree for asbestos litigation, far and away the best firm for asbestosis-related disease cases in the region’. The Cambridge team upholds the firm’s strong national reputation in serious brain, spinal, amputee and other complex injuries, as well as specialist armed forces and disease cases. Catastrophic injury specialists Ruth Booy and team head Neil Whiteleybring their enormous experience to benefit the injured in the Cambridge region and are rightly regarded as leaders in their fields’. Whiteley has ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of PI law’. ‘The leading light in mesothelioma cases in the region’, Rosemary Giles is ‘a fantastic lawyer – tenacious, extremely knowledgeable and exceptionally kind to clients, whose feedback is universally positive’. Simon Harrington’s military PI team is ‘impressive and has an abundance of experience’, and clients note Harrington’s ‘vast experience litigating against the Ministry of Defence’. The firm settled a £185,000 claim for a carpenter who died of mesothelioma in 2015. Among the team’s ongoing cases is a high-value claim for a client who sustained minor injuries in a fall but was subsequently admitted to hospital with critical illness caused by a stroke. The claim alleges the fall was caused by faulty equipment.

Slater and Gordon is ‘simply the best; it has a collection of very professional lawyers with excellent experience who take on very complex cases and cater for clients very well’. The Cambridge office has been handling multi-track claims relating to complex brain and spinal injuries, and is ‘certainly leading the way in brain injury cases’. Other areas of expertise include claims arising from fatal accidents, repetitive strain injury, military matters and Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA). The team has a deep bench that includes ‘tough, tenacious and realistic litigatorPaul Tapner; military claims expert Richard Gaffney (who ‘strikes the perfect balance of professionalism, warmth and care, and who demonstrates an honest and sensitive approach to all matters’); Angela Beric, ‘an excellent litigator in claims of the utmost severity’; ‘fantastic performerAndrew Zajac, who ‘runs substantial claims with great skill and shows utter devotion to his clients’; and associates Mick Upton (who is ‘diligent and hardworking and knows his cases inside out’), Joe Speed (who has ‘real talent and good experience’) and Mark Copley (who ‘has a gentle touch with clients and can lull even the most obstreperous opponent into a false sense of security’). Tapner acted in a fatal accident claim relating to a death caused by a defective tumble dryer that started a house fire. During the evidence it emerged that there had been 20 other fires in that model of dryer but no recall had been issued. Emma Truin joined Barr Ellison LLP.

Barr Ellison LLP is ‘one of the best PI firms in East Anglia for high-value work and it has a track record of dealing with the highest-value cases sensitively and successfully’. Former team head Yasmin Ameer joined Nockolds Solicitors, but the firm hired Emma Truin as head of personal injury from Slater and Gordon; Truin is ‘an extremely good litigator, particularly in serious brain injury cases, who is well connected in the local brain injury scene and is thus able to ensure the best advice for her clients’. Truin is also rated for her ‘ability to instil confidence and trust in her clients’. Senior litigator Daryl Robinson (‘a top-class PI lawyer who is able to engage well with clients and is tenacious in achieving the very best outcome’) and managing partner Robert Curry each have more than 30 years’ litigation experience. The team’s significant cases in 2016 included advising a teenager with pre-accident psychiatric history on a complex brain injury case that settled for more than £2m; acting in a multimillion-pound traumatic brain injury claim in which the client was left with epilepsy, poor memory, concentration and slurred speech; and settling a claim for more than £6m in which a client was left with tetraplegia and diffuse axonal brain injury after a high-velocity RTA.

For some, Buckles Solicitors LLP is ‘the best in Peterborough for PI work’. Roger Clarke’s team primarily handles industrial disease, fatal accident and high-value catastrophic injuries, many of which involve motorcycle accidents. Clarke has more than 25 years’ experience in PI matters and has a respected associate in Martin Herson, who has higher rights of audience. Clients also praise legal executive Janet Cooper, who is ‘very efficient and has excellent empathy with clients’. Herson takes the lead on many cases and his current workload includes a £1m-plus claim for a client who suffered life-changing lower limb damage in a motorcycle accident and developed complications with compartment syndrome and lymphedema. He also acted in an employers’ liability claim arising from repetitive lifting and manoeuvring of a tail gate by a recovery driver that the claimant believes caused cauda equine complications and chronic back pain.

The service from Ellisons Solicitors is ‘highly attentive and competent’ and clients describe Robert Gair and Bernice Spurgeon as ‘diligent, bright and careful’. The firm handles a range of fast-track and multi-track cases through its Ipswich office, including fatal accident, acquired brain injury, industrial disease, RTA, workplace accident, public liability and occupiers' liability claims. Gair is described as ‘one of the most impressive solicitors around; extremely thorough and knowledgeable, he always considers every angle of a dispute before getting counsel involved’. One significant case from last year relates to a claimant who injured both knees in a fall at premises he was visiting as part of his employment. The occupier of the premises ultimately admitted primary liability. Gair is also pursuing a claim in which an employee received spine and shoulder injuries when a fellow worker landed on him after falling from a height.

Gotelee Solicitors is ‘a great firm that can compete with the regional players and maintains its ability to provide a top-class personal service’, says another. The firm handles a broad palette of work including claims relating to elder abuse, stress at work, neglect, wrongful death and mesothelioma alongside fast-track RTA and employers’ liability claims. James Davies leads the team and is ‘a great tactician in PI claims’. Within his broad practice he has successfully developed niche specialisms in injury law including cases that involve sexual abuse. Clients also recommend ‘knowledgeable, experienced, reasonable and courteous’ associate Howard Bush, ‘a seasoned litigator who will fight for the client’, and associate Sian Mullane, who has 23 years’ experience in a range of claims. Recent cases include securing admission of liability from a national charity for a disabled adult who was sexually abused while in its care, and pursuing a £200,000 claim for an employee injured in a team-building exercise.

Hunt & Coombs LLPhas a deep tradition of excellence in the field of personal injury and is a significant player in Cambridgeshire’. The firm has the largest team in Peterborough and all its members focus purely on PI cases. The ‘experienced, shrewd and robustNaina Tilney, ‘professional and caring’ senior solicitor Richard Moon, solicitor Mariam Alipour and senior litigation executive Darren Fletcher have the support of in-house barrister Davide Corbino. The firm’s caseload includes complex and high-value work alongside lower-value fast-track claims. One significant matter from 2016 saw Tilney and Alipour achieve a settlement of more than £600,000 for a client injured in a serious RTA caused by a driver using the wrong side of a dual carriageway. The team’s ongoing matters include a high-value claim for a woman who sustained multiple injuries in a motorcycle accident.

Niche claimant injury firm Scrivenger Seabrook Limited has ‘committed and experienced solicitors with insight and understanding of the practice area’. Director Marc Folgate has more than 15 years’ experience and specialises in complex and high-value PI cases, with particular expertise in dealing with claims involving complex regional pain syndrome, recently recovering damages exceeding £1m for a client who developed the condition. Other cases include claims for significant brain injury and complex poly-trauma, including the settlement of a claim for a serious injury at work sustained when the claimant slipped and came into contact with moving mechanical equipment. He also recovered more than £80,000 for a client who tripped and broke a hip.

At Fosters, Stephen Green leads the private client and personal injury teams, the latter of which grew with the hire of the highly experienced Ian Comer, who joined following the firm’s merger with PI specialist comercrawley in Diss. Green focuses on complex injury, accident at work and industrial disease cases, while Comer has particular expertise in head injury cases. Solicitors Lynn Satchell and Barry Grogan are also recommended. Satchell’s recent cases include the recovery of damages from a shopping centre where an automated system had overwatered hanging baskets causing black ice to form on the pavement, on which the claimant slipped and fell from her bicycle. Grogan advised a self-employed contractor who injured his leg because on-site safety railings were inadequate. Green acted for a restaurant manager who injured his lower back moving a large coffee machine in a confined space.

The service is superb’ at GMS Law Ltd according the clients, who single out Richard Clegg for having ‘incredible depth of knowledge and taking the time to explain everything clearly’. The firm has an extensive client base across East Anglia and in London, handling complex injury and accident at work cases as well as claims relating to asbestosis and mesothelioma. Stephanie Mort, who leads the asbestos disease team, is also highly recommended. Last year, Clegg negotiated the settlement of a claim relating to an injury at work caused by defective equipment. The defendant initially denied liability and disputed that the claimant was injured but an investigation revealed incomplete documentation and inconsistencies in witness statements that led to the matter being settled shortly before trial. Mort acted in an asbestosis claim against a prison where the claimant’s deceased father was exposed to asbestos while working on site.

According to clients, Rogers and Nortoncannot be faulted’. The ‘extremely supportive’ Mark Hambling ‘explains everything in detail and cares about his clients; he brings professionalism and sensitivity at a difficult time in people’s lives’, and the ‘very polite and understanding’ Tim Nobbs who is highly recommended for mesothelioma claims. Hambling mainly undertakes multi-track RTA and employers’ liability cases involving major injuries. Recent matters include cases involving amputations, brachial plexus injuries and electrocution injuries causing severe neurological damage. In one key matter Hambling acted for a cyclist who was hit by a vehicle emerging from a junction resulting in a fracture of the patella. Nobbs acted for a client who sustained spinal injuries at work while moving pieces of heavy equipment including three boilers each weighing 300kg.

Cozens-Hardy LLP is ‘a solid claimant firm with a loyal following in its catchment area, and attracts some very interesting cases on the back of a sound reputation’. The firm has established itself in the Norwich area as a credible practice for claimants with acquired traumatic brain injuries; it is a member of the Headway Head Injury Solicitors List and is accredited by APIL and the Law Society Panel of Personal Injury Lawyers. Damian Short (who is ‘efficient and very aware of the needs of brain-injured clients and their families, with whom he is very caring’) and associate Jane Gilbert are ‘quiet, calm and effective at driving cases towards settlement’.

Fraser Dawbarnsdeals with claims in a practical and sensitive way, acting swiftly when necessary and ensuring any risks are minimised’. Lead partner Neil John in Wisbech ‘provides sound guidance at a difficult time for clients; it is clear that he is extremely knowledgeable and that he understands the situation in which clients find themselves’. He recovered £475,000 in a fatal accident claim in which he successfully argued that the usual calculation of the dependency claim should be departed from on the basis that the business was dependent on the deceased. He also achieved a significant settlement in a work accident claim against an employer and site owner, both of whom initially denied negligence.

At Hegarty LLP, head of personal injury Sean Rowcliffe has more than 20 years’ experience. His practice covers a broad range of accident at work, public liability and RTA claims. He regularly acts for clients who have sustained catastrophic injuries such as severe spinal injury and brain injury, for which he has a track record of recovering damages in excess of £1m.

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Legal Developments in East Anglia for Personal injury: claimant

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