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BLM is ‘one of the leading defendant insurance practices’ and provides an ‘excellent’ service in its handling of a wide range of cases, including occupational illness and disease, catastrophic injury, abuse and travel claims. The firm recently acted in a multimillion-pound asbestos case in which the High Court found that the defendant, a former manufacturer of asbestos insulation board, was entitled to a full indemnity for previous, ongoing and future asbestos-related claims made by employees during the 1950s and 1960s. The practice has a team of ‘excellent professionals’ who are ‘known for their strength and depth in the field’, including Matthew Ford, who specialises in high-value claims; Jenny Moates, who specialises in RTA and EL/PL liability cases; Jennette Newman, who specialises in health and safety, major loss and catastrophic injury claims; complex policy coverage expert, Nick Pargeter; and Clare Garnett, who specialises in handling equestrian, bovine and canine cases.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s ‘exceptional’ practice is ‘market leading’ and provides ‘excellent expertise’ in a range of areas, specialising in cases involving complex EL, product liability, disease and care home claims. Recently, the firm defended claims relating to asbestos and chemical exposure, occupational strain injury and noise-induced hearing loss. The ‘innovative’ and ‘solution-drivenTania Sless heads the department and specialises in employers’ liability, product liability and catastrophic injury disputes; she is ‘a good negotiator who obtains good settlements’ and ‘takes a business-like approach to handling claims’. Andrew Parker is at the forefront of strategic litigation and advises insurers on a range of emerging issues affecting injury claims. Tom Walshaw, Nigel Adams, John Goodman, David Knapp, Danielle Singer and Michelle Traxler joined from Clyde & Co LLP.

DWF’s ‘well-prepared’ group is led by Graham Dickinson who has notable experience acting on international claims, particularly involving large-loss injury cases for French and Spanish insurers. Claire Bowler heads the international claims group and acts for a number of UK and European insurers across the entire spectrum of catastrophic injury and large-loss claims, specialising in high-value international cases, motor claims, employers’ liability and product liability cases.

Kennedys is ‘a market leader for catastrophic injury work’ and has ‘a formidable reputation for getting excellent results’. Recent cases include a £2m claim relating to the Tunisian Beach Massacre in June 2015 seeking to widen the scope of the duty owed by tour operators in relation to holidaymakers and security at resorts. Mark Burton heads the department and is ‘a leader in the field of catastrophic injury for defendants’; he specialises in handling maximum severity brain injury cases involving ‘locked-in’ syndrome, vegetative state cases and matters involving altered consciousness. The team includes Tracy Head, who is ‘well known for her excellent client-handling skills and ability to find creative solutions’, and has significant experience in complex stress and large loss/catastrophic cases; Claire Mulligan, who has expertise in crisis management and cases involving travel claims; and Joe McManus, who has experience in EL, PL and catastrophic injury claims, and handled civil claims arising from the death of four miners at the Gleision Colliery in Wales.

Clyde & Co LLP’s practice provides a ‘high level of service which is maintained across a large but high-functioning team’ and specialises in handling cases involving brain injury, spinal cord damage and amputations. The ‘pragmatic and effective’ team also has specialist experience in industry sectors including rail, power, pharmaceuticals and aviation, as well as providing expertise in cross-border, cross-jurisdictional and global matters. Kevin Bitmead heads the department and has experience in complex catastrophic injury claims, motor claims, employers’ liability and public liability cases. ‘Star performer’ Peter Walmsley, dual-qualified barrister and solicitor Charles Brown, and catastrophic injury specialist Peter Whitehead are also recommended. Whitehead recently acted for AXA Insurance in a £10m personal injury claim involving two claimants suffering severe brain injury and tetraplegia following a motor accident; the case was settled on a stepped periodical payment basis which included a first call reverse indemnity to allow AXA to recover statutory funding obtained by the claimant. The practice recently lost a number of partners to DAC Beachcroft LLP, including Danielle Singer and David Knapp.

Plexus Law provides ‘a consistently high level of service’ and a ‘commercial approach to the resolution of claims’ in a range of practice areas, including employers’ liability, occupational disease, motor, public liability and fraud. The team acted on behalf of QBE in defence of the insured McGee Group Ltd in a £500,000 employers’ liability claim; the claimant, a HGV driver employed by the client, is alleged to have suffered brain damage as a result of an accident in which his tipper truck overturned. The matter was taken to a liability-only trial and the court found for the defendant and dismissed the claim. Acting as lead partner on this case is the ‘very experienced’ Anthony Bushell who is ‘tenacious in his desire to obtain the best overall outcome for his client’ and specialises in cases of brain damage and spinal injury. The team is led by asbestos claims specialist Steve Phillips, occupational disease expert Damon Burt, defendant EL/PL and disease claims expert Philip Tracey, and Connie Cobb, who specialises in catastrophic personal injury claims.

RPC has a track record in handling complex personal injury cases involving life-changing injuries, such as amputation and brain damage, and is experienced in crisis management. The firm represents a number of clients and major insurance providers, such as XLCatlin, Faraday, Arch and Hiscox. Recent work includes a £1m EL claim in which the claimant suffered brain damage and numerous physical injuries after falling from height whilst working on a ladder at work; a split-trial on liability decided in the defendant’s favour. The ‘superb and tenaciousGavin Reese acted as lead partner on the case and specialises in catastrophic injury claims. The ‘highly professional, approachable and knowledgeableNick McMahon has expertise in high-value complex injury cases, pharmaceutical and product claims, and group actions.

Weightmans LLP is ‘one of the top defendant personal injury firms in the city’ and has ‘strength in both numbers and depth’. The ‘diligent and focused’ team provides ‘expert knowledge’ in a range of areas including employers’ and public liability claims, catastrophic injury, fatal accidents, and cross-border litigation. The ‘tenacious’ practice also acts for numerous insurance providers, such as Zurich, Ageas and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, and is ‘not afraid to take on difficult challenges’. The firm recently acted on behalf of Octagon Insurance in defence of a £9m RTA which the claimant suffered severe brain damage after attempting to cross the road through oncoming traffic. The case was led by Elaine Chapman, who is ‘very knowledgeable and proactive’ and ‘delivers excellent results for her clients’. Also recommended are Nicholas Richards, who is ‘an approachable and proficient lawyer with excellent legal and analytical skills’ and is ‘brilliant at handling foreign insurer clients’; and ‘tactical thinkerDavid Johnson, who specialises in brain injury, spinal injury and amputation. Sarah Hamilton retired from the practice.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice has ‘second-to-none’ expertise in child abuse claims and is ‘one of the leading firms in this field’. The firm is experienced in handling cases involving complex local authority liability, social care, stress at work, defamation, safeguarding and Data Protection Act damages claims, and acts for a number of major insurance providers and local authorities. David Maggs specialises in acting for local authorities on social services claims and heads the department, which includes James Fawcett, who has significant experience in defendant insurance litigation, with particular expertise in defending clients faced with employers’ and public liability claims; and Sarah Erwin-Jones, who advises clients on risk management, child protection, human rights and Data Protection Act matters, and is particularly experienced in handling cases involving institutional abuse and professional negligence.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is experienced in handling high-value complex claims and group litigation cases where the subject matter is sensitive and potentially high-profile, for example personal injury claims involving quadriplegia/paraplegia and severe head injury. The practice acts for major insurers and corporates such as Diageo, BP, Chevron and TXU. Recent work includes representing Diageo in high-value multi-party litigation in relation to the distribution of Thalidomide in the late 1950s and early 1960s, as well as acting on behalf of BP in a case relating to the terrorist attack on the Amenas gas plant in Algeria. Department head Howard Watson specialises in group action and catastrophic injury claims and is experienced in litigating in foreign jurisdictions.

Hill Dickinson LLP’s solicitors provide ‘an extremely good service’ and have ‘great depth of knowledge’ in a range of areas, with an emphasis on personal injury and regulatory work in the shipping, aviation, port, travel and offshore industries. The practice is experienced in defending small, large and multi-party claims and has acted on behalf of a number of major clients such as BP Shipping, P&O Ferries and Disney Cruise Line. Recent examples of the firm’s work include handling a $20m claim involving the total loss of aircraft, passengers and crew. The case is led by department co-head Joanna Kolatsis, who specialises in advising clients on disaster planning and risk management. The ‘exceptionalMaria Pittordis leads the practice alongside Kolatsis; according to one client, she is ‘the best lawyer in the marine industry’, while another singled out her ‘extremely broad and detailed knowledge’. John Caddies, who has ‘vast knowledge of industrial disease claims’, is also recommended.

Ince & Co is singled out for its work within the marine, offshore oil and gas, transport and aviation industries. The firm advises major operators and their insurers on public and employers’ liability, and handles claims related to workplace and construction accidents, health and safety issues, asbestos liability and deafness. Department head John McGowan has expertise in silicosis claims by miners and construction cases involving mesothelioma.

Keystone Law handles the full range of defendant personal injury cases involving public liability, local authorities, marine injury and health and safety. The firm recently acted in a case involving a passenger vessel collision. Also recommended are the ‘highly professionalCordelia Rushby, who specialises in identifying medical and financial fraud, and Steven Conway, who joined from Browne Jacobson LLP and has expertise in handling cases involving local authorities. Alex Penberthy joined Keoghs LLP.

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Legal Developments in London for Personal injury: defendant

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