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  1. Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant
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Who Represents Who

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With a national reputation for its insurance worklod, BLM’s ‘high level of service and in-depth knowledge demonstrates its excellent understanding of the industry’. The team acts for insurer clients on a wide range of insurance matters, including personal injury and medical negligence claims. Recent active clients in Northern Ireland include the Association of British Insurers and the Royal College of Nursing. Another key client for 2016 has been the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which the team represented in High Court proceedings arising out of the management of a road traffic accident where a consultant paramedic suffered severe spinal injuries. Medical negligence continues to be a key area of work; co-practice head Cormac Fitzpatrick and team defended Queen’s University Belfast in a claim surrounding the death of a patient as a result stem cell treatment and trials. Peter Campbell (who jointly leads the team with Fitzpatrick) and Fintan Canavan ‘stand out for their ability to offer sound, practical advice’.

One of the leading players in Northern Ireland’, Kennedys has ‘excellent depth of knowledge, response times and understanding of the technicalities of each case’. The team acts for major insurers in catastrophic clinical negligence and personal injury claims including motor claims, occupation disease and medical disciplinary proceedings. Employers’ and public liability have been key areas of activity; in 2016 the group defended its employer clients in a major orthopaedic injury case. ‘Thorough and efficient’ practice head Amanda Wylie has ‘vast experience and an ability to communicate at all levels’. Wylie is also highly regarded for her track record defending marine insurance companies in catastrophic injury proceedings. Senior associate Megan Boyd and solicitor Ian Martindale are other names to note.

Tughans provides a ‘first-class service’ and expertise across a broad range of clinical negligence and personal injury matters. Kathy McGillie heads the department and is best known for defending employers in catastrophic injury claims, including mesothelioma and policy coverage matters. Neil Smyth and Neil Cahill, who are highly recommended for employers’ and public liability matters, successfully represented the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in a number high-value personal injury disputes. Other clients include motor insurers such as InterEurope, which the team acts for in relation to catastrophic road traffic accidents across Europe. Andrew Anthony (a ‘first-class and astute litigator’) leads on the healthcare and clinical negligence front; recent work has included dental surgeon negligence disputes, delayed diagnosis claims and multimillion-pound GP negligence claims.

Arthur Cox Belfast attracts praise for its ‘very strong knowledge of its jurisdiction and great value for money’. The group is best known for handling employers’ and public liability cases; recent work includes representing UK-based manufacturer Courtaulds in a number of legacy deafness claims. The firm has also been acting for longstanding client Zurich on cases concerning fraudulent personal injury claims, and is leveraging its strength in medical negligence to represent medical devices companies in product liability claims and hospitals in insurance coverage disputes. Chris Ritchie leads the team and is highly regarded for his strategic approach.

According to some, Carson McDowell’s personal injury and healthcare teams provide ‘the highest level of service’. The practice is well versed in industrial disease, catastrophic motor accidents and employer and public liability cases, as well as handling a range of healthcare claims. On the personal injury side the firm represents companies in catastrophic injury and related criminal investigations; recent clients include well-known supermarket chains, transport operators and retail companies. Claire Harmer heads the practice and is an expert in industrial disease and inquests. Associate Catherine Carton focuses on defending clients in personal injury litigation, including motor claims and industrial disease, and associate solicitor Niall Skelton primarily represents the Motor Insurance Bureau. On the healthcare side partners Clare Bates and Jacqueline McAleese are well versed in defending general practitioners and clinicians in a range of claims and regularly act for the Medical Protection society. Roger McMillan heads the healthcare team.

John McKee Solicitors acts for key client National Farmers Union on high-value personal injury cases, including claims involving minors. Employers’ liability and road traffic accidents continue to be key areas of activity. The firm has also experienced an increase in clinical negligence cases; recent work includes acting in multimillion-pound cases concerning negligent anaesthetists. Chris Ross and Leonard Edgar are the key partners and solicitor Aoife Duffy is another key name.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin has a ‘very professional’ defendant insurance practice that provides clients with ‘excellent service’. Employers’ and public liability disputes are a core focus of the practice and the group represents a range of insurers in catastrophic injury cases resulting from motor accidents and accidents at work. Key clients include RSA Insurance and AIG Insurance; in 2016 the firm acted for the former client in a claim involving a serious head-on traffic collision; the initial claims stood at £850,000, which the firm successfully lowered to £150,000. William Cross leads the team and solicitor Mairead O’Boyle is praised for being ‘very thorough, engaging, knowledgeable and astute’.

DWF is home to practitioners with a longstanding reputation in defendant insurance litigation. The team has represented major insurers such as Allianz and Aviva and is best known for personal injury and employers’ liability cases, often concerning catastrophic head and neck injuries. Gareth Jones leads the practice and is highly respected.

Lacey Solicitors’ ‘level of service, response times and ability to conclude on the best possible terms is consistently excellent’. The team works primarily in the personal injury field and has handled a range of high-value road traffic accident cases, many concerning catastrophic injury or death. Other cases have involved public liability claims arising out of sporting events. Key clients incl Prestige Underwriting, Charles Taylor Insurance and Wrightway Underwriting. Terence Lacey, who has ‘vast knowledge and experience and is always available’, heads the practice alongside Damian McGeady, who is praised for his ‘resoundingly sound advice’.

McKinty and Wright is highly regarded for motor, public and employers’ liability claims, as well as professional negligence. Sean McGahan is the main name and has considerable experience with catastrophic personal injury claims.

At Napier and Sons the highly regarded Joseph Napier is best known for employers’ and public liability claims. BT is a key client for the group, which it has assisted with noise-induced hearing loss cases. Recently promoted partner Maria McCloskey is another key name and has represented large UK-based employers in employers’ liability claims concerning catastrophic injury.

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