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  1. Personal injury: defendant
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Who Represents Who

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BLM 'remains a law firm of choice for insurers for complex defendant motor work'; its personal injury team provides 'exceptional service' and has 'particular strength regarding attention to detail, quality of advice and commercial acumen'. The team handles a range of cases, including brain and spinal injuries, amputations, fatalities, road traffic accidents, work-related diseases, bullying and stress, in addition to various types of liability claims. In a recent highlight, catastrophic injury lawyer Clare Garnett, who also handles equestrian and canine accidents, as well as claims involving insurance fraud, represented QBE as insurer of Network Rail concerning an accident-at-work claim from a former employee, which was successfully defended using video evidence. Another significant matter was head of disease team Andrew West's work for Pro Global as insurer of Thanet Earth Marketing in a four-day trial regarding a claim from a former employee who allegedly sustained a repetitive strain injury and further attempted to challenge the training provided to the workforce. The team also counts Direct Line, Allianz, Aviva and Hastings among its regular clients. Clients recommend 'innovative' practice lead and catastrophic injury specialist Andrew Hibbert and 'calm and down-to-earth' public authorities and occupiers' liability partner Andrew Williamson, while head of the motor practice Nick Rogers, brain and birth injury specialists Joe Wakeford and Stephanie Atkinson, and associates Scott Insley and Gus Peake are other notable practitioners. Partner Richard Grayson joined from Minster Law Limited in January 2017, bringing expertise in subtle brain injury and amputation matters.

DAC Beachcroft LLP's personal injury team is renowned for its work on matters involving catastrophic brain and spinal injuries resulting from road traffic and other accidents falling under employers' or public liability. Consultant Duncan Rutter and partner Lea Brocklebank make up the core team. In 2017, Brocklebank settled a claim for Insure the Box brought by a self-employed hairdresser who was a passenger in a car during a road traffic accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury, having worn no seatbelt and travelled with an intoxicated, uninsured driver. Another highlight was the defence of Mitsui against a whiplash claim from an employee factory worker, after he had an accident with a hydraulic press and plastic components. Allianz Insurance, the Ministry of Defence and AXA are some of the department's key clients.

In personal injury, 'top-of-the-league firm' Kennedys stands out for its 'wide range of expertise, legal and commercial understanding of insurance companies, prompt advice and work to the highest standard'. Its major focus areas include motor accidents, employers' and public liability, and crisis management after tragedies, as well as disease, historic abuse, military and product liability claims. In 2017, 'approachable' practice lead Richard West, who has 'outstanding legal knowledge and an excellent reputation in the market', represented Esure in a claim by an insurance customer for losses in connection with a motorcycle accident and consequent life-changing spinal cord injuries. TUI Group, MS Amlin, Brit Insurance and Chubb also form part of the client roster. Motor liability partner Joy Middleton 'is in touch with the realities of litigation'. Other notable individuals from the team include head of employers' public liability and abuse claims Andrew Caplan, local authority claims team lead Ron Ruston, motor and casualty claims partner Jennifer Harris and senior associate Thom Lumley .

As 'one of the market leaders in personal injury defendant work', Keoghs LLP 'has great strength in depth in its impressive Southampton office'. The team's work ranges from complex injury and abuse claims to motor, liability, occupational disease, suspect fraudulent and criminal cases. Practice lead Michael Renshaw represented AXA in a seven-figure claim from a person who fell from a ladder when inspecting an aerial and was rendered paraplegic and in need of a robotic exoskeleton. Another highlight was representing LV= in a high-value brain injury claim from a motorcyclist who also suffered a coma and loss of cognitive function. Clients further recommend loss defence specialist Matthew Perkins, catastrophic injury partner Rachel Coombs, and brain injury expert Sarah Parker, as well as fatal and large-loss partner Matthew Burfield, all of whom are considered 'dedicated, hardworking and client-friendly'.

'Premier league firm' DWF's 'young and diverse team' forms a 'dynamic and go-getting personal injury practice' which 'goes from strength to strength with a portfolio of big insurer clients'. It is especially recommended for its expertise in motor traffic claims, while also handling fatality, occupational disease, catastrophic brain, spinal, orthopaedic and loss-of-limb injury, cross-border travel, public sector and abuse cases. Other areas of expertise include organised, credit hire or casualty fraud, as well as late claims. The 'effective' practice lead, 'rigorous thinker' and 'major star' Charles Ashmore, acted for Aviva in a long-running claim concerning a road traffic accident in which the defendant driver died and the claimant allegedly sustained severe leg injuries, which were proven during the trial to be far less serious than had been claimed; the claimant was found guilty of multiple contempts. Another highlight was Sara-Jane Eaton's representation of German insurer ERGO Versicherung in a claim involving the death of a cyclist who was hit by a car, which was driven by a resident of Germany. Other key individuals include associate Simon Frith, 'technically superb' partner Tanja Neuhoff, crime solicitor Tim Ingram and head of international claims Claire Bowler.

The 'approachable, reliable and professional' defendant personal injury practice at Freeths LLP is renowned for its 'thorough preparation, effective operation, insightful advice and cost-efficient outcomes', often acting for companies in the automotive sector. Its range of experience covers employers', public and product liability and industrial injury and disease, as well as motor and HSE claims. In a recent highlight, 'vastly experienced' team lead Paul Chadder and 'extremely diligent' solicitor Matthew Bacon represented engineering ceramics company Vesuvius as one of the defendants in a £4m claim concerning the claimant's psychiatric and respiratory injuries inflicted by their negligent exposure to cement dust and welding fumes while working in a cement factory. Other long-standing clients include XL Catlin, BMW, Faraday and Zurich Insurance. Chadder is 'technically excellent and operationally practical'. Associate Amy Barnett is another key member in the department.

The 'excellent, efficient and successful' practice at 'user-friendly firm' Trethowans LLP is 'in one of the top tranches for personal injury work' and 'can be relied upon to go the extra mile', with 'special competence in defending cross-border claims'. Other niche experience exists in equine and general animal matters and road traffic accidents, as well as health and safety and employers' and public liability. Recent highlights include defending Generali Poistovna as insurer of a foreign driver against a road traffic collision claim which involved the claimant's alleged diagnosis with fibromyalgia, as well as the successful defence of Cornish Mutual against a claim from a rider who fell from her horse and sustained medium injuries, allegedly due to the defendant landowner placing a bird scarer near the bridleway, which spooked the horse. Van Ameyde UK, Go South Coast and Endsleigh Insurance Services make up part of the client portfolio. Practice lead and 'robust but sensible negotiator' Kelvin Farmaner, 'thorough and approachable' partner Bethany Blamire , who 'grasps the key issues before her counterparts', and health and safety expert Sarah Wheadon are recommended.

The defendant personal injury team at Pitmans LLP is best known for handling motor, employers' and public liability and industrial disease claims. Other growing areas include claims involving animals and accidents occurring abroad. A recent highlight was the defence of a bus driver in a trial concerning a six-figure 'road rage' claim, which alleged that the driver struck a pedestrian with a bus deliberately, despite the claimant being found guilty in related criminal proceedings. Partner Ferhat Choudri is the key contact.

The personal injury department of Ellisons Solicitors handles motor, employers' and public liability claims. Previous clients included Markerstudy Insurance Company, Liberty Syndicate Management, Zenith Insurance and Metroline. Catastrophic injury partner and team lead Robert Jones is known for his expertise in paraplegic, amputation, total blindness and brain injury claims. Natalie Simpkins made partner in May 2017, while Edward Weaver was promoted to associate in the same year. Experienced chartered legal executive Steve Garthwaite specialises in motor liability matters.

The personal injury department at Sussex-based firm Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP represents public sector entities, such as local authorities and emergency services, as well as insurers and private clients. Focus areas include public, employers' and occupiers' liability, traffic accidents, health and safety matters, accidents occurring abroad and subrogation claims. Solicitor Miranda Jenkins, travel claim partner Lee Hills and Eastbourne-based partner Barry Davis are the key contacts. Partner Helen Bell leads the overall litigation team.

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