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Top-flight firmBLM provides ‘sound expertise at every level’ and, despite losing eight personal injury lawyers to Keoghs LLP in 2016, has a team of 11 partners and 70 other lawyers. Andrew Hibbert, Andrew Williamson and motor claim expert Nick Rogers (‘very cool under fire’) are the joint heads of the ‘highly proficient’ team. Hibbert, who ‘has a wealth of knowledge and forges good relationships with policy and other stakeholders’, focuses on brain and spinal injury as well as amputations and fatal accident claims. Williamson is recommended for ‘leaving nothing to chance during preparation of evidence’, taking on claims relating to road traffic accidents employers’ and public liability and also representing clients at inquests. Other names to note are office head and brain injury lawyer Joe Wakeford, associate Scott Insley, who also handles multi-jurisdictional matters, and head of industrial diseases Andrew West. Cerebral palsy lawyer Stephanie Castell was promoted to partner and associate solicitor Gus Peake joined from Coffin Mew LLP in 2016. Recent highlights include Rogers’ representation of RiverStone Insurance in repudiation of a road traffic accident claim against an unidentified and uninsured person who stole the claimant’s car after he had given them permission of use. West acted for NIG in an industrial disease claim. Direct Line Group, Equity, Aviva and Allianz are also active clients.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s personal injury team is based in Winchester and handles public and employers’ liability as well as road traffic accident claims for insurers. Department lead Duncan Rutter, Lea Brocklebank and senior associate Geoff Lee are the key contacts. They have experience in brain and orthopaedic injuries, paraplexis, occupational stress as well as cross-border matters. Regular clients include Allianz Insurance, the Ministry of Defence, AXA, Insure the Box, Liberty and Aviva.

The personal injury practice of Kennedys in Chelmsford undertakes work regarding motor, employers’ and public liability, disease, product liability and fatal claims. Team lead Andrew Caplan focuses on claims of historical physical and sexual abuse and catastrophic injury, while Richard West handles spinal, brain and psychiatric injuries as well as chronic regional pain syndrome. Senior associate Thom Lumley has experience in insurance liability and advising on risk management policies in combination with serious injuries, while John Bucklow specialises in matters involving the military. Keith Gaston joined from Gaston Whybrew in December 2016. The team has acted for clients such as Transport for London, Virgin Holidays, Allianz, several London boroughs and Vodafone.

The personal injury department of Keoghs LLP in Southampton was newly formed in July 2016 with the arrival of several partners from BLM. The team acts for insurers, government bodies and corporations against fraud, motor, liability, large loss and disease claims relating to catastrophic injury and health and safety. Team lead Michael Renshaw handles motor, employers’ and public liability claims involving amputation, paralysis, brain and spinal injury as well as multi-jurisdictional issues. Together with Rachel Coombs, he represented a taxi insurer in an £8.3m claim regarding a student who fell into a six-months long coma and sustained a severe brain injury after being hit by a taxi while crossing a road. Other notable team members include motor accident specialist Matthew Perkins, who has taken on one of the largest amputation claims ever pleaded for client LV=, Sarah Parker, who specialises in brain injuries in children, and amputation and prosthetic rehabilitation specialist Stuart Giddings. Allianz, Covéa, esure, Zurich and Government Procurement Services are active clients.

DWF’s personal injury practice in Milton Keynes handles catastrophic injury, amputation and fatality claims arising from motor accidents, as well as occupational health and large loss claims in general. Business development partner Charles Ashmore heads the team, which also includes brain and spinal injury lawyer Tanja Neuhoff. Neuhoff focuses on employers’ and public liability as well as workplace and road traffic accidents. Aviva, Ageas, Covéa and Tesco Insurance are among the firm’s clients.

The personal injury defence team at Trethowans LLP is ‘very strong all round and valued for its high-quality legal services offered at competitive rates’ and has ‘a tremendous reputation in the south of England’. The team is also recommended for its ‘promptness and efficiency’ and ‘expertise in cross-border claims’. The primary areas of focus are road traffic accidents and matters involving animals. Practice lead Kelvin Farmaner, who ‘can always be relied upon to provide a constructive and analytical approach’, has ‘a knowledge of costs that is second to none’ and is a ‘logical choice for self-insuring businesses’. The ‘realistic’ Bethany Blamire is ‘quick to grasp the issues in even the most specialist technical matters’ and has experience in the niche area of ‘agricultural accidents’. She is also recommended for ‘consistently developing and maintaining relationships with lay clients which puts insurers in a strong position’. Farmaner advised Cornish Mutual regarding a motor accident between the policyholder’s parked vehicle and a motorcycle resulting in fractures and knee replacements; the claim involved the question of whether a parked vehicle should display parking lights as well as a number regulations from the Highway Code. A recent highlight for Blamire was the representation of Generali Belgium in a quantum dispute relating to a road traffic accident involving a Belgian driver and vehicle in the UK. Blamire was recently made partner, while the ‘knowledgeable and accessible’ health and safety expert Sarah Wheadon joined from Paris Smith LLP in February 2016.

The ‘very capable and experienced’ personal injury practice of Weightmans LLP in Dartford offers ‘very good response times and rates that are good value for money’. Team lead Karyn Brannigan focuses on liability claims against employers and in public spaces and is ‘always on the legal pulse in this area of law’. Both Brannagan and ‘relentless litigatorFiona East, who has particular expertise in product liability cases, ‘always provide over and above what is required by being on call for advice at any time’ and ‘their knowledge is second to none’. Clients further recommend Jonathan Shaer for having ‘a very good handle on mesothelioma claims’ and Mark Brenlund for ‘considering cases and their intrinsic issues from every angle’. Shaer also takes on other occupational matters, such as vibration injuries, skin disease, stress and hearing loss as well as child abuse cases, while Tom Challis mainly acts for local authorities and housing associations. Recent highlights include Brenlund’s successful settlement for Tokio Marine HCC Underwriting Agency of a head injury claim by an employee who worked on a building site. Brannigan supported Zurich Global Corporate in a loss-of-earnings claim submitted by a lift engineer who almost fell down a shaft and developed a psychological injury which meant he could no longer work in his profession; Brannigan achieved a reduced settlement amount. Surrey Police is another active client of Brenlund’s.

The personal injury practice at Freeths LLP in Oxford takes on liability matters involving employment, products and injuries occurring in public places, as well as industrial, motor, and health and safety claims. The ‘sensible’ team lead Paul Chadder is supported by ‘shrewd’ assistant solicitor Matthew Bacon, Amy Barnett and senior associate and road traffic accident specialist Irvin Thobourne. Chadder and Bacon represented Vesuvius against a claim regarding the development of respiratory problems and hysterical pseudo dementia by a site employee who claims his injuries were caused by exposure to cement dust and welding fumes. They also supported a director of Novae Syndicates regarding a breach of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 which caused an employee to be injured. XL Catlin, BMW, Zurich and AmTrust are also active clients.

Pitmans LLP’s personal injury practice focuses on motor, employers’ and public liability and industrial disease claims. The Reading-based Ferhat Choudri heads the team.

Regarding personal injury, BC Legal in Southend-on-Sea deals exclusively with occupational disease claims. Founding partner Boris Cetnik represents insurers, corporate clients, local authorities, NHS Trusts and other defendants in this area, while Charlotte Owen and office head Ashley Collins have a particular focus on noise-induced hearing loss and acoustic shock claims. Solicitor Alexander Buchanan handles short-tail claims such as work-related upper limb disorders, cumulative back injuries, occupational asthma, dermatitis, stress and zoonoses. Other team members include solicitor Cresce Stokes, who has developed niche expertise in carpal tunnel syndrome cases, and Katie Brook, who also advises on asbestosis and pleural thickening matters.

The personal injury department of Ellisons Solicitors is based in Colchester and is headed by catastrophic injury lawyer Robert Jones, who mainly handles spinal cord, amputation and brain injury claims. Louise Bland specialises in motor claims, coverage advice and agreements with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. Other areas of work for the team include employers’ and public liability claims as well as chronic pain syndrome cases. Associate Natalie Simpkins is another name to note. Previous clients include Markerstudy Insurance Company, Liberty Syndicate Management, Zenith Insurance and Metroline.

The Sussex-based firm Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP focuses on advising insurance, travel and public sector clients regarding personal injury and fatal claims and has specific experience in the fire service and water industry. While solicitor Miranda Jenkins also supports clients in the public sector, practice lead Lee Hills and solicitor Carmen Calvo-Couto specialise in travel claims, particularly regarding the involvement of Spanish-speaking countries. Active clients in this area include Olympic Holidays, Viking River Cruises, AJP Loss Adjusting and Companhia De Seguros Fidelidade Mundial. Michael Mulcare joined Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP.

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