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  1. Personal injury: claimant
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Burroughs Day LLP’s specialist personal injury team advises on a wide range of personal injury claims, including fatal injury law, mental capacity law and road traffic accident claims. The ‘excellent’ practice focuses on three key areas of expertise: catastrophic injuries, including severe head and brain injuries, both traumatic and non-traumatic; industrial disease claims and other claims arising from employer’s liability, including multi-party construction site accidents, industrial deafness and tinnitus, as well as lung diseases and asbestos-related injuries; and product liability and animal claims. It has experience in handling slipping and tripping accidents and demonstrates strength in advising on cases involving orthopaedic evidence and complex assessments of capacity through neuropsychiatrist experts. The team provides ‘very good’ service, with Hugh Balchin, whose specialisms include claims arising from stress and harassment at work as well as repetitive strain injury cases, being particularly recommended for his expertise in workplace claims. Crispin Edmonds heads the practice.

Irwin Mitchell is ‘a definite market leader’ in the personal injury claim market, delivering ‘excellent service’. In addition to its ‘extremely strong knowledge in mesothelioma’, the practice handles brain and spinal cord injury cases, fatal accidents and workplace accidents claims, industrial disease cases and multiple orthopaedic traumas. James Davies heads the serious injury department and specialises in representing children, teenagers and adults in catastrophic brain and spinal cord injury cases, in particular clients who are unable to manage their own affairs. Virginia Chalmers, the head of the practice’s workplace injury department, is ‘highly reliable’ and renowned both for her ‘first-class knowledge’, in particular of asbestos-related claims, and her excellent client skills. Isabelle Selley, who was promoted to senior associate together with Deborah Rose, is ‘compassionate’ and ‘patient’, with ‘a deep understanding’ of her area of law. Jonathan Peacock left for VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards). Recent highlights include advising a client who had sustained a severe traumatic brain injury after falling from a vehicle and acting for a client who had suffered a traumatic brain injury with subsequent coma following a traffic collision, securing early admission of liability from the defendant and successfully obtaining a substantial interim payment for the client in order to fund specialist rehabilitation measures. Other key cases include advising clients who had suffered catastrophic brain and orthopaedic injuries at a very young age.

Royds Withy King’s personal injury team has ‘a wealth of experience and a very client-focussed approach’. It is ‘very strong on brain injury claims’ and provides an overall ‘excellent’ level of service. Particular areas of expertise include spinal injuries, chronic pain, complex regional pain syndrome, amputations, asbestos-related diseases, fatal accidents as well as claims arising from accidents involving animals, in particular horses. The ‘vastly experienced’ team is jointly led by Louise Hart and Stuart Brazington. The ‘tenacious’ and ‘knowledgeable’ Hart has ‘unrivalled’ experience in acting for clients who have sustained a personal injury with subsequent chronic pain’ while the ‘highly competent’ Brazington is ‘a very good strategist’. Senior associate Mark Hambleton, whose specialisms include sports-related injuries, is ‘client-focused’. The practice’s recent caseload includes representing a client who had suffered a severe hypoxic brain injury in a multi-million-pound claim before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) First Tier Tribunal, the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Thompsons Solicitors LLP handles a range of matters, having acted in cases valued at more than £2m. Its expertise includes advising on serious injuries, such as brain injuries, amputations, spinal injuries and fatal accident cases, while also handling claims arising from industrial disease, with a particular focus on upper limb disorder, deafness and vibration-related injury claims. The practice undertakes campaign work, helping stop ethnic penalties in the car insurance market and challenging the raise of the small claims limit. Senior solicitor and practice head Lisa Gunner advised a client who had sustained injuries to his brain, face and leg in a road traffic accident. Other cases included representing a client who had suffered significant injuries to his right leg and foot, including multiple fractures and a degloving injury and acting in a case relating to leg amputations below the knee with significant impact on the client’s professional, social and personal life. Recent work also covers claims involving moderate brain injuries, orthopaedic and psychiatric injuries after a fall, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder caused by a prolonged exposure to dust at the workplace. Nicholas Seymour acted for 22 cleaners at Torbay Hospital who had sustained various injuries due to an exposure to a cleaning product. Unite, the Prison Officers Association, the Rail and Maritime Workers Union, and the Public and Commercial Services Union are other clients.

Clarke Willmott LLP is ‘a major player with a deserved good reputation’ in the personal injury claimant market. It specialises in handling high-value claims and is particularly adept at handling complex serious injury matters, ranging from brain and spinal cord injuries to amputation injuries. Other key areas of strength are fatal injuries, cases dealing with multiple fractures, as well as brachial plexus and shoulder injuries, road traffic accident liability, and accident-related psychological trauma as well as complex psychological trauma in both children and adults. Cases handled by the team often involve clients requiring long-term care. Lee Hart is the head of the serious injury practice and ‘an exceptional lawyer, unflappable and a highly skilful tactician as well as negotiator’. He acts in claims arising from accidents involving animals, especially horses. The head of the practice is the ‘very experiencedMartin Pettingell who brings his experience in handling asbestos-related disease claims to bear, with a particular focus on mesothelioma claims. Stephen Trump is a ‘stand-out brain injury and amputation expert of the highest ability’ with ‘truly exceptional’ client care skills.

Enable Law is part of the Foot Anstey Group and specialises in advising on serious injury claims, such as amputee claims and spinal injury claims, with acquired brain injuries being a particularly strong area of expertise. It also acts in group actions for clients who have suffered abuse in nursing homes or care homes, including acting for clients who lack mental capacity; the practice had the lead role in the Cornwall NHS Trust group litigation and the Winterbourne View group litigation. It handles asbestos cases as well as claims for military personnel, including injuries sustained at training exercises, advising on claims by personnel suffering from PTSD and diseases caused by using military vehicles. Robert Antrobus heads the practice’s clinical negligence and personal injury team, while legal director Juliette Clarke leads the personal injury team in the Plymouth office. The ‘highly experienced’ Clarke ‘is able to build up a good level of trust with her clients’. She has handled several high-value claims, advising on cases involving severe injuries such as major amputations, paraplegia, and traumatic brain injuries.

Lester Aldridge LLP has ‘a strong presence in the South West in personal injury litigation’ and is an ‘established, regional practice’ with ‘a wealth of experience’. The multi-lingual team’s range of expertise covers all major areas of personal injury law, in particular claims arising from brain and spine injuries which require intensive rehabilitation. Other specialisms include cases relating to industrial disease, defective products, sports, air and rail accidents, animals and claims brought by military personnel as well as claims arising from fatal accidents, bone fractures and amputations. ‘Extremely efficient’ practice head Tim Blackwell, who is ‘a very good communicator’, is ‘persistent in seeking the best outcome for the client’, providing ‘a great sense of reassurance’. Associate Stephen Norris is recommended for his tenacity and ‘keen eye for detail’.

NewLaw Solicitors specialises in serious brain injury cases, including maximum severity brain injuries, but also handles claims arising from psychiatric injuries and complex regional pain syndrome. Its experience in advising on claims arising from psychiatric injuries includes handling cases involving clients suffering from PTSD, depression and personality changes, as well as cases involving temporarily sectioned clients. The team is particularly experienced in complex orthopaedic claims, such as claims arising from motorcycle collisions. It approaches its cases with a focus on early interventions and rehabilitational treatment, securing the interim payments necessary for their clients. The practice operates a number of personal injury ABS firms, including FMG Legal and Carole Nash Legal Services. Team manager Judith Brightman’s specialisms include advising on road traffic accidents, accidents at work and accidents in public areas. APIL brain injury assessor Jo Darlington is ‘charismatic and highly impressive’. Recent cases include number of six-digit personal injury claims, including a case involving serious psychological injuries caused by a road traffic accident.

Slee Blackwell has expertise in claims arising from sexual abuse and Animals Act cases, in particular injuries sustained in dog attacks. Other work undertaken includes cases involving employer’s liability and public liability claims. The ‘very professional’ practice provides ‘excellent’ service in a ‘personal manner’. Practice head James McNally is noted for his ‘in-depth knowledge’ of personal injury law. The practice’s work in cases involving animal attacks included advising a client whose lower lip had been partly bitten off by a dog, another client who suffered a gastrointestinal illness as a result of the medication prescribed to him to treat an infection caused by a dog bite, and another client who had been bitten by a dog when trying to protect her dog. Other key cases involved a hand injury sustained while operating machinery at work and a slipping accident injury.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) is noted for its efficiency and provides ‘a thorough service for its clients’. The ‘very good’ practice focuses on undertaking multi-track work and specialisms include claims arising from head and spinal injuries, employer liability cases, fatal accident claims and professional negligence claims involving personal injury. Its expertise also covers claims arising from abuse cases, industrial disease cases, injuries sustained in assaults, injuries sustained as a result of bullying at work, vicarious liability and representing clients at inquests. The group has experience in handling highly sensitive matters and is noted for being ‘genuinely interested in the claims of its clients’. The ‘bright and persistent" Jan Markland heads the team, which also includes ‘star performerJohn Webster who specialises in claims arising from injuries sustained in accidents. Jonathan Peacock joined from Irwin Mitchell.

Ashfords LLP provides ‘dependable advice’ on the full range of personal injury claims in relation to road traffic accidents, employers’ liability claims, public and product liability claims as well as occupational and industrial disease claims, claims arising from fatal accidents, and claims arising from injuries caused by animals. The ‘excellent’ team is led by legal director and ‘highly experienced practitioner’ Stephen Walker. The ‘highly intelligent’ Flora Wood offers ‘exceptional client care’ and handles ‘high-value cases with flair, initiative and extensive knowledge of her practice area’. Jason Squire is recommended alongside ‘particularly impressive’ associate Elizabeth Johnson.

Barcan+Kirby LLP acts for clients in serious personal injury cases, with a particular focus on serious neck, brain and back injuries. The ‘very good’, ‘solid’ and ‘approachable’ practice’s recent work also includes handling claims arising from amputations, fatal accidents and psychiatric injuries, as well as road traffic and workplace accident claims. It is managed by senior associates Adrian Stone and Myfanwy Buckeridge, who is ‘very perceptive’, an ‘excellent communicator’ and shows ‘attention to detail’. Senior partner and practice head Bill Willcocks is ‘one of the most efficient lawyers around’ and ‘very thorough’ senior associate Samantha Castle is ‘a sensible negotiator’.

Coles Miller Solicitors LLP specialises in complex brain injury and catastrophic injury cases, but also offers advice to clients who sustained injuries in sports accidents or in accidents at work. Managing partner and practice head Adrian Cormack specialises in several types of personal injury, including spinal injury cases, claims arising from road traffic accidents, in particular motorcycle accidents, and claims arising from accidents at home, in a public place, at school or on holiday. The practice has experience in handling claims arising from injuries sustained in assaults in the workplace, including CICA claims. It also demonstrates strength in advising clients on claims requiring the payment of interim sums.

Festival Law (Cheltenham) Limited is a niche personal injury firm specialising in industrial disease, in particular asbestos-related claims, and high-value injury claims, though it also takes on portal cases. The ‘very professional practice’ provides ‘exemplary service’ and is noted for the deep experience of its major fee earners. The ‘client-focussed’ Ann-Marie Whelan, whose specialisms include handling claims involving minors and parties with a disability, ‘is not afraid of a fight’ and ‘negotiates excellent results’. She jointly leads the practice with ‘excellent lawyer’ Julia Briano, who has ‘significant expertise in disease work’ and provides ‘empathetic service’ to clients. Recent highlights include asbestos-related claims involving mesothelioma and diffuse pleural thickening, but also an industrial dermatitis claim, a claim arisen from occupational hearing loss, and cases involving asbestosis and lung cancer.

Humphreys & Co. specialises exclusively in industrial disease claims and has a reputation for being a ‘go-to practice for asbestos-related claims’ with ‘extensive knowledge of asbestos disease claims’ and an impressive track record of success in claims which have proceeded to trial. The ‘superb’ practice excels at handling terminal mesothelioma claims, but also undertakes work in asbestos-related lung cancer claims, asbestosis and pleural thickening claims. ‘Excellent lawyer’ and practice head Stephen Burbidge is ‘very knowledgeable’, ‘sensible’ and ‘dedicated’ while also being noted for handling claims with great sensitivity and showing ‘considerable empathy’ for clients. Consultant Peter Montgomery is ‘dedicated to the achievement of a good outcome for his clients’.

Simpson Millar LLP advises on personal injury and industrial disease claims, acting for both private clients and unions. Expertise ranges from advising on industrial deafness, repetitive strain injury claims and carpal tunnel syndrome claims, to asbestos-related claims such as mesothelioma, respiratory claims such as emphysema, and occupational cancer claims. Other key areas are claims arising from dermatitis and stress at work claims. Industrial disease team head Gavin Evans, who is ‘clear-sighted and very knowledgeable’, specialises in chest disease claims, including silicosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as in occupational cancer matters, including skin cancer. New arrival Helen Grady, who joined from Novum Law, has a strong track record in advising on lung cancer, pleural thickening and asbestosis claims. Solicitor Emma Costin is the director of complex personal injury. Clients include the National Association of Head Teachers Union, GMB Union, and Communication Workers Union.

Trethowans LLP is a strong regional practice that advises on complex high-value head and spinal injury claims as well as complicated orthopaedic claims. It also handles accidents at work, road traffic and fatal accidents, occupiers’ and public liability. The team has experience in handling high-value claims in the High Court and stands out through its strength-in-depth. Practice head Gavin Lane is commended for his ‘compendious’ and ‘outstanding knowledge of catastrophic injury cases’, and managing partner Chris Whiteley is ‘hugely experienced, very sensible and highly supportive of clients’. Clare Carter is renowned for her comprehensive grasp on her cases, while senior associate Rhiannon Daniel is ‘a highly competent practitioner with sound judgement of the strength of a case’. Recent covers accident at work claims and road traffic injury claims.

Wards Solicitors advises on the full range of personal injury claims; it has expertise in handling cases involving personal injury trusts, head and back injuries, losses of limbs, fatal accidents, sexual abuse, occupational stress and harassment, psychological injuries and work accidents. Alison Underhill heads the team, which includes Helen Boyd who is particularly recommended for her approachable personality.

Battens Solicitors Limited's areas of expertise include a variety of accident claims such as accidents at work, road traffic accidents and tripping and slipping accidents, and regularly acts in claims arising from brain injuries, spinal injuries and lower limb injuries as well as multiple injury cases. It also undertakes work in industrial disease claims, including asbestos-related pleural effusion and pleural thickening. Senior associate and practice head Kate Golding has significant experience in advising insurance companies. Highlights included representing a client who had become paraplegic after an accident at work, successfully settling the claim at a six-figure sum, and assisted another client with a claim arising from poisoning by toxic fumes while at work.

Coodes Solicitors advises on a range of personal injury cases, including those relating to road traffic accidents, with particular strength in motorcycle-related ones, employers’, public and occupiers’ liability, as well as slipping and tripping accidents. Highlights included advising the widow of the victim of a fatal road accident, successfully settling the claim and representing a client who had lost a lower arm in an accident at work. Tim Goldburn heads the practice.

Dutton Gregory LLP handles a wide range of personal injury claims, with catastrophic, brain and spinal injury claims being particular areas of strength. It has experience in handling cases involving multiple injuries and serious injuries requiring extensive care and rehabilitation measures. Severe psychological injuries, such as PTSD and psychiatric trauma, are another string in the practice’s personal injury bow. The ‘professional, thorough’ ‘remarkably knowledgeable’ and ‘thoughtfulJoanna Gatehouse heads the team. She is especially experienced in handling claims on behalf of children. The recent caseload includes acting for a client who had sustained severe facial injuries and loss of sight as well as suffering from depression and PTSD due to an accident at work, which required extensive rehabilitation and occupational assistance.

Nash & Co is a small practice specialising in neuro-trauma claims, industrial disease claims and environmental claims. It is particularly experienced in handling claims brought against the Ministry of Defence. The team takes on claims arising from road traffic accidents, including accidents which cause serious injuries such as significant head injuries, but also undertakes work in claims arising from psychological injuries such as PTSD, claims arising from chronic pain syndrome, and claims arising from substance poisoning. Practice head Michael Shiers is recommended.

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