Disease Litigation - DAC Beachcroft
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Disease Litigation

NIHL remains a major problem for the insurer market. While volumes may have peaked in 2015, NIHL still accounts for the vast majority of claims faced by insurers. With the advent of QOCS Claimant lawyers are more litigious and litigation volumes are increasing.

The HSE estimate that one to two million UK workers are exposed to potentially harmful levels of noise. It is known that one claimant firm has not been presenting new claims during 2016. The likelihood is that there will be still significant claims volumes for the foreseeable future.

We take a robust and forensic approach in relation to all litigated cases and have a repudiation rate approaching 50% on litigated cases.

HAVS claims are the second largest type by volume. We handle sufficient to volumes to identify trends and patterns, e.g. common types of Claimant, expert and solicitor behaviour.

We handle a large volume of asbestos cases and again are able to spot emerging trends such as light exposure mesothelioma cases - a move away from heavy industry to more claims in building distribution.

On stress claims, QOCS has led to an increase generally albeit volumes are of relatively low level and there are more claims of a modest value.

Pleural Plaques in Scotland remain a challenge. Recent decisions have led to damages awards above the framework agreement currently in place.

We also deal with more unusual disease claims and have significant experience in dealing with carbon monoxide claims, occupational cancers, asthma, legionnaires disease, organophosphate exposure, silicosis, other poisoning/exposure types cases and claims arising from care homes. We also frequently act direct for companies who are unable to locate insurance for historic disease cases.

What we do

We are familiar with the key battlegrounds on all types of disease claims and are able to identify and focus on the central issues on any litigated case.

We work in partnership with our insurer clients and their policyholders to ensure that the right cases are defended to trial.

We have secured 125 discontinuances and QOCS repudiations in 2015. Clear focus on issues such as breach of duty and causation has provided us with successful defences last year.

We have succeeded in 10 trial wins in 2015, losing only one.

What we are known for

We are market leading, we deliver consistent operational efficiency and technical excellence.

We are known for acting in a reasonable and constructive way with our opponents, but not shying away from claims that should be properly defended.

Detailed elements of our services

Full service disease offering from NIHL claims to complex occupational cancer claims.

  • Solicitor led teams with excellent technical knowledge working closely with our strategic litigation unit;
  • Market insight: Knowing the claimant and expert behaviours intricately. We analyse our results and deliver our findings at regular review meetings;
  • Repudiation rates: Supporting insurers in denying claims without merit;
  • Exchanging and sharing strategic knowledge: We have recently worked with insurers on a separate scheme for Slater & Gordon.

​Thought leadership

  • Bulk agreements with larger NIHL players such as Slater & Gordon: DACB was invited to work with a major insurer client, together with QBE, RSA, AXA LM and Aviva on a strategic technical project with Slater & Gordon. We were the only Defendant law firm asked to participate in the face-to-face meetings with S&G;
  • The Civil Justice Council report on the NIHL market is headed by DACB's Andrew Parker in relation to the introduction of a fixed costs regime and refinement of portal;
  • We regularly work on a strategic level with insurers, highlighting trends, issues and implementing projects that reduce indemnity spend.

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