Sophie Lawless - DAC Beachcroft
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Sophie Lawless's Expertise

 

Sophie Lawless

Sophie specialises in life changing complex and catastrophic injury claims of the utmost severity including brain injuries in adults and minors, spinal cord injuries and amputations.

She has over 20 years’ experience across the insurance industry to include major composite insurers as well as brokers and corporations. Her key clients include Aviva, Ageas, RSA and Tesco Underwriting.

Sophie regularly advises clients on cases requiring a multi-disciplinary approach from the outset and is usually instructed within days/weeks of an accident occurring. Sophie will endeavour to meet with the injured claimant and his/her family from the outset to ensure that a collaborative and consensual approach is adopted thereby enabling early rehabilitation to be implemented. The strategy set at the initial pathfinder meeting is regularly reviewed with the claimant’s legal team and case manager as the claimant’s needs evolve. Every effort is made to settle a claim at the earliest opportunity, taking account of a claimant’s needs and minimising costs where possible.  

Relevant experience includes advising:

  • AAA v BBB The claimant, a minor aged 7, was crossing a road when the defendant’s vehicle collided with him, causing him to sustain a severe traumatic brain injury. The case ran for 14 years and was settled shortly after the claimant’s 21 birthday once it had been established from a brain maturity perspective that the Claimant was sufficiently stable to enable settlement to be considered. This is a case which was the subject of an anonymity order due to the size of damages awarded. Rehabilitation was implemented. Throughout the rehabilitation process, Sophie regularly met with the claimant and his rehabilitation team to review the package of support in place for him and this eventually led to a trial of independent living. Meeting with the claimant, his family and his support team enabled the parties to navigate through the litigation process whilst being mindful of family dynamics and cultural sensitivities.
  • Williams v Hunt This was a serious road traffic accident. The claimant was a visually impaired pedestrian walking down a country road, when he was struck by the defendant’s vehicle sustaining significant injuries. The claimant suffered bilateral brachial plexus injuries rendering his upper limb function ineffective, a traumatic brain injury and bilateral comminuted fractures of his lower limbs. An immediate needs assessment was arranged at an early stage and a programme of rehabilitation put into place working alongside statutory services. Surgery was undertaken on the NHS to provide him with a degree of hand function and interim payments were made to facilitate the purchase of an adapted bungalow. Regular meetings were held with the rehabilitation team as well as the claimant’s solicitor, so that both parties had a full understanding of the issues in the case and what was required to move the case towards a swift resolution. The parties agreed a timetable for a joint settlement meeting which provided for the claimant to obtain the minimum necessary expert evidence to enable both parties to take a view on the quantum of the claim. The effectiveness of the rehabilitation meant that the claimant achieved a degree of physical recovery which enabled him to live with minimal support. The claim settled at a JSM for £1.3 m net of contributory negligence (agreed at 1/3) as against a schedule of £3.5 m prior to service of proceedings.

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