Gerard is a renowned silk who specialises in brain injury and spinal injury cases for adults and children. He also has a wealth of experience dealing with claims for amputees, pain and somatoform disorders. His career has developed both at the junior bar and in silk, where he has been instructed almost exclusively by those acting for claimants (including those employed in the military) save for certain occasions when insurance companies have sought his assistance.
The majority of his work in silk has been for clients with severe brain injuries, resulting as the consequence of accidents or by way of clinical negligence. Through his vast experience he knows that each case of severe brain injury is unique and with this in mind he believes it unwise to generalise about outcomes, and that much depends upon the individual and the support they receive. Practising in this sphere has meant that the experts on both sides of the litigation divide are known to him, as are the centres of excellence for rehabilitation of the brain injured.
Gerard prides himself on ensuring each client, especially in cases where they may lack capacity to make decisions themselves, has a clear understanding of each action he will undertake on their behalf. He believes that by visiting the client and their family at home, hospital or rehabilitation unit enables him to gain a better understanding of the important issues in their lives. This in turn enables him to work hard to ensure the best possible outcome.
His working ethos aims to encourage and promote teamwork between client, solicitor, counsel and their expert advisors. He believes he works best when instructed at the outset of the case. This enables him to bring his considerable influence to its direction and to assist with ensuring the best experts to assist each client. Gerard applies this philosophy when also managing claims for spinal injury, amputees, complex regional pain syndrome and other somatoform disorders.
Often cases settle by negotiation rather than trial in court. This is where Gerard provides real expertise and value. One of his recognised skills is the preparation for and conduct of the negotiations which may lead to the conclusion of the case. He has a tried and tested ability to foresee well in advance the arguments to be deployed against his client, to gather the evidence and serve in advance of the meeting so as to defeat those arguments.
Personal Injury Cases
SS – Case involved issues as to had the client suffered a mild brain injury and been one of the minority of victims who failed to make a good recovery or was it a psychologically driven disorder where the expectation was of a recovery with properly directed rehabilitation. The case was complex, the Claimant had undoubtedly suffered a devastating change in personality, but the Claimant’s neuro-radiology expert changed her opinion late in the case so as to agree there was no radiological evidence of brain injury, which greatly weakened the presentation. Case settled for £780k at the second JSM between the parties in 2019.
PS – Top flight sports injury case – Premier league footballer suffers a broken femur in an RTA. Very significant litigation risks present in proving negligence against the Defendant driver, back calculation of blood alcohol levels, analysis of CCTV footage in dash-cam of driver witness to the lead up to the accident. Real risk we would not prove the case at all.
On quantum, issues involved client’s potential career, aged 26 yrs at time of accident and now 29 years old. Importance of obtaining top class evidence from those who knew him as to his potential – provided both by club owner and club manager. Client took 12 months to return to fitness – in which time the club had bought two replacements for the position played in by the client. On his return, the client had not played in first team thereafter. Case settled for £3.4 million in 2019.
E – A young boy aged 4 injured in an RTA, now 9 years old, where we recovered just over £20m for him. Liability settled at 95%, this was a quantum case with complexities in recovering successfully two to one care from age 9 years,a substantial sum for the cost of home education, likewise a substantial sum towards the cost of a large bungalow, a sum we valued near £1m for holidays, plus a substantial amount for motor-homes.
L – Client in an abusive relationship with partner/carer, housebound severely brain injured, client lacking capacity and easily influenced by partner who was physically violent to her. Case involved defending applications to strike out for client’s failure to be available for Defence medical examination and consideration of an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a health and welfare deputy. Difficult issues on life expectancy.
M – Case settled at JSM for £2.85m, involving liability valuation at circa 75% on lack of health and safety training. Brain injured client lacking capacity – tough negotiation which involved refusing £2.5 million at jsm and gaining an extra £350,000 thereafter.
RN – Complex case because very severe brain injury where rehab was difficult – client had very little insight. The main issue was how much day and night care was needed. Foreign insurer so issues over financial security regarding ppos. £11m settlement.
E – Severe brain injury case. Very difficult presentation re future loss of earnings for a young woman who was still working as a nurse despite a severe brain injury. Settlement of £2.95m.
GH – A young man who before his brain injury and amputation had the condition of spinal muscular atrophy – future care claim was complex and difficult to present. Settlement of £1m.
Guantanamo Bay Negotiations – Acted for two of the inmates in a two week mediation against five Government departments seeking compensation for human rights violations, successfully settled.
AB – Severe brain injury to a 60 year old passenger in a car, £7.5 million recovered, including annual payments for care and case management of £310,000.
CD – Severe brain injury for a passenger exiting a moving taxi- successfully recovered £250,000.
EF – Spinal injury tetraplegic in his early twenties, complicated by his failure to use care package, £7.3 million.
GH – Young man of 16 at time of severe brain injury, passenger in car driven off Beachey Head, management of his care team made difficult by his amorous relationship with one of his carers, just under £6 million recovered.
IJ – Chronic pain case for a man in his twenties, video surveillance and credibility in issue, settled for £535.000.
KL – A lady in her fifties, amputee, loss of upper limb, just below shoulder, issues re use of myo electric prosthetics – £1.15 million recovered.
OP – Turkish speaking man in his fifties, severe brain damage, unable to walk by reason of neurological injuries, lost ability to speak English, severely distressed by his injuries, complicated by boney growths around his knees causing pain, £5.5 million recovered.
QR – Young lady in her twenties, severe brain injuries, rendered virtually blind, 3% sight remaining in one eye, severe anxiety problems, case complicated because we were the second legal team, called in to take over the case from solicitors with whom the family had become dissatisfied, very difficult care package to manage, £5.5 million recovered.
MN – Lady in her fifties, suffers severe brain injury, as a result suffers the onset of bipolar disorder, a diagnosis agreed by Defence expert to be caused by accident. The disorder not yet controlled by medication. Has reverted to her first language of Sri Lankan, profoundly deaf
Two recent cases of interest both concern the management of cases abroad. One involves a man in his sixties, living in Tehran, who suffered what we believe to be a severe brain injury when knocked down as a pedestrian in London and the brain injury was missed by the treating hospital which focused on the orthopaedic injuries. The client speaks no English.
The other is for a young man with a severe brain injury who resides in Kuwait City, little is known as yet what systems for rehabilitation exist in his home country. Little English is spoken and reliance upon interpreters is essential.