An expanding specialist law firm is on course to enjoy a record year after securing more than £14m in damages for clients over the first six months of 2014.
Neil Hudgell Solicitors has enjoyed three years of continued growth as many others have fallen by the wayside since changes were announced to how personal injury and medical negligence claims would be handled, in the Jackson reforms of March 2011.
As others looked to sell off their personal injury cases and focus on other areas of law, managing director Neil Hudgell recognised an opportunity for his well-established business to further strengthen its position.
Offering to buy cases from lawyers, insolvency practitioners, accountants and other professionals under the side of the business, the firm has since completed 25 deals, acquiring more than 6,000 files at a cash consideration of £5m.
That expansion saw the business open its first London-based office last year, with members of that team recently securing a multi-million pound compensation package – and a full public apology – in London’s High Court for a young boy stricken by devastating brain damage, due to medical failures during his birth.
George Muir, now almost 12, of Nottingham, is afflicted by severe cerebral palsy as a result of brain damage he suffered, due to oxygen starvation, during his delivery in March 2002.
His case was finally settled in February of this year, led by senior solicitor Chris Gooderidge, who specialises in being an expert in brain injury claims.
As part of the case, Mr Gooderidge secured an admission of liability from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust after consulting experts and collating detailed reports about the claimant’s treatment and condition.
A multi-million pound settlement figure was agreed after Mr Gooderidge had consulted with a further ten experts to enable an accurate assessment to be made of the costs involved in providing for the boy’s care.
The business has also recently secured a landmark international legal victory – and set a precedent for all future similar cases – by securing a German aircraft worker who lost an arm and a leg at a UK airport €750,000 in personal injury compensation.
The case, handled by Jane Woodcock, based in the firm’s Hull headquarters, took almost four years to settle on behalf of the injured engineer, with the law firm having to battle to have the case heard under English law.
An Air Accident Investigation found the German airline worker had been handed a faulty rig by a UK based ground handling company to inflate an aircraft tyre, causing it to explode as he worked on it.
However, the case became hugely complicated as a legal battle ensued as to whether the matter be considered under German or English law, with the threat of the client receiving no financial compensation at all had the firm not won the backing of a High Court Judge to decide the case on UK law.
Both were complicated, high-value cases which Mr Hudgell says the firm has increasingly placed a focus upon in recent years, establishing itself as a leader in the field.
Given the total damages secured for clients by the firm were in excess of £8.75m in 2012, and increased to just over £13m last year, Mr Hudgell says there very clear growth, and focus on where the company’s future lies.
“We are still growing and looking to acquire more cases in personal injury and medical negligence, as we are clearly positioned as specialists in this field.
“We now have a track record of handling high-value cases where people have suffered life-changing accidents or illnesses, and our expertise has been crucial in securing seven-figure compensation settlements for our clients.
“This is where we our work being increasingly focused, and although in these cases we recognise no amount of money will ever be able to fully compensate the victims, we know it can go a long way to helping them adapt to the huge changes they need to start rebuilding their lives.”
Neil Hudgell established his legal practice in Hull in 1997 and now employs over 100 staff in Hull, London, Leeds, Bristol and Birmingham.