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Catherine Kearney

Partner

Biography

Catherine specialises in the defence of motor, public and employer’s liability claims involving brain, spinal, amputation, fatal and complex orthopaedic injuries, along with injuries leading to the development of pain disorders.

Catherine is recognised as a key lawyer in the UK Legal 500 2022 and 2021 editions.

A substantial proportion of Catherine’s current caseload consists of brain-injury claims (several involving children) where significant issues arise in respect of both liability and quantum.

Cases concluded recently include:

  • A Home Office employee claiming over £500,000 for a brain injury sustained when he hit a pothole whilst cycling recovered a modest five-figure sum after we excluded his employment expert’s evidence at the CCMC and disclosed documents in support of our denial of liability.
  • A claimant who originally claimed that he had sustained a brain injury when his motorcycle was involved in a collision accepted a five-figure costs-inclusive offer following service of our psychiatric evidence casting doubt on the substance of his claim.
  • Successfully repudiating a claim by a child for a traumatic brain injury sustained when he fell from parkour equipment onto an allegedly unsuitable surface, by passing it on to our client’s insured’s contractor.
  • The claimant motorcyclist discontinued his claim, worth circa £500,000, following service of our accident-reconstruction expert’s report, permission for which was disputed and hard-won at a CCMC.
  • A £1m employer’s liability claim discontinued midway through the claimant’s cross-examination on day one of a six-day High Court trial.
  • Settling on favourable terms a claim by a cyclist for a serious shoulder injury sustained when he allegedly cycled over a defect in the highway, where he contended that he had to sell his business.
  • Settling a £900,000 traumatic brain-injury claim for just over six figures in a claim where liability was denied but risks existed, following an early joint settlement meeting.

Ongoing cases involve defending claims by:

  • A child following a traumatic brain injury sustained when he fell from an allegedly unguarded walkway at the defendant’s property.
  • A child following a traumatic brain injury sustained when he crossed the road without checking for oncoming traffic.
  • A visitor to a sports centre in respect of life-changing spinal injuries caused when equipment failed following a refurbishment.
  • The passengers of a vehicle who sustained traumatic brain injuries sustained when their friend collided with an underpass pillar.
  • A young man for traumatic brain injury caused when his friend flipped her car whilst travelling too fast.
  • A motorcyclist for life-changing polytrauma sustained when a car turned across his path.
  • An employee for severe spinal injuries caused by work equipment which malfunctioned.
  • Multiple claimants in respect of brain and other injuries sustained whilst travelling unrestrained in an overloaded car when it struck a house.

Reported cases include:

  • Hernandez v Acar & EUI Ltd [2019] EWHC 72: secured a substantial reduction for contributory negligence following a High Court trial of liability in the case of a motorycyclist who sustained catastrophic spinal injuries, where the defendant’s CCTV and accident-reconstruction evidence was preferred to that of the claimant.
  • Thwaites v Aviva Assurances [2010] Lloyd’s Rep. IR 667: the court held that the English court had jurisdiction to determine a claim for personal injuries brought by a UK-domiciled claimant injured in a French adventure park who had sued the park’s French-domiciled insurers, such an action being permitted under French law but not under English law.

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