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31 March 2021 | Comment | Article by Ciaran McCabe

Why Rebuilding Shattered Lives is important to me: Ciaran McCabe

Take a minute to close your eyes and imagine a typical day in your life. Maybe you’re dropping your children off at their school, taking your daily lunchtime walk around the block or driving to the supermarket to do your weekly shop.

When you open your eyes, imagine that world has been turned upside down. You or someone you love has been seriously injured.

That’s the reality for many families when they, or someone they love, has suffered an unexpected injury; it turns their lives upside down in the blink of an eye.

We’re working with APIL – a non-profit organisation representing injured people – to raise awareness of its ‘Rebuilding Shattered Lives’ campaign.

If a person is injured needlessly, they should obtain specialist legal advice so as to consider access to justice, compensation and the ongoing support they may need in order to rebuild their life but in recent years many misconceptions have been allowed to develop in this area.

APIL created ‘Rebuilding Shattered Lives’ to try to refocus attention on the real situation: that too many people suffer needless injuries; that these injuries are preventable; and that the people who suffer them must be able to have access to the support they need to rebuild their lives.

Ciaran McCabe, Partner in our Neurolaw team, wants to play his part in helping to shake off the stigma and misinformation surrounding PI claims.

Head shot of Ciaran McCabe with suit and blue tie | Hugh James

As a young person, I undertook a lot of volunteering with people with both physical and intellectual disabilities, which I found very beneficial. I always made time to listen to the unique stories of those I was assisting and attempt to understand the challenges they faced.

Around this time, I was beginning to study Law at University and began to see how I could combine my professional career with assisting those who had sustained serious injury. I have been fortunate to successfully do this for well over 20 years and am delighted to now be acknowledged as a leading national specialist solicitor acting in this area.

I act for those who have sustained life-changing injuries which include brain and spinal cord injury claims for both adult and children. These can be individuals injured in road traffic collisions, bike riders, those injured in their workplace or public places.

My aim is, wherever possible, to obtain an early admission of liability and then a substantial interim payment to fund early private rehabilitation and medical care but also to ensure that my clients are financially secure, especially if they are no longer working, to allow them to concentrate on making the best recovery possible.

The most rewarding aspect of my work is undoubtedly, wherever possible, ensuring that a severely injured person is financially secure for the rest of their life. Helping them to benefit from the best private rehabilitation and medical treatment, purchase specially adapted housing and vehicles, fund a case manager and private care package and be able to happily enjoy all aspects of this new chapter of their lives. I am always glad to hear from old clients and to hear how they have moved on; it’s always such a lift to hear these remarkable stories.

The most frustrating – and therefore challenging – part of my work is undoubtedly the lack of cooperation and willingness of some insurers to make early admission of liability when they should clearly be made and voluntarily agreeing much needed interim payments of damages for claimants which they need to fund anything from living expenses through to the costs of private rehabilitation.

In the last year alone, I have had to make five separate applications for substantial interim payments to the Court because of the refusal of the insurers to make voluntary interim payments in claims where liability had been accepted. In each case, the Judge ordered the interim payments that I had applied for. The only person these deliberate delays disadvantages are the seriously injured clients. It’s important insurers not only talk the talk but walk the walk in relation to providing substantial interim payments when requested once liability is accepted.

I have always found the insurance industry has vast influence in traditional media, for various reasons, which perhaps sadly aids a very misinformed and unhelpful perception of claimant personal injury lawyers.

The vast majority of claimant personal injury lawyers work tirelessly and unacknowledged to assist those who have often sustained life-changing injuries. The last sixty years have shown the hard-fought victories personal injury lawyers have won which have benefitted society generally, from the Thalidomide legal claims in the late sixties, the Miners work-related claims in the late 1990s through to the ongoing Grenfell Tower claims. However, the everyday victories we achieve in improving the lives of the seriously injured through obtaining outstanding settlements are evidence enough of the great work we undertake.

For me, the APIL campaign is very welcome: the more the public hears of the great work that claimant lawyers undertake on a daily basis, the narrative will begin to change. Social media now provides an outstanding opportunity and a powerful tool for the stories of the valuable work we undertake to reach a much wider audience.”

You can find out more about APIL’s ‘Rebuilding Shattered Lives’ campaign on the website – including a video case study featuring the story of one of our clients – or search #RebuildingShatteredLives on Twitter.

Author bio

Ciaran McCabe is a Partner and joint head of the National Serious Injury Department. The department was awarded Claimant Catastrophic Injury Team of the year at the PI Awards in 2021. He has specialised for over 20 years in assisting both adults and children, through England and Wales, who have sustained life changing injuries to the brain, spinal cord and limb loss.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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