Sarah joined Access Legal in January 2003 as an Assistant solicitor.
Sarah is experienced in dealing with personal injury claims for claimants, including employers’ liability claims (manual handling, work equipment, insufficient PPE) disease claims (particularly WRULD); carbon monoxide exposure claims; public liability claims (slips, trips, and falls on the highway and in public places); product liability claims; and higher value road traffic accidents. Sarah handles both modest and high value claims.
Sarah has a particular interest in cases of care home neglect and has assisted a number of individuals and/or their families in this regard.
- We acted for a family whose loved one had passed away. The deceased was a resident of a care home. In 2011 at or around 2.00 a.m. the resident was found on the floor at the care home. He resident had hit her head on a commode and suffered a fatal subdural haematoma. Between 2.10 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. the nursing staff omitted to carry out full, regular, recorded nursing observations of the resident. At or around 8.30am a member of staff went to check on the resident at which stage it was noted she was not breathing. An ambulance was not called until some 30 minutes later. The Coroner's report into the resident's death said that it was probable that as a result of these omissions, the residents chances of successful surgical intervention were reduced. The resident passed away the following morning. We were instructed just prior to the 3rd anniversary of the resident's death. A protective claim form was issued straightaway. Thereafter a letter of claim was sent to the care home and a part 36 offer on behalf of the estate followed within days. Following negotiations, settlement was achieved. The matter was concluded within 4 months. We also arranged press coverage for the family to put their story across to highlight their concerns.
- Work Related Upper Limb Disorder claims are notoriously difficult claims to succeed upon. These claims include complex issues on liability, foreseeability and causation. They also require a detailed analysis of the systems of work and health and safety related issues.
Sarah dealt with 8 claims against one employer. The employees developed WRULD’s i.e. tennis and golfers elbow due to the repetitive nature of their work. Sarah identified the leading medico legal expert in this field who writes for Hunter’s Diseases of Occupations. The expert was instructed to provide the medico legal opinion in these matters. He dealt with issues of causation. Sarah was successful in obtaining compensation for all of the Claimants.
After the case was concluded, the medical expert, commented
“Sarah Cunliffe’s clients have always spoken of her concern for their problem. I have always found her caring and professional and her letters of instruction have always been detailed and accurate."
Our client sustained injury following a road traffic accident which occurred in the early hours whilst our client was driving to work. As our client exited a roundabout he drove into the rear of the Defendants stationary gully clearing vehicle. Liability for the accident was denied. The Defendants alleged that our client was speeding and that the accident was his own fault as he failed to see the Defendants vehicle which was both brightly coloured and which was displaying a large blue keep right sign.
We argued that the Defendant was negligent as they had failed to provide adequate advance warning of the presence of their vehicle upon the highway in accordance with guidance laid down in the Traffic Signs Manual.
We obtained a statement from the road traffic officer who attended the accident scene immediately following the accident. He confirmed that there Claimant was not speeding at the time of the collision and that the Defendants had not provided any advance warning of their presence.
We put forward an offer on liability to deal with the case on a 50:50 basis. The Defendants accepted our proposals within days of the Court hearing.
- Our client sustained injury following a road traffic accident which occurred as she was walking to her car after work. Mrs Raval had crossed over a busy town centre road when the Defendant drove into her. Due to the severity of her injuries, Mrs. Raval was unable to provide us with any details regarding the identity of the Defendant and/or as to the circumstances of her accident. We therefore applied to the Leicestershire Constabulary to obtain a copy of the police report. Unfortunately, the police are unable to forward a copy of the report to us as a Court case was pending against the Defendant. The Defendant had been charged with ‘failing to stop’ after the accident.
After obtaining the police report, we contacted a number of witnesses and were able to piece together the circumstances of the accident. We were confident that Mrs. Raval’s claim would succeed. Liability for the accident was disputed. The Defendants insurers argued that the Defendant had given Mrs. Raval notice of his approach and that Mrs. Raval's injuries had been caused by her own negligence as she had failed to cross the road at a nearby pedestrian crossing.
Despite the initial concerns over the severity of her injuries, Mrs. Raval made a good recovery from her injuries and was back at work within months. We obtained evidence from a variety of Consultants, one of whom advised that there was a small risk that Mrs Raval could develop post-accident epilepsy. After seeking advice from a barrister an amount was included within the settlement offer to reflect this risk.
Just days prior to the final hearing, the Defendants solicitors accepted our offer to settle. (Quote from Mrs Raval below)
'Very thorough and no stone left unturned.From the initial meeting I felt trust confidence and comfort that I was listened to and not dismissed as a mercenary.Communication has always been at the forefront of my case whether email telephone or letter,if Sarah has never been immediately available a follow up call can be guaranteed to ensue at her earliest convenience.Although my case is still ongoing,I have full confidence in Sarah and her team fulfilling my case. I would without hesitation definitely use the services of this company again and indeed recommend to anyone seeking legal representation' (Mr Dunkley)
'I was very pleased with the service Shoosmiths provided for myself. If being honest, the initial term (estimated time) for my case to be resolved was longer than expected but that was to be expected really, they got the job done. My contact kept me in the loop throughout, making the whole experience very easy. I would not hesitate in using this company again. A very professional and friendly service, you done me proud S.C.' (Mr Clark)
'From registering my claim initially right through to the end I was guided, helped and advised at every stage. The advice I was given could not have been bettered resulting in a very successful conclusion. If I ever had any queries help was available straight away, nothing was to much trouble, which made to the whole experience much less stressful than I could have ever imagined. I would thoroughly recommend Access Legal.' (Ms K Emery)
'I have been unfortunate to be exposed to Asbestos during my working life which was diagnosed following a serious illness.Using my Trade Union for Legal Advice I was fortunate to be seconded to my own personal Rumbold QC at Shoosmiths Access Legal.After our initial interview she then worked for four years putting a case together in support of my claim.During this time she became not only my Lawyer but also my friend who explained any of the finer points in great detail showing patience and care.All her work culminated with a generous offer without even going to Trial.Would I recommend Shoosmiths Access Legal.My answer is without doubt a big big yes and you never know you may even find your own Sarah employed there.' (Mr R Billingsley)
'I was initially unsure if I wanted to pursue a claim. I met with Sarah and she explained the process to me. I felt reassured and I proceeded with the claim. My opponents dug their heels in and denied responsibility for my accident. I was worried about this but I spoke to Sarah and again she reassured me. Throughout the case if I had any queries or concerns I would just contact Sarah and she would explain matters to me. If Sarah wasn’t available I would speak to a colleague and they would try and help. My queries and letters were always responded to promptly. I knew at all times where I stood and I never felt alone in the process. I visited the offices on a couple of occasions. They were lovely and the ladies on reception were very friendly, in fact the whole of the staff I spoke to were. I was very pleased with the outcome. I would definitely recommend Sarah and Access Legal from Shoosmiths to my friends and family.' (Sally Bryant)
'The service I had from Sarah Cunliffe at Access Legal was exceptional. She put my mind at rest and I was re-assured that my case was being dealt with promptly. The service was above and beyond my expectations. Sarah ensured that I received the maximum amount of compensation. The only concern I have is that despite a warrant being issued for the Defendants arrest, this remains outstanding the Defendant has disappeared without trace. I am worried that he is still free to drive and am concerned that he may cause another accident. I was lucky as I had Sarah working on my case. Someone else may not be as fortunate as me and have such a good legal team on their side.' (Mrs Raval)
'Sarah Cunliffe has been supporting me in addition to providing me with legal advice. She has listened to my worries and always found answers to my questions. She is professional and tactful. I would use her again.' (Mrs Anadon)
'My solicitor Sarah Cunliffe made the process straightforward. She explained the process to me fully at the outset and kept me well informed. My correspondence was replied to promptly and all letters were straightforward and easy to understand. I would recommend Sarah and Access Legal from Shoosmiths to my family and friends. They offer a great service and Sarah was excellent and very good at her job. She wouldn’t take any messing around from my opponents.' (Mr Sardar)
Prior to joining Shoosmiths Sarah trained at Poole & Co Solicitors where she qualified as an Assistant Solicitor in September 2001. Sarah graduated from UCN/De Montfort University prior to qualifying as a solicitor.
Sarah is an APIL member and holds APIL litigator status.
Outside of work Sarah enjoys gardening and is a keen sports fan.
- LLB Hons (De Montfort University)