Claire Burnell

Principal Associate Solicitor - Personal Injury

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"I specialise in complex and high value catastrophic personal injury claims with a special interest in handling foreign accident claims and those against the Motor Insurers' Bureau regarding uninsured and untraced drivers, along with accidents at work.”

I am a Principal Associate Solicitor within the personal injury - major trauma team at Higgs, having joined the firm in 1999. 

I have extensive experience of handling a wide range of personal injury claims, typically including complex injury, cross/multi-jurisdictional and other unusual or technical claims. I have considerable experience in dealing with serious, catastrophic and fatal injury claims. 

Throughout my career, I have developed a niche practice for accidents involving the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (‘MIB’) claims against uninsured and untraced drivers; and also, for injuries suffered whilst abroad, handling claims internationally, typically from package holidays and works accidents. 

I focus on achieving both significant high-level settlement awards and working to secure early access to rehabilitation in order to assist my clients in achieving the best possible recovery following, what often are life changing injuries. 

I am also a Trustee of both Headway Black Country, the charity for people with acquired brain injuries; and trauma care. 

I am also a member of the Birmingham Medico Legal Society and Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. 


  • Catastrophic brain injury
  • Accidents abroad
  • Uninsured and Untraced Driver RTA MIB Claims  
  • £10m+ estimated value for a client who sustained a permanent and dramatically life-changing catastrophic brain injury. Private funding for extensive case managed rehabilitation treatments, professional care, services, aids, adaptations, and support was secured from the outset and remains in place. A property has been purchased and is being bespoke adapted for all client’s treatment, care and living needs. Interim payments towards damages have been secured throughout the claim. A Professional and Lay Deputyship Order is in place. Our Employment, Conveyancing, Private Client, and Court of Protection Teams have all assisted in supporting the claimant’s needs. Case ongoing.
  • £5m estimated value for a young man who was hit by a car whilst crossing a pedestrian crossing with his friends. He sustained a serious brain injury and other orthopaedic injuries. Private funding has been secured for fully case managed rehabilitation treatment, support worker, care, and services. Our inhouse social worker and our inhouse benefits specialist have also provided support. Interim payments towards damages have been secured, and our Court of Protection Team’s advice, initiated. Case ongoing.
  • £2.5m estimated value for a young lady who suffered severe injuries to her leg after being crushed by a lorry. Liability is still under investigation and Police enquiries are ongoing. Funding has been secured for full case managed rehabilitation, support, services, aids, equipment, plus adaptations to the family home. Our inhouse social worker and our inhouse benefits specialist have also provided support. The claim is ongoing.
  • £1.5m settlement for highly complex orthopaedic injuries sustained in a van vs moped hit & run. The claim was successfully pursued against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (‘MIB’s) Untraced Driver’s Agreement.
  • £1.3m settlement achieved for a passenger in a head on collision. She sustained multiple upper and lower limb injuries. Case managed rehabilitation, plus provision of aids and equipment were provided during the claim.
  • £1m estimated value for a roofer who fell 2 storeys whilst at work and suffered multiple orthopaedic injuries plus some neurological injury. The claim is ongoing.
  • £780k settlement achieved in a Joint Settlement meeting for the family of a fatally injured burns victim who died within a few hours of being injured in an explosion at work. Claire provided representation and advocacy also throughout the Coroner’s Inquest and Final Hearing.
  • £775k ‘out of court’ settlement achieved for a lady who suffered brain injuries when reversed into by her boyfriend who was driving a van. Liabaility issues remained at the time of settlement, but a full case managed rehabilitation package was funded throughout the claim. The Claimant was also assisted in purchasing a suitable house for the needs of herself and her children.
  • £500k settlement achieved against the MIB for a moped user who had a ‘near-miss’ incident involving an untraced driver, resulting in her sustaining neurological injury, spinal fractures, knee, and psychological injuries.
  • Claire pursued a claim for a young man about to join the military who was crushed whilst attending an outdoor rock-music concert. Extensive and detailed liability expert evidence was obtained from an internationally renowned expert advising on crowd, safety, and crowd risk analysis for major events. Settlement of the claim was negotiated at a Joint Settlement Meeting with the Defendants to enable the Claimant to continue with his private treatment provision, and to re-house the Claimant and his partner into suitable, fully adapted accommodation required for his needs and therapy.
  • The maximum award of £500k as can be paid by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (‘CICA’) is being sought for a number of brain injured clients who Claire currently represents.
  • Claire also successfully appealed against the CICA following their 1st instance decision not to award a client who sustained life changing extensive physical and psychological injuries after being attacked by a vicious dog. The claim is ongoing.
  • £450k was negotiated for a severe crushing injury to the hand of a forklift truck driver when the vehicle capsized.
  • £293k was agreed for a degloving injury to the claimant’s leg when she was pinned to a garden wall by an uninsured driver who lost control of his vehicle. Extensive plastic surgery, physiotherapy and pain management provision were arranged, with full prosthetic covers.
  • £250k estimated value for a lady who suffered a complex injury to her pelvis whilst on holiday abroad. The claim is being pursued against the Tour Operator, via the Package Travel Regulations.
  • £250k was achieved for a lorry worker who fell whilst stepping of the back of his lorry, sustaining multiple pelvic fractures.
  • £250k was secured for a pedestrian who suffered modest brain injuries after being hit by a car whilst crossing a main road at night. Liability remained in dispute and whilst the case was settled prior to trial, case managed rehabilitation was funded throughout the claim

More about me

Favourite food

Almost anything hot & spicy, except fish!

Year joined Higgs LLP


Childhood career goal



Music (all genres); theatre & the arts; literature, good food, wine and beer

Interesting fact about you

I play the French Horn

"Higgs have some very good work and they have a great team of both lawyers and benefits specialists and other support teams. Claire Burnell is a sympathetic case handler who fully supports her clients and works hard in their best interests. She is also a formidable fighter and a feared opponent"

Legal 500

"We were fortunate to find Claire Burnell after a bad experience with a previous company. We have always found her to be extremely knowledgeable and professional. We attribute the size of our claim due to how Claire handled our claim"

Review Solicitors

"Having had my life turned upside down in a matter of moments by a driver that did not stop, I didn’t know at the time I would need a solicitor, but as time progressed I have learnt that having a strong, supportive, very knowledgeable solicitor is a must."

Review Solicitors

Meet the team