Based in the firm’s Leeds office, Helen has 19 years’ legal experience with an impressive track record of handling some of the most devastating, catastrophic and life-changing cases of brain injuries, spinal injuries, amputations, multiple fractures and serious burns.
A determined litigator, Helen acts for both children and adults and who have suffered serious injury either through accidents at work or in road traffic accidents. Helen has a reputation for securing the highest possible settlements, running into millions of pounds, in the shortest possible time to provide the right amount of care and support for her clients.
Helen knows that rehabilitation and therapy are paramount to aid her trade union clients’ recovery and quality of life, so will negotiate interim payments to help fund individually tailored adaptations, equipment, prosthetics and therapeutic support. Helen actively and sensitively supports her seriously injured clients to gain access to the right rehabilitation and care packages that they need to help rebuild their lives.
Helen occasionally offers training to new trade union Health and Safety representatives, outlining the key challenges in the workplace and how their roles can assist with claims for their members.
Having only ever acted for the injured party, Helen values Thompsons’ commitment to fight the challenging cases and issues for trade unions that other firms may not take on.
Helen’s case experience
Helen took on the case of a GMB member who was seriously injured in a road traffic accident. Helen secured £1.1m in compensation for her injuries which included the trauma and long-term effects of a leg amputation.
A refuse collector injured at work suffered extensive injuries that led to his leg requiring amputation and was no longer able to work. Helen recovered a substantial six-figure sum in compensation to cover his future financial needs.
Another client who worked in education, suffered life-changing injuries as a result of an accident at work. Helen secured substantial damages to compensate her for the fact that she could no longer work.
Helen secured a six-figure sum in compensation for a client who had his arm amputated following an accident at work.
Helen secured an award of £3.9m for a motorcyclist who suffered life-threatening injuries when he was involved in a collision with a car. The accident left the Claimant seriously disabled, with a non-functioning right arm due to a severe brachial plexus injury, and significant cognitive and behavioural problems due to a severe brain injury. The case was complicated by the fact that the Claimant’s helmet was dislodged in the collision, with expert evidence indicating that the strap must have been unfastened, causing his unprotected head to collide with the rear door pillar of the car. Nevertheless, settlement was achieved with no reduction for contributory negligence. The award included a substantial sum to enable the Claimant to purchase a bungalow, in addition to his lifetime loss of earnings and support worker costs.
Helen secured a multi-million pound settlement for a pedestrian who was run over by a speeding car whilst walking their dog. The accident left the Claimant seriously disabled with significant leg injuries as well as a severe traumatic brain injury. The settlement allowed the Claimant to move to larger and more suitable accommodation and included lifelong therapy and support costs.
Praise from the Legal 500 2020
“Helen Shakespeare is outstanding. She has a sound legal knowledge and excellent client-handling skills, but above all her instincts are always right. She has the innate ability to sense when to settle and when to fight on.” Legal 500 2019
“Helen Shakespeare is absolutely top notch. Very experienced and will fight relentlessly for the client.” Legal 500 2020
Marion, a former Thompsons serious injury client, said:
“Thank you for all your support yesterday and for the last four and a half years. I know I said yesterday, but you’ve made a very difficult time of my life a lot easier. I remember back at the start of all this, I had no idea who to turn to to represent me and I spoke to a few solicitors. As soon as I spoke to you my gut instinct was you were the right person. I’m so glad I did. I know I don’t know the half of what you’ve done behind the scenes but I really appreciate everything. I’ve woke up this morning feeling a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and it’s over. I’m still struggling to comprehend the money, but that’s going to take time.
“So, again Helen, thank you so much from both of us, not just me. I couldn’t have asked for a better solicitor and a better person to have on my side.”
David Knifton, of Queen's Counsel, said:
"Helen Shakespeare, senior serious injury solicitor at the Leeds office, brings a wealth of expertise to her role, with several 7-figure settlements to her name. Her down-to-earth and good-humoured relationship with clients enables her to coax even the most reluctant to engage with rehabilitation, enabling them to see the enormous possibilities of life beyond a catastrophic injury.
"Calm and composed under pressure, her determination to succeed unfailingly leads to outstanding results, despite the most unpromising odds. She recently secured a full admission of liability for a child who suffered a severe brain injury when he ran in front of a bus over 20 years ago."