Head of the Spinal Injury Team
Raquel is a Partner and head of the Spinal Injury team at Bolt Burdon Kemp. Raquel moved to Bolt Burdon Kemp in 2008 to qualify and became a Partner in 2016. Raquel specialises in representing clients who sustain spinal cord injuries due to substandard medical treatment or as a result of traumatic accident.
Raquel is able to offer a unique understanding of living with a spinal cord injury having become paralysed at T6-T7 aged 11, in 1993 following an incident of medical negligence. Raquel draws on her legal reputation and personal experience to frequently achieve 7 figure settlements where liability and causation is often denied.
Raquel has a wealth of experience in complex catastrophic cases, having acted for clients injured through road traffic accidents, employers liability, spinal surgery and GP negligence. Raquel is frequently instructed on cases where there has been a failure to prevent, diagnose or treat the spinal injury, or a failure to act on neurological deterioration resulting in harm which could have been avoided.
As a result of Raquel’s extensive knowledge and understanding of spinal cord injury, she also represent clients who sustain a spinal cord injury and go on to have treatment which worsens their injury. Or clients develop complex pressure ulcers which result in greater care needs that could have been avoided.
Raquel works closely with her clients, their families, and healthcare professionals to ensure their complex needs are well met so that they are fully supported whilst they rebuild their life post-injury. Raquel has substantial experience in setting up care packages together with funding their immediate needs. Raquel relishes the challenges involved in ensuring clients are enabled to participate fully in everyday life with the correct care, accommodation, medical therapies, vehicles aids, equipment and support. Ensuring where possible that clients resume employment as well as their interests and hobbies is key to Raquel when obtaining a successful outcome.
As well as fighting hard to obtain excellent results for her clients, Raquel believes in improving care and raising awareness of what it actually means to have a spinal cord injury. Raquel passionately believes that with the right support it is possible to rebuild a fulfilling life following a spinal cord injury.
Raquel is therefore proud to be a current Trustee and past Vice – Chair for the Spinal Injuries Association, a national charity which supports those that sustain a spinal cord injury.
In addition, Raquel was a Patient Representative on a specialist panel tasked with developing and drafting NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) Guidelines on the prevention and management of pressure ulcers. This guidance was published in April 2014 and is the current leading authority within the UK’s NHS.
Raquel also sits on Association of Personal Injury Lawyer’s Serious Injury Guide. The guide is aimed at achieving a collaborative process between claimant and defendant representatives, in personal injury catastrophic claims where damages are over £250,000.
Raquel is a recognised and respected speaker on issues surrounding spinal cord injury. Raquel is frequently invited to speak to the legal, medical and educational industry as well as the national media and press.
What the legal industry says about Raquel
Raquel is highly recommended within the legal industry and has been widely praised for her excellent client care.
The Legal 500 2019, who have ranked Bolt Burdon Kemp as a Top Tier Firm, say of Raquel that she is “‘tenacious, but utterly charming’ and has ‘incredible insights into the more difficult spinal cases’.
Chambers and Partners 2019 have individually ranked Raquel as a specialist solicitor and say that she “is highly regarded for her extensive knowledge and experience in clinical negligence matters, specifically in cases involving brain and spinal cord injuries. Market commentators say: “She empathises very well with clients and has a very good manner.”
Raquel has had exceptional successes, the most significant of which was a £5.3 million settlement for a client paralysed as a teenager from negligent treatment in respect of an operation to correct scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.
Raquel secured £10.5m on a capitalised basis for a client who sustained a Subarachnoid Haemorrhage after her aneurism ruptured due to a negligent procedure. Our client was left with a catastrophic, severe brain injury and hemiparesis which was permanent. The settlement included £400,000 per year for care for the rest of the client’s life.
Raquel secured £2m for a client who sustained urological dysfunction and a conversion disorder manifesting itself as a spinal cord injury following a road traffic collision. The case was fought throughout with the Defendant placing a value of £20k on the client’s injuries.
Raquel also obtained a capitalised amount of £1m for an 81 year old client who became paralysed during spinal surgery to remove a prolapsed, calcified disc. Liability was denied throughout the claim but Raquel fought hard to achieve a settlement which allowed the client to pay for the complex, substantial care she now required and provide her with a home which she could fully access.
Raquel spearheads several campaigns and raises awareness of the issues faced by those who have a spinal cord injury.
Wheelchair Awareness Day in Islington, later replicated in Birmingham. The day showed how outside environments can make or break a wheelchair user’s potential.
Accessible travel and spinal cord injury guide – The guide provides advice to those flying for the first time following a spinal cord injury.
Getting Back on Track Competition – The competition challenges university students to invent an aid or piece of equipment which could improve the life of someone with a spinal cord injury.
Don’t judge a book by its spine – TEDx talk. Raquel’s TEDx talk challenges society’s expectations for those with a spinal cord injury.
Spinal Cord Repair and Rehabilitation timeline. This timeline considers whether spinal cord repair is achievable and the progress made to date.
Press and Media
Raquel is often asked to provide expert comment on spinal cord injury to the national media which includes Sky News, Daybreak, Panorama, ITV, Victoria Derbyshire, The Times, The Independent and the Huffington Post.
- Trustee and past Vice-Chair of the Spinal Injuries Association
- Accredited Senior Litigator with Association of Personal Injury Lawyers