It pays to have friends in high places, like Wirral’s mayor

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 10 Feb 2015:

It’s proof positive of the old adage that it’s good to have friends in high places: the soon-to-be stepson of Wirral’s mayor just got off Scot-free.

Jack Nolan, the future stepson of the mayor of Wirral, ended up getting a conditional discharge over a drunken altercation where he assaulted a woman at a charity event. The 18 year old Nolan ended up only having to pay a nominal £250 personal injury compensation award to the injured woman despite the fact that he most likely terrified her.

Now I’m not going to sit here and say that it’s simply because Cllr Steve Foulkes is marrying Nolan’s mother Elaine this summer that he got such a white-glove treatment from the courts. It took a massive procession of character witnesses to back up Nolan, including head teachers and a procession of parish priests and other clergy, before district judge Michael Abelson sentenced him to paying the nominal fee on the accident claim. The judge said that applying any harsher sentences would have had ‘devastating’ effects on the ability for Nolan to pursue a career in the future.

Meanwhile, the event that got Nolan in such hot water, the Mayor’s Ball in October, which was held at Thornton Hall Hotel, saw him drunkenly threatening staff with a fire extinguisher and forks. Nolan admitted to grabbing the injured woman by her ponytail and forcing her head forward into a table all whilst shouting gibberish such as ‘you’re the one’ and other such drunken bits of wisdom. At the time, police were called and escorted Nolan into a van. The 18 year old insisted that his mother was the mayor and that she would sort everything out. He then sicked up inside the van.

As borderline amusing the story is, I’m rather well annoyed that this little bastard gets away with his actions simply because he’s got a so-called ‘spotless’ record. Are you truly telling me that the fact his mum isn’t about to marry the mayor of Wirral isn’t playing a role in this? If you do you’re bloody naive. And what about the injured woman who ended up completely humiliated by this teenager? Is that fair to her that all she got was an insulting £250 from her personal injury claim? Disgusting!

Amusement injuries turn out to be no laughing matter

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 2 Dec 2014:

While most of us go down to the cinema for a bit of a laugh, one retired postman received injuries so severe that they warranted an accident claim.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll see stars: that’s exactly what happened to Ian Johnston when he ventured out to Teesside Leisure Park in Stockton this past March. The 64 year old hit is head at the Showcase Cinema door frame, allegedly triggering a pre-existing neurological condition that saw him in hospital for a mind boggling 34 weeks, unable to move nothing but his arms.

Johnston is still in hospital today, but his personal injury solicitors have launched a legal claim against NATL Amusements (UK), the operator of the cinema. The injured man’s personal injury lawyers say that the disabled access door just wasn’t high enough. Apparently Johnston had been on crutches at the time due to his pre-existing condition, which is known as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, an ailment that I will never be able to pronounce or even type again, so I’ll just be referring to it as CIDP for short.

The pensioner struck his head shortly after pushing the button that activated the disabled access door. He then fell backwards, fracturing his spine in the fall ostensibly after striking his head on the too-low doorway. For what it’s worth, Johnston says he’s only 6ft 1in tall, barely a giant by any means whatsoever.

If you ask me, something seems dodgy here. How could there be such a short doorway for disabled access at this cinema? It doesn’t make much sense at all. It’s not as if the man was towering over everyone by several inches – and it’s not like he wasn’t probably hunching over his crutches as well. Unless perhaps he was wearing stilts at the time. Were these crutches extra-high? I suppose we may never know, but I do suspect that something isn’t particularly clear right now.

Well, Johnston just made his personal injury claim. I’m sure that there will be more on this particularly interesting incident later on, though if I had to concoct a story as to what happened here my money would be on some strange half-arsed attempt to comply with accessibility standards on the part of the cinema by fitting it with a shoddily-designed disabled access door. It wouldn’t be the first time a company would have taken shortcuts to save cash, would it?

Hope you’re not in a hurry for personal injury compensation

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 27 May 2014:

If there’s one thing you can rely on in this world it’s that the amount of time between your accident claim and getting your compensation award can be forever.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at the news this week: that horrific Clutha helicopter crash – which was six months ago nearly to the day – has of course resulted in an absolute shedload of horrifying personal tragedies, and many of those injured by the crash or the families of those who paid the ultimate price have of course sought legal advice from personal injury solicitors and have made accident claims as a result. However, not even one of the injured claimants or their surviving families have even seen a single penny of compensation yet.

This is, sadly, highly typical of the way the compensation landscape works, even though it makes it incredibly difficult for anyone left suffering in the face of life-changing injuries that precludes them from earning a living or even living their lives without round the clock care. Meanwhile the injury lawyers for the defendants argue and argue, trying to weasel out of being held responsible; it could easily be more than a full year before any of the most serious claims are actually paid out.

Then again, if you as a claimant can hold on long enough eventually you could finally get what’s coming to you. There was a fantastic example of this very concept recently as well, where US injury compensation court finally awarded a bloody fantastic $15 million to a young mother and her four year old daughter after an accident involving public transport. The 20 year old mother was riding a bus with her daughter when she was thrown violently from her seat as the driver went over a particularly nasty bump, and as she landed she did such extensive damage to her spine that not only did she need to undergo an operation to repair the damage to her spinal column but she was left in constant pain – for three long years!

So that $15 million doesn’t erase the pain and suffering the poor woman went through for three years. Nothing will. But, well let’s be honest – $15 million is a nice consolation prize.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good your lawyer is

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 26 Nov 2013:

A good personal injury solicitor can do wonders when you’re trying to get a defendant to pay out on your accident claim, but sometimes it’s just not enough.

When the personal injury compensation system works, it works quite well. Just look at how five Cambridgeshire teachers took home a combined £150,000 in damages last year for their injuries – it was a cut-and-dried case of an employer admitting responsibility for the injuries their employees suffered whilst on the job. Most of the injuries were slips and trips , though there was one staff member injured in an assault; regardless of the source of the injuries they occurred whilst these staff members were conducting their duties and were entitled to compensation as a result. Straightforward and simple,  just how I like it.

On the other hand, sometimes even the most straightforward-sounding case falls flat on its face – much like how Adam Glenister’s £1,000 claim for damage to his car after he hit a particularly nasty pothole fell on Essex County Council’s curiously deaf ears. The poor bloke ended up having to shell out the cash when his run-in with the pothole left the wheel tracking on his Audi A1 in poor condition and his alloy wheels perished, but because the local authority had surveyed the road recently and not found it in any particular state that needed repairs it denied Mr Glenister’s claim.

Of course, this whole thing unravels after it comes to light that ‘recently surveyed’ means ‘surveyed seven months prior to the accident.’ I don’t know about you, but seven months is a bloody long time – is it not reasonable to assume that in those intervening months the conditions of the road could have deteriorated to the point where potholes of the calibre that caused Mr Glenister’s claim could have been formed? Well obviously not, if you work for Essex County Council.

I wonder if council member believe any other insanities while we’re at it. Do they still wait patiently for Father Christmas to come down their chimney every year? If he did, he’d surely give them stockings filled with nothing but coal for being such stupid bastards.

The bane of honest solicitors everywhere gets wiped out

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 30 July 2013:

Oh happy day: new figures have just been revealed this week that the number of claims management companies has gone down by a massive margin since the reforms.

If you ask me, claims management companies have been giving the legal industry a bad name for years, especially when there are so many absolutely brilliant and compassionate personal injury solicitor firms out there that work so hard to make sure the injured end up with the compensation they deserve. Well, imagine my glee to learn this week that according to official figures, there are some 700 fewer CMCs operating in the UK today in the wake of reforms that have been sweeping the legal sector.

The writing has been on the wall for a while when it came to CMCs, as their underhanded and hard-selling tactics often led people to believe that they were responsible for a large number of the spurious personal injury claims that were made every year. Most CMCs were run like accident claim mills, churning out as many as possible in an effort to throw everything at the wall to get at least a few to stick  and did nothing but reinforce that old stereotype about ‘ambulance-chasing’ personal injury lawyers.

And let’s be honest: most Brits do think that legal proceedings such as car accident claims do little but simply make it more expensive to insure a motor vehicle. In fact, a new study was published this week by a major comparison website that revealed 66 per cent of respondents felt that there were just a few bad apples ruining it for everyone in the form of people making those spurious claims for minor or even nonexistent injuries.

Luckily, the survey also found that only 6 per cent of British motorists would make personal injury claims in the wake of a road traffic accident that left them with little to no injury, ostensibly to try to reap the rewards of a high-ticket compensation claim. I swear if I find anyone I know engaging in such behaviour I’m going to give them a stern talking-to.

Or perhaps I’ll just ask them to pay my annual insurance premium instead, considering how they’ve been pocketing my money indirectly. I mean I pay my insurer just like everyone else, and then insurers have to turn around and take all the cash they collect from their customers and pay out on injury claims! I want my damn money back!

Accident solicitor wins compensation for man hit by fridge

A waste management firm has been ordered to pay personal injury compensation after one of its workers damaged his shoulder in an accident at work.

The personal injury at work occurred in the summer of 2009 when a 61-year-old Somerset man was working for Wincanton Logistics. As part of his job, the victim had to move and unload lorries that contained scrap from the home delivery depots of Comet. These lorries were often full of unwanted household appliances.

The man had complained to his employer on several occasions about the dangerous manner in which the vehicles were loaded. Things were just haphazardly thrown in and other employees had been injured in the past.

On the day the accident occurred, the victim opened the back of the vehicle as usual and without warning was hit by a falling fridge which injured his neck, shoulder and chest.

He could not drive for two months after the incident and it was a further two months before he was able to return to a driving job. During that time he was made redundant.

The man belonged to the Unite trade union and he contacted them for advice. It asked a company of personal injury solicitors to raise a claim for compensation on his behalf. Wincanton Logistics did admit liability for the man’s injuries and an out of court settlement was agreed.

After the settlement his accident solicitor explained that Wincanton had ignored the victim’s warnings about the dangerous manner in which the lorries were loaded and he was therefore constantly obliged to work in an unsafe environment.