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?

Multitude of older Brits embroiled in injury claims

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 11 Feb 2014:

I know that the courts have little regard for age, but it seems that older Brits are increasingly finding themselves in injury claims.

Or at least it certainly feels that way, judging by the kinds of strange personal injury compensation claims that have been publicised lately involving the over-60s. In fact, one Cofton Hackett man in his 60s, a Mr Bruce Wilson, ended up having to pay out on a £2,600 personal injury claim after he got out of his vehicle, punched a cyclist right in the head, and then threw his bicycle like it were a pair of stone tablets and he was Charleton Heston in a fake beard.

The altercation apparently was caused when Mr Wilson nearly hit the cyclist as the older man was trying to get into the passenger side of a vehicle. There was a verbal confrontation, which led to the physical one – and the £5,000 custom racing cycle suffering quite a bit of damage. To Mr Wilson’s credit he did accept full responsibility for the incident even though the cyclist certainly played a role as well.

Of course it’s not all older Brits causing trouble; some are victims as well. One 60 year old man, a former Ford worker, actually just walked off with £33,000 in damages thanks to the hard work of his personal injury solicitor after it was decided that the ‘occupational asthma’ he had developed was due to the poor conditions of the the motor manufacturer’s plant where the gent had worked as a toolmaker for quite some years.

Apparently when you work for years in an environment that’s not vented properly, and for a company that doesn’t provide you with breathing masks or filters, if you spend your days fabricating metal tools you end up breathing in all sorts of terrible steel and cast iron dust. Apparently, that’s likely to cause some rather terrible respiratory problems – something that Ford seemed to not think about until they were presented with this massive bill!

Well they brought it on themselves, if you ask me. Those pillocks should keep a closer eye on the wellbeing of their own employees!

Injury lawyers will take your case – even if it’s silly

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 25 June 2013:

Now I’m not about to come out and say that someone’s personal injury compensation claim is silly or spurious, but sometimes I wonder about these claimants.

Look, I’m all for the way personal injury solicitors in the UK come to the defense of those that have been injured, especially when it comes to a personal injury at work. I think it’s important to have your rights as a worker defended, especially when it comes to being safe and free from harm whilst on the job, but sometimes I find out about instances that makes me question all that – like when one bloke bent his finger and now wants £150,000 in compensation because he can’t send text messages any more.

I swear on my mum I’m not making this story up – it’s 100 per cent real. An IT specialist fell down some stairs at work, according to his personal injury claim, and now he’s claiming damages for ‘personal injuries’ that include damage to his right index finger to the point where he needs to have his adult son send his texts for him. I can understand that this could be more than a bit of a bother for someone who makes his living as n IT worker, but is it just me or does your off hand work just as well for making texts?

I mean, compare this case with someone with actual life-threatening injuries, like how a worker ended up nearly pinned between a girder support and the floor when a massive one-tonne metal cutting tool fell atop him. The man somehow miraculously survived – though onlookers were convinced he was crushed to death in an instant – and he only received some £70,000 for his injuries.

Perhaps this second fellow should have used the first bloke’s injury solicitors, especially if he only got around £70,000 for his pain and suffering – which included post-traumatic stress disorder from having a gargantuan piece of manufacturing equipment fall upon him. Again I’m not trying to compare apples to oranges here, but when you drop one orange down the stairs it’s in shedloads better shape than when you drop a bloody anvil on a basket of apples, isn’t it?

Accident solicitors accused of mishandling claim

One personal injury solicitor firm has been accused of negligence in how they handled the personal injury claim of one of their clients, resulting in an out-of-court settlement for £500,000.

Bristol-based personal injury lawyers Clarke Wilmott were taken to court for professional negligence by a former client, Kenny Jordan, a 54 year old man who was involved in an accident in May of 2004 that left him wheelchair-bound. His insurers recommended Mr Jordan to seek legal advice from the personal injury firm, but Clarke Wilmott only settled the claim for a touch over £510,000 – and that’s without ever obtaining any expert evidence or even going to see Mr Jordan in his Manchester home.

Dissatisfied with such a comparatively small compensation award for the life-changing injuries he sustained, Mr Jordan brought suit for negligence, leading Clarke Wilmott to provide the injured man an additional £500,000 from their own coffers. Of course, since the case was settled out of court, the solicitor firm gets to avoid actually making an admission of negligence.

This is, of course, rather ridiculous, especially because nobody just gives up half a million pounds in order to avoid bad public relations. Yes, Clarke Wilmott  may not be in danger of being declared liable as a matter of public record, leaving their reputation technically intact, but anyone with any sense at all would do well to avoid a law firm that not only bungles a case and then throws hush money at an irate client in order to circumvent the impact of any bad publicity.

 

Accepting offer of free Lucozade leads to personal injury claim

A 21-year old woman has filed a personal injury claim against a mini-bus driver for compensation totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds after she sustained serious head injuries.

The woman, who comes from the Welsh town of Swansea, says she was sitting behind the mini-bus driver when he offered to give her a bottle of Lucozade. Just as she stood up to take the drink, the bus went over a speed bump. The vehicle jolted and the woman lost her balance. Unfortunately, the doors of the bus were open at the time and she fell out of the vehicle onto the main road.

As a direct result of this incident, the victim says she now has a higher risk of developing epilepsy at a later date and her injuries have prevented her from pursuing her career.

The head injury she sustained during the fall has left her with post-traumatic migraine headaches and she also continues to suffer from psychological and cognitive impairment.

Although her current claim is for personal injury compensation in excess of £1,000, she also wants an order that will allow her to claim further compensation if she does develop epilepsy.

It will be interesting to see how this story pans out. In order to accept the bottle of Lucozade, the woman had to take off her seatbelt, but shouldn’t she have realised that that course of action was not sensible? It is the responsibility of the adult passenger to ensure they are wearing their seatbelt.

Scottish woman claims compensation after hair turns ginger

A woman from Scotland asked advice from a firm of personal injury solicitors after her head was burned during a visit to a hairdresser.

As a result, the 34-year-old has now raised a personal injury claim for damages after her scalp was burned and her hair turned ginger after she received treatment back in June 2010.

The complaint papers that were filed at Edinburgh’s Court of Session stated that the victim wanted personal injury compensation of £30,000 as restitution for her ordeal that had also left her suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The victim went to the home of hairdresser Ms McNally because she wanted to have her hair, which had been dyed black, transformed back to blonde. In order to achieve this, chemicals need to be added to the hair and these burned her scalp. It has been reported that her distress was such that she could hardly speak when she came out of the salon.

Ms McNally contests the claim saying the customer would not allow her to perform the necessary safety tests prior to the colouring. A hair strand test should be performed to ensure the chemicals in the dye do not adversely affect the client’s hair or scalp. The hairdresser also added that her client has happy with the treatment at the time.

Teenager falls through floor leading to compensation claim

A teenager has lodged a personal injury claim after sustaining a back injury whilst on a night out in the Merseyside town of St Helens.

The young lady has visited a firm of personal injury solicitors and they are going to help her pursue her claim for personal injury compensation against the owners of a fast food premises in the town.

The victim had been celebrating her 18th birthday in the town when she and her friends visited Carlos Pizza, a fast food outlet. Unfortunately, while she was in the establishment, the tiled floor collapsed and she was plunged about eight feet down to the concrete basement below.

An ambulance crew was called and at first they thought she had suffered a broken back. Luckily it was later discovered that she had only sustained bruising and swelling.

Her injuries were so severe that she is still having problems moving her back and neck. She explained that the ambulance crew had to give her gas and air after the accident because she was having problems breathing and they told her she was lucky that her neck had not been broken in the fall.

The victim was indeed lucky. This incident could have been a lot more serious and although she is still suffering pain, she will eventually make a good recovery.

The owners of retail premises have a duty to ensure the safety of their customers and in this case they were negligent because the floor of the shop was unsafe.

Family of mesothelioma victim win £75,000 compensation

The family of a man who contracted the terminal cancer mesothelioma while working as a maintenance worker have been successful in their bid to secure personal injury compensation from his former employer.

The victim was exposed to deadly asbestos dust at a branch of Chase Manhattan Bank during the 1970s. As part of his job he had to saw asbestos boards with the result that he inhaled extensive quantities of asbestos dust. He and his fellow colleagues were offered no form of protection against the fibres.

After he was diagnosed with the terminal disease, he contacted a firm of personal injury solicitors to fight his case. They filed an urgent personal injury claim against JPMorgan Chase & Co but his condition deteriorated rapidly and he passed away at St Joseph’s Hospice shortly afterwards.

The victim’s family wanted the case to proceed and the solicitors managed to negotiate a settlement of £75,000.

The solicitor who represented the victim said he was astounded that employers disregarded critical advice about asbestos in the 70s and 80s even though a lot of information about its dangers had been published. A lot of deaths could have been avoided if companies had heeded advice. Several individuals have suffered terribly from mesothelioma and this could easily have been prevented. The symptoms of the disease are incredibly painful and its not only the victims who suffer; their families suffer alongside them.

Teachers are filing more personal injury claims

The number of teachers going to see a personal injury solicitor in the hope of getting compensated for injuries is on the rise, according to the NASUWT.

The teaching union says it has secured compensation to the tune of £12.6 million in the last 12 months for its members. This figure includes claims from teachers who have sustained a personal injury at work, as well as cases of discrimination, stress-related illness and assault.

One teacher received an award of £158,000 after slipping on some mud that had been left on a school floor. Another was awarded £74,689 after she suffered a nervous breakdown brought on when she was threatened by the parent of a special needs child.

The general secretary of the union, Chris Keates, explained that employers who flout health and safety regulations are costing the taxpayer millions in compensation awards. Behind each personal injury claim there is a person whose life will never be the same again.

It’s important that these people can claim recompense, but that is not always adequate compensation if the victim has suffered life-changing injuries.

The NUT has revealed that one of its largest settlements was an award of £222,215 to a teacher who sustained a brain injury at a special needs school. Another union, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said its members had received around £800,000 personal injury compensation for work-related accidents.

Personal injury solicitors win award for drink driving victim

A 23-year-old man has received a six-figure personal injury compensation award after being hit by a drunk driver outside a Somerset nightclub.

As a result of the accident the man, who was just seventeen at the time, suffered numerous fractures to his lower left leg as well as extensive muscle damage. Emergency surgery did save his leg but he has had to undergo a lot of operations since then to help it recover. He now has one leg longer than the other and needs specialist shoes to help him walk.

He had been planning to start a career in IT and was doing a course at sixth form college to kick-start his ambition. But instead of furthering his career, he ended up spending five months trying to learn to walk again.

The man’s father decided to contact his union, Unite, for advice. They put him in touch with a firm of personal injury solicitors who agreed to pursue a personal injury claim against the insurance company of the drunk driver.

The driver was prosecuted and sentenced to nine months in jail. His insurance company admitted liability for the accident and agreed to compensate the victim for his injuries.

The young man has abandoned his plans to work in IT and hopes the compensation will enable him to have another operation and take fitness instruction qualifications so that he can help people who have been involved in similar incidents regain control of their lives.

Personal injury solicitors win £18,000 for injured cyclist

A cyclist has received £18,000 in personal injury compensation after he was knocked off his bike in a car accident.

The 64-year-old man from Exeter was cycling to work when the accident happened in October 2009. He was going along the city’s Heavitree Road when suddenly a car shot across his path. He tried to avoid a collision by slamming on his brakes but as a result he flew over the handle bars of his bike and was thrown into the side of the other vehicle.

The victim, who worked as a bus driver for Stagecoach, sustained injuries to his elbow, head and both knees. He was absent from work for five months and even after he returned he had problems driving certain buses because his leg could not cope with the pressure he exerted on it.

The driver was a member of the RMT trade union and it instructed a firm of personal injury solicitors to file a compensation claim on behalf of the member. The motorist accepted liability for the incident and the personal injury claim was settled out of court.

After settlement, the victim said his injuries could have been a lot worse if he hadn’t managed to react quickly enough. At first he had not considered claiming compensation but as he was absent from work for some time, he realised he needed to take action. The RMT has a free legal service for its members and he decided that would be the best way to proceed.