Been in a car accident? Get in line.

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 10 Sept 2013:

It seems like the world of personal injury has gone mad recently – especially when it comes down to road traffic accident news this week!

First up, if you’re a personal injury solicitor specialising in car accident claims, you’re going to be busier than ever thanks to the massive car crash in Isle of Sheppey. And when I mean massive, I don’t mean three or four cars and perhaps a lorry – no, I’m talking about well over 100 vehicles with at least that many individuals involved, many of whom are going to be looking to make personal injury claims.

The absolutely unbelievable pile up happened earlier this week on a particularly foggy morning. The total damage from the accident is likely to be upwards of £600,000 – and that’s not counting the 35 motorists that were injured badly enough to need a trip to hospital, or the 8 that were very seriously injured.

Of course insurers have absolutely lost their minds, remarking that they’re likely going to be closer to the tens of millions. This means of course that we’re all going to be hammered with higher premium payments come renewal time, but I’d rather deal with having to pay a few extra pounds instead of being in a 130-car pileup any day of the week and twice on Sundays!

Speaking of going absolutely mad, did you hear about the other incident involving a car crash recently? It might not be nearly as flashy as over a hundred cars in a massive heap on the side of the roadway, but it’s still noteworthy: a pair of siblings beat the tar out of another man after his wife was involved in a car accident with them.

Here’s a pair of winners for you: Devinder and Asher Swarnn confronted Harjinder Singh Dhanda in the aftermath of Mrs Dhanda and Miss Swarnn being involved in a bit of a prang together. Miss Swarnn had originally agreed to pay for the repairs to Mrs Dhanda’s car, but apparently she had a change of heart and enlisted the aid of her brother in attempting to intimidate Mr Dhanda into changing the particulars of their agreement.

When Mr Dhanda proved to be less-than-receptive to such bullying, the two siblings unleashed hell on the poor bloke by physically attacking him.  Of course this just made matters worse for the pair, as now they have some 100 hours of unpaid work to complete in order to pay their debt to society. If you ask me, I hope Mr Dhanda sues the pants off these two for their reckless, offensive behaviour!

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!

Whose fault is it anyway?

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 23 July 2013:

This week, the debate may be raging on over who’s to blame for the so-called ‘compensation culture’ in the UK but there are still plenty of valid claims.

The Association of British Insurers just absolutely love to trot out figures from a research study that says personal injury claims figures have gone up by something like 60 per cent since 2006 when it comes to road traffic accidents, even though the number of reported collisions has fallen by 20 per cent over that same period of time. The ABI blames ‘ambulance-chasing’ personal injury solicitor firms on inflating claims figures in order to pad their own bank accounts, but injury solicitors are striking back against the ABI’s allegations.

Many legal experts say that the ABI is blowing things out of proportion to throw the scent off the trail of insurance providers that inflate the costs of premiums any way they can. Official figures do say that claims volume has decreased by some 60,000 over the past 12 years, and on top of that the ABI’s figures may be woefully out of date.

So who do we believe? Are there these nefarious, mustache-twirling villainous lawyers out there, convincing otherwise honest Brits to commit fraud for a few extra pounds like the ABI says? Something tells me that it’s just not that cut-and-dried; besides there are plenty of other things driving accident claims, such as in the medical negligence field.

I mean, let’s look at the facts here: there’s been a more than 20 per cent rise in claims made against the NHS, according to official figures. Nearly one out of every five pounds the NHS budgeted last year – some £22.7 billion – went to personal injury compensation payouts during the 2012-2013 financial year, according to the NHS Litigation Authority, which was a result of the 16,000 angry and hurt patients seeking compensation after coming to harm whilst in hospital or under the care of an NHS physician.

This figure grew by about 2,500 patients year-on-year, the NHS says, indicating that either people are getting more frail or the level of care being administered by health professionals in this country is on the decline. Honestly, I’m going to suspect the latter before I do the former; yes there’s always the curious effect an economic downturn has on legal matters – people tend to make claims a bit more quickly when the economy is poor and money is tight – but when you’ve got so many medical negligence claims being made there’s absolutely something amiss in NHS facilities all over the country, if you ask me!

Lawyers work hard for severely injured claimants

 Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 11 June 2013:

When you’re seriously hurt, you need a good personal injury solicitor – especially when you’re left with massive, life-changing injuries.

Still, there’s plenty of bad press where people will wail and gnash their teeth about the so-called ‘compensation culture’ and how personal injury lawyers are winning claimants massive multi-million pound personal injury compensation awards – but the truth is that if you’re injured that badly you deserve every last penny because your life as it used to be is more or less completely over. There’s not one but two examples of this in the news this week, what with a pair of claimants that were awarded more than £1 million in damages after making successful accident claims.

First is the case of 19 year old Rebecca Coles, who was left with catastrophic injuries while riding an inflatable ring. She collided with a a boat as she was being towed down the River Orwell in Suffolk and was left with such a bad head injury that she’s got vision and hearing problems, not to mention a host of other issues – in fact a piece of her skull actually needed to be removed in order to facilitate her recovery.

As a result of her injuries, she was awarded a compensation package in excess of £1.3 million, and she’s going to need every scrap of that compensation payment in order to live anything approaching a normal life – it’s not like she’s going to be going on long holidays down at the beach now is she? Likewise will the £10 million compensation payment another man recently received in the wake of an horrific road traffic accident where he was struck by a Catholic priest that then attempted to flee the scene.

James Kennedy had been in Rome at the time of the accident where he was working as a recruitment consultant when the priest struck him, leaving him so injured that he was actually left in a coma for almost an entire year! The poor man has absolutely crippling injuries in the wake of the massive injury, but at least now he doesn’t have to worry about finding a way to pay for all his medical needs, which are incredible, as the compensation will last for the rest of his life, thank goodness!

So think about the consequences for people who have been injured in accidents in the past before opening your mouth about the UK’s compensation culture. Without personal injury lawyers, these poor injured would end up having a horrid, miserable life through no fault of their own!

Progress marches on in personal injury sector

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 16 Apr 2013:

Progress towards changing the way personal injury claims are made is being made across the UK, with new legal developments occurring from London to Scotland.

Ministers in the Commons are girding their loins for battle against the so-called ‘compensation culture’ in the UK, with legal reforms concerning personal injury claims originating from work accidents being on the table. Of course not everyone believes that overhauling these laws is necessarily a good idea, as personal injury solicitor experts and the House of Lords alike agree that the enterprise bill’s legal reforms will do nothing but shift the balance of power too far towards employers and make it much more difficult for workers to make work accident claims.

Shifting the burden of proof will only make it necessary for injured victims to prove negligence on the part of their employers, said former supreme court justice Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood. The current law – which dates back to 1974 – only requires an injured worker to prove that a health and safety violation had taken place, and that violation led to his or her injury; reforming the law to make a worker have to prove hat their employee knew or should have known that there were defects in their workplaces or systems of work places an unfair burden on an already injured employee – and besides, why in the world do we have a Health and Safety Executive if not to handle problems of this magnitude?

So that wasn’t exactly good news, but hopefully the Commons won’t do anything stupid and push for these reforms anyway. And if you believe that, as the Americans say, I have a bridge to sell you!

Still there was some good news, as a lobbyist group in Scotland is pushing hard to bring strict liability into the country’s civil law, as doing so will speed up personal injury compensation payments made to cyclists that suffered injury or that lost their lives in road traffic accidents. Cycle Law Scotland says that instituting strict liability in Scotland would shift the burden of proof to the drivers of vehicles to prove that a cyclist or a pedestrian – really, anyone in a position that has them in a vulnerable state in comparison to a two-tonne vehicle – was acting in a negligent manner.

This would differ from the current arrangement where the fault-based system requires injured pedestrians or cyclists to prove fault on the part of a vehicle driver. If you ask me, this makes an excellent counterpoint to the possible reforms to work accident law, as London is going in one direction – handing power back to those already in control, whereas Scotland could see power being handed to those who need it the most: those already at a disadvantage,

Injured toddler’s parents seeking compensation on her behalf

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 5 Feb 2013:

According to personal injury solicitor experts familiar with the case, the parents of an injured toddler are seeking compensation on her behalf.

Sophie Dedek, the nine month old child in question, suffered her injuries after a staff member at the Kids 1st Day Nursery slammed the door one one of her tiny little fingers. It was only little Sophie’s second ever time at the Newcastle upon Tyne-based nursery when the incident occurred.

Worse yet was that the nursery’s staff were so thick that they didn’t even realise how serious the little girl’s injuries were at the time. The toddler’s hand was wrapped up in a towel by one nursing staff member while a different one rang up the child’s dad, telling him that she’d suffered a little nick to her finger.

Sophie’s dad nearly lost his mind upon arriving to pick up his daughter, only to discover that poor little Sophie’s finger had been completely severed. He immediately rushed her to hospital, but medical staff were unable to reattach the digit; perhaps if staffers at the £900 a month  private crèche had kept the severed finger tip in better shape, which hey found just rolling about on the floor in the wake of the incident, things might have gone better for the infant.

Both Sophie’s mother and father have since made a personal injury compensation claim against the nursery on behalf of their maimed child, and rightly so. Of course, a nursery spokesperson has already begun to try spinning the incident in order to minimise the impression of their liability for the incident, remarking that nursing staff acted quickly to to follow any health and safety guidelines to the letter an to apply the proper first aid at the time.

The spokesperson also made it a point to add that nursing staff did indeed call an ambulance, only to have the operator deem it unnecessary in an obvious attempt to squirm away from the chopping block.