Only 6% of us are aware of our personal injury rights

Local councils paid out £2.25m last year for personal injuries sustained in classrooms, playgrounds and sports fields, according to new figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

400 pupils were successful in their claims last year and every week up to 10 children launch a personal injury compensation claim for injuries sustained at school.

The largest award, £33,500, was made to a boy in Poole who injured himself doing a high jump. Elsewhere in the country, another pupil received £29,000 after sitting on a hot radiator and a Lincolnshire boy who fell off an exercise bike was paid £4,500.

In Wakefield the council paid out £11,756.95 in personal injury compensation after members of the public filed five personal injury claims for school related incidents, whilst Middlesbrough schools had to fork out £11,000 for minor accidents.

Despite this seemingly large amount of claims, the National Accident Helpline has found that very few people are actually aware of their rights when it comes to injuries caused by somebody else’s negligence. In fact a mere 6% of us are confident that we know our legal rights.

People in low income groups are especially loathe to pursue negligence cases as they fell the cost of hiring a personal injury solicitor is prohibitive.

Another problem is the stigma attached to personal injury compensation. In recent years a ‘compensation culture’ myth has sprung up that people seeking redress are just looking to make a quick buck.

The NAH is currently launching a campaign aimed at raising industry standards in the personal injury sector and championing the right of consumers to seek redress.

© 2010 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Government backing new anti-ambulance chaser adverts

The Government has recently indicated it will be providing backing for curbing overly aggressive adverts for “ambulance chaser” personal injury solicitor firms in addition to instituting prosecution protection for so-called “good Samaritans.”

Heeding cautionary remarks from a former Tory minister, the government is set to act on his warnings that the so-called compensation culture of the UK in regards to personal injury claims has reached critical proportions.

In a study recently commissioned by David Cameron, it found that members of the public are routinely faced with encouragement by unscrupulous injury solicitors to pursue cases that may be frivolous in nature, leaving people that may be more well-meaning with deterrents to organising any voluntary activities on their part.

Former Thatcher era trade secretary Lord Young of Graffham details in his report the misleading techniques law firms employ in their adverts that boast lawsuits with a “no win, no fee” stipulation.

Worth almost £300 million annually, the claims management industry spends approximately £40 million every year on advertising across the nearly 1,500 accident solicitor firms in the UK.

Many accident sufferers are often enticed by promises of instantly receiving a cheque once a firm accepts their claim, a practise that Lord Young insists that applies pressure to bring an inordinate number of claims.

Solicitors then routinely buy the cases from claims management companies, which offer fees of sometimes up to £800.

Lord Young commented that claims will often go to the solicitor who can afford to pay the most to the management company, rather than the firm that has the most suitability for the client.  Lord Young also said that it was not uncommon for the client to end up being located far away from their new solicitor firm as a result.

The report, which is slated for publication later in October, has recommendations to add new controls on the contents and volume of “no win, no fee” adverts, cautioning that the restrictions currently in place are simply not stringent enough to deter unscrupulous behaviour.

QuestGates to appoint new personal injury claims director

Specialist loss adjuster QuestGates recently announced its intention to appoint a new director of its personal injury claims operations in order to bolster its Liability division.

The new director, Ms Sarah Reynolds will be joining QuestGates from claim management firm Cunningham Lindsay, where she has experience in handling catastrophic and and large personal injury compensation claims from within the City market.

Ms Reynolds is planning to operate out of the specialist claims adjsuter’s London offices, and brings with her in excess of twenty years of experience in regards to loss adjustment practices to her new position of personal claims manager with QuestGates.

Chris Hall, managing director for the firm, released a statement in which he stated that he was delighted at Ms Reynolds’ new appointment, further going on to state that due to her expertise and high level of technical knowledge of personal injury claims, QuestGates’s Liability team will benefit greatly from her addition, adding her strength to its own.

This is not the first time this year that QuestGates has expanded its roster of new players in its Liability division, as this past June also made an announcement in which three additional high-level staff were added, which included Clive Roberts as newly-appointed Liability Services Manager and both Philip Milnthorpe and Matt Wade as Liability Client Relationship Managers for the firm.

Incorporated in 2003 after growing out of the former Quest Gates Partnership, Chartered Loss Adjusters QuestGates Limited has its roots in providing technical loss adjusting services for over three decades, most notably in the Motor and Liability sectors. Since then, QuestGates Limited has built upon that prior history by not only further specailising in those previous markets but also in an expansion into several others, most notably Environmental Counter Fraud, Property, and Subsience.

Explosion victims to claim personal injury compensation

In the wake of a legal dispute concerning liability for the event, a Shrewsbury gas explosion has resulted in several victims caught in the blast to file personal injury compensation claims.

The Shropshire town was rocked by a massive explosion on the corner of Bridge Street that affected a nearby block of flats in January of 2010.  The blast, caused by a gas leak, resulted in the destruction of one building  and the town completely shut off in excess of thirty days.  Twelve people had sustained injuries in the explosion, and a large number of them have now hired injury solicitors to start compensation claims for the injuries they received during the explosion.

However, liability questions abound as the responsibility for the explosion has proven difficult to pin down.  The BBC recently released a report in regards to the contents of a solicitor’s letter which makes a liability argument, sent to BT by National Grid’s personal injury solicitors. The solicitor blames the explosion’s cause on a gas main fracture, allegedly facilitated by the weight of a too closely constructed BT chamber, and charges BT as the cause of the explosion by negligently failing to adhere to safety guidelines and regulations. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive is still being conducted in regards to the matter.

Liability must first be determined before compensation can be made to any of the explosion’s many injured victims. One such victim, Sarah Pearse, faced weeks under sedation in intensive care due to the burns she suffered during the event.  Ms Pearse spent a total of seven weeks in hospital, and in the wake of the incident has been left in considerable distress, including anxiety, and has decided to seek compensation from the responsible party for all the suffering she endured as a result of the explosion.

Accident solicitor wins damages for hernia sufferer

A joiner who got a hernia due to lack of proper training in his workplace has been awarded personal injury compensation.

As part of his job he had to remove a heavy fire door and enlisted help from one of his colleagues. However, when all the screws were removed the door started to fall to one side and the man sustained a hernia trying to prevent it falling further. He had to have an operation and did not achieve a full recovery for several months.

The man decided to pursue a personal injury claim and went to see an injury solicitor. The personal injury solicitor confirmed that Health and safety regulations require workers to receive adequate training on safe manual handling procedures and as this did not happen, the man received a personal injury at work.

The employer claimed he was not responsible for the accident and said the employees should have sought a different way to remove the door. However, the man’s accident solicitor said the two men were following normal procedures and had not been trained on alternative removal methods.

The judge found against the employer who was ordered to pay damages to the joiner.

This case is just one of many that highlight the need for proper adherence to health and safety regulations. In 2008/09, 131,895 work-related injuries were reported under the Reporting of injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations whilst the Labour Force Survey for that period found that 246,000 reportable injuries were sustained.

© 2010 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Can you claim personal injury compensation after a dog bite?

According to DEFRA, a quarter of a million people in the UK are bitten by a dog and around 3,800 of them need to attend an accident and emergency department for treatment after the attack.

Children under the age of five make up the majority of these cases but as we all know the postman isn’t immune from the teeth of man’s best friend. In fact, the CWU claims that in the past 4 years, 6,000 postal workers have been attacked while out on deliveries.

In January this year, a postwoman was awarded £70,000 personal injury compensation after an attack by a German Shepherd left her scarred for life.

If you own a dog, you need to be aware that if it bites somebody, the victim might hire a personal injury solicitor who will file a claim for compensation against you.

Personal injury claims for dog bites are sometimes covered in a standard household insurance policy but it could be worth checking to make sure your cover is sufficient or else you could face a hefty bill if a claim is made against you.

Victims of dog bites should note that it is not an easy matter to win personal injury compensation in these cases as certain criteria have to be met. For example, you need to prove that the dog has aggressive tendencies or that it has bitten somebody before. For that reason it’s important to get advice from an injury solicitor before you proceed with your claim. Claims for compensation from animal bites can sometimes be fought on a no win no fee basis.

© 2010 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Text walkers are putting their lives in danger

Is our own stupidity putting us at risk of personal injury? There are many obstacles out there just waiting to injure us but if we were a bit more vigilant we could just prevent accidents that lead to lengthy personal injury claims.

Recently a scientist warned that millions of us put our lives at risk on a daily basis by text walking. Dr Joanna Lumsden from Aston University claims that 10% of all mobile phone users have already sustained an injury because they failed to notice an obstacle in their path whilst they were texting friends. A&E departments back up the claim saying they are noticing an increase in text walking injuries.

But what happens if you receive a serious injury and want to make a claim for personal injury compensation? If you walk into a bollard whilst texting it may be quite difficult for you to prove that somebody else was negligent.

However, if you retain the services of a personal injury solicitor, they will be able to explain the rule of Contributory Negligence. Basically, this term means that the claimant has to take a share of the responsibility for the accident and the compensation awarded is reduced.

An accident solicitor is perfectly placed to advise you on whether it is worth making a compensation claim. If the solicitor believes you have a strong case, he may even represent you on a no win no fee basis.

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Baby P clinic doctor files personal injury claim against NHS

Claiming that the NHS had forced her out of her job, a doctor who expressed her concerns in regards to the clinic Baby P was present at just days prior to his tragic death has filed a personal injury claim against her employer.

Dr Kim Holt, a consultant paediatrician, has hired personal injury solicitors to sue Great Ormond Street Hospital.  Dr Holt is seeking damages of £100,000.

Dr Holt signed off from her position due to  stress shortly after she filed a complaint in 2006, and she is claiming that GOSH has been preventing her efforts to return to her original role.

Dr Holt additionally claims that the life of Baby P could have been saved if only certain changes had been made.

Medical negligence solicitors Leigh Day & Co are representing Dr Holt in her efforts in her legal claim against the children’s hospital, located in central London.

Baby P had arrived at a clinic at St Ann’s Hospital, where Dr Holt was based, and staff their failed to identify the child’s broken back.  Baby P then died two days later, in August of 2007.

Prior to the tragedy, Dr Holt had lodged a formal complaint in regards to shortages of clinic staff in addition to an appointments system that could only be described as “chaotic,” according to her complaint.

A spokesman for GOSH said that Dr Holt’s claims were not entirely unfounded, and as a result there was a plan drawn up in order to have the claims addressed properly.

Dr Holt signed off from her position due to stress in February of 2007 after her workload increased in the time after making her complaint, due to a cutting back of consultant posts for the clinic.

Dr Holt, now working in a differing area, claims that she has been barred from returning to her original posting at the clinic.

The hospital released a statement confirming that it had been in receipt of a solicitors letter, however it declined any further comment  on a possible litigation that may take place in the future.

Personal injury solicitor appointed to the Isle of Man

Offshore legal firm Appleby recently announced the appointment of personal injury solicitor Mr Tim Swift to an associate position of its insolvency and litigation team located on the Isle of Man.

Mr Swift, an English accident solicitor who has now also become a  Manx Advocate, possesses two and a half decades of experience in many different forms of civil court litigation in working for commercial, union, and also private clients during his career.

Mr Swift has been employed both as a member of a major insurance company and as a private legal practicioner, focusing on disputes revolving around financial services provisions.

While Mr Swift has experience across the broad spectrum of civil law, he has a specialty in personal injury claims and related matters, working as both a Deputy District Judge in Liverpool whilst operating a bustling private practice as well for the last ten years.

Mr Swift commented that Deputy District Judges, under the English legal system, are worked exceedingly hard, facing a relatively benign claim involving an instance of defective kitchen appliances one moment before turning to a quite serious personal injury claim the next that may involve a compensatory scheme of several thousand pounds.

Mr Swift also provided an explanation as to why he decided to leave both his judicial position and his private practice in Britain behind in order to assume a trainee advocate on the Isle of Man, sitting his first professional examinations he’d had to face in nearly three decades, stating that the lifestyle on the Isle of Man compares quite favorably to his old life in the UK, especially in light of the friendly residents and the beautiful landscape.

He also stated that the challenge of learning a completely set of laws and legal system in under a year, in addition to holding a full-time job down, was something that appealed to his nature, stating that his gluttony for punishment was most likely to blame on that front.

No win no fee solicitors can help with claims against wasps!

The owners of a theme park near Windsor might start to receive personal injury claims from visitors who have suffered wasp stings at the site.

As we all know, wasps are a hazard during the summer months but visitors expect tourist attractions to do their utmost to protect them from the insects.

The management team at the Windsor park were recently criticised in the press for failing to get rid of three easily spottable wasps nests which had been found by pest control experts. The nests were still evident the following week when the pest control officer returned to the site.

One of these nests was very close to the entrance to a ride and with each nest containing up to 5,000 wasps, the danger to the public was quite large. Wasp stings can cause a person to go into anaphylactic shock, which can cause death if emergency treatment is not obtained quickly.

So far, it has not been reported that anybody has hired a no win no fee solicitor to help them win personal injury compensation due to wasp stings at the park.

Meanwhile, compensation has been paid in a no win no fee personal injury at work case involving a man who broke his arm in a printing press. He had to undergo two operations and during the second, two metal plates were put into his arm. Despite this he is now unable to fully extend his arm and has only limited movement of his thumb and index finger. The claimant won compensation of £90,000 due to the accident which his personal injury solicitor said has left him with a long-term disability.

© 2010 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Personal injury solicitors bring £10,000 to hospice

A recently resolved personal injury claim has led to a ruling that has provided new hope to hospices that provide care for those suffering from lung cancer mesothelioma which found that an engineering company would be liable to pay a portion of the costs towards care of a former employee.

Engineering business Foster Wheeler was found liable, after a legal battle spanning the last three years, to pay approximately £10,000 towards the care of former employee James Wilson, who died at the age of 76 three years ago whilst residing in est London’s St Joseph’s Hospice.

Mr Wheeler purportedly fell ill with the highly virulent form of lung cancer after exposure to the toxic material asbestos in the course of his employment at Foster Wheeler, particularly when he performed work in the 1950s at Deptford power station for the company.

The daily cost of care at St Joseph’s Hospice, 35 per cent of which are covered by the NHS, is approximately £900, but the personal injury solicitors retained by St Joseph’s argued successfully that since the remainder of the costs, some 65 per cent, are habitually supplied by charitable donations, any firms or companies that could be proved as responsible for their employees’ exposure to a known carcinogen should be held liable for a portion of those costs.

The legal ruling, which has been described by ground-breaking by personal injury compensation experts, may very well pave the way for thousands of claims from hospices in similar situations across the length and breadth of the UK.

Mesothelioma, a completely incurable and incredibly deadly form of lung cancer, usually leads to death within one year, and has been linked legally to exposure to asbestos, though typically the disease can take several decades to actually present itself in a patient.

Ashworth Law to launch personal injury claims department

Harrowgate legal services provider Ashworth Law recently announced it will be launching a personal injury claims department in order to expand its client services portfolio.

The new Ashworth Law unit is being spearheaded by Law Society Specialist Personal Injury panelist Lucy-Ann Kirkham and will be leading a team comprised of three personal injury solicitors based in Ashworth Law’s head office in Grove Park Court.

Mrs Kirkham, with experience in practising in the personal injury field for nearly a decade and a half, has formerly served as a Clinical Negligence panelist for the Law Society.

Mrs Kirkham expressed her delight to be in charge of the new personal injury claims team for Ashworth Law at a time when the firm has been developing a highly coveted reputation in the North, and is especially excited to help develop its personal injury business.

Mrs Kirkham has had heavy involvement throughout her career with several high profile lawsuits in the realm of personal injury litigation, including one group action complaint brought by former patients against the psychiatrist who provided treatment for them.

Mrs Kirkham was quick to add that despite the fact that Ashworth Law is located  in Harrogate, they will be developing their personal injury practice across the UK.

Matthew Cobley, Ashworth co-founder, also commented on the new development of a personal injury division, stating that Mrs Kirkham’s new group is the beginning of a new growth phase in the firm’s relatively short history; Ashworth Law began conducting business in 2009, but in addition to its Harrogate offices, it has recently expanded to a second office in Manchester and employs a team of almost 40 lawyers and solicitors.

The firm has grown to handle nearly 4,000 new legal clients monthly, recovering over £15 million in funds from mis-sold financial policies for its clients.