Bains & Co Solicitors

Bains & Co Solicitors personal injury lawyers

How Much Compensation Will I Get If I Make A Personal Injury Claim?

As one of the most common questions asked by clients, many solicitors will tell you that it depends, however this does not really help you to understand what your compensation claim is actually worth.
 
A personal injury claim is made up of many different elements, and it does help to understand exactly which of these elements apply to your personal injury claim. This will give you a better idea of how your compensation is calculated.
 
The first part of your compensation claim is for your injuries and the amount will depend on how serious your injuries are. For example, if you were involved in a car accident and you suffered from a small amount of scarring to your face and a minor head injury, you could receive a minimum £1,100 for the scarring and £1,400 for the minor head injury.
 
In comparison, if the scarring to your face was severe and you suffered a serious brain injury, your awards are more likely to be up to £62,000 for the scarring and up to about £250,000 for a serious brain injury. So you can see that the award really does depend on the severity of the injury. You can get a rough idea of how much some injuries are worth by looking at our Compensation Calculator.
 
In the event of a serious injury which is life changing, you will need to consider any future costs which you may incur as a result of your injuries. This can include any adaptations which need to be made to your home or your vehicle or even if you need to move to a new house or buy a new car, which better suits your needs. In addition, any equipment required, special aides and even future nursing care costs will be included in your claim. This will be calculated over the whole of your lifetime too.
 
If you had time off from work, this should be included in your personal injury claim. It doesn’t matter if you are self-employed either, you can still claim. This includes any overtime, bonuses, pension payments and anything else you missed as a result of your accident and injuries.
 
Lastly, any expenses you have paid out can be claimed back. For example, if you have paid for physiotherapy or prescription medication, you will be able to receive these costs back. Any phone calls, letters, taxi fares or indeed any costs (as long as they are reasonable), should be added to your compensation claim.
 
You can see that a personal injury claim is not just dependent on how much your injuries are worth, but in fact incorporate all costs associated with your accident and injuries. The best way to find out how much your claim is worth is to speak to a specialist solicitor.
 
If you would like some more information about this article or you would like to speak to someone in our personal injury department, please call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry, with no obligation. We’ll be in touch with you shortly to see how we can help.

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What Is A No Win No Fee Agreement ?

If you have ever switched on your TV during the day you will be familiar with the many advertisements offering you a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement if you make a personal injury claim with them, but is it really as simple as it sounds?
 
Well in some respects yes, it is as simple as it sounds, but as with everything that is a strap-line, there are more things to consider than just ‘no fee if you lose’.
 
A no win, no fee agreement is really called a Conditional Fee Agreement or a CFA. This agreement is designed to lay down a contract between you and your solicitor about their legal costs and also your responsibility for the legal costs of the other side if you lose. You may well be thinking, why would I sign an agreement which makes me responsible for the legal costs of the other side if I lose, and you would be right to think this, but this is a technical legal point which has to be included.
 
Whilst you sign the agreement to say that you are responsible for these costs, you also take out an insurance product called an ATE policy (After The Event). This policy will actually pay all the outstanding legal fees of the winning party, in the event that you lose. In addition, your solicitor will not be paid for the work they have put in on your claim if they fail to win.
 
So you have established, you will not pay any legal fees if you lose, but what happens if you win?
 
The government recently changed the rules about recovering legal fees from the losing party in personal injury claims, which now means that you are unable to claim back all of your legal costs, even in the event you win your case. You will have to pay for your ATE policy yourself and in addition, a success fee to your solicitor, which depends on the risk they have taken in running your claim.
 
You should not let this deter you from making a claim though, as your solicitor will advise you at the start of the claim how much this is likely to be, and will not expect any money up front. They will be happy to wait for payment at the conclusion of your claim.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you would like to know more about making a claim using a no win, no fee agreement, please call one of our experienced team on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Enquiry Form online and we’ll be happy to help.

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Cycling – Are The Risks Real?

Following the successes of our riders in the 2012 Olympics and in the Tour de France with Bradley Wiggins, many more people are getting their bikes out of the garage and taking to the roads across the UK. This may be for commuting purposes or merely for pleasure, but whatever your reason for using a bicycle, you do have to consider the risks involved and decide for yourself if they are enough to deter you from getting on your bike.
 
There is no getting away from the fact that when you are riding a bicycle you are in a more vulnerable position than you would be in a motor vehicle. This does mean that you face a higher risk of having an accident.
 
Statistics in a report published late last year demonstrate the issues faced by cyclists when using their bicycles.
 

  • There were just over 19,000 people injured whilst riding their bicycle in 2012
  • This is a 16% increase on the average numbers shown from 2005 to 2009
  • There was a rise of 4% in seriously injured cyclists in 2012
  • This is the eighth successive year of increases in seriously injured cyclists and the highest numbers since 1997
  • 118 people lost their lives whilst riding a bicycle across the UK in 2012, the highest number in the last 7 years

 
These figures clearly show that although numbers of people who are killed or seriously injured on our roads is falling, that there is an upward trend for people using bicycles. There could be a number of reasons for this increase, but the statistics show a steady increase of pedal cyclists using the roads. The Department for Transport (DfT) suggested a 23% increase following a National Travel Survey, so more cyclists on the roads may account for the increase in accidents.
 
There is evidence to suggest that most cycling fatalities happen from Monday to Friday during peak travel times in the morning and evening, normally between 8am and 9am and then from 5pm to 6pm. It is easy therefore to assume that most fatal cycle accidents involve people who commute to work. In addition, there is seasonal bias in the data too, with 40% of all child cycle accidents happening in the summer months, during school holiday periods with this being backed by the figures showing that nearly 30% of all cycle accidents happen in the summer months.
 
Data shows that other vehicles are often involved in fatal cycle accidents, with cars being involved in nearly half of all accidents involving a fatality. Cars do make up 79% of traffic on our roads, so it makes sense for this type of vehicle to be involved more often, however the second biggest cause of cycle fatalities were HGVs, which only make up of 5% of traffic on our roads.
 
What is clear from these statistics is that riding a bicycle seems to be getting less safe as time goes on. Perhaps the government need to start pushing for more awareness and safety measures to protect cyclists whilst using the roads.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you would like to speak to someone in our Personal Injury team about a cycling accident, please call us now on 0800 077 6303 or email us Free Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch shortly.

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I’ve Had An Accident On A Building Site – What Should I Do?

It is well known that construction sites are notoriously dangerous places to work, mainly due to the large amount of dangerous equipment used in construction, the need to work at height and the use of vehicles in the work place such as diggers, trucks and lorries.
 
As a result of this, a large proportion of work accidents happen on building and construction sites and whatever size of the site, there is equal risk. A small site, such as the renovation of a single property, can be just as dangerous as a large office block which is under construction.
 
If you have been injured whilst working on a construction site, hopefully your injuries weren’t too serious and you can recover and continue to work. However, statistics produced each year by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that 39 people were killed in accidents in the construction industry last year alone. Regardless of how serious your injuries are, there are still a number of factors you will need to consider.
 
Firstly, your employer should report the accident if it is classed as a reportable accident as listed in RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations). If you are self employed and you have an accident, you are still obliged by law to report this.
 
Next, you will need to consider how the accident happened and who was responsible for it. You may have had some responsibility in the accident happening, or you may not have. However, it is important to establish who was at fault to see if you are able to claim compensation for your injuries from your employer. This is particularly important if your injuries are serious and you may not be able to work again.
 
If you were working as a contractor on a site, a compensation claim is still possible, but this will very much depend on the circumstances of your accident.
 
You may have concerns about the implications of making a claim against your employer and whether they can sack you as a result of any accident claim. However, they have a duty of care to ensure that you are safe and should understand that things do go wrong sometimes. They have insurance in place to cover these types of incidents and you should be treated no differently after making a claim.
 
Whether you are self employed or employed, it is really very important to speak to a solicitor about any potential claim so you can understand the chances of success.
 
If you would like more information about this article or if you would like to speak to our personal injury team, please call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch to discuss your situation shortly.

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I Work On A Site With Moving Vehicles. What Steps Should My Employer Take To Keep Me Safe?

Working in a job where you have to work alongside or with vehicles are some of the most dangerous work environments to be in. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that in the year 2012/2013 that half of all fatal accidents at work were caused by three things, one of which was being struck by a vehicle.
 
Hopefully your employer takes their health and safety responsibilities seriously and as a result have implemented safety features to manage the high levels of risk involved, unlike EMC Contracts Limited, a building firm based in Lancashire who failed to effectively segregate their workers from their vehicles which resulted in the death of one of their employees.
 
Mr Green was working at a cinema in Preston painting a new coffee shop when he was hit by a work colleague who, after unloading his tools, was reversing his van off the pavement to park it up on the road. Mr Green was crossing behind the van and was not seen by the driver.
 
Although the accident happened back in 2010 and the company has gone into liquidation since then, EMC Contracts Limited were found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and ordered to pay a £130,000 fine and legal costs of over £50,000 earlier this year.
 
Although EMC Contracts had identified the potential risks to its employees and also to pedestrians in the area, they had not implemented any procedures to ensure that employees and pedestrians were kept safe, and as a result a 45 year old man, with a seven year old daughter had his life cut short.
 
So what can be done by employers to ensure that employees are kept safe from vehicles moving? Firstly, there should be segregation of vehicles and pedestrians on site. This should be clearly marked, perhaps with a clear walkway painted in a different colour and strictly enforced. Your employer may also request for high visibility vests to be worn by all pedestrians moving about where vehicles are present. In the circumstances of Mr Green’s accident, the simple act of asking a colleague to watch behind the van would have prevented the fatal accident from happening. This demonstrates how easy it is to implement measures that can save lives which do not cost a penny.
 
If your workplace has vehicles moving on site, look at the safety measures your employer has and if you have concerns about them, speak to your Health and Safety Representative today.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you have had an accident at work with a vehicle and would like some advice, please call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch shortly.

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Can You Sue The Council If You Have An Accident With A Pothole?

After years of bitterly cold winters and torrential rain, the roads in the UK have really started to suffer. Road surfaces are disintegrating and degrading badly and with the government cutting local councils budgets, there is little money left in the pot to repair the roads, which are often left to degrade further and further.
 
As a result, potholes are opening up on the roads in large numbers and often quite quickly too. Whilst these can cause damage to cars and other vehicles, potholes have the potential to be very dangerous for some road users, like motorcyclists and cyclists.
 
One such incident was reported in the national media recently, where a charity cyclist sadly lost his life due to a pothole. Martin Uzzell was taking part in a charity bike ride from Lands End to John O’Groats in 2011 and was cycling along the A65 near Giggleswick in North Yorkshire. Mr Uzzell hit a pothole on the road and was thrown from his bike into the path of an oncoming vehicle and died instantly, from his head injuries.
 
In this case, the corner ruled that the condition of the road had caused the accident and Mr Uzzell would not have had the accident if the pothole had not been there. What makes this case even more upsetting is that a policeman had already reported the pothole to the council because it was dangerous and the local council had already inspected the road and had noted that it needed repair, but had not actioned these repairs.
 
It seems as if the accident would never have happened if the council had acted promptly and repaired the road. Martin Uzzell’s widow is now taking legal action in a civil case, as the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) decided there were no grounds for a corporate manslaughter charge to be brought against the council.
 
So what does this mean for you if you have an accident on the road caused by a pothole?
 
There are a number of factors which will need to be considered when looking at suing the local council over an accident with a pothole. The first one will be looking for proof that the accident only happened because of the pothole, secondly whether you should have seen the pothole, or known it was there in time to have been able to avoid it and lastly whether the pothole had been reported prior to the accident and if so, how many times.
 
These are legal points which are best explored by an experienced road traffic accident solicitor, who can guide you about your claim for compensation in a pothole case.
 
Thankfully most potholes don’t lead to fatal accidents like Martin Uzzell’s, but with the condition of our roads worsening and less money being spent, we all need to take extra care when using the roads.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you would like to speak to one of our team about a road traffic accident, please call us now on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.

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All You Need To Know About Making An Accident At Work Claim

If you have had an accident at work and you are not sure if you should make a claim for compensation, there are a number of things that you should consider. This article will take you through everything you need to know before making a compensation claim after an accident at work.
 

  1. Choose the right solicitor – in order to make sure that you receive the best possible settlement in your claim for compensation, you must make sure that the solicitor you choose has knowledge and experience in work accidents. This is a complex and specialist area of law, so instructing the right solicitor is important.
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  3. Do you have a claim for compensation? – when you meet your solicitor they will be able to tell you if you are able to make a compensation claim from your employer. It is important that you tell your solicitor the circumstances of your accident, so they can offer you proper advice about your claim and who is responsible for your injuries. Your employer is responsible for keeping you safe at work and you may still be able to claim compensation even if a co-worker is to blame, or if you are partly responsible for the accident.
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  5. Discuss your funding options – you will need to know how you can fund your claim and there are now a number of options to consider. Your solicitor will be able to tell you all about the different options open to you and offer you advise about which one is the best for you.
  6. What can you include in your claim? – when making a compensation claim you are able to include any losses connected with your accident or injury. This could include any treatment such as physiotherapy, prescription or over the counter medication you had to buy and even taxi fares or phone calls you had to make. This is along with the more obvious things such as loss of earnings, claims for care and compensation for your injuries themselves. A good solicitor will discuss this at length and cover any items you should be including.
  7. How long will it take? – many work accident claims are now in a streamlined process, where there are strict timescales to observe. Providing your claim is straight forward and stays in the system, it may settle quite quickly. However, the claims process can be lengthy and you should prepare yourself that your claim may take some time. Your solicitor may be able to secure an interim payment for you, which is an amount of your compensation up front that will be deducted from your claim at the end, once it has settled.
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Hopefully you will now understand some of the issues which you will face when making a work accident claim and feel happy that you are informed enough to take the first steps to making a that claim.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you would like to speak to one of our specialist accident at work team, please call us now on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.

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10 Step Guide To Making A Road Traffic Accident Claim

Having an accident whilst driving or traveling in a vehicle can be inconvenient but also distressing, especially if you are not responsible for the accident and you are injured.
 
This 10 step guide will take you through the process of making a compensation claim following a road traffic accident and will help you to be clear about the steps involved before you contact a solicitor to take your claim forwards. This will help you to feel comfortable right from the start.
 

  1. Choose a specialist solicitor – when making a compensation claim following a road traffic accident, it is important to mkae sure that you choose a solicitor who understands this area of law. This will ensure that you obtain the best possible settlement for your injuries.
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  3. Review of the accident circumstances – your solicitor will be able to tell you very quickly if you are able to make a claim for compensation, and most firms will do this for you free of charge. It is always worth asking your solicitor if they offer a free, initial consultation to discuss your case.
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  5. Funding your claim – your solicitor will take you through all of the options open to you to fund your personal injury claim, from a legal expenses insurance policy which you may already have in place, to a conditional fee agreement, more commonly known as a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement.
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  7. Start the claims process – this will involve answering questions about your personal circumstances, providing details of the accident and any losses you have suffered and details of your injuries too.
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  9. Have a medical – a medical expert will need to examine you so they can provide a report to the defendant insurer. In addition, this medical report will allow your solicitor to be able to value your claim more effectively, as the amount of compensation awarded depends on how serious your injuries are.
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  11. Arrange an interim payment – your solicitor will be able to arrange an interim payment for you prior to settlement to help you with an expenses you have incurred along the way, for example physiotherapy or vehicle repair costs. This advance payment will be deducted from your total compensation figure at the end of your claim.
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  13. Negotiate – your solicitor will discuss with the defendant insurer the possibility of settling the claim for a fair amount without taking the case to court. Settlement will very much depend on whether they are offering a fair amount or not, and your solicitor will guide you on this.
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  15. Settle Claim – if the settlement amount offered is fair, your solicitor will settle your claim immediately.
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  17. Go to court – if a fair amount is not offered in settlement negotiations, your solicitor will advise you to let a judge decide on the outcome of your case. It is very unlikely that you will have to attend court yourself and your solicitor will advise you on the court date whether you won or lost your compensation claim.
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  19. Receive your compensation – whether you settle or go onto court, your compensation payment should be made quite quickly after completion of your claim. Your solicitor will advise you about the timescale.

 
Hopefully this guide will have given you a good basic understanding of the claim process, so you will be able to feel confident if you do decide to make a claim for the injuries you have suffered.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you would like to speak to one of our personal injury team, please call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch shortly.

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Are The Roads Getting Safer?

Most people own a car these days and regularly drive, whether to take the children to school, get to work or to go and do the weekly grocery shop. We all know that the number of vehicles on our roads is increasing every day, and that’s not just cars, van and lorries but cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians too, who all use the roads.
 
Whilst it is true that there is more traffic on the roads, the government has been investing more money into road safety and legislating to improve road safety too, with the seatbelt laws in the seventies and more recently banning the use of handheld mobile phones.
 
Does any of this actually make a difference in the number of accidents on our roads though?
 
The statistics on reported accidents suggest that it is does. Due the length of time it takes to compile this data, the 2013 report has not yet been released, however the 2012 data does suggest that in most areas, the number of accidents where someone is injured are reducing, which is great news for road users.
 
In 2012, just under 200,000 people where injured whilst using the roads in England and Wales, which was actually 4% lower than in the previous year. The number of fatal accidents also reduced in most road user groups, apart from cyclists, which rose by 11 more deaths. All other categories in fatal accidents such as car occupants, pedestrians and motorcyclists fell between 7% and 9%.
 
This does demonstrate that for most road users, roads are safer and that thankfully there are fewer accidents. If you do have an accident though whilst using the roads, what can you do about it? It will very depend on the circumstances of the accident and who was responsible. In road accidents, it is unusual to have a straightforward situation of who was responsible. It is more likely that both parties are partly responsible and it will be a matter of deciding who was mostly responsible.
 
It is really important that you speak to a specialist solicitor who will help you to understand whether you are have any responsibility for the accident and whether you are able to mkae a claim for your injuries before you take your claim any further.
 
If you would like more information about this article, or you would like to speak to one of experienced personal injury team about an accident you can call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.

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What You Need To Know About Accidents In Shops

A visit to the shops is usually a daily, weekly or monthly occurrence for almost everyone apart from the most dedicated online shopper. Many of us like to shop for pleasure for a new pair of shoes perhaps or maybe we just shop for necessity for our food.
 
Whatever your reason for visiting the shops, you want to be sure that you are safe and that you can leave the shop without having an accident or being injured. Thankfully, for the most part we are all kept safe, but what should you be aware of if you are injured in an accident at a shop?
 
Firstly, if you are injured in an accident at a shop and you need medical treatment, the shop will need to report the accident. They should have procedures in place to ensure this happens as this is part of their responsibilities under health and safety law.
 
In order to prove that the accident was the fault of the shop you will need to prove that they were negligent. To prove this you must be able to show firstly that the shop owed you a duty of care. Secondly you need to show that they breached this duty of care and lastly that their breach caused your injuries.
 
If you are able to prove each of these three things then you should be able to make a claim for compensation. There will also be questions about what steps the shop took to avoid the accident, such as signage.
 
There are many different types of accidents which may happen in a shop, such as:
 

  • slipping on a wet floor
  • tripping over something left on the floor
  • being injured by a falling display
  • tripping over loose flooring or an unsecured mat

 
These are only a few examples of the sort of accidents that can happen, but if you have been injured following an accident in a shop you should speak to a specialist personal injury solicitor to see if you can claim. Depending on the circumstance of your accident you may still be able to claim whether you are in a shop, in a shopping centre or mall or in the car park owned by the shopping centre.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you would like to discuss an accident in a shop with one of our Personal Injury Team, please call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch shortly to discuss the circumstances.

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Employers and Employees Responsibilities When Working In A Factory

Any work place can be dangerous, even an office, but factories are high on the list of dangerous workplaces. This is due to large amounts of machinery in operation and the risks involved with operating this machinery.
 
It is really important for employers to ensure that the workplace is safe for their employees and there are a number of additional considerations for employers who run factories, such as noise levels and maintenance among others.
 
Factories are often noisy because of the machinery and as a result of the noise, your employer should make sure that you are not exposed to high levels of noise without proper ear protection. If your employer does not provide you with adequate protection, there may be an opportunity to claim for a work-related illness if you suffer from hearing loss in future.
 
Your employer is responsible for ensuring that all risk assessments are current and up to date and that the machinery is regularly checked and maintained. This ensures that any issues are identified early on and dealt with before they become a problem. Likewise, if you spot an issue or problem with one of the machines, you should report this to your employer immediately.
 
If you need specialist equipment or clothing to be able to do your job properly and safely, it is your employer’s responsibility to provide you with this safety clothing and equipment. You also have a responsibility to ensure that you wear the clothing and use the equipment given to you. If you don’t and you have an accident or suffer an injury, you may be held partly responsible.
 
Your employer has to report any and all accidents where a fatality occurred, where specified injuries happened, where a non employee was injured and needed medical treatment or where a serious occurrence took place. This is called RIDDOR or Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. Your employer should also provide an accident book in the factory so that any accidents are recorded.
 
If you are involved in an accident at your factory and you are injured, you may be able to make a claim for compensation for your injuries. It is important that you seek advice from a specialist accident at work solicitor who will be able to tell you quite quickly if you have any grounds to claim. You will need to prove that your employer was responsible, at least partially, for your accident and that the accident caused your injuries.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you would like to speak to a specialist accident at work solicitor, you can call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be happy to help you.

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Can I Can Claim Compensation After An Accident On Holiday?

As we move past the gloom of January, many of us will start to think about springtime and the better weather coming our way (hopefully!) after all of the storms and flooding we’ve been experiencing of late.
 
This is often the time when you may be thinking about booking your summer holiday, with the expense of Christmas out of the way and the need to have something exciting to look forward to, along with the promise of some sunshine. Most of the time, holidays pass by very quickly without incident and before you know it you are back at your desk, wondering where your holiday went, but sometimes things don’t go so smoothly.
 
When you are on holiday, whether you are abroad or in the UK, the last thing you will be thinking about is having an accident so if it does happen, you will almost certainly be unprepared. If you are on holiday abroad and you are injured in an accident, you will have the worry of not being able to communicate very well, if at all, with your medical team and it may be difficult to understand how serious your injuries are.
 
You will have to deal with your holiday insurance company too and arrange payment for any treatment you need to receive. If your injuries are serious you may also need to make arrangements to get you home too.
 
Once you are home from your holiday you may decide to investigate if you are able to claim compensation for your accident, your injuries and whether there is any opportunity to recover some compensation for the loss of your holiday too.
 
The details and circumstances of your accident will be key in helping a personal injury solicitor to decide if you have a claim for compensation, but it may not be straight forward. if you suffered a road accident which wasn’t your fault, the country where you had your accident will have different laws than in the UK, so it is important to speak to a solicitor as early on as possible, as the time limits may be different too.
 
If you had an accident in your hotel, apartment or whilst out on an excursion arranged by your holiday operator, you may be able to make a claim for compensation against them, but again it very much depends on the circumstances of your accident.
 
Your holiday may have been less than enjoyable and definitely not relaxing, but if you had an accident whilst on holiday you should speak to a solicitor as soon as possible to find out whether you can at least recieve some financial compensation for your holiday from hell.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you would like to speak to one of our personal injury team, please call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.

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I’ve Been Hit By An Uninsured Driver What Can I Do?

Driving with no insurance is illegal in the UK but there are still a large number of people who choose not to insure the vehicle they are driving on the road. Uninsured and untraced drivers kill 130 people a year and injure 26,500 according to statistics provided by the Motor Insurers Bureau, which is also known as the MIB.
 
The MIB was set up in 1946 to help drivers who had been hit by uninsured or untraced drivers and they have been in operation ever since. Every insurance company which operates in the UK has to contribute to the MIB fund. This is because if you have an accident with an uninsured driver and you are injured, the MIB will, in certain circumstances pay your compensation claim for you. Insurance companies suggest that around £40 of your motor policy is to cover the cost of uninsured driving.
 
Uninsured drivers are people who drive their vehicle without insurance and they do this for many reasons. Perhaps they have been banned from driving or maybe they think insurance is too expensive but whatever the reason, it is illegal. Untraced drivers are people who hit and run and because it is impossible to identify who they are, there is no insurance company to cover the cost of the claim, so it is handled by the MIB.
 
Whilst the number of claims that the MIB are dealing with has fallen due to more effective enforcement, there are still 1.2 million people who are currently driving whilst uninsured on our roads today.
 
The whole process of making a claim for compensation when you have been hit by an uninsured driver is much more complicated than a standard personal injury claim. The MIB has many rules and time limits, which if not met, may mean that your claim is disallowed and you lose any chance of compensation.
 
The MIB is trying to encourage you to make a claim without the help of a solicitor, but the danger if you do decide to handle this complicated claim yourself is that you will make a small error which could jeoperdise your whole claim. Using a solicitor who has experience in MIB claims will ensure that your claim successful and that you receive the best possible settlement.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you would like to speak to someone in our personal injury department, please call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.

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What Health And Safety Responsibilities Does My Employer Have To Stop Me Being Injured?

When you are an employee, your employer has a responsibility to make sure, as far as they possibly can, that you are safe at work. Even if you are only a contractor at a workplace or a customer or visitor, you are entitled to be kept safe too.
 
The Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 was put in place to ensure that employers knew what their responsibilities were and that if they did not meet these responsibilities, there would be consequences. On top of the Health and Safety At Work Act, there are a number of regulations which branch out from the Act and you will probably have heard of a number of these. They are:
 

  • The Management Of Health And Safety At Work Regulations
  • Manual Handling Operations Regulations
  • Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations
  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations

 
These regulations are sometimes known as ‘the six pack’ regulations and cover most things which will affect people whilst they are at work.
 
So what can you do if you are involved in an accident at work and your employer’s health and safety processes or policies are not up to date?
 
Firstly, if you have had an accident at work or had an accident whilst working as a contractor on site then you may be able to make a claim for compensation for your injuries. You will need to prove that there was negligence by your employer and that they failed to protect you whilst you were at work and as a result you were injured.
 
This may seem daunting, but a specialist injury solicitor will be able to tell you quickly if you will be able to make a claim. If you had some part in not protecting yourself when your accident happened, then you may have an amount deducted from your compensation for your contribution to your injuries. For example, if you were supposed to wear protective clothing and you didn’t have iton, you will have contributed to your injuries, even though the accident would still have happened.
 
You may feel concerned about what will happen to your job if you make a claim against your employer for an accident at work, but you should not worry. Your employer cannot sack or demote you as a result of your claim and your employer will have insurance in place for exactly this type of situation.
 
Your employer should protect you from injury whilst you are at work, so if you have been injured in a work accident you should get advice from a specialist solicitor as soon as possible to see if you are able to make a claim.
 
If you would like more information about this article or to speak to someone about an accident at work you can call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch soon.

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I Wasn’t Wearing My Seatbelt, Can I Claim For Compensation?

If you have had a road traffic accident which wasn’t your fault and you have been injured, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
 
However, if you were not wearing a seatbelt you could be concerned that might not be able to make a claim as a result. However, you should not worry as you are still able to claim. This does not mean though that your compensation claim will not be affected, because it will.
 
Wearing a seatbelt in England and Wales is law, and if you have an accident whilst you are not wearing a seatbelt, you will face a reduction in the compensation you receive.
 
In the eyes of the law you have actually contributed to the injuries you have suffered from and this is caused directly by not wearing your seatbelt. There is a huge amount of evidence that seatbelts save lives and reduce the chance of more serious injuries so if you were not wearing one when your accident happens, chances are that your injuries will be more severe as a result.
 
This is called contributory negligence in the law and means exactly that, you contributed to making your injuries worse. Contributory negligence does not just apply to not wearing a seatbelt, but many other accident circumstances too.
 
The question will be what percentage of your compensation should be deducted as a result of your contributory negligence?
 
There is case law, also known as common law to determine what percentage will be deducted from your damages. In the scenario of not wearing a seatbelt, the case is called Froom v Butcher from 1975, which is still the case used for deciding what deductions to make.
 
Froom v Butcher gives a clear indication of these deductions and says:
 

  • if you would not have been injured at all if you were wearing a seatbelt, the deduction is 25%
  • if your injuries would have been reduced if you were wearing a seatbelt, then your deduction will be 15%

 
There is also some scope to be able to argue that not wearing a seatbelt did not make any difference at all to your injuries and if this is the case, then there will be no deduction at all.
 
A competent personal injury solicitor will be able to use all of their expertise to know how to approach your claim and obtain the best possible outcome for you whether you were wearing a seatbelt or not, so contact an independent and experienced personal injury solicitor today to discuss your compensation claim.
 
If you would like more information on this article or you would like to speak to one of our personal injury team, call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.

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Do I Need A Solicitor To Make A Criminal Injuries Compensation Claim?

If you have been a victim of crime and you have been injured, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation for your injuries from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which is also known as the CICA.
 
Some people do decide that they will make the claim themselves without using a solicitor and the CICA suggest that you can do it yourself too, but what are the benefits and drawbacks of making claim for yourself through the CICA?
 

  1. How do you know if you actually eligible to make a claim?
    There are certain criteria which have to be met in order to make a claim for compensation from the CICA. There are also guidelines which specifically exclude certain people or circumstances and even if you are eligible to make a claim, your claim may be refused or the amount you are awarded reduced in certain circumstances too. A solicitor will understand these rules from the start of claim and if you are not eligible they can advise you of this.
  2.  

  3. Are you applying for compensation within 2 years of your accident?
    You only have two years to make a CICA claim and not 3 years as you would have with a normal personal injury claim. A solicitor will be able to ensure that you submit your claim within the allowed time period.
  4.  

  5. Do you know how to make the claim?
    Once you have established that you are eligible to make a claim, you then have to make the application for compensation. There is a 99 page guide on the CICAs website which explains how you make a claim for compensation. A solicitor who specialises in criminal injuries compensation will understand the system and the process and be able to make the application quickly and efficiently on your behalf, ensuring that the application is correct and all the evidence needed to support your claim is supplied. Using a solicitor takes the guess work out of this process.
  6.  

  7. What do I need to include in my claim?
    You will be given an award for multiple injuries, so it is important that you know to include all your injuries in your claim. There are rules about how many injuries you can include and how much you will receive in compensation for each of them. An experienced solicitor will know what your injuries are valued at and will place your multiple injuries in the correct order to ensure that you receive the best possible settlement.
  8.  

  9. Should I accept the offer made?
    The CICA will make you an offer and you have 56 days in which to accept or ask for a review by another case officer. A solicitor will know immediately if the offer made is fair or not and will be able to give you the advice you need so you know whether to accept the offer or request a review.

 
If you decide to make a CICA compensation claim without representation, you may not get the best outcome possible so speak to a specialist solicitor today to see how they can help you.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you would like to speak to someone about making a CICA claim, you can call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch. All initial discussions are free of charge, so contact us today.

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Why Should I Use A Solicitor For A Personal Injury Claim?

Having an accident and being injured is upsetting, especially when the accident was someone else’s fault. It may take you some time to get over your accident and your injuries too. Whilst you are recovering you may be thinking about whether you want to make a claim for compensation or not and if you want to use a personal injury solicitor to help you or this or whether you will handle it yourself.
 
There are a number of factors which you will want to take into account when making this important decision about your claim for compensation.
 
First of all, the insurance company you are dealing with should be acting in the best interests of their policy holder, who is the person who caused your accident. The insurance company will find it difficult to remain independent in these circumstances, and as a result will find it almost impossible to act in your best interests by ensuring that you get the best possible settlement.
 
Alongside an insurance company not being able to act in your best interests, they also have to answer to their shareholders too, who want the business to be run with as profitably as possible. This means that each settlement an insurer makes will be with the goal of spending the least amount of money. Therefore, the offer will always be significantly lower than your injuries are worth in the hope it is accepted. This is a tactic they employ whether you are represented by a personal injury solicitor or not, but at least a solicitor knows the true value of your injuries and your claim.
 
This leads onto the next reason to instruct an experienced personal injury solicitor. There are clear guidelines laid down by the judiciary about the value of injuries and a range is given from the lowest amount to the highest. How much your injuries are worth depends on a number of factors, such as the severity of them, how many different injuries you sustained and whether they will continue to affect you in future. If you do not use a solicitor you will not be able to know the true value of your claim and there is a very real danger that you will under settle.
 
The Law Society of England and Wales completed some research into claims where there was a solicitor involved against claims where there was no legal representation, and claimant’s who had a solicitor recovered between two and three times more compensation for their injuries than those that didn’t. This is a substantial difference in outcome and is one of the best reasons you should get independent legal advice from a specialist solicitor.
 
If you would like more information about this article or if you would like to speak to one of our personal injury team you can call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.

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Pedestrian Accidents – What You Need To Know

Last year in the UK there were 420 pedestrians killed whilst using the roads and 5,500 pedestrians who were seriously injured. Whilst these statistics do seem shocking and high, pedestrian deaths and serious injuries have actually fallen in 2012 compared to the year before by about 5 percent.
 
All of us walk the streets and pavements in the Great Britain without giving much though to the possibility of being hurt or even killed by a motor vehicle, but it can and does happen. Even if your injuries are not life threatening, 25,000 people a year are injured as pedestrians.
 
So if you are injured whilst you are walking, or worse still, if a member of your family or a loved one has been killed, what can you do about it?
 
There will probably be a police investigation if there has been a death or a serious injury which will establish a number of things. The police will want to decide if there is a criminal case to answer, such as death by careless or dangerous driving or where there has been a serious injury it may be for careless or dangerous driving instead. It will also help to establish who was at fault for the accident. This will not always be a clear cut and there may be a split of responsibility, usually in the form of a percentage.
 
Although there may be a police investigation and possible criminal charges, this does not stop you from starting civil proceedings and making a personal injury claim for the injuries you have suffered from. If the criminal case is not taken forward for whatever reason, this will not impact on your personal injury claim, but if the criminal case is successful, this will help to strengthen your position.
 
If you decide to go ahead and make a claim for compensation you will be able to claim for many items which may have been damaged when you were injured. For example, if your mobile phone was damaged in the accident you will be able to claim back the cost of replacing this and you will be able to recover compensation for the clothes you were wearing if they were damaged too, such as an expensive pair of trainers or a watch you had on.
 
Compensation for personal injury is not just about your injuries, but it is there to ensure that you are put back in the position you were in before the accident, so you will be able to claim back any loss of earnings you have had and many other things.
 
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident or you have lost a loved one, contact an experienced personal injury solicitor today to ensure that you are clear about your position.
 
If you would like more information on this article or you would like to speak to a solicitor in our personal injury team about a pedestrian accident, you can call us now on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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Funding Options For Personal Injury Claims

The government recently changed the way that you fund a personal injury claim in England and Wales. There are now several options open to you, however the most significant change that the government made was that if you win, you will not be able to recover all of your legal costs from the other side, as you used to be able to do.
 
This does now mean that you will have to contribute to the cost of bringing a personal injury claim. but you should not let this put you off. Most solicitors will not ask for any money up front, in fact they will usually wait until your claim has been settled and you have been given your compensation.
 
So what are your options now for funding a claim for personal injury?
 
You may have purchased a product called Before the Event Insurance, which is also known as BTE or Legal Expenses Insurance, when buying your car or home insurance. These policies are often sold as a ‘bolt on’ product by insurance companies. A BTE policy will mean that you are insured against any legal costs which you may incur whilst making a claim for compensation. The benefits are clear if you do happen to be injured and want to make a claim, but you will pay an additional £15 to £30 a year on your insurance policy and possibly never need to use it.
 
As before, a Conditional Fee Agreement, also known as a CFA, is available. This has been known as a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement too. This funding arrangement, which you will enter into with your solicitor, means that if you lose your claim, you will not pay the other side’s legal fees. These costs will be covered by an insurance policy called After The Event insurance and also known as ATE. In addition to the ATE policy covering your legal fees from the other side, you solicitor will simply not get paid for the work they have done.  If you win though, the other side will pay most of your legal fees for you, apart from the amount which is now not recoverable.
 
A new addition to funding for personal injury claims is a Damage Based Agreement, or DBA. This is where your solicitor will run your personal injury claim for you and if they win they will take up to 25% of your damages to pay for your legal costs. The costs they receive from the other side are taken off your bill, and the rest is deducted from your compensation up to a maximum of 25%. Not many law firms are offering this new model though, as there is a lot of uncertainty about it and its viability.
 
You are of course able to pay for a solicitor on an hourly rate basis, but many people will simply not have the funds to be able to do this.
 
You can see that there are a number of ways in which you are able to fund a personal injury claim. It is really important to speak with a solicitor though, who will be able to explain these options in detail and offer you advice on which one is the most suitable for you.
 
If you would like more information about this article or you would like to speak to one of our personal injury team about your funding options, please call us on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.
 

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How Safe Is Riding A Motorcycle In The UK?

Many people who ride motorcycles say that it is their passion and that every opportunity they can get to ride, they will take it. If you review the statistics across the UK for 2012, there were fewer fatal accidents on motorcycles during the year than in the same period in 2011, which is encouraging. There were also fewer people seriously injured whilst riding a motorcycle too, which again, is very good news.
 
However, although these statistics are really encouraging, the Government is reviewing them to see if there is a link between the fall in the number of motorcycle accidents and the adverse weather conditions we all experienced in 2012.
 
2012 was the second wettest year since records began and alongside the fact that most motorcycle riders ride their vehicles in the Spring and Summer months, between April to September. If you then also compare the rainfall charts in 2012, the wettest period of the year was during April to June.
 
There is some thinking that the real reason that the number of motorcycle accidents fell in 2012, was only because the weather was so wet and therefore, fewer motorcyclists on the roads.
 
This years data shows an increase of 4 percent on last year in motorcyclists who have been killed or seriously injured, and they are still attributing last years low figures to the incredibly wet weather we experienced. Although there has been a small increase this year, we probably would not have seen the dramatic drop that was evident last year had it not been for the weather, so in real terms there has probably been little or no change.
 
Regardless of the statistics, if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, your injuries will probably be quite serious and this is due to the fact there is little protection for you from the impact other than your leathers and your helmet. This means that you will have to have time off from work to recover, you may have to have physiotherapy too, which obviously costs money. If there was someone else involved in your accident and they were at fault, you may be able to make a claim for compensation for your injuries.
 
Compensation will help you to be able to be put back into the position you were in before your accident and you will be able to claim for your injuries, your time off from work, your physiotherapy,the repairs to your bike and for new leathers and a new helmet too. You should speak to a solicitor as soon as possible to understand if you are able to make a claim for compensation.
 
If you would like further information about this article or you would like to speak to someone in our Personal Injury Team, please call us now on 0800 077 6303 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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