The Association of British Insurers has recently called for reforms to the civil litigation system in the UK due to excessive personal injury claim costs that cost UK consumers £2.7 million on a daily basis.
Calling the legal costs incurred by personal injury compensation claims a ‘gravy train’ for some legal firms, the ABI called for a complete overhaul of the British civil accident claim system.
According to Association findings, UK consumers pay the legal profession a total of £2.7 million, as approximately 10 per cent of every motor insurance premium is paid directly to personal injury lawyers as a result of an accident claim lawsuit. The ABI stated that each insurance policy holder pays an extra £41 in motor insurance premiums as a result.
The ABI also stated that 87 pence is paid out in legal costs for every £1 pound paid out in personal injury compensation to motor accident victims in the UK.
Nick Starling, director of general insurance and health for the ABI, stated that many people are of the belief that there is an exploitable compensation culture here in the UK. These sentiments are often encouraged by claims management companies, Mr Starling added.
The insurance director remarked that the current system is failing genuine claimants who more often than not need to wait much too long for the compensation awards that they need. Additionally, all consumers in the UK end up footing the bill through increased insurance premiums, he commented.
As a result of these inflated costs, the ABI has formally endorsed the implementation of all recommendations put forth by Lord Justice Jackson in his recent compensation culture report. The ABI states that the proposed changes will lead to a more cost-effective, fairer, and faster level of care and compensation to those who are in the most need of it.
After one teenage trainee sustained horrific injuries in a mincing machine incident, the sixteen year old boy has filed a work accident claim.
The trainee, who had requested that his identity not be made public, nearly lost his arm after it became trapped in a mincing machine according to his accident claim. The incident occurred at the Brighton-based meat processing firm Malpass Direct when the teenage trainee worker made an attempt to clear a blockage in the machine whilst preparing it for a sausage mix.
The young man’s injury claims described a significant loss of muscle and substantial bone damage in his left forearm. The trainee’s injuries were so severe he now only has movement in three of his fingers on that hand.
The Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation shortly after the incident only to discover that the trainee had no proper supervision when he was operating the machine. Moreover HSE investigators found that factory staff disabled a safety interlock located on the lid of the mincer on a regular basis in order to speed up the sausage mixture preparation process.
Malpass Direct Ltd. of Brighton Meat Market, located in Brighton’s Hollingdean Road admitted to being in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act during a hearing at Brighton Magistrates’ Court. For their part in the young man’s injury, the firm was given a fine of £5,000.
In the wake of the hearing, one HSE inspector commented that the company had provided an unacceptable level of supervision. Moreover the HSE inspector stated that the meat processing firm could have easily found a way to make modifications to the mincer that didn’t necessitate the safety interlock being tampered with.
No further details were available in regards to any personal injury compensation the injured worker may be entitled to due to the damage done to his arm.
One London Underground passenger recently won more than £11,000 in personal injury compensation after an altercation with a ticket collector.
Lewisham native Leib Spektor of Sangley Road had the route he had taken challenged by a employee of the London Underground after arriving at the Canada Water tube station, according to the man’s personal injury claim. The situation escalated quickly after turning heated, and the employee forced Mr Spektor over a nearby barrier after grabbing hold of the man.
A London High Court judge ruled that Mr Spektor should be compensated by the London Underground for his injury claims. Mr Spektor suffered injuries to both his lower back and his neck in the incident.
Mr Spektor’s original accident claim asked for more than £1 million in compensation. The judge dismissed the large sum as ‘highly speculative’ and stated that based on the medical evidence presented by Mr Spektor, such a large sum was obviously inappropriate.
The judge did state that Mr Spektor had truly been victimised by the London Underground employee, who had used an inappropriate amount of force in the incident. Despite the nature of Mr Spektor’s original claim being both exaggerated and excessive, the judge decided to award the injured man £11,925 in personal injury compensation.
The 58 year old Spektor did not have legal representation present for the hearing but instead chose to represent himself during all legal proceedings. Other claims that the injured man had made in the hearing were for such items as reimbursement for a two-month therapeutic trip to Thailand, several thousand pounds’ worth of ready meals, and a lost opportunity to develop a piece of in-flight entertainment software for Quantas.
The judge dismissed all of Mr Spektor’s claims above his £11,000 compensation award.
One engineering firm was recently fined in court in a work accident claim after one of its workers suffered a serious hand injury from an unguarded drill.
Michael O’Brien is no longer able to move three of the fingers on his left hand in the wake of the incident, according to his accident claim. His injury claims originated from an event in December 2009 at a Leyland construction site.
The 60-year-old Clitheroe native had a four-day hospital stay as a result of his injuries. Mr O’Brien also needed several skin grafts to repair the damage done to his hand. His injuries have also precluded him from returning to work.
The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Jex Engineering Company Ltd for neglecting to ensure the drill had the proper safety features provided for it. Leyland’s South Ribble Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr O’Brien had been maimed by the drill in the course of installing machinery in a new factory location for the company.
After an investigation, the HSE found that the engineering company had neglected to notice the missing drill guard both when it hired the equipment and when it had been issued to Mr O’Brien. An assessment form also indicated incorrectly that the drill had been fitted with such a guard, discovered HSE investigators.
After pleading guilty in court to breaching Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, Jex Engineering Company Ltd was fined £4,000. The firm was ordered to pay costs of £3,250 as well.
After the legal action concluded, Mr O’Brien commented that he had only been working for Jex Engineering for a few days when the incident happened. He expressed his frustration with the company in not having proper health and safety practices in place to prevent injuries such as the one he sustained.
One drunken pedestrian who was struck by a bus has recently won his traffic accident claim against the bus company.
54 year old Stephen Lightfoot had been trying to flag down a bus in November 2009 when he suffered his injuries, according to his personal injury lawyers. While trying to flag down a bus in Langley Park, Durham, the driver of the vehicle collided with him after neglecting to spot him.
Mr Lightfoot’s accident claims include serious head injuries as a result of the collision. His skull was fractured in the incident, and he additionally suffered a cerebral haemorrhage as well. Mr Lightfoot’s life has been changed forever in the wake of his injuries, as he now needs extensive support and care.
Mr Lightfoot’s legal team brought legal action against the bus service operator by claiming the driver of the bus had been acting negligently a the time of the collision. CCTV footage showed the driver had not been paying attention to the road during the incident, as his cab light had been switched on. Moreover the driver had been reading from a bus timetable at the time of the incident.
The bus company denied that negligence on its driver’s part had been a contributing factor to the collision. However, the driver had been fined £800 and has subsequently been convicted of careless driving.
In the wake of a recent Judge’s ruling the bus company is now liable for Mr Lightfoot’s injuries. The court concluded that as he was performing an act not required for driving, the driver had not been paying attention to the road at the time of the accident. The Judge stated that looking at the timetable was as distracting as altering a satnav system or using a mobile phone while driving.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has recently stated that employers need to do more to prevent work accident claims from occurring.
Injuries can occur in instances where employers neglect to provide sufficient attention to ensuring working environments are safe, says the RoSPA. Employers who neglect their duty of care towards their staff may find that their workers will make personal injury claims against them due to injuries sustained whilst on the job.
Figures recently released by the RoSPA indicate that there are more than a million and a half injuries at work that occur on a yearly basis. Additionally, more than two million cases of illness were reported that can have their cause traced back to conditions at work. Slips and trips were the largest cause of accident claims, the figures revealed; 42 per cent of serious injuries such as spinal damage and bone fractures resulted from workers losing their footing.
One personal injury at work expert recently commented on the RoSPA report by stating that employers should expect repercussions from neglecting to take the steps necessary to reduce the risk of injury debilitating their staff. Workers who suffer injuries due to unsafe working environments quite often exercise their right to file accident claims against their employers for financial losses such as loss of earning and medical bills, the expert added.
Employers can take several different measures in order to reduce their risks of becoming embroiled in legal action and also protect their staff from harm. Employers were advised that an easy way to prevent many injuries was to avoid placing any kind of unnecessary obstructions in high-traffic areas, tidy up any and all cabling, promptly mop up any spills, ensure all outdoor entrances have doormats, and provide adequate lighting for their employees at all times.
A motor accident claim has led to one woman securing a personal injury compensation award.
The Hull native had been riding as a passenger in a vehicle when it had become involved in a crash on the way to Malton, North Yorkshire. The accident victim declined to be named.
Her injury claims indicate that she sustained severe damage to her right arm. Her injuries were so severe as to need two surgical procedures to correct the damage. Additionally, she was left unable to work while she convalesced.
The injured woman initially sought the advice of an insurance company regarding the validity of her personal injury claim. The insurer told her that her eligibility for compensation would grant her £3,000, provided she signed her name to a disclaimer preventing her from pursuing a larger compensation award.
After then seeking advice from a lawyer specialising in personal injury claims, the 32 year old woman went on to submit and win a personal injury compensation claim for a total of £19,000 .
The victim stated that the insurance company had assured her that she didn’t require legal representation and put her under a lot of pressure to accept their £3,000 offer. She also stated that anyone in a position similar to hers should think twice before signing anything that would limit an accident victim’s legal rights.
Recently published Department for Transport figures revealed that in 2009 the number of reported road casualties exceeded 220,000. More than 24,000 people suffered serious injuries, while in excess of 2,200 people lost their lives.
Road traffic accident victims may be able to submit a compensation claim even if they were one of the vehicle’s passengers since motorists have a duty to provide for the safety of their passengers by driving responsibly.
One pensioner was injured during a visit to a local chemist when he fell through an open and unattended trap-door, according to his accident claim.
Seventy six year old Martin Habberley fell through the hole at the Boots chemist branch in Welshpool. The man’s injury claims indicate that he sustained a nasty gash to his leg as a result.
Wrexham Magistrates Court heard that the trap-door had been opened to provide access to the cellar of the Broad Street chemist to help a visiting electricity meter reader. The open pit had been guarded by an untrained staff member in order to prevent personal injury claims from occurring. However the employee had left the trap-door unattended after being drawn away by a customer.
After Mr Habberley neglected to spot the open trap-door whilst visiting the store, the pensioner tumbled down three steps and injured himself.
After a successful prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive, the court fined Boots UK Ltd £10,000 for their role in Mr Habberley’s injuries. Additionally, the firm was made responsible for paying £1,240 court costs following an admission of being in breach of Health and Safety regulations.
Despite the hefty fine, magistrates did highlight the very comprehensive and otherwise excellent health and safety procedure Boots had set in place in its many branches. The firm was found to conduct safety reviews and risk assessments on a regular schedule.
In the wake of the incident, Boots took immediate action. In the future the Welshpool store’s meters will now only be read well outside of opening hours in order to minimise the risk of such accidents occurring in the future.
No further information was available regarding Mr Habberley and whether he will be filing a personal injury claim regarding his fall.
One Cambridge man has recently won a personal injury claim against McDonalds to the tune of more than £1,000 for costs related to damage to his teeth whilst dining on a quarter-pounder at the fast food giant.
Kevin Smith had been enjoying a meal at the Rose Crescent McDonalds in Cambridge when the incident occurred, according to his injury claims. Unfortunately that enjoyment was cut short when he found a bit of metal embedded in his meal the hard way – by biting down hard enough upon it to break a tooth.
Mr Smith required numerous dentist visits in order to repair the damage caused by the one-eighth inch square U-shaped piece of aluminium. As a result of his injuries Mr Smith decided to file a personal injury compensation claim against the fast food company.
Mr Smith stated that he felt his luck must have run out when he bit down into the piece of metal. However he was more concerned that there could have been much more serious consequences if it had been someone more vulnerable who had gotten the heavy metal hamburger – especially a young child.
McDonalds headquarters gave confirmation in regards to an incident occurring at the fast food giant’s Cambridge branch. The company had launched an exhaustive investigation into the matter, they stated, and were relieved to have resolved the matter of Mr Smith and his injury claims.
Mr Smith’s entire compensation award totaled approximately £1,100, which would help pay his medical bills and also to alleviate some of the pain that he suffered as a consequence of his injury. When asked if he would ever return to dine at one of the fast food giant’s many branches, he gave a very emphatic ‘no’ as a response.
After she fell on an uneven road and suffered two broken ankles, one pensioner is in search of personal injury compensation.
61 year old Dorothy Bradbury had been out shopping with her husband in Hanley when the incident occurred this past January, according to her accident claim.
Mr and Mrs Bradbury had been crossing Goodson Street when a piece of tarmac that had subsided in the middle of the road tripped her up. She fell and became trapped in the road until she could be transported to hospital. There she had been told that she had suffered two broken ankles in the incident.
Ms Bradbury has been virtually housebound since her fall. The grandmother needed to have a metal plate surgically implanted into her foot to facilitate healing, and she is still in plaster as well.
In her personal injury claim against the city council for Stoke-on-Trent, Mrs Bradbury states that the council failed to keep the highway in such a state as to prevent such injuries from occurring.
Mrs Bradbury commented on the state of the roads in the city, calling them disgusting. Her husband Mr Clive Bradbury also commented by stating how his wife’s injuries have caused many different problems. Mr Bradbury remarked that the road is in ‘disgraceful’ condition and implored the council to repair it so his wife’s fate is not shared with anyone else in the future.
A council spokesperson declined to take the opportunity to comment on this matter.
In related news cyclist Victoria Pendleton last month branded the highways in the UK as dangerous to all users of the road. This follows on the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s new determination that there is an average of ten potholes for every mile of road in Wales and England.