No win no fee lawyers warn against winter injuries

Personal injury lawyers who specialise in no win no fee claims have recently come forward with warnings concerning the kinds of injuries people commonly sustain during the dark, wet, and cold winter months.

The winter season is rapidly approaching, and with its wet weather, snow, frost, and darker nights, we can also expect that the dangers of accidentally slipping and tripping due to icy conditions will increase, personal injury claims experts warn.  The winter season tends to see more such claims occur, these experts say, because of changing weather conditions.

Ice or snow can cause any number of problems for all users of the road no matter how long or short the journey might be.  However, it’s quite often the unexpected dangers of snowy and wet weather that can result in injuries, and these dangers can be as seemingly innocent as coming indoors with your shoes still wet.

Doormats can be left slippy and wet from snowy or rainy weather, as well as the floor surface surrounding them.  Even the most clueless Brit will stop to wipe off their feet after coming in out of the cold and damp, but few will have the presence of mind to check whether the doormat or its environs is over-saturated already, and wet shoes that meet marble or tiled floors can be a slip or trip waiting to happen – especially since most people will try to move as quickly as possible out of the rain and snow.

Keep an eye out on these doormats, experts say, in order to avoid slipping and suffering an unfortunate accident in your eagerness to get inside a warm house or place of business.

Jack Straw calls claims management firms ‘parasites’

Former home secretary and justice secretary, Jack Straw, recently gave evidence to the Transport committee during its car accident claim cost probe, calling claims management companies ‘parasites’ within the personal injury compensation system.

Mr Straw talked about the rising car insurance premium problem in the UK, which has been attributed to the rising costs of personal injury  claims associated with motor accidents.  The former home secretary remarked that, given that premium increases, some leveling off should be occurring currently, yet this provided a complete lack of complacency in regards to the current situation.

Mr Straw said he was clear about was that £2 billion out of the £9 billion in premium income is due to costs generated by what he referred to as ‘parasites’ within the system.  There are statistical correlations and connections between the level of premium and the density of claims management firms by region, he added, remarking that he would not be surprised to discover that claims management companies exist primarily to generate artificial claims volume.

The relentless pressure these firms put on the industry are demonstrated by the number of text messages sent out by them on a daily basis, Mr Straw also said, calling the behaviour almost criminal in its scope.  The problem needs to be taken with the utmost seriousness by the committee, Straw added, as it is compulsory to have motor insurance.

Such practices have led to quite significant premium price increases for the honest, law abiding driver for absolutely no benefit, he remarked.  However, according to Spencers Solicitors director John Spencer, banning referral fees may not result in actually rectifying the situation unless the government adopts a more holistic approach to industry reforms in general.

Staffordshire man launches personal injury compensation claim

One man from Staffordshire has decided to bring a personal injury compensation claim against Blackpool Council for the serious head injuries he suffered upon falling on the Promenade steps of the town.

Accident claims experts say that Leek native Chris Brown, fifty five years of age, had been at the popular North West resort enjoying a caravan holiday, when he slipped on the steps while he was out taking his dog for a walk close to the South Pier.  Mr Brown fell head first on the steps, which had only recently been refurbished, and sustained serious injuries to his head from the tumble.

According to the man’s personal injury claims, he suffered both a fractured eye socket and a fractured skull in the fall.  Mr Brown is still currently undergoing treatment for both injuries.

The injured man said, in a recent interview with the Blackpool Gazette newspaper, that the steps had grown slippery due to the fact that they had been covered in algae.  However, Blackpool Council had neglected to warn against the potential hazard by putting up signs, remarked Mr Brown.

The injured man also commented that the algae became nearly invisible to the naked eye once the algae became wet.  The fire crew that responded to the man’s call for help even had a difficult time remaining upright on the slippery steps as well, according to Mr Brown.

Mr Brown has since taken legal advice, deciding to launch a personal injury claim against the council.  He is seeking compensation for loss of earnings, as he had no choice but to take time from work as he undergoes treatment for his injuries.

Lancashire animal feed producer may face accident claim

One Lancashire based animal feed producer may be facing a work accident claim after one of its employees lost two of his fingers in an unfortunate incident.

Accident claim experts say that the unnamed worker, whose identity has been withheld for legal and privacy reasons, had been employed at the Clitheroe factory of Dugdale Nutrition Ltd when the incident occurred.  The forty seven year old employee had been working on clearing a blockage in a piece of the factory’s machinery on the building’s third storey when one of his colleagues, who was stationed in the ground floor control room of the manufacturing plant, switched on the machine.

The injured employee’s personal injury claims say that two of his fingers were severed during the incident.  Afterwards, the Government’s Health and Safety Executive investigated the manufacturing plant, discovering that the worker had neglected to isolate the machine and had only been granted access to the moving parts of the machine because there had been no safety guard fixed on it.

The HSE prosecuted the animal feed producer at Accrington Magistrates’ Court, where Salthill-based Dugdale Nutrition Ltd, of Bellman Mill, was handed down a £7,000 fine. Dugdale Nutrition, who admitted breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations twice, was also held to be responsible for £3,614 in legal fees in addition to its fine.

More than 4,000 employees working within the manufacturing sector sustained serious personal injuries over the past 12 months, according to the most recent official figures.  Many of these injured workers go on to make personal injury claims against their employers for their pain and suffering.

Employee loses hand, may file work accident claim

In the wake of one man losing his hand at a West Midlands food processing firm, the factory worker may be considering making a work accident claim against his employer.

The West Bromwich based 2 Sisters Food Group was recently investigated by the Government’s Health and Safety Executive due to the man’s injuries, as well as the injuries suffered by another employee that occurred as well, according to accident claim experts familiar with the case.  In the most recent incident, Shaun Alexander, the forty two year old supervisor who lost his hand during a recent night shift, was cleaning machinery at the manufacturing plant when his hand was drawn in between two rotating pieces of machinery, which crushed it badly, according to his personal injury claims.

The HSE later found that Mr Alexander’s injuries were a result of the removal of a safety guard which had been designed to limit the exposure of workers to moving machinery.  Meanwhile, in a second incident, Lowestoft native and forklift truck driver Malcolm Raven, suffered a broken arm while the fifty four year old had been in the food processing company’s chicken enclosure as he attempted to clear a blockage.

The HSE investigated the second incident as well, discovering that the firm had had a by-pass device fitted in order to override a safety feature that had been expressly designed to protect against such an accident.  As a result of the efforts of HSE investigators, the 2 Sisters Food Group was brought before Norwich Crown Court where it entered a plea of builty for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act twice, earning it a £230,000 fine and court costs of £24,350 in total.

North East councils pay out £200k+ on personal injury claims

Teachers and pupils sustaining injury in schools across the North East have made more than £200,000 in personal injury claims against the region’s councils, recently released figures indicate.

A recently filed freedom of information request found that pupils have been in receipt of anywhere from as little as £50 to as much as £23,000 in personal injury compensation for slips, trips, and falls over the past two years.  One pupil in Newcastle was given more than £6,000 for a slip on a flight of stairs, the figures indicate, while another was paid in excess of £11,500 when he was accidentally struck in the face.

Other accident claim awards included a £7,000 payment made to a student in Northumberland who received a nasty cut on his foot from a tile, while a North Tyneside student who suffered injury when the rope swing he was using snapped was awarded £2,500 for his pain and suffering.

Students were not the only group to have made claims for injuries that had occurred on school grounds.  According to the figures, more than £80,000 in compensation was paid out to teachers throughout the past two years as well.

One Newcastle City Council spokesperson commented on the figures by stating that even though teachers try to be as responsible as possible in making schools as safe as possible for their students, schools could never be completely and utterly free from accidents.  The spokesperson also said that unfounded claims were always defended by the council, but if it was found to be responsible for the injuries, it gladly paid the injured party the requisite compensation amounts.

Bedfordshire Police pay out £45k on work accident claims

The Bedfordshire Police Force has made personal injury compensation payments to the tune of £45,894 on several work accident claims that had been made by employees that had suffered injury in the course of their work, according to a freedom of information request.

One female Priority Crime Officer received the largest payment, as she was given £10,000 after falling and hitting her head after the backrest of her office chair failed, snapping in half.  Other successful accident claims include a £7,300 payment made to a crime investigation officer who fell down a flight of stairs when the stairwell’s handrail collapsed, and £5,000 being awarded to a police officer who lost their footing on a wet toilet floor and slipped.

Other incidents and compensation awards revealed by the freedom of information request are a £4,875 compensation payment being awarded to a public protection officer, who had been in attendance at an RAF base for a training course when he burned his hand, and a £2,052 award made to an emergency response officer who suffered injuries to his hand when he had been responding to a 999 call when he put it through a glass pane.

One Bedfordshire Police spokesperson commented on the payouts, remarking that accidents that occurred whilst staff members performed their duties were invariably investigated by the insurers for the force, with each case being considered on an individual basis.  If the insurer determines that compensation needs to be paid due to the force being liable, the payouts are made from the insurance reserve of the Bedfordshire Police, though the insurance policy will pay for any claims in excess of £100,000.

Worker crushed to death at car parts firm in County Durham

One worker suffered a fatal personal injury at work at a car parts firm in County Durham, as a production line jam led to him being crushed to death, accident claim experts familiar with the case recently said.

52 year old Paul Clark lost his life in July of 2009 while he was working at the Newton Aycliffe based ThyssenKrupp Tallent plant, personal injury claims experts recently reported.  The firm was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive, leading to a £100,000 fine for breaching health and safety rules handed down by Durham Crown Court in a recent hearing, with the court also ordering the company to pay legal costs of an additional £44,000.

The HSE found that a jam in a pneumatic carriage precipitated the accident, as Mr Clark was fatally injured in his attempts to clear the jam because he had needed to open the interlocked safety gates in order to do so.

While the safety gates did work properly isolate the piece of equipment from its supply of electricity, the machine’s pneumatic power element was still active, HSE investigators said.  The carriage suddenly moved while Mr Clark had been performing maintenance on the equipment, trapping him.

Both HSE inspectors and Mr Clark’s family have said that his untimely death could have, and should have, been avoided. Carole, Mr Clark’s wife, told reporters that her husband’s death had left a significant void in her life and the lives of her family, adding that if her husband had not been working alone he might have been able to have been extricated from the machinery in time to save his life.

Nurse struck by hit and run driver asks for accident claim aid

One nurse who was struck by a hit and run driver has asked for aid in her motor accident claim by asking any witnesses to the incident to come forward.

45 year old Michelle Ledden had been outside her place of work at Rochdale Infirmary when the nurse practitioner was struck from behind in the back in January of 2010, according to her traffic accident claim. Unfortunately, investigations into the identity of the vehicle which struck her – which Ms Ledden believes to have been an ambulance – have been fruitless.

Now, the Milnrow, Rochdale native has high hopes that witnesses will soon be able to shed some light on the matter as she continues her battle for personal injury compensation stemming from the injuries she sustained while she had been walking along the pavement on her way out of the infirmary’s car park.

Ms Ledden had her back to the road as she stopped to chat with a former A&E patient when she was suddenly alerted by her colleague’s shout to the driver of the vehicle, followed by a ‘huge jolt’ as the vehicle struck her in the back after mounting the pavement where she was standing.

In the wake of the incident,Ms Ledden has been suffering pain and back spasms so excruciating that the nurse practitioner likened the feeling to being struck with a cricket bat.   A member of her legal team remarked that back pain can be agonising for the sufferer, especially because it can flare up seemingly unannounced – something that anyone suffering from a back injury would surely know.

Ms Ledden soon found that her injuries were too severe to allow her to continue working, even though she had attempted to carry on with her regular duties as a nurse practitioner.

Telehander incident results in personal injury at work

An incident involving a reversing telehandler resulted in a personal injury at work for a visiting worker at an Exeter company, leading to a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive, accident claim experts recently reported.

Newton Abbot native, Andrew Grist, had been waiting for the unloading of his lorry to be finished at the Waste Management Centre at Kenbury Wood when the reversing telehandler backed into him, according to his work accident claim.  The man sustained severe foot and leg injuries in the incident, including a nearly severed toe, broken bones in his foot, and a detached calf muscle, necessitating him being unable to return to work for a sum total of six months as he recuperated from his injuries.

During an investigation conducted by the HSE, it was discovered that the telehandler had a large blind spot for the driver due to its large size. However, the installation of a reversing camera or any other related safety device had not been installed in the telehandler.

Leese’s Ltd, the operator of the site, was prosecuted at Exeter Magistrates’ Court by the HSE, which led the firm, located in Exeter’s Matford Business Park on Manaton Close, to admit breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.  As a result, Leese’s Ltd was given a fine of £4,500 and was told to pay a total of £818in court costs and fees.

Speaking after the court hearing, one HSE inspector said that site owners are responsible for ensuring telehandlers and other vehicles have good visibility all round.  The inspector added that this means all blind spots for drivers must be eliminated.