Supermarket investigates accident claim, infuriates worker

One injured worker expressed her shock and anger after recently learning her employers investigated her work accident claim by sending a private detective to spy on her, personal injury claims experts recently reported.

Irene Heslop, an bakery assistant employed by Asda supermarkets, had been in the store warehouse when she slipped on a broken egg, sustaining a serious injury to her back in the result.  However, as she was recovering from her injuries, the retailer employed a private detective to film the grandmother of two in order to determine the veracity of her accident claim.

Upon suffering her injuries, Mrs Helsop found herself no longer able to lift heavy equipment or walk long distances.  As a result, she approached her employers to assume lighter duties so she could return to work, but her bosses informed her that nothing was available for her to do.  However, the 65 year old woman was spied upon not once but twice by a private detective sent by Asda in order to film her clandestinely as she went about her daily business.

While Mrs Helsop was eventually awarded a £27,000 personal injury compensation award for her loss of earnings and her injuries, she had no knowledge of the surveillance that had been carried out upon her until it was presented in court as evidence against her.  The 65 year old grandmother said that she couldn’t believe her eyes upon viewing the footage, and that it left her both feeling numb and sick to have her privacy invaded in such a manner.

Mrs Heslop, who worked for Asda for a period of seven years before her injuries precluded her from returning to work, said it was hurtful to know the supermarket chain suspected her of lying.  She was even more heartbroken to learn that they did not even informing her of the existence of the surveillance, instead letting her discover it during the course of the legal proceedings.

Legal bills of £60k for £500 accident claim cause stir

A veritable hornet’s nest has been stirred by the news of a £500 accident claim for a teacher that had suffered injuries while restraining a pupil came with legal fees of more than £60,000, personal injury compensation experts recently reported.

Local authorities across the UK have been subject to work accident claims from teachers for injuries these teachers have sustained in the classroom.  However, in many of these cases, the court costs that legal professionals run up in pursuing these claims can dwarf the final compensation awarded to the injured teacher.

Many have pointed to the massive legal fees as evidence of the so-called ‘compensation culture’ gripping the UK, while others put the blame squarely on the shoulders of no win no fee lawyers who speculate on compensation claims in order to generate the maximum amount of court costs they can.

Facing accusations that the practice has a ‘chilling effect’ on public services such as schools, ministers have been urged to clampdown on the behaviour through new legislation, especially in the face of research data indicating that £1.25 in legal fees was paid out to lawyers for every pound paid out to a claimant on average.

Other research found that approximately £6.7 million was paid out to teachers in 2010 for work accident claims.  However, the £61,464 in legal costs paid out by North Lincolnshire Council on a £500 compensation claim has galvanised opposition to exorbitant legal fees.

Other local authorities have also paid out wildly disproportionate court costs, such as Merseyside’s Wirral Council, who faced legal fees of £14,300 for a compensation claim of £2,000 for a school staff member who suffered a stubbed toe.  West Midlands’ Walsall Council also paid out £14,888 in legal fees on a £1,500 claim for a teacher who strained themselves following a fall.

Builder nearly slain by live electricity cable

One builder employed by Wainhomes was nearly slain on a Wigan building site by a live electricity cable upon cutting into it, accident claim experts recently reported.

The contractor, a forty two year old man who asked to remain unnamed, had been working on the refurbishment of an old farm when he was almost killed in the farm’s cellar by the live cable.  Administered an electric shock of 230 volts, the worker was knocked unconscious as he was thrown across the room, leaving him with serious psychological ailments as a result, according to his personal injury claims.

The Health and Safety Executive investigated the incident, discovering that the injured man, who may be making a work accident claim against Wainhome Ltd, had been incorrectly informed that the cable had been isolated and that there was no electricity running through it.  Moreover, the HSE also found in the course of their investigation that the electric cables had been labeled a danger before the project commenced in the building plan, and that a digger had also struck a gas main prior to the inception of the project as well.

Wainhome Ltd neglected to ensure the cables were without power, according to the HSE’s prosecution, which led the firm to admit breaching the health and safety regulations regarding construction.  The company was ordered to pay an £8,000 fine for the incident, with an additional £2,095 in legal fees after it had neglected to ensure that its workers were working in a safe environment by checking the location of both the electrical and gas lines.

Cyclist deaths & accident claims increase during recessions

In three of the past four recessions, cyclist death rates (and accident claim rates as well) have increased during hard economic times, said the Department for Transport.

In its annual report on road casualties in the UK, the number of cyclists slain in RTAs across the country increased by 7 per cent last year to 111, up from 104 fatalities the previous year, which coincides with a number of austerity measures instituted by the government.  Meanwhile, the first half of 2011 saw personal injury claims made by cyclists or their surviving family members to have increased by 12 per cent from the same time period in 2010.

Official figures say that between 1980 and 1984, cycle deaths increased by 14 per cent, while they also increased by 58 per cent between 1930 and 1935.  Once the country recovered from both recessions, these cycle fatality figures once again receded, the Department records state.

Legal experts have corroborated the rise in personal injury claims made by those involved in cycling-related road accidents.  While cyclists seem to get seriously or fatally injured at higher rates in recessions, other users of the road do not seem to share their fate, as the number of slain motorcyclists, pedestrians, and car occupants underwent declines from 2007 to 2010.

London Cycling Campaign spokesman, Charlie Lloyd, remarked that the increase in fatal incidents during periods of recession is most likely related to an overall increase in the number of cyclists on the road, and not that cycling fatalities are worsening.  This is because greater numbers of people tend to either pick their bicycles back up or spend more time on them than they did previously during recessions in an effort to save on the costs of motoring, Mr Lloyd added.

Leeds man wins work accident claim for injured hand

One man from Leeds has recently won his work accident claim after permanently injuring his hand with a £10,250 personal injury compensation settlement, injury experts recently reported.

Rothwell native Craig Dunwell, 43 years of age, needed to undergo a surgical procedure in order to remedy nerve damage done to his right hand in the wake of suffering a deep cut as he attempted to fit a flue to Fluestax Ltd at its school located in Tingley, according to the man’s personal injury claims.  Mr Dunwell’s employer had had the flue constructed to solve a temporary problem, yet Mr Dunwell had not received a warning that one of the flue’s edges had not been smoothed down but was in fact dangerously sharp.

The nerve to Mr Dunwell’s little finger was severed in the accident, leading him to miss three weeks of work as a result.  To this day, he still reports difficulties while trying to work with his hands due to the debilitating nerve injury.

The GMB, Mr Dunwell’s union, instructed its legal team to pursue a compensation claim on behalf of the injured worker.  The case was pursued, arguing that the edges of the flue should have been made safe and that protective gloves suitable for the task should have been provided to the 43 year old man.

After an admission of liability, Fluestax Ltd reached an out of court settlement with Mr Dunwell for a sum of £10,250.  Now working as a steel industry welder after Fluestax made him redundant, Mr Dunwell said that he finds it difficult to use his finger as a result of his injury, and while he has learned how to cope, the finger is numb after the end of a working day.

Injured man wins massive personal injury compensation claim

One 29 year old man who was seriously brain damaged during his birth has recently won a massive personal injury compensation claim for his birth complications on the grounds of medical negligence, legal experts recently reported.

Born in 1981, Christopher Webb suffered such severe brain damage at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton during his birth that he was rendered unable to communicate in any other manner than by moving his eyes, personal injury claims experts say.  However, it was more than 20 years before the negligence of hospital staff was acknowledged before Christopher had found a way to indicate to Anne, his mother, what he had discovered from watching a television programme.

Now, in the wake of Christopher’s family seeking legal advice after perusing his medical records, a senior judge for the High Court has placed his approval on a substantial compensation award for the injured man after the NHS Trust responsible for the hospital made the admission of liability.  West Midlands NHS Trust has not made the amount of his compensation a matter of public record, but industry experts estimate as much as £9 million in damages is likely based on the settlement amounts awarded in cases with similar occurrences.

Christopher’s mother had given birth to him through in December of 1981 in an emergency Caesarean section.  However, the procedure was delayed significantly, resulting in catastrophic injuries suffered to Christopher’s brain due to long-term oxygen deprivation.

This led to Christopher’s cerebral palsy diagnosis, which has necessitated round the clock care from both Anne and his father Michael.  Christopher also needs to spend a large proportion of his time at Dudley’s Queen Cross Day Centre as well, the court was told.

In the wake of the settlement, a West Midlands NHS Trust representative said that there can be nothing he could possibly say that could erase the grievous error that led to Christopher’s debilitating condition.  However, the representative added that Christopher and his family are fully entitled to a complete and abject apology for his condition and the pain and suffering he has endured all of his life.

Local council rejects £17.6m in bogus accident claims

One local authority has rejected £17.6 million in bogus accident claims over the past six years after taking a tougher stand on personal injury compensation fraud in 2005.

Caerphilly Council prevented £6.4 million being paid out on what turned out to be bogus accident claims slips, trips, and falls over the past three years.  The local authority employed a dedicated team in order to reduce the number of no win no fee accident claims being made against the council to 350 annually, down from 1,600 a year in 2005, and also brought charges of contempt of court in five instances.

The council said that an estimated three out of every five claims are bogus based on the work of its six-person insurance team.  The team has worked hand-in-glove with private investigators and has used many methods, such as surveillance, in order to discover the veracity of these claims.

The local authority stands to lose approximately £50,000 for each compensation case it pays out on. This means that instead of wrongly paying out the funds, Caerphilly Council has instead reinvested the cash into frontline services, said Colin Mann, deputy leader.

Mr Mann said that the council was more than happy to pay in the event of a genuine claim. However, due to the huge volume of false claims, many of which may be encouraged by disreputable legal experts, the local authority needs to reinforce how trying to fleece the council will simply not be tolerated, the deputy leader added.

Claims proven to be false include one man who injured his elbow in a fight but instead claimed that his injury was caused by tripping on a pothole, while another was discovered to have both fallen from a bus and also tripped on pavement at the same time and half a mile away.

HSE prosecutes steel firm after injuries of two workers

The Health and Safety Executive has prosecuted a world-wide steel firm after it was reported that two of its employees, which may go on to make accident claims against their employers, were crushed beneath a falling door at a Workington factory.

The two injured men, fifty nine year old Geoff Anderson and fifty one year old Anthony Ryecroft, had been employed by Tata Steel UK Ltd at the time of the incident that may lead to their work accident claims.  Both employees had been endeavouring to repair a roller shutter door at the firm’s Workington plant in the wake of a forklift truck colliding with it.

During the prosecution at Workington Magistrates Court, the HES said that during the repair work, a collapse of a supporting pillar sent both the support structure and the 300kg metal door crashing down atop both men.  The personal injury claims of both men indicate that they each sustained badly broken legs, and a serious head wound also suffered by Mr Ryecroft during the incident saw him miss work for a period of fifteen months, while Mr Anderson was unable to return to work in the wake of the accident, taking voluntary redundancy as a result.

An HSE investigation discovered that the firm had neglected to carry out risk assessments properly prior to beginning the repair, thus putting both of its employees in danger.  As a result, Tata Steel UK Ltd admitted to breaching health and safety regulations, leading to a fine of £13,300 with additional court costs of £11,631 as well.

Holidaymakers digging out their winter sport gear

Personal injury solicitors brace for the inevitable influx of accident claims that are on the way, as holidaymakers begin to dig out their winter sport hear as they prepare to go to trips to ski resorts across Europe.

Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and France are all highly popular destinations for many Brits during the winter months.  However, it is all too common for the inherently risky nature of winter sport to result in personal injury claims for incidents occurring abroad.

While Brits who suffered injuries within the eurozone in the past have been able to receive sizable compensation awards, due to a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice, this will be changing in the immediate future.  Industry experts warn that the ruling could have dire consequences for Brits injured while abroad, as now the laws of the country where the injuries were sustained will be those used to determine the level of damages to which the injured party will be entitled.

As English law generally awards higher sums, there will be a vast reduction in compensation amounts in nearly all instances, experts warn.  In one example given, a Brit injured whilst on holiday in Spain could see only around £1.5 million or less for a claim involving paraplegia, yet UK laws would see the same claimant be awarded as much as an additional £2.5 million or more.

British claimants stand to lose big across other European countries as well, experts say.  Moreover, any eurozone travelers injured in the UK would see their payouts increase exponentially, which could possibly lead to increases in instances of fraud by foreign nationals.

Paralysed car technician launches motor accident claim

After he was left with paralysis from the neck down from an RTA involving a high performance vehicle, one car technician is launching a motor accident claim against his former employers, experts say.

Stephen Harris, thirty one years of age, had been working at the Maidstone, Kent Ferrari Centre as a car technician when he lost control of the Ferrari 348 TS that he had been test driving, careering into another vehicle in the process.  While the other vehicle’s occupant emerged from the incident relatively unscathed, Mr Harris sustained severe injuries which left him in need of 24 hour a day care due to being paralysed, according to his personal injury claims.

Now, the injured former car technician is launching a personal injury compensation claim against the Ferrari Centre on the basis that they were negligent by permitting him to conduct test drives on the open road in such a high performance vehicle.  Mr Harris also states that Roger Collingwood, his former boss, had told the injured man to ensure the Ferrari was running smoothly by taking the car up to 100 mph.

When approached for comment, Mr Collingwood denied any and all negligence in regards to Mr Harris’ injuries.  He also remarked that every employee of the Ferrari Centre were always given instructions to remain in complete compliance with the rules of the road, which included to never exceed any speed limits set by the Government.

Personal injury experts report that the case is understood to be heard by the courts sometime after the New Year.