Stonemason asking for £200k after work accident

One stonemason is looking for in excess of £200,000 in personal injury compensation after he was severely injured in an accident at work, it was recently reported.

41 year old Malcolm Hutcheon had been working on historic Kildrummy Castle in January of 2009 on behalf of Historic Scotland, but suffered severe injuries when he tumbled into the historic ruin’s ancient moat, work accident claim experts say.  Mr Hutcheon had been working with three other experts in clearing away moss from the ruins when the temporary bridge under his feet gave way, causing him to plummet approximately three metres into the dry moat.

Mr Hutcheon recently filed a compensation claim at Edinburgh’s Court of Session, claiming that his injuries were so severe that he had been left in need of a surgical procedure in order to treat the damage, even after two years had passed since the incident had initially occurred.  One of the top stonemasons in Scotland prior to the accident, Mr Hutcheon now asserts in his accident claim that his ability to undertake work has been diminished quite severely, leaving him quite disadvantaged when it comes to performing on the job.

The 41 year old claims that he is in constant pain and cannot walk without a pronounced limp.  The worst experiences he has are on rough terrain, where he finds walking to be quite a struggle; walking long distances is also painful and tiring, Mr Hutcheon also reported.

Historic Scotland has declined to comment on the ongoing legal matter.

Liverpool: whiplash claim capital of the UK

A new survey has discovered that Liverpool could be considered the whiplash capital of the UK, as the number of whiplash claims being made within the city leaves the rest of the country’s figures to pale in comparison.

22 out of every 1,000 people in Liverpool reported suffering from whiplash after a road traffic accident, which beat out both Uxbridge’s 21 and Oldham’s 20 to claim the dubious honour of the top spot.  However, there are parts of Scotland that boast much lower figures, such as the Dundee and Edinburgh areas that have only three whiplash-related claims for every thousand general car accident claims, the survey discovered.

Spurious claims cost £2 billion every year the insurance industry says, which can account to an additional £90 being tacked on to every motorist’s insurance policy as a result.  Things have gotten much worse in only a few years, as whiplash claims have rocket by 70 per cent over the second half of the last decade, even as the number of accidents actually declined by 23 per cent over the same period of time.

Scotland seems to have the safest and most honest drivers place in nearly every instance, as a Freedom of Information request discovered that 90 per cent of the postcodes with the least number of whiplash-related claims occurred within the country.  Industry experts say that this could be the result of a legal system which has much more stringent controls in place than in other regions of the UK.

£4m in medical negligence damages awarded to young girl

One young girl was recently awarded £4 million in medical negligence damages after it was found that injuries she sustained at her birth were due to mistakes made by medical staff, it has recently been reported.

Little ‘Baby B,’ as she has been known in court – as her true identity has been kept confidential in order to preserve her anonymity – suffered devastating brain damage during her delivery in April of 2007 in Ashford, Kent at the William Harvey Hospital.  Due to the errors medical professionals made at the hospital – which is the responsibility of the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust – Baby B was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a condition that leaves her paralysed and unable to care for herself in nearly any way whatsoever.  The young girl’s parents took the NHS Trust to task, making a personal injury compensation claim on their daughter’s behalf, and now London’s High Court has handed down their decision: the hospital’s failure to perform a caesarean section in a timely manner was responsible for the injuries that led to her cerebral palsy.

As a result, the NHS Trust now must pay the family compensatory damages of £1.6 million in a lump sum payment, and then pay an additional payment of between £185,000 and £270,000 for the rest of the child’s life.  The payments will go towards providing the now five year old Baby B with the lifetime care she so desperately needs.

The NHS Trust was not immediately available for comment in the wake of the court decision.

Work accident leaves joiner paralysed, parish council fined

An accident at work has left one joiner paralysed and the parish council he had been working for with both a serious fine and the responsibility to pay the injured man personal injury compensation, it was recently reported.

The self-employed joiner, whose has gone unnamed so far, had been part of a team working at South Kensington’s St Paul’s Church, where the building was being fitted with an adjustable floor at the time of the incident.  However, the man suffered a fall from height as the balcony railing he had been leaning upon dropped under his weight, sending him plummeting three metres to the floor below and causing a broken shoulder, several broken ribs, a broken back, and spinal injuries that have made it impossible for him to move below his waist.

Last April, the Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Holy Trinity Brompton parish council at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where the council admitted to being responsible for the accident by failing to place a temporary high barrier on the balcony to eliminate the possibility of any falls from height, earning th council a fine of £5,000.  There was such a barrier in place shortly before the incident occurred, but after complaints were made about how difficult it was to move materials on the worksite it was removed.

The parish council will also be providing damages to the unnamed joiner for his life-changing injuries, according to an article in the Kensington and Chelsea Chronicle newspaper, though no further information has been made available as to how much compensation the man will receive.

Employee loses thumb in gruesome printing press accident

One Northamptonshire-based adhesive company employee lost his left thumb in a gruesome printing press accident whilst on the job, according injury claims experts familiar with the case.

A teenage agency worker that had been doing work for Latrave Ltd, whose name has not been made a matter of public record, sustained the injury to his left hand at the adhesive tape manufacturer’s Wellingborough plant as he tried to remedy a known fault in a printing press.  However, his left hand was pulled within the press, causing massive damage to the digit, and necessitating his being rushed by air ambulance to the Royal Derby Hospital for emergency treatment.

Unfortunately, even the surgeons at the hospital’s specialist hand unit were not able to treat the wound, resulting in the complete amputation of his thumb.  The Government’s Health and Safety Executive learned of the incident, launching an investigation into the teenager’s injuries and the circumstances surrounding it and discovering that the inexperienced agency worker had been given instructions on fixing the problm with the printing press whilst it was still in operation.

The HSE, which presented its evidence in Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court, also found the printing press had been missing a safety guard and that the worker had been trained in a completely unsafe manner.  This led to Latrave Ltd to plead guilty to breaching health and safety regulations, with the courts fining he Wellingborough, Northamptonshire firm £8,000.

One inspector for the HSE issued a statement in the wake of the hearing, warning that the watchdog would not hesitate to take action against firms who neglected their responsibilities towards their workers in providing a safe work environment.

HSE prosecutes engineering firm from Gloucstershire

The Health and Safety Executive is at it yet again, this time prosecuting an engineering firm based in Gloucestershire after one of its employees sustained serious injuries to his head in an accident on the job.

Cheltenham native, Grzegorz Chylenski, had been working for PG Components Ltd, a component engineering company, to operate a computer numerically controlled machine at the time the incident occurred.  The thirty three year old man had reached into the machine in order to retrieve a dropped component, but as he did so, moving mechanical parts struck him on the head, according to testimony given at a hearing in Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court, causing severe personal injury to Mr Chylenski, including a lacerated ear and face and a fracture to his jaw.

The HSE conducted an investigation into the incident, revealing that while the machine Mr Chylenski had been using had indeed been fitted with a safety device that precluded the machine from working while its doors were in an open position, the safety device had been purposely disabled in order to increase the speed of the production cycle, demonstrating a complete disregard for the safety hazard this was to the engineering company’s employees.

The Cheltenham, Gloucestershire firm pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations at the hearing, leading to PG Components (Cheltenham) Ltd to having to pay a fine of £11,200 for the role it played in Mr Chylenski’s injuries.  The engineering company was also told to pay a total of £2.777.60 in court costs as well, while the injured worker was given a personal injury compensation payout of £2,500.

93% of Brits support government clampdown on whiplash claims

An overwhelming majority of Brits are completely fed up with the personal injury compensation sector, with a massive 93 per cent supporting any government clampdown on accident claims involving whiplash, a new survey recently discovered.

Two out of every three drivers surveyed by the research study said that the government’s new proposed plans to subject whiplash claims to closer medical scrutiny because the UK’s ‘compensation culture’ has gotten completely out of hand.  Meanwhile, an additional 27 per cent remarked that the new proposals, which would see alleged victims of whiplash assessed by independent doctor panels, were needed in order to stop car insurance costs from going up any more than they already have.

People are simply fed up with having to fit the legal bill for the insurance industry as a result of the surge of whiplash claims, experts say, as current estimates exist that claim whiplash-related legal matters cost insurers £2 billion in compensation payments in 2011 alone, and that this £2 billion is recovered from honest, harried motorists by raising the average premium price by around £90.  Insurance specialists have welcomed the new proposals as well, adding that it’s another important step in managing motoring costs for UK drivers.

Industry experts said they were encouraged to see the government continuing to take action, much as they did last year in banning personal injury lawyers from taking referral fees, which were found to be one of the biggest reasons the number of car accident claim figures were rising at such an unmanageable pace.  Things had gotten so bad that, even though the number of car accidents have gone down by around 23 per cent over the last six years, the number of claims being made had actually increased by a factor of 70 per cent – something industry insiders blamed on lawyers and claims management companies flogging lists of personal details purchased from insurers to look for drivers interested in making a claim.

Are lawyers encouraging GPs to exaggerate claimant injuries?

While the joke of the ‘ambulance chasing’ personal injury solicitor firm is an old one, now it seems that some personal injury lawyers are following the ambulance right into the hospital, with new reports emerging that GPs are being encouraged to exaggerate when asked about the nature of claimant’s injuries.

Ironically named accident claim specialist firm Claim Time Solicitors stood accused of exerting pressure upon medical professionals to report that the injuries sustained by claimants was much worse than it actually was.  One of the firm’s former employees recently testified at a tribunal that she had been made redundant shortly after she voiced her concerns about her employer’s practice, with another source, a consultant surgeon with the NHS, informing the Sunday Telegraph newspaper that he would no longer carry out medical assessments on clients of Claim Time, as he was growing tired of being told to alter his medical findings.

These new allegations only add fuel to the fire about how far the so-called ‘compensation culture’ has spread in the UK.  Whiplash-related claims are seen to be driving this for the most part, as whiplash injuries cannot be proven through medical testing such as X-rays and instead relay solely upon expert testimony from medical professionals.

Insurers say that whiplash claims are costing them a massive £2 billion on an annual basis.  This adds around £90 on average to the typical motorist’s premium, as insurance providers pass along their costs to their customers.

Claim Time, a Birmingham-based solicitor firm established by Rizwan Shabir and Yousaf Khan in 2005, features television adverts with British-Asian actors speaking in both Urdu and English.  The firm generates so much business volume that it has paid £300,000 to one NHS doctor for assessing its clients over a two-year period.

APIL calls for action on asbestos-injury last resort fund

The victims of asbestos exposure in the UK have been fighting hard for recompense for a while now, and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers wants them taken care of by calling for action to be taken on a last resort fund to be set up by the Government and the insurance industry.

The Government wrapped up its consultation on the feasibility of such a fund two years ago, a fact that the APIL has begun to say is more than long enough when it comes to providing personal injury compensation for workers suffering from asbestos-related illnesses, such as the aggressive lung cancer known as mesothelioma.  The need for such a fund is an urgent one, says Karl Tonks, APIL president, as these injured workers are in dire need of compensation.

Asbestos-related injuries are often quite difficult to be compensated for, as exposure usually occurs many years in the past whilst at work.  The intervening time between then and now can result in destroyed or lost insurance records, leaving many retired workers suffering through the final stages of their ailments – mesothelioma is of significant concern due to the terminal nature of the disease, with a nearly 100 per cent mortality rate, and compensation could serve to ease these unfortunate workers as they face their final moments.

It can sometimes the luck of the draw for those who were exposed to asbestos decades previously, as insurers can disappear or shut their doors by the time the need to make a claim arises, Mr Tonks said.  However, it’s wrong to penalise these workers simply for outliving their insurance firms, and shouldn’t have had to face nearly certain death for simply showing up for work, the APIL president added.

NHS pays £1m to retired paramedic for botched surgery

One retired paramedic finally got more than a ‘sorry, mate’ from the NHS, after he received more than £1 million in personal injury compensation for a surgery that left him severely disabled after a botched brain surgery.

John Tunney, a sixty three year old pensioner from the West Midlands, had been undergoing a surgical procedure in order to biopsy his pituitary gland when surgeons from Coventry’s Walsgrave Hospital removed a healthy part of his brain by mistake.  Mr Tunney had been suffering from problems suspected to be linked to his thyroid, which led to the necessity of a biopsy, medical experts remarked.

Mr Tunney was left severely disabled after the botched surgery and in need of the kind of care that is both expensive and exhausting, as the surgery caused a massive brain haemorrhage that did even more damage.  Nearly helpless without the assistance of family members, the disabled man made a medical negligence claim against the NHS Trust for the area after it came to light that there wasn’t any reason to open up his brain in the first place, as it turns out that medical staff neglected to carefully check one of Mr Tunney’s earlier blood tests.

Instead, the retired paramedic had been suffering from a condition called prolactinoma, easily treated with medication and completely benign, according to the blood test’s results.  The NHS Trust awarded Mr Tunney compensation in excess of seven figures after admitting liability.

Pamela, Mr Tunney’s wife, was understandably outraged upon discovering this little tidbit of information, as she said in a recent interview.  It was bad enough that surgeons completely bungled the procedure in the first place, she added.