The employee of a Birmingham-based metal recycling company suffered a broken arm in a personal injury at work when the appendage was caught in a conveyor belt, leading to the Health and Safety Executive to fine his employers.
Twenty eight year old worker, unidentified by anything but by his home town of Blackheath, had been working to clear a blockage on one of the scrap metal conveyor belts at the Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Ltd’s Nechells plant when the injury occurred. According to the man’s personal injury claims, he had initially attempted to clear the blockage by using a mop before then trying to dislodge the metal by reaching in and using his right hand to do so, only to have his glove become trapped.
With his glove lodged in-between a rotating roller and the conveyor itself, his arm was dragged into the machine, causing soft tissue damage to his wrist and breaking his right arm in the incident. The anonymous worker’s injuries were so serious that he was off work for nine months straight in order for him to make a full recovery from his work accident.
According to HSE investigators, there were no safety guards fitted to the conveyor belt, which meant that anyone could have been able to reach inside and have their hands come into contact with the dangerous moving parts of the machine. Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Ltd was prosecuted by the HSE, leading to the company pleading guilty to breaching Health and Safety regulations and earning Hawkeswood a £50,000 fine.
Labour MP Stella Creasy has once again made her displeasure known with the government for their inaction when it comes to doing more to manage high costs incurred by no win no fee lawyers when it comes to medical negligence claims.
Official figures say that medical negligence claims costs incurred by the NHS have increased by a massive £10 billion over the last five years, resulting in a massive £16.6 billion legal bill. However, Ms Creasy has taken issue with the fact that the Department of Health has neither conducted an investigation into why this has been happening nor have they acted to curb this massive rise.
The Labour MP says that while she has become accustomed to government departments being sluggish when it comes to getting a handle on suddenly rising costs from her time on the Public Accounts Committee, with the National Audit Office reporting that 15 per cent of the government’s liabilities now originate from medical negligence cases, something must be done. Those suffering harm due to mistakes made on the part of medical staff are entitled to make personal injury claims, Ms Creasy said, but with medical technologies leading to longer life expectancies, people with severe conditions are living longer and requiring much larger personal injury compensation payments as a result – but this is not enough to account for the massive liability increases.
The Labour MP says that one out of every three pounds paid out by the NHS Litigation Authority goes directly to law firms on average. However, some claimants have received settlements that have been dwarfed by the costs incurred in pursuing a claim; this must be remedied, Ms Creasy said in order to reduce costs.
While the number of road traffic accidents declined again last year, the number of personal injury claims involving RTAs has gone up, according to insurance industry analysts.
Research says that Brits drove less last year in in an effort to reduce the amount of cash they had to spend on petrol, with the knock-on effect being that there were 11 per cent fewer injurious car accidents in 2011. However, the number of car accident claims related to road accidents did not follow this trend but actually increased by 18 per cent, indicating that a growing number of those involved in RTAs are looking for personal injury compensation – with whiplash claims being one of the most common.
If these trends continue over the course of 2012 and beyond, the results could be disastrous for not just the insurance industry but the motoring public, as a projected cost increase of £400 million annually for insurers would mean even more premium price increases for motorists as insurers seek to recover their increased costs from their policyholders. However, there is currently legislation being considered by the government that could lead to a cap being placed on the amount law firms and claims management companies can be paid for representing personal injury clients by banning ‘success fees’ from being paid by the losing side and instead requiring law firms to take their payment from the compensation payouts of their clients.
Such a plan could curb rampant ‘ambulance chasing’ behaviour that many have accused the personal injury law community of engaging in, experts say, which drives up claims volume to the point of bringing spurious or even fraudulent injury claims.
One teacher who was paralysed whilst welly wanging is currently pursuing £5 million in personal injury compensation, it was recently reported.
Glennroy Blair-Ford, a forty five year old native of Bromley, in South London, had been at Devon adventure centre with a group of pupils on an activity holiday when the incident that left him paralysed from the neck down occurred, according to his accident claim. Mr Blair-Ford, who had been asked to participate in a welly wanging competition – a contest to throw a Wellington boot as far as you can – when he fell and sustained catastrophic injury.
The former head of technology and design had been tossing the boot backwards from in between his legs in order to handicap his performance against that of his pupils, but Mr Blair-Ford instead fell forward head-first as he was taking his turn, sustaining a broken neck that left him permanently paralysed and completely dependent on full time care as well as ventilator support in order to allow him to breathe for as many as twenty three hours out of the day.
The catastrophically injured man has launched a personal injury claim against CRS Adventures Ltd, the owners of the adventure centre. Mr Blair-Ford’s personal injury solicitors claim that CRS Adventures neglected to warn the injured man about the potential risks involved in welly wanging, with the £5 million compensation figure necessary to fund the support and care the paralysed man will need in order to live.
The Devon-based firm has denied any and all liability for the incident, based on the grounds that any potential risk of such serious injury could not possibly have been foreseen.
Medical negligence has played a part in one woman’s rampant growth after medical staff missed a tumour on her pituitary gland that caused her to grow to a massive 6 feet, 5 inches in height, though NHS officials and the woman’s personal injury solicitors have yet to come to an agreement on the amount of personal injury compensation she is entitled to.
Kate Woodward, a former drama student who had attained a height of 5 feet, 9 inches by the age of eleven, recently launched a medical negligence personal injury compensation claim against the NHS Trust for Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Ms Woodward claims that her excessive growth is the result of improper treatment at the hands of both the Leeds General Infirmary and the St James’s University Hospital, and has precluded her from becoming a working actor, her childhood dream, as her uncommon height means that she is a poor fit for any sort of cinema or theatre career.
Ms Woodward, who now resides in Sidmouth, Devon, but spent her formative years in Leeds, took legal advice that led to her decision to make a claim against the NHS for £2 million in damages. Her legal team says that the excessively tall woman also suffers from psychological problems and bone abnormalities due to the effect of the tumour on her pituitary gland, all as a result of medical staff neglecting to diagnose the tumour correctly.
The NHS Trust has agreed that it is liable for Ms Woodward’s abnormal growth. However, the amount of damages the NHS is willing to pay is a much reduced £698,000. A hearing which could result in a final figure being decided upon is currently ongoing.
In the heat of a moment or right after a road traffic accident or a slip and trip, it can be hard to keep in mind the right things to do – but once you’ve made sure that you or anyone else involved in the accident is physically safe, experts say you’ve got some legal responsibilities to keep in mind – especially if you think you may be making or be involved in an accident claim.
One of the most important things to do once you’re no longer in the thick of it is to write everything down in order to create a record of events. This is especially important if you think you may have to make a personal injury compensation claim, as you’ll need to supply the names and addresses of anyone and everyone who was at the scene of the accident, both those directly involved and those who simply witnessed the incident; if you’re doing this on behalf of an incapacitated victim, make sure you take accurate notes for their personal injury lawyers.
In addition to writing everything down, you should supplement this with taking photographs of the aftermath of a particular accident. With nearly every mobile phone having a camera built into it at this point, it’s easy to take a series of snaps to document the state of the pavement you tripped over or the state of your vehicle after a road accident, and claimants that have photographic evidence prevail much more often than those who do not.
Finally – and this could be the most important tip – you need to keep everything organised in a file or a folder. Just keeping all your paperwork in the same, easily accessible place will make it much easier for you to manage the stress that comes with making an accident claim.