Think your injury is bad? At least you can still send texts

Industry news roundup: week ended 24 June 2013:

Never mind that some poor bloke was nearly crushed to death and only ended up with £70,000 – one worker wants £150,000 because he can’t send texts anymore.

I had really thought I’d seen, heard, and read everything when it comes to personal injury claims, but I was so very wrong; this week, I found out about one man that is so upset at no longer being able to send texts on his mobile that he’s looking for £150,000 in personal injury compensation! Meanwhile, even as I read this ridiculous bit of news I was struck at the difference between him and another person who nearly died in a terrible personal injury at work, but only received £70,000 in damages, and I can only conclude that the world has gone absolutely mad.

Isaak Alpman, an IT specialist, says he tumbled down a flight of stairs while at work and sustained what his personal injury solicitors called ‘personal injuries,’ whatever in the world that means. Somewhere along the way he did something to his right index finger that rendered him unable to send texts or use other sorts of items that he usually does for work, so now he wants massive sums of cash because the stairwell was unsafe.

Listen, I’m not about to say that anyone wasn’t terribly injured or not – I wasn’t there and I can’t say for sure what happened. But £150,000 for a crooked finger seems more than a bit mad to me – especially when other people have received much less for injuries much more severe – like when a metal cutting tool weighing well over a tunne landed atop an engineer so spectacularly that onlookers thought he had been instantly crushed to death!

David Hynds found himself trapped between the floor and a girder support when the massive tool fell 13 feet to the ground below, sustaining life-threatening fractures to his vertebrae. Unbelievably it just took five minutes for the 52 year old man to extricate himself safely from his position, and he was left with some quite severe and long-lasting injuries.

Mr Hynds, who is undoubtedly a very lucky man to have escaped with his life – considering how one of his colleauges was convinced Mr Hynds had been slain instantly in the accident as he observed it –  found that since the accident he had both enough physical pain and post-traumatic stress that he simply could not return to work in any sort of reliable capacity. As a result he brought a compensation claim against his employers and received a £70,000 compensation package for his trouble.

In other words, one man gets a one-tonne weight dropped on him and is satisfied with only £70,000, so where does another man get off with asking for £150,000 for a crooked finger?

Work accidents could spell financial disaster for two firms

Industry news roundup: week ended 17 June 2013:

Everyone knows that personal injury at work can lead to serious repercussions, and not just Health and Safety fines – work accident claims can be killer!

In fact, not one but two firms have been in the news lately for some severe workplace accidents, the first being an incident serious enough to lead to the unfortunate death of one worker. West Yorkshire native David Vickers, a 37 year old construction worker employed by Adis Scaffolding, sadly lost his life when he was crushed under an overturned truck, leading to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.

According to HSE investigators, the truck overturned because the skip it had been lifting had not been secured properly to it, unbalancing the large vehicle and causing it to upend. Mr Vickers’ employer was found to be in violation of several Health and Safety rules and has been fined an absolute fortune of some £420,000 in combined fines and court costs, but there could very well be even more costs on the horizon for the construction firm in the event that Mr Vickers’ surviving family members decide to sue the bloody trousers off the firm – and if you ask me, it’s more than even money that they will try to squeeze every penny they can from Adis Scaffolding!

Luckily the next incident in the news wasn’t fatal, though this doesn’t minimise the amount of suffering the poor man went through when an accident left him with a damaged eye and broken cheekbone when an air hose whipped his face. The injured man – whose identity has been kept a secret due to legal and privacy reasons – was busily cleaning a paint fume filter for the European branch of multinational firm Faltec when he disengaged the air hose of his sprayer without venting it first, which caused the terribly painful incident.

The HSE investigated this incident as well, discovering that Faltec didn’t give enough instruction to the worker regarding how to operate the sprayer, especially when it came to warnings about disconnecting a pressurised air hose. The employee never received the proper training or information, HSE inspectors determined, and as a result the poor man suffered life-changing injuries; the incident left him with permanent damage to one eye, resulting in visual impairment!

If there’s anything that will be an expensive personal injury compensation claim, it’s going to be that one once the injured worker gets time to find a decent injury lawyer. I don’t envy Faltec Europe at all – they’re going to be taken to the cleaners!

It’s no fun at all being the victim of a serious injury, now is it?

Industry news roundup: week ended 10 June 2013:

Much has been said about the massive personal injury compensation payouts that accident victims can get, but the pain of injury isn’t exactly fun, you know.

In fact, there were two major news stories this week recounting how people have been privy to massive damages awards thanks to their hard-working personal injury solicitors. Both payouts were well over £1 million, but it’s not like these claimants are going to be sitting back and living the good life now – they have serious medical conditions that need looking after; this cash goes towards such care, not an all-expenses holiday somewhere sunny and warm.

Think about it: do you think it was fun for poor Rebecca Coles to collide with a boat as she was being towed in an inflatable ring in Suffolk on the River Orwell? The 19 year old was injured so badly that a piece of her skull had to be removed in order to help her recover – and that recovery includes permanent mobility impairment as well as reduced hearing and vision thanks to her brain injuries – so don’t think that the £1.37 million being paid to her is going to be living the high life any time soon.

Likewise the claimant in a personal injury compensation claim that just won some £10 million in damages isn’t going to be rubbing elbows with Richard Branson anytime soon. James Kennedy, a recruitment consultant living and working in Rome at the time of the incident, won the compensation award after the details of a catastrophic accident left him with massive brain injuries; the 37 year old man was struck by a vehicle driven by a Catholic priest of all people, who then fled the scene temporarily before a very angry crowd chased after him and bloodied his face; say what you want about Italians but they don’t let behaviour like that stand, especially from a priest!

Meanwhile, poor Mr Kennedy isn’t going back to Rome any time soon, considering how the accident left him with absolutely crippling injuries. In fact, he was in a coma for ten long months following the incident, only to awake with the kinds of life-changing injuries that require medical care for the rest of his life – something that absolutely contributed to the massive payout on his car accident claim.

For the priest’s part, I heard he was sentenced to a month in prison and slapped with a hefty fine. Good, I say – no man of God would flee the scene of a horrific accident, much less one that actually caused it in the first place!

Government and local authorities taken for a ride

Industry news roundup: week ended 3 June 2013:

Individuals bringing personal injury claims against the government and local authorities alike are making off with thousands of pounds for all sorts of things.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like every news story I stumbled across this week had something to do with someone soaking either the cash-strapped government or a local authority for thousands of pounds. Now, I’m not saying that the injured shouldn’t be compensated for their loss, but sometimes these personal injury compensation claims seem a bit spurious, especially when I read about some of the claims that the Ministry of Defence has paid out over the past few years.

In fact, more than £1.4 million has been paid out by the MoD over a three year period of time. Some are more or less all right, especially in the event that low-flying aircraft coming by and startling livestock or pets so badly that they end up injured or even dead – if you’re flying a bloody fighter jet at 500mph and you’re only 1,000 feet up off the ground, you’re going to cause some property damage, and I feel terribly for the owner of a pet parrot whose bird died after one jet passed over its house in a screaming scramble.

However, I really don’t think it’s necessary to pay out on claims to therapy groups that were supposedly ‘disturbed’ by the jets passing close by. I suppose I’m more sympathetic to animals than I am human beings!

Of course it’s not just the government that’s gotten itself into legal hot water – local authorities get raked over the coals all the time. Nottingham City Council And Notts County Council have together paid out some £565,000 over the past five years alone – and that’s just from accidents occurring on school ground!

Inadequate training, slips and trips, and defective equipment have all been blamed on the injuries sustained by students, staff and teachers alike. Injuries sustained through the not-so judicious application of force on the part of particularly horrid students whilst not properly supervised have also caused more than a few headaches, though the worst offenders seem to be improperly gritted pavements during the winter months.

There have been nearly 75 separate claims since April of 2008, sources say. Nottingham City Council has paid around £255,000 in compensation, while the county council has paid out an even larger sum of around £310,000 if you can believe it!