Tragic ends and close calls in the news this week

Personal injury is never a laughing matter, especially when someone pays the ultimate price – but for every fatal occurrence there’s one that’s miraculous, too.

On the sad and tragic side of the news is how poor Mark Nyland lost his life in a rather gruesome accident at work. Mr Nyland, who was a lorry driver, ended up pinned between his lorry and a heavy loading shovel driven by a Kenneth Miller, a colleague who worked at the Milton Landfill Site with him. The ironic part is that the area of the landfill that the accident occurred was supposed to be a ‘safe area,’ where it was prohibited to use large vehicles near pedestrians.

Mr Nyland’s surviving family is likely to go after Miller with a vengeance, especially since the man died so young. I wouldn’t want to be in that loading shovel driver’s shoes right now, though I do sympathise with Mr Nyland’s relatives; it’s a senseless, tragic death.

Luckily not all the news is so dour and depressing this week. In fact, the accident solicitors can take a holiday with this next incident: two bricklayers miraculously avoided serious injury after plummeting from the second storey of a collapsing building.  The two workers – a son and his father that have requested their identities be kept confidential – had been contracted to work on the building as it was being renovated, but Clark Brothers, the construction firm in charge of the whole affair, neglected to run any sort of risk assessment on the building.

Well, it turns out the second floor of the building just wasn’t structurally sound enough to hold the weight of all those bricks, and it triggered a collapse that sent the pair of workers tumbling down. Somehow in all the tumult they managed to avoid anything more than just a few cuts and scrapes, which is absolutely miraculous considering that an entire bloody building came down around them, not to mention all those heavy bricks and masonry!

It’s nice to hear a news story involving a work accident that didn’t result in workers ending up in hospital. It’s so rare to have a ‘happy ending’ to a story like that, but that’s as happy as it can get: our heroes walk out without getting injured and live to fight another day. Of course, Clark Brothers had to pay a hefty fine to the Health and Safety Executive, but it sounds like they deserve that!

Since when are bus drivers and doctors out to kill you?

Industry news roundup: week ended 19 Aug 2013:

Sometimes it feels like it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed, especially when you’re at danger from duplicitous bus drivers and exhausted junior doctors!

I know it sounds a bit strange, but just go with me on this one: a bus driver actually put innocent passengers at risk because he was involved in a ‘cash for crash’ scheme. I just heard about this: the Sheffield bus driver, Adam Herbert, was in cahoots with a group of fraudsters that packed his bus so he could intentionally prang a car from behind, despite the fact that the handful of passengers  that weren’t in on the scheme could have been seriously hurt.

You know it’s bastards like this that give the personal injury compensation field a bad name. This slimy, underhanded criminal allegedly tried to pull off the massive scam so 26 co-conspirators could make bogus whiplash injury claims – can you believe it?

The bus company was puzzled why there were some 30 or 40 passengers on the vehicle at the time of the incident, especially because on any other given day there were usually only around six to eight people normally riding the bus at that time. It discovered that the handful of passengers that weren’t actually involved in the shameless stunt that it was actually a very minor bump and couldn’t have possibly caused the more than two dozen whiplash injuries other passengers were claiming, and once the bus company began to investigate the whole terrible scam unraveled.

Lucky there weren’t any actual serious injuries – it turns out that sometimes it’s more dangerous to go get treated for injury at hospital! New research I read this week indicated that junior doctors at NHS hospitals are so overworked that they feel so exhausted and demoralised that fears run high that these poor individuals are making mistakes that lead to medical negligence.

Many junior doctors work absolutely insane hours. 12 day rotations and 100 hour weeks are not uncommon for final year medical students and junior doctors alike, and the incredible amounts of pressure these medical staff are under is making fears run rampant – and with absolutely good reason, if you ask me!

Hopefully this is going to change very soon, because if it doesn’t NHS hospitals are going to be some of the least safest places to be if you’re injured or sick. It’s not the fault of these junior doctors, either – it’s the administrative staff that have abandoned these poor blokes and birds!

Big claims this week, some of which may not be deserved

Industry news roundup: week ended 12 Aug 2013:

Usually when I hear of the injured leaving court with massive personal injury compensation awards, I’m happy – but sometimes it seems a bit suspect.

Most of the time, it’s comforting to read about large personal injury compensation claims being awarded to injured parties. For instance, there was one young man, who was left with massive brain injuries after he was struck by a car whilst on his bicycle several years ago, who received some £5.3 million for his pain and suffering, and that made me just incredibly happy to know that the poor bloke’s medical needs would be sorted for the rest of his life.

Believe it or not, the 24 year old man, who had the near-fatal accident at the age of 16, was found to be 50 per cent responsible for the road traffic accident! Sadly he wasn’t wearing a helmet and he hadn’t fitted his bicycle with any lights, which unfortunately contributed to the accident happening in the first place; still, it takes two to tango as the saying goes, and even though he ‘only’ got 50 per cent of what he would have received otherwise in compensation, the poor bloke should at least be all right with a cool £5 million, right?

Of course, not every story is as satisfying – at least not to me. In fact sometimes I’m left incensed and fuming after reading a news story – which is exactly how I felt after one NHS executive has walked away with not just a £24,000 a year pension but also a lump sum payment of £370,000 simply because he was ‘too stressed’ by his position to continue working.

Apparently it’s a terribly difficult job overseeing an NHS hospital, what with the sitting around on your bum all day in a nice office and yelling at doctors who amputate the wrong limb or leave their surgical equipment inside people’s bodies after appendectomies. I swear this bloke had probably the easiest job in the world but it still gave him heart palpitations and left him passed out on the floor of his (most likely well-appointed) office, and for that he was given more money than he probably knows what to do with or even needs.

I’m sorry but I just can’t muster up much sympathy for the man, not with the state of the economy being what it is. I’m sure he wasn’t driving a 20-year-old Vauxhall Astra or something similar to and from his council housing whilst he was putting in all those hours at that hospital, you know?

MoJ abandons claimants, NHS ignores guidance

Industry news roundup: week ended 5 Aug 2013:

Seems to me this week that the news is full of people just simply not listening to each other and going off and doing their own wrongheaded way once more.

First up, did you hear how the Ministry of Justice has plans to regulate the personal injury compensation industry by moving a higher number of  claims into the small claims courts? This will supposedly reduce the strain on the nation’s judicial system and make it less expensive for the Government to operate, which is fantastic, but it seems that the Ministry has forgotten one very important thing: moving these cases to small claims leaves claimants responsible for their own legal costs, even in the event of a win.

Maybe you’re not aware of this, but it costs an arm and a leg to bring a legal proceeding, even in small claims courts. There’s a reason the no win no fee solicitor market is such a strong one: you’d be hard-pressed to pay for all the court costs and legal fees out of pocket otherwise. With the Ministry locking out so many possible claimants, there’s a serious risk that individuals in dire need of compensation will be unable to afford to bring a claim – especially if they’re out of work due to their injuries!

It’s a clear case of the Government just not listening to anyone and seeking out its own best interests instead of the best interests of its citizenry. Is it any wonder that most have absolutely no respect for those bastards down in Whitehall?

Almost to prove the point, there was another news story this week how shedloads of NHS trusts across the UK have been thumbing their nose at Government guidance for nearly ten years straight. Currently, the Government says it would rather NHS hospitals not permit personal injury solicitors from running adverts in hospital wards or in A&E departments, but there are 40 NHS trusts that are doing just that, despite the fact that the Government has been going on and on about it since 2014.

Honestly I can see why – some hospitals get £100,000 a year or more for running adverts. With the operating costs of your average hospital being what they are, it makes financial sense – on the other hand do you really want to be the unlucky person having themselves a nice, uncomfortable hospital stay due to an injury and have to be bombarded with legal adverts at every turn? Why, it would be enough for me to go mad after just a day or so!