Arctic cruise company admits liability for accident claim

After three years of negotiations, An Arctic cruise ship operator that ventured dangerously close to a glacier admits liability for the accident claim the manoeuvre caused.

The cruise was circumnavigating the Norwegian Svalbard islands in order to showcase the beautiful wildlife and sights in the area to its passengers when the incident that lead to the personal injury claim occurred.  As the ship pulled up alongside the Hornbreen glacier in order to get a close look at the gargantuan floating island of ice, the glacier went through a process called “calving” where a large piece breaks off the surface and falls into the ocean.  The ship was caught in the aftermath of the calving, causing it to be buffeted by a large wave that resulted in the ship listing 45 degrees and sending its passengers scattering across the deck like ninepins.

Kent Councillor Julian Benington was one of those injured in the iceberg calving incident.  Now after a three year legal battle with personal injury lawyers, the Councillor has finally come out on top in his tussle with the operator of the cruise ship in his battle for personal injury compensation.

This declaration of victory has been made because Discover the World Ltd, the operator of the tour, has admitted liability for the incident.  While there had originally been a trial set to determine responsibility for the incident for March of next year, after this latest development it will no longer be a necessity.

One of sixteen injured cruise ship passengers, Councillor Benington and his fellow group claim members are predicted to soon be in receipt of the personal injury compensation they have been seeking for the past three years.  Among the injured was the Councillor’s wife, Valerie, as well.

Lawyers altering strategy amidst personal injury claims increase

Just as many firms will screen and job candidate that comes before them through a hiring process, personal injury lawyers will begin to use online resources to root out evidence that may indicate fraudulent or false injury claims.   The aim of the new activity will be to reduce the amount of insurance fraud inevitably leads to increased costs for insurer, which is then passed along to customers through an increase in premium rates.

A shocking number of those who are seeking personal injury compensation , whether it be a purposeful injury or an accidental one, has been contradicted through a process in which comments or pictures posted to websites refute the claimants’ statements.

While originally there was uncertainty over the veracity of online evidence in regards to reducing fraudulent claims, data has shown the practice is garnering results.

The competition for clients in the personal injury sector has rocketed due to the recent increase in claims, and many lawyers have adopted the “no win no fee” model in order to drum up more business.  Because of the practice no win no fee lawyers, since they only generate revenue on winning cases, have become much more vigilant in accepting clients in order to control costs.

One method employed by both prosecution and defense to control those costs is by a thorough website examination to weed out any false claims.  The rising rate that online investigations are performed should impact the size of settlements made by insurance companies, experts say.  Additionally the practice will result in people who have true, legitimate cases receive the compensation they require.

Medical negligence claim to total more than £1 million

Almost 100 victims and bereaved relatives of the recent medical negligence scandal from Stafford NHS will be receiving more than £1 million in compensatory damages in the wake of the most massive group claim made against one hospital in the UK.

The total figure of victims who survived and families of patients who died after receiving abysmal levels of medical care stands at 97.  Each will receive payments of as much as £27,500 in personal injury compensation.

The total settlement in aggregate offered by the trust is for £1.1 million,  in addition to an apology for each individual case.  The trust however made no admission that the hospital’s failings resulted in human rights violations.

Media and industry insiders are calling the series of incidents the most serious hospital scandal in over ten years.  A public inquiry is slated to begin sometime in the near future.

In 2009 inspectors discovered that death expectations for the hospital were exceeded by the hundreds between the years of 2005 and 2008.  Conditions at the site were reported to be “appalling” by some observers.

Some examples of such failures to provide adequate care included Emergency and Accident patients having their treatment decided by hospital receptionists and patients suffering from dehydration resorting to drink from flower vases in order to get some water into their systems.

While hospital managers made attempts to hit targets and cut costs, as many as 1,200 needless patient deaths may have occurred over the three year period.

The personal injury claims of the 97 plaintiffs in this case include 84 instances of death and covers instances of medical negligence ranging from 2002 to the current year.

Payouts for the compensation claims range from £27,500 at the highest to just £1,000 at the low end of the spectrum. The average compensation payment for those who suffered through and survived failure in care levels, and also for bereaved relatives of deceased patients, stands at approximately £11,000.

Accident claim handling firm reports lukewarm profits

After having no choice but to issue a profit warning recently, the wheels may be falling off Helphire, an accident claim handling firm.

The company, based in Bath, has declared that both its full-year profits and its revenues will face significant losses.  The announcement sent its shares into a tailspin, resulting in a closing figure of £21.50.  The total loss was a 28 per cent drop.

The company mostly pointed to a combination of good weather and high petrol garage prices, which have led to fewer crashes being suffered by motorists.

Providing services for road accident claims, Helphire supplies so-called ‘blameless’ motorists involved in an accident with interim cars while it handles the repairs on any pranged autos.  Helphire additionally offers legal help for preparing any personal injury claims that may have been incurred during the accident.

However this is not the first time the firm has been in hot water.  At the height of the credit crisis two years ago, the company nearly shuttered as it reeled from the loss of its largest customer, Saga and AA owner Acromas.Saga.

Since that date, 1,200 employees have been made redundant, two instances of rescue fundraising efforts have been attempted, and two chief executive officers have come and gone as well.

Despite successes related to the firm’s efforts to undergo major overhauls earlier in the year, business has still been bleak for the traffic accident claim help provider.  Recently company head Martin Ward stated that he had hopes that business would become more brisk, as the seasons turn to the winter, which traditionally has been a period of the year when crashes tend to happen more often.  Pre-tax profits for the firm however are estimated to be approximately £13.9 million, which compares unfavorably to the £21 million predictions made by analysts.

Bristol lighting company ordered to pay £20,000 to employee

One Bristol lighting company has recently been ordered to pay £20,000 in damages to one of its employees by the Health and Safety Executive after the worker brought a work accident claim against the company.

The incident, which occurred this past February, involved a personal injury at work sustained by Mr Rolf Weber in the course of his normal duties at a factory for fabricating light fixtures.  Mr Weber had entered a machine’s working area and suffered a minor head injury after a cutter’s rotation continued at its standard speed.

Factory owner Darren Wing was found in breach a regulation in regards to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment rules, the Magistrates Court at Weston-super-Mare declared recently.  Mr Wing was not only fined a total of £20,000 but he was also ordered to foot the bill for £1,800 worth in court costs as an additional punitive measure for neglecting to ensure that the particular piece of machinery that caused Mr Weber’s injury was guarded properly.

Christine Haberfield, an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, remarked that it was only through pure luck that Mr Weber’s injuries were not more severe.  Ms Haberfield stated that small head wound suffered by Mr Weber could have resulted in much worse if not fatal injuries since the cutter was spinning at a rate of 18,000 revolutions per minute at the time of the initial injury.

While many health and safety experts agree that employers must take precautionary safety measures in order to offset the risks inherent in injury claims, others also stress the benefit of proper insurance cover as a financial safety net in the event of a catastrophic event does indeed happen whilst on the job.

Landscape gardener in Walsall files work accident claim

A landscape gardener from the town of Walsall in the West Midlands has recently filed a work accident claim against his employers after an accident left him without the use of his sight.

When the accident claim occurred, 25 year old Ashley Brabbin was operating a ride-on mower whilst trimming a verge at Erdington’s Wyrley Birch Allotments.  While Mr Brabbin states that he made sure to check for any debris before begging to mow the lawn, he received a blinding injury to his right eye by a flying piece of metal shortly afterwards.

Due to his injuries, not only has Mr Brabbin been left without sight in his eye but he may need to be fitted with a glass eye as a result of the extensive damage he sustained whilst on the job.

Mr Brabbin’s personal injury claim against his employers is based upon the failure of the green services provider, based in Chorley, to provide for his safety in an adequate manner.  Since his employer failed to provide protective eyewear to Mr Brabbin as he conducted his work-related tasks, he has decided to hold them liable for the incident that may have left him permanently without sight in one eye.

Should Mr Babbin be awarded damages from his compensation claim, the company’s insurance company will be responsible for paying him whatever the courts decide the loss of his vision is worth.

Mr Babbin’s personal injury lawyer commented on the case’s progress by stating that while settlement may still be quite some time in the future, the admittance of liability is a clear step in the right direction.

Industry experts agree that without further knowledge of the facts of the case, it is simply too early to determine Mr Babbin’s chances of reaching a settlement from the green services company that had employed him at the time of the accident.

New campaign hopes to reduce motor accident claims by shock

A new anti-reckless driving campaign hopes to reduce the incidence of car accident claims by shocking its audience in its use of posed pupils in mock-ups of accidents.

In order to highlight how dangerous speeding and parking outside schools can be, several fake accidents were mocked up using real emergency services in the Carmarthenshire town of Llanelli.

The tableaux will be turned into postcards and posters to be left on the windscreens of any cars parked badly nearby area schools as a reminder that the prospect of being contacted by a personal injury lawyer is not the only consequence of a bad car accident.

Organisers of the campaign specifically decided to use pupils local to the area in order to stress that motorists could be more than just risking whiplash from an accident but could be endangering the lives of children they knew personally.

Along with Communities First, the campaign entilted “Don’t let it be you” was organised by Tyisha and Glanymor Communities Action Group.

Pupils from Bigyn Primary, Copperworks Infant, and Coedcae Comprehensive schools all took part in the project.

Llanelli Photographic Society’s Graham Harries snapped images of the children after a professional make-up artist added grisly touches to the children as they laid prone on the road.

Firefighters, paramedics, and police all were on hand to take part in the campaign.  The road safety unit for Carmarthenshire was also in attendance.

In order to stage the accidents, the authorities closed down several roads.

Joanne Yeo, spokeswoman for the action group, stated that issues regarding road safety nearby local schools were a hot-button issue ad several monthly meetings.

The project, Ms Yeo stated, was all about using places and faces easily recognisable to local residents in order to highlight how important a concern road safety is for the community.

Cumbrian farm worker awarded personal injury compensation

Thanks to a serious injury he sustained whilst working in September of 2003, a Cumbrian farm worker was recently awarded a personal injury compensation in excess of  £70,000.

The personal injury at work occurred seven years ago when, while amidst harvesting potatoes as an employee of Mr. William Brown, Mr Stephen Hyndman was caught in a harvesting machine accident.

Noticing that the machine had become blocked, the then 28-year-old Hyndman attempted to clear the blockage.  Unfortunately for Mr Hyndman power to the machine had not been cut properly by his colleague, and as a result of his trousers becoming caught in the machinery he was dragged in.  Mr Hyndman suffered serious injuries to both his foot and leg, which were crushed.  In his personal injury claim My Hyndman stated that he was permanently disabled as a result of the accident.

Once Mr Hyndman had taken his employer to court in order to receive compensation for his accident claim, the courts concurred that liability for the accident, and its consequences, lied firmly at Mr Brown’s feet.  In addition to being ordered to remit payment of £71,000 to his former employee in compensation, Mr Brown was also found to be in breach of a 1998 regulation concerning the provision and use of work equipment.

Simon Davis, a personal injury specialist, commented on the case by stating that agricultural industry accidents have a tendency to cause very serious injuries.  Due to both the temporary setup of the equipment and how powerful it is sometimes mean the requisite checks to safety are not made, Mr Davis said.

As farm work is something that occurs not only in all conditions but in every season of the year, Mr Davis continued, it is necessary to supply extra layers of vigilance in order to prevent tragic occurrences such as the maiming of Mt Hyndman.

Justice Secretary targets no-win-no-fee accident claims

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has recently stated his intention that Welsh and English lawyers may soon be barred from raising their fees if successfully litigating a no win no fee accident claim.

As no win no fee lawyers can currently double any fees in the event that they win a case, Secretary Clarke’s intentions, if they bear fruit, could completely change the accident claim landscape.

In order to rectify matters however the minister, whilst speaking on Law In Action on BBC Radio 4, explained how the Coalition government is currently considering adopting a system that shares similarities with the US in which a percentage of legal fees from any personal injury claim can be recovered from any damages that may be awarded to the case’s plaintiff.

Earlier in 2010, Lord Justice Jackson made news when he published his widely-read review of the UK’s current fee system.  Mr Clarke stated that the recommendations contained within the review were found to have a high level of attractiveness to the government.

The UK insurance industry has been heavily impacted by a rise in lawyers who employ so-called “ambulance chaser” tactics.

In fact due in part to a large rise in personal injury claims made by third parties and a claims management industry that has become much more aggressive as of late, the UK personal motor car insurance market is unlikely to turn a profit for several years.  Towers Watson conducted research recently on the issue, which led to the conclusion that it may be 2015 before the motor insurance market is back in the black.

Industry experts agree that the irony of the government’s possible adoption of American-style fee guidelines is palpable, given that many of the no win no fee lawyers in the UK are considered to employ litigation tactics made popular by their American counterparts.

Street cleaner amazed at results of his accident claim

One injured street cleaner who sustained an injury to his finger recently expressed his amazement when the local council allowed the work accident claim balloon to more than £100,000 in compensation.

In May of 2006 Steven Threlfall was working as a street cleaner when a jagged piece of metal that had been inside a rubbish bag he was handling protruded through and sliced deeply into his little finger.  As a result of the personal injury claim, Mr Threlfall is now left with a crooked finger thanks to one of his tendons being sliced through.

Mr Threlfall filed an accident claim for his work-related injury.  He made the claim that his hands were not properly protected because the gloves that had been provided to him proved to be ineffective in preventing the injury.

Legal costs relating to the case quickly began piling up.  Finally, after a third and final hearing at the Civil Appeal Court in London, three of the UK’s senior judges declared the claim in favour of the street cleaner.  The opinion of the court was indeed that Mr Threlfall had been denied the adequate levels of protection he needed in order to perform his job duties safely.

As a result of the accident claim, Mr Threlfall received compensation of only £3,000; legal costs for the council are valued in excess of £100,000, however, since top Judges in the UK were used by both sides of the lawsuit.

In an interview after the end of the hearings, Mr Threlfall was quoted as saying that the entire ordeal would have been over and done with in less than half a year, but the council refused to admit negligence.

When pressed, Mr Threlfall also stated that he was incredulous over how high the costs had become over just his little finger.