One nurse is seeking personal injury compensation from the widow of a deceased cancer victim after she stumbled and twisted her ankle during a visit to the patient’s home. The ailing man passed away shortly afterwards.
37 year old Penelope Snelson, a district nurse, suffered the accident claim when she slipped on a wooden wheelchair ramp and fell. She was visiting the home of Mike Fountain, then aged 75, at the time.
The retired research chemist passed away only one week after Mrs Snelson’s injury claims. Mr Fountain had succumbed to cancer he had been diagnosed with several years ago.
However a no win no fee accident claim was filed against the deceased man by Mrs Snelson’s personal injury lawyers. The claim was for a total of £575,000.
Upon receiving the letter addressed to her late husband, 76 year old Christine Fountain was immediately distraught. The claim detailed in the letter stated that her recently deceased husband had either permitted or caused his premises to remain or become a trap or danger to anyone who attempted to lawfully use it.
Mrs Snelson’s lawyers also claim that Mr Fountain neglected to discharge the common care he owed to the nurse. They stated that the elderly and ailing man had failed in his responsibility to erect a safety barrier to safeguard any injuries caused by the wheelchair ramp that led to his front door.
Mr Fountain’s surviving family members contacted the legal firm in protest. However after stating that the cancer victim had recently passed away, the law firm responded by continuing the legal action against his estate.
Graeme Fountain, 39 year old son of the deceased man, recently issued a scathing statement in regards to the legal action. The Bramhall, Stockport sales manager expressed his disbelief in the insensitivity of Mrs Snelson. He compared her ankle injury unfavorably to the hard work his father did throughout his life before he succumbed to cancer.
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.