Major victories for the seriously injured keeps hope alive

Industry news roundup: week ended 10 March 2014:

When it comes to being embroiled in a long personal injury compensation claim, it’s always gratifying to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

In fact, the biggest news stories this week when talking about victims making serious progress on their personal injury claims turns out to be not one but two instances of justice wriggling its way free from the black morass of your typical accident claim. First up is good news for a 49 year old welder who ended up with crippling facial injuries after a metal jack collapsed under him whilst at work – the poor bloke has finally gotten his £500,000 compensation claim.

Before you say anything, yes he truly did deserve such a large award. The damage done to his face was severe enough to sever nerves in his cheek and leave him in so much pain that doctors have been trying in vain to disrupt his brain’s nerve receptors through surgery just to give him some respite. On top of that, his eye socket was fractured so badly he needed five surgical procedures to rebuild it – and yet he still needs to wear a plastic mask upon leaving home to keep his face protected from the elements.

So it’s good news for this poor former welder, especially considering that he’s going to be in pain for most likely the rest of his life. Speaking of pain and suffering, another milestone was reached by a family trying to secure compensation for a road traffic accident that left a father dead and a mother with severe, life-altering brain injuries.

Martin and June Vann had been on holiday in Portugal when a speeding driver struck them at speeds of around 60mph, instantly killing the man and leaving his wife with such catastrophic brain injuries that she’ll never be the same ever again. In the interim the couple’s two children, Alex and Julia, have been fighting tooth and nail to get some compensation for the past three years – simply because the driver of the other vehicle had been denying any liability.

This is of course patently ridiculous, and anyone in their right mind would immediately conclude that someone motoring about at 60mph in an area where there were pedestrians. Nevertheless it was a long three year fight, but finally a High Court judge made the decision that there was no way the driver could avoid liability. This finally paves the way for a legitimate claim to be pursued by the distraught siblings. Honestly my heart goes out to them – I wish them all the luck in the world.

But earlier this week a High Court judge ruled he was liable.

Julia and Alex are now hoping to settle for compensation out of court. At the moment their mother’s care is funded by the local council, but they say she will need help for the rest of her life.

Criminal proceedings against the driver, who’s since returned to Brazil, are ongoing.

Accident victims further preyed upon by authority figures

Industry news roundup: week ended 20 Jan 2014:

It’s never good when you end up in a road traffic accident, especially if you then have to make an accident claim, but it’s worse when victimised even further!

However, that’s just what’s been happening lately. The worst part is that these individuals are getting preyed upon by those that they should be able to trust – in other words, police officers and doctors if you can believe it.

First up comes news this week of a high-profile case involving PC Sugra Hanif plundering personal details official accident data in order to glean names and phone numbers in a search for people who might want to make personal injury claims. However goes worse than that, as allegations exist that the phone calls were extremely aggressive. At £700 a successful referral, I suppose I would be a pushy bastard too – though I certainly wouldn’t plunder official police records in order to do so!

It’s a pretty rotten thing this woman was doing, if you ask me. Those official records aren’t supposed to be used as a money-making opportunity, and the fact that this woman violated the privacy of these victims just to make a few quid absolutely makes my blood boil. It’s a nasty violation indeed – but still, it’s not nearly as bad as what one doctor did recently.

Imagine you end up in an accident that’s left you with whiplash, so you go to your doctor for an examination. Sounds like a normal doctor visit – unless you have Shahid Ayyoub as a GP, as the 57 year old man was recently convicted of removing a female patient’s bra and having a bit of a time with his hands instead of simply examining her neck.

Of course this kind of behaviour didn’t go unpunished, as the judge more or less threw the book at the man, and rightly so if you ask me! Turns out he comes from a very prominent family with several other doctors in its ranks, not to mention two of his own children are going to school for medicine as well. I swear, this man’s runaway sexual proclivities have ruined not only his life but likely the lives of the rest of his family members as well! Stupid git.

Massive compensation packages for both sides of councils

Industry news roundup: week ended 30 Dec 2013:

Whether you wok for a particular local authority or you simply drive on the roadways that they’re responsible for, claims against councils are on the up.

In fact, this week it was revealed that staff drivers for Wigan Council have racked up some  £360,000 in personal injury compensation over the past four years. All told there were nearly 150 road traffic accidents where a vehicle owned by the local authority was damaged by a council employee.

There was some good news according to the data, as the last financial year saw only 34 incidents costing the council a total of £93,620. This sounds like quite a bit, but when you compare it to the 2010-2011 financial year’s 63 accidents costing £115,055 in successful personal injury claims, things are put in a bit of perspective; still, that figure seems much too high to me – and I’ll wager there are some very heated discussions going on behind closed doors in Wigan Council.

Meanwhile, it could always be worse – in fact most claims figures for local authorities are much higher, especially when it comes to injuries and damage sustained by local residents. A perfect – and perfectly harrowing – example of this is the £1.7 million that Worcestershire County Council has had to pay out in compensation over the past four years.

All told there were more than 3,300 claims made against the local authority, all from any number of sources. Accident claims on country roads, slips and trips on pavements or in council buildings, and injuries to pupils whilst in school comprise the lion’s share of the injuries – and personal injury claims in particular make up an overwhelming amount of the legal bill.

So I really don’t know what’s worse – living as a resident in Worcestershire County or being an employee of Wigan Council. Whatever your fate may be, it’s going to be rife with possible trips to the A and E department because some stupid idiot pranged you from behind and gave you a bad case of whiplash injury or something similar. I swear it’s enough to convince me to move to the Scottish highlands and live like a hermit just to keep away from other people. I suppose I’d get lonely eventually – but at least I’m not going to get into a rear-end shunt with a sheep!

Accident victims to be held responsible for own injuries?

Industry news roundup: week ended 18 Nov 2013:

There’s a distressing trend going around when it comes to liability for personal injury claims – people being held responsible despite their status as victims.

Sometimes I can understand why the law might look down on people who play a role in their own misfortune. For instance, while it’s not currently compulsory to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, more and more injured cyclists that weren’t wearing their helmet at the time of their road traffic accident are finding judges are rather disposed to hold them partially responsible for their own injuries.

The whole idea of contributory negligence is an interesting one – essentially it boils down to saying that the injured victim could have reduced their injuries or eliminated them altogether if they had just done something differently. However, with the whole bicycle helmet issue, if the courts are going to place blame on cyclists for not wearing a helmet even though the law doesn’t make it a requirement, that seems a little questionable if you ask me.

There’s contributory negligence and then there’s just over-the-top stupidity that defies all common sense, like the story where one woman from Belfast had her car stolen yet somehow ends up having to foot the bill on the accident claims made by the two PNSI officers who were involved in apprehending the thieves. Apparently it doesn’t matter that the criminals – who broke into her family home, made off with all sorts of personal property, and then stole not just her car but her partner’s as well – were the ones driving the vehicles when the PNSI patrol had to ram them.

Unbelievably, each officer made personal injury claims for £7,500 each, and now her insurer is expected to foot the bill. On top of that, as the two criminals fled from her home in their nicked vehicles, they ran rampant through her neighbours’ properties – and she’s also expected to pay out an additional £10,000 as well. All this has increased her insurance costs by some £300 per annum – with an additional £300 hike paid by her partner as well – simply because she had the misfortune to be targeted by the thieves.

 

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?

Sometimes the accident claims industry works as it should

Industry news roundup: week ended 22 Apr 2013:

It’s unfortunately a bit rare in this day and age, but sometimes the accident claims industry works properly, caring for those injured and punishing fraudsters.

In fact, for one 35 year old man that was involved in an absolutely horrific head-on collision a few years ago has finally been awarded personal injury compensation for the life-changing injuries he sustained in the road traffic accident. Mr Adam Wright, who had been in a terrible accident when a transit van coming the opposite direction lost control and caused a three-car accident, was in a coma for two weeks thanks to the injuries he sustained in the accident, which included internal damage, smashed legs, and serious head injuries, leaving him absolutely unable to return to employment due to the severity of his injuries.

The past few years following the accident were a nightmare for the man, as his memory, mobility, and vision are still impaired to this day. He also suffers from epilepsy as a remnant of the injury he suffered to his head, cannot move without the aid of a walking stick, and will most likely never return behind the wheel of a vehicle ever again.

It’s not easy to help take care of two children when you can’t work, not to mention deal with all the myriad physical problems after the accident. However, after a multi-million pound compensation payment at least poor Mr Wright can finally get some peace of mind in that department; it’s heartwarming to know that when the compensation system in the UK works, it works well.

It’s not just the compensation system that’s working right now but the personal injury claims process as well, especially when it comes to weeding out insurance fraud! In fact, news broke this week how a ring of five conspirators were exposed in their attempts to rig a car accident in order to defraud insurers for compensation. Officials say that the attempt was so laughably inept that the only way to describe it was ‘ham-fisted,’ especially since all the passengers of both cars lived nearby one another and that the owners of the two cars involved were living together at the time – and had a child together as well.

You really can’t get more dumb than this if you’re trying to defraud an insurance company. Well, I’m sure you can but I can’t think of how; if you’re going to try to pull one over on your insurer, you should probably take steps to get your story right and not make it so damned obvious – otherwise you’re just asking to be investigated and exposed for the absolute idiots you are!

Birmingham pensioner has harrowing near-miss

Industry news roundup: week ended 28 Jan 2013:

Bingo has never been so dangerous: one pensioner nearly lost his life when his car windscreen was demolished by an unsecured barrier at a local Bingo hall.

Mr Kenneth Compton, a native of Great Barr, Birmingham, had just dropped his wife off at the Gala bingo hall in Erdington when an unsecured security gate weighing a quarter of a tonne unexpectedly fell down onto his vehicle’s bonnet. The weighty security gate demolished the front of the Renault Scenic and hit with such force that it actually went up through the windscreen and coming to rest embedded in the roof of the car – and somehow miraculously only giving Mr Compton a glancing blow.

The eighty year old pensioner was indeed lucky to be alive, as the force of such a road traffic accident could have easily slain him where he sat in the vehicle. However, Mr Compton’s personal injury claims only included a fractured eye socket and a serious head injury, suggesting that perhaps there’s a guardian angel keeping an eye on the man.

The incident was subject to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, with HSE inspectors discovering that the heavy metal grate had, at one point, been secured with a sturdy padlock. However, at an unknown date previous to the incident, the padlock had not just been removed but whomever had taken it did not bother to replace it, leaving it unsecured and balanced precariously, waiting for a hapless and unknowing victim to venture underneath the heavy guillotine-like blade of the metal gate.

Gala Leisure Limited, the owners of the Bingo hall, ended up pleading guilty to breaching several Health and Safety regulations, which earned it a fine of £25,000. The firm will most likely be found liable for the damages sustained to Mr Compton’s car – and more importantly to himself as well – and will be asked to pay the pensioner personal injury compensation.

Cyclist sues for injuries caused in accident with police car

Industry news roundup: week ended 17 Dec 2012:

This week it was revealed that a cyclist that suffered life-changing injuries after a road traffic accident with a police car will bring a compensation claim.

Donald MacLeod, a sixty two year old former journalist, had been cycling about through London when the vehicle in question, a police car on its way to respond to an emergency call elsewhere, struck him with enough force to send him quite literally flying through the air, according to eyewitness accounts. Mr MacLeod sustained massive injuries as a result from his impromptu flight across the road to the point where it was six long weeks before he emerged from his coma only to be left with such devastating injuries that he has difficulties speaking, moving, and caring for himself.

The poor man now needs 24 hour a day constant care around the clock in order to function on any level whatsoever, and due to the massive costs involved in providing Mr MacLeod’s care, he and his family have made a personal injury compensation claim for negligence against the Metropolitan Police Force. With the £30,000 raised by Mr MaLeod’s colleagues and friends merely a drop in the bucket compared to what he will need to pay for care in the long term, the injured man’s personal injury solicitors are asking for more than £1 million in compensation.

So far there has been no word on how the police will react to the lawsuit and whether they will seek to reach an out of court settlement or if they will defend the claim in court. However, eyewitness accounts do report that Mr MacLeod had not only been wearing a helmet at the time of the incident – a precautionary measure that may have very well preserved his life – but also a high visibility vest, meaning that the police may have little in the way of an excuse if they failed to see the cyclist on their way to respond to an emergency that day.

Police forces injure, are injured in turn

Industry news roundup: week ended 27th August 2012:

It seems like it just doesn’t pay to be a copper today, considering how if you’re not causing road traffic accidents, you’re ending up costing your local authority thousands in personal injury compensation awards for work accident claims.

Maybe it’s just our perception, but it seems like you couldn’t swing a cat without encountering a news story regarding the police as either being involved in some sort of RTA where a citizen ends up rather injured or police officers ending up suffering personal injury at work themselves. We know that it’s a tough, sometimes dangerous line of work – and we’re grateful for everything those boys in blue due to keep us safe – but sometimes it’s as if they’re their own worst enemies!

Last week saw a news story coming to light about how the North Wales Police Force inadvertently nearly cripple an elderly pensioner by accident. A ninety year old woman had been crossing the street when she was hit by a police car, sending her to hospital for a seven month long hospital stay; this isn’t just a case of a few cuts and scrapes that you can just slap a sticking plaster on and send the patient home – there were broken legs, arms, and elbows, and medical staff say it’s dodgy whether the poor woman will be able to walk properly.

The driver of the police car may have been cleared of reckless driving by a local Magistrates’ Court, but that hasn’t stopped the pensioner from making an accident claim against North Wales Police, and a police spokesperson refused to comment on the case, as it was still pending. Of course, police forces across the UK have more to worry about than just that, as it seems like when law enforcement officers aren’t hitting little old ladies, they’re doing damage to one another!

In fact, another news report emerged that Lancashire Police Force has been a hotbed of activity when it came to personal injury at work over the last five years. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 4,000 injuries were reported from 2007, some of them self-inflicted while others being the result of accidents caused by colleagues.

2011’s injury figures in Lancashire were up over 2010’s, according to a recent Freedom of Information request, but a police force spokesman was quick to point out that the number of accidents was actually trending down overall. Not much comfort for someone laid up in hospital while they’re recovering from a possibly life-threatening injury, but at least they’re not off running over pensioners.