If I don’t wear a seat belt, will I be able to make an accident claim?

One of the laws governing road safety reached a milestone this year: 30 years of enforced seatbelt-wearing. So why are people still unsure about whether they can make a claim if they’re in an accident and they’ve not buckled up?

There is no definitive answer, so dismissiveness of claiming is not that great a surprise. Many people believe that, if they’re involved in an RTA and are not wearing their seatbelt, it could negate any claim to compensation. But it may not be so.

Much of this wrongly-held belief can be attributed to so few people now driving without wearing a seatbelt; hence, accidents involving drivers not buckled up have decreased immensely over the years.

However, it wasn’t always this way. When the law was introduced in 1983, only a third of drivers believed that seatbelts saved lives.

Compare that to a survey undertaken by the AA in the run-up to the seatbelt law’s thirtieth anniversary, which suggests that 95% of drivers now believe that statement, you begin to comprehend the shift in consumer thinking.

What is the seatbelt law, exactly?

Ignorance is no defence when it comes to making an accident claim without a seatbelt.

From the moment you step into the drivers seat on your first lesson until you walk out of the test centre throwing the L plates in the air, you will have been reminded to buckle up by your instructor or examiner.

But how does the law affect passengers?

Most cars now come with seatbelts for every seat in the car. Certainly, every seat in a car that would be covered by insurance has the facility to buckle up. But again, older cars may not have them fitted to all seats.

Therefore, the law states that car occupants travelling in seats that have seatbelts fitted must wear them. Only one person is allowed per belt and children smaller than 135cm or aged 11 and below should have a car seat appropriate for their weight.

On the spot fines of sixty pounds can be imposed for every occupant caught not wearing their seatbelt; this is likely to be a heftier fine (up to £500) should the case go to court.

What will happen in an accident claim court if I’ve not worn my seatbelt?

It can add an element of difficulty, claiming for injury, when you’re not wearing your seatbelt in the case of an accident. However, if the accident’s not your fault, you may still be entitled to compensation of some sort.

What tends to happen is that opposing insurers claim ‘contributory negligence’, i.e. your injuries could have been lessened (or avoided) had you been within the guidelines of the law.

If this theory is upheld, any compensation you would have been entitled to may be lessened as a consequence.

There is, however, an argument that seatbelts themselves can be the cause of injury. We’ll look at that in the next post.

Remember: clunk, click, every trip.

How old am I?

Lollipop lady’s husband seeking compensation for her accident

After a lollipop lady from Tyne and Wear was struck by a car, her husband has made a car accident claim on his wife’s behalf.

According to a recent article appearing in the Shields Gazette newspaper, Eleanor Harman had been on duty in South Shields on Beach Road when she was knocked over by a motorist while the fifty nine year old was on duty.  Mrs Harmon had been wearing a high visibility jacket and holding her lollipop at the time of the collision with Margaret Boyles, a sixty nine year old grandmother from South Shields, traffic accident claim experts report.

Mrs Boyles, of Fox Avenue, has since appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court where she was convicted of careless driving.  The elderly grandmother was told to pay court costs of £500, a £95 fine, and also has had four penalty points added to her driving license.

In the immediate wake of the accident, the injured lollipop lady was rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where she spent two days in the hospital’s intensive care unit.  She was then transferred to the Walkergate Park Centre’s brain injury specialist ward.

In order to cover the high costs associated with his wife’s future rehabilitation and lifelong care, Mrs Harman’s husband, Harry, has since launched a personal injury compensation claim against Mrs Boyles’ insurer.  The lives of Mr Harman and his wife will never be the same again, he told the newspaper, after she suffered serious injuries due to someone else’s careless driving.

Nurse struck by hit and run driver asks for accident claim aid

One nurse who was struck by a hit and run driver has asked for aid in her motor accident claim by asking any witnesses to the incident to come forward.

45 year old Michelle Ledden had been outside her place of work at Rochdale Infirmary when the nurse practitioner was struck from behind in the back in January of 2010, according to her traffic accident claim. Unfortunately, investigations into the identity of the vehicle which struck her – which Ms Ledden believes to have been an ambulance – have been fruitless.

Now, the Milnrow, Rochdale native has high hopes that witnesses will soon be able to shed some light on the matter as she continues her battle for personal injury compensation stemming from the injuries she sustained while she had been walking along the pavement on her way out of the infirmary’s car park.

Ms Ledden had her back to the road as she stopped to chat with a former A&E patient when she was suddenly alerted by her colleague’s shout to the driver of the vehicle, followed by a ‘huge jolt’ as the vehicle struck her in the back after mounting the pavement where she was standing.

In the wake of the incident,Ms Ledden has been suffering pain and back spasms so excruciating that the nurse practitioner likened the feeling to being struck with a cricket bat.   A member of her legal team remarked that back pain can be agonising for the sufferer, especially because it can flare up seemingly unannounced – something that anyone suffering from a back injury would surely know.

Ms Ledden soon found that her injuries were too severe to allow her to continue working, even though she had attempted to carry on with her regular duties as a nurse practitioner.

Dressage rider makes car accident claim for £300k

After an RTA ended his Olympic hopes and ruined his career, one talented dressage rider is making a £300,000 minimum car accident claim against the driver of the vehicle.

Sussex native Sonnar Murray-Brown, from Chichester, had been riding in the front passenger seat of his former friend’s Renault Clio at the time of the incident, traffic accident claim experts say.  The driver of the car, twenty three year old Lee Harris, collided head on with another car, resulting in severe injuries to Mr Murray-Brown’s legs.

The dressage rider, also twenty three, was informed by medical staff that it is not expected that he will be able to compete or perhaps even become a trainer.  The young man, who had been tipped as a possible team member for the UK, has since brought a personal injury compensation claim against his former friend, claiming that Mr Harris had been driving too fast, which caused him to lose control of the Renault Clio and effectively cause the accident that effectively robbed Mr Murray-Brown of his Olympic aspirations.

According to the claimant’s High Court writ, which was issued by his legal team, the injured young man had been a highly talented rider with quite good career prospects before the collision.  Mr Murray-Brown, who has since lost the prospect of becoming a horse breeder, also has no chance of becoming the operator of his own specialised dressage company, according to the writ.

Further documents submitted to the High Court that Dorset native Mr Harris, of Blandford Forum, has been charged with driving with a lack of due care and attention in the wake of the accident.

No win no fee nuisance texts currently under investigation

According to a recent article published by the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, no win no fee legal services companies generating revenue from nuisance texts to mobile phones are currently under investigation.

These unwanted text messages, which promote personal injury claims for financial mis-selling or RTAs, are at the bull’s eye of a  growing industry that is worth an estimated £175 million at the very least.  Nearly one out of every three mobile phone customers have reported that they ended up getting a minimum of one of the spam texts in June, which adds up to more than 12.7 million unwanted texts.

Investigators for the newspaper discovered the identities of those involved in the legal services field that are responsible for the nuisance texts.  Oftentimes the responsible parties are mysteriously vague communications companies based in such far-flung places as Eastern Europe or India, so-called ‘claims farmers’ who specialise in gathering compensation cases for personal injury lawyers, and legal firms directly.

These nuisance texts are usually sent from pay-as-you-go mobiles that often prove untraceable and attempt to entice customers with the promise of thousands upon thousands of pounds in damages from mis-sold financial services and ‘no win no fee’ traffic accident claims.

The onslaught of texts, which are outlawed due to their ‘cold call’ classification when sent without the consent of the receivers, is primarily driven by the highly lucrative information trade on those who could possibly be in need of legal advice.  Representatives from the legal field have spoken out against the practice, calling it ‘abhorrent that access to justice can be both bought and sold in this manner.

Northern Ireland roads cost Government £4m in damages

Over the past two years, the state of the pavements and roads in Northern Ireland have cost the Government £4 million in personal injury compensation awards, according to figures recently released by the Department for Regional Development.

In comparison to the previous year”s total, the current figures are a good £2.2 million higher than the original £1.8 million worth in accident claim damages.  Nearly one half of the total figure was paid out in compensation for personal injury claims made by members of the public that were injured whilst traveling upon the nation’s roads.

Pedestrian pavement injuries – which include trips and falls – cost the Government about £892,000, it was found, while damage sustained to vehicles on the footpaths and roads accounted for more than £220,000 of the entire bill.

Northern Ireland’s Social Democratic and Labour Party spokesman, John Dallatt, remarked that increases of nearly twenty per cent in a single 12 month period were in need of investigating.  In addition to SDLP spokesman, Mr Dallatt serves on the Public Accounts Committee for Stormont.

Mr Dallatt continued, going on to say that with £4 million being disbursed in traffic accident claim compensation , the entire situation urgently needed both review and improvement.  The SDLP spokesman also pointed out that Northern Ireland’s compensation figures had a tendency to be larger than payments made in Wales and England – something which he remarked would bear further investigation in its own right.

In related news, car insurance company Axa has recently pledged to do away with the practice of accepting referral fees for its policy holders that end up in personal injury traffic accident claims.

Worcester haulage firm sued in £300k accident claim

One Worcester-based road haulage firm has recently had a traffic accident claim brought against them for an incident involving a pedestrian being knocked down on a zebra crossing by one of the firm’s drivers.

Wisbech native Anatolij Kuzmenok, of Mount Pleasant Road, is suing the haulage company for £300,000 in personal injury compensation for the injuries caused when he was struck trying to cross Wisbech’s Churchill Road in Cambridgeshire.  Mr Kuzmenok claims that the lorry struck him and then dragged him down the street, which resulted in serious personal injuries to his person.

Mr Kuzmenok was injured so severely that it was necessary for him to be airlifted to hospital where he could receive treatment for a serious head injury, a severe injury to his left arm, numerous broken ribs, and crush injuries to his chest.

The injured man has filed personal injury claims at the High Court against both the driver of the lorry and his employers.  Worcester native Trevor Cracroft, of Upper Tything, was operating the lorry at the time of the incident, on behalf of Worcestershire’s David Curnock Ltd, which is based in Lower Town Claines.

According to the High Court Writ, Mr Kuzmenok will not only have an increased risk of developing epilepsy in time as a result of his brain injury, but will run into profound limitations in the job market due to his injuries as well.

When sought out for comment regarding the legal proceedings, the haulage company would only state that the matter was being dealt with by their insurance company and the firm’s legal counsel.  The firm declined any further comment in regards to the details surrounding Mr Kuzmenok’s injuries.

Driver collides with stray horse, asks for £3.8 million

After his Fiat Punto came into deadly contact with a horse that strayed onto a road in Worcester, one driver has filed a car accident claim against the owner of the animal for more than £3.8 million in personal injury compensation.

David Owen of Broadway, aged sixty two, recently told a magazine in an interview that the collision that led to his traffic accident claim occurred when he struck one of two stray horses that had made their way onto the A46.

Mr Owens suffered damage to his lower spine and  fractures to his neck in four different places when he collided with the stray horse, which then landed on the roof of his car.  As the roof caved in it caused him serious crush injuries that necessitated corrective surgical procedures once he arrived at hospital.

Since the accident Mr Owen has been suffering persistent headaches and still feels pain in his legs, neck, and back.  As his injuries have been too severe for him to return to work in the wake of the collision, Mr Owen now finds himself in financial difficulties – his creditors have begun to hound him and have been demanding he put his business premises in Evesham up for sale.

Mr Owens has made a personal injury claim for more than £3,871,000 in personal injury compensation from Amanda Johnson, the owner of the animal.  Ms Johnson in Aldington, Evesham, has already entered a plea of guilty for being in breach of the 1971 Animals Act by permitting her horses to be running loose on a public roadway.

After a hearing at Worcester Magistrates’ Court, Ms Johnson was given a fine of £750 in addition to being ordered to pay £60 in court costs.

While no date for it has yet to be confirmed, the court hearing for Mr. Owens’ compensation claim is set to eventually take place in London’s Royal Courts of Justice.


Gorleston woman files £300k car accident claim

One young woman from Gorleston has recently filed a car accident claim for £300,000 in personal injury compensation after an eighty six year old motorist ran her over, necessitating the amputation of her leg.

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk native Emma Woolnough, aged twenty seven, recently informed the Great Yarmouth Mercury newspaper that she had been walking to work alongside Lowestoft Road when pensioner Allan Skoyles jumped the kerb in his Ford Focus.  Mr Skoyles struck both Ms Woolnough and an elderly couple after he mounted the pavement, according to the young woman’s traffic accident claim.

The eighty six year old pensioner had caused the collision by mistakenly hitting the accelerator pedal instead of the brake as he intended. Mr Skoyles, a multiple heart operation and stroke survivor, also suffers from deafness as well.

Ms Woolnough’s injuries proved so severe that not even emergency could save her left leg.  As a result it was amputated just under the knee.  While her right leg was mostly intact, the twenty seven year old still needed extensive skin grafts to repair the damage done.

Ms Woolnough has since made a claim against Mr Skoyles’ car insurance provider.  The pensioner’s insurer has since accepted their liability for the incident.  Following the accident that cost Mr Woolnough her leg, Mr Skoyles was ordered to pay £2,000 in fines and was banned from driving for three years.  The pensioner was also given an eight month prison sentence, though the courts saw fit to suspend it for the eighty six year old.

Judge Peter Jacobs, who presided at Norwich Crown Court, handed down the verdict to Mr Skoyles.  As he did so he couldn’t help but express how surprised he was that  Mr Skoyles had not been banned from driving prior to the incident as a result of his many ailments.

Driver sued for £150k in damages in car accident claim

A car accident claim has recently been filed against a driver who lost control of his vehicle, resulting in a fifteen year old back seat passenger being thrown from the car and sustaining serious personal harm.

The mother of Brixham native Morgan Price has now filed a personal injury compensation claim on behalf of her daughter, suing driver Marte Young in a traffic accident claim for up to as much as £150,000 in compensation.

Morgan Price had been in the back seat of Mr Young’s Citroen Saxo at the time of the incident, recently reported the Herald Express.  The newspaper stated that Mr Young lost control of the vehicle which resulted in Morgan being thrown violently through the back window of the car.

Morgan and two others injured in the incident were initially rushed to Torbay Hospital together.  However due to the extent of her injuries, the fifteen year old was then transferred to Bristol’s Frenchay Hospital for an emergency neurosurgery procedure.

Morgan’s injuries were so serious that she now needs to be cared for round the clock.  Her family now must tend to her needs, as she has become completely dependent on their care.  Morgan also suffers from dizziness and fatigue thought to have been caused by the accident, and her doctors suspect she may also prove susceptible to epileptic seizures in the future as well.

Brixham, Devon native Julie Dabinett of Ocean Drive, Morgan’s Mother, has sought to hold Mr Young responsible for Morgan’s injuries by issuing a High Court wit against him. The writ claims accident compensation of anywhere between £100,000 to £150,000 from Mr Young in order to compensate Morgan for the life-altering injuries she sustained in the accident.