Whiplash claim fraudsters caught on camera

Industry news roundup: week ended 14 Oct 2013:

In the world of accident claims, whiplash accounts for quite a bit of fraud – but at least two scams were caught cold thanks to photographic evidence this week!

First up is the story of how one driver collided with a lorry in what turned out to be a complete scam. The lorry, which had luckily been fitted with a video recorder just for such an eventuality, bore witness that the lorry driver was not at fault, despite the other driver’s protestations to the contrary – it’s kind of hard to argue that the other bloke was at fault when you career across three lanes of traffic, isn’t it?

I’ll wager that the scammer was in for more than a little bit of a surprise to learn that he had been caught on camera. It makes me giddy to learn that there’s one less fraudulent personal injury compensation claim out there thanks to this technology.

Meanwhile it’s not just at the scene of the accident that digital footage is playing a role in discouraging fraud. Another story that broke this week revealed how a former police officer, someone who was supposedly suffering from a severe case of whiplash, went out and took part in a professional cage fight less than a fortnight after the ‘injury’ took place – and there’s video footage of the fight!

Well too bad for this bloke that prosecutors viewed the footage and determined that there’s no way he could have been suffering from whiplash and also participated in the heavyweight bout. This is pretty much an open-and-shut case of attempted insurance fraud, and now there’s a very good chance that there could be some jail time in this foolish man’s future. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke, if you ask me!

I swear, it’s like these fraudsters are getting less and less intelligent with each passing day. It’s like they’re just not thinking at all besides about the shedloads of cash they’ll supposedly get from making their fraudulent personal injury claims; perhaps they’re so blinded by greed that their basic reasoning skills go on holiday? Then again you have to be rather thick to attempt fraud like this anyhow, so I shouldn’t really be surprised by stories like this now should I? What a pack of idiots.

NHS pays through the nose for medical staff blunders

Industry news roundup: week ended 7 Oct 2013:

Medical negligence is no laughing matter – much as the NHS has learned this week after it’s been ordered to pay out on two major compensation claims.

Birth injuries are often life-changing events, and it was no different for Joseph Rea when he was born seven years ago. Little Joseph suffered severe brain damage while he was being delivered, ultimately resulting in injuries that left him with learning difficulties, mobility problems, and seizures as a result of cerebral palsy. Well, it turns out that the NHS Trust for the hospital more or less debased itself in front of Joseph’s family, offering them £2.4 million in a lump sum personal injury compensation payment and then promising additional annual payments as well – which is good news for Joseph and his family, as the young lad’s physical needs can now be met much more easily.

I don’t know what it is with doctors in the UK, but it seems like they just simply can’t get it right sometimes! In a way it’s most likely not the fault of the doctor, what with hospital work schedules so absolutely horrid, but how many times do avoidable mistakes have to occur before the NHS changes its administrative policies?

Not soon enough, apparently, considering how yet another NHS Trust ended up paying out on a claim for another baby injured in childbirth. This time it was a skull fracture and brain injury during the delivery of Yiqun Zhang that left him with severe disabilities later in life – but now the £12 million value compensation package will see to it that he gets everything he will need in order to live a comfortable life – or as much of one that he can with his injuries.

I can’t even imagine having to face such a terrible fate as a parent. You love your child unconditionally of course, but you’ve got an incredible burden as well for their lifelong care – something that you won’t be able to provide since, well let’s face it – no one lives forever. Round the clock care isn’t cheap by a long shot, you know; my hat goes off and my heart goes out to anyone and everyone in a situation where they have to provide for the special needs of their own child.

Of course we could avoid the whole tragic thing if we could just get the quality of service in NHS hospitals better than something you would find in the bin.

Working with your hands is dangerous nowadays

Industry news roundup: week ended 30 Sept 2013:

No one ever said that it would be busy earning a living with your hands, but it’s downright dangerous to your health as well!

Personal injury at work is a major issue when it comes to nearly every form of employment, but manual labourers and craftsmen bear the brunt of the danger. It’s all too common to hear about hellish injuries suffered by employees that prompt them to make work accident claims – like the injury that Patrick Meek suffered, sending him on a nightmarish odyssey that only recently was resolved.

The 60 year old Cinderford native, employed as a joiner, lost his finger in a work accident when the nail he fired from the nail gun he was using to create pallets several years ago ricocheted upon hitting a wood knot, impaling his index finger and sending him to hospital. Mr Meek ended up suffering complications three months afterwards, and while doctors worked feverishly to remedy the issue, he ultimately lost the finger – ending his career as a joiner.

Mr Meeks sought legal advice and enlisted the aid of a talented team of personal injury solicitors who brought him some closure. While his employer initially refused to accept liability for the incident, after a court battle the company has since changed its tune, awarding the injured man some well-deserved personal injury compensation.

As terrible as Mr Meeks’ story is, it could have been much worse – luckily he wasn’t mortally wounded. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for farm workers in Northern Ireland, as the Health and Safety Executive revealed that farm accidents in NI are hands-down the most dangerously fatal.

There were some 19 fatalities due to industrial accidents in 2012, the HSE reported recently. Out of those 19, 11 of them were farming accidents. The trend seems to be growing as well, considering how the year before, where there were 18 workplace fatalities – nine of which came from the farming industry.

For what it’s worth, farm owners in Northern Ireland obviously have to institute better working conditions in their facilities. 20 people have lost their lives in two years – that’s absolutely horrid! What’s wrong with these people that they can’t make farming a safer line of work for their employees? If nothing else, think of the potential savings when it comes to legal fees – defending a personal injury claim brought against you isn’t exactly a cheap proposition, you know!

Whiplash claims stopped dead in their tracks here and abroad

Industry news roundup: week ended 23 Sept 2013:

One of the biggest problems the personal injury compensation industry right now is the prevalence of spurious whiplash claims – but that seems to be changing.

As a culture we seem to be getting a bit more clever in rooting out fraudulent accident claims, especially when it comes to whiplash. In fact one wholesaler from Leeds has been able to win his legal battle in refusing to pay out on not one but two rather suspicious whiplash claims recently.

The furore all began when one of the lorry drivers for Morris and Son (Leeds) Ltd accidentally pranged a parked vehicle when he came around a corner in Harehills. There was no one actually in the car at the time, according to the driver, and in fact the collision was so low-speed that it would have barely been able to cause even minimal damage to occupants if there had been any inside the car he struck – and according to the driver, he couldn’t remember seeing anyone in the car he inadvertently struck.

Of course – and here it comes, did you expect otherwise – the owner of the car, who had been parked on the side of the road as he went inside to pull some money from a local cashpoint – claims that his two young children were within the vehicle and they both were suffering from whiplash injury. At this point Morris and Son’s insurer could smell something was rotten in the state of Denmark and decided to fight the claims – in fact, an automotive engineer examined the accident and declared definitively there was no way to actually suffer whiplash from such a low-speed collision. Luckily the courts agreed, and these suspicious claims were summarily dismissed!

It’s not just the UK where people are fighting against the creep of spurious whiplash injury, though. In fact, would you believe that Australia has seen a marked drop in their own whiplash injury claims, especially in Victoria?

It’s true – over the past 10 years, accident claims for whiplash dropped by more than 25 per cent. The related health costs also dropped my more than 33 per cent, according to a new survey.

So I wonder – what are Australians doing that we aren’t? Do we just have weaker necks than those Down Under or do we need to get with the programme and follow in the Australians’ footsteps? It couldn’t be that bad, especially considering that we could certainly use the respite from high insurance costs caused by whiplash claims!


The cost of claims both legitimate and faked

Industry news roundup: week ended 16 Sept 2013:

Whether it’s spurious or legitimate, an accident claim has a serious cost – and not just to the party held responsible for the injury!

Claims fraud is, for example, a serious problem right now in the UK. Why, just the other day there was a massive scam uncovered where two blokes tried to bilk £77,000 from an insurance company – and if they had succeeded, it would have been all of us who would have ended up footing the bill!

Luckily these two bastards, Darren Gallimore and Kenneth Nash, were caught as they were in the midst of organising their ‘cash for crash’ whiplash claim with the help of several other family members. Thankfully an investigation by the insurer discovered that the so-called ‘accident’ might not have ever occurred, and further probing saw the plan uncovered – now the two ringleaders are spending a nice, long 12 months in prison for their attempts to defraud. Good, I say – my insurance premiums are high enough without them having to rocket upwards because my firm needs to recover the cost of fraudulent claims!

But just because fraudulent claims tend to be for ungodly amounts of cash doesn’t mean that legitimate claims can’t be as expensive. In fact, a new Freedom of Information request recently revealed that Blackpool Council is currently being sued for in excess of £45,000 from school-related injuries alone!

That’s right – staff, pupils, and even visitors to Blackpool schools are getting injured left and right it seems. There were some 36 claims that were currently working their way through the courts at the moment, with the most recent being May of this year and the oldest stemming from September of 2010, and the injuries range from simple slips and trips to ending up injured after being hit by a football.

I’m not saying that people don’t end up hurt from accidents – it happens, we all know it – but being hit by a football? Is that truly something that passes for being injured enough to make a claim for personal injury compensation? Sure I can see getting your nose bloodied by an errant, out of control football, but for pity’s sake don’t claim thousands of pounds in injury!

Engineering firms neglect the safety of their employees

Industry news roundup: week ended 9 Sept 2013:

There are some serious accident claims brewing at not one but two engineering firms thanks to recent injuries suffered by their workers.

First up, an unnamed civil engineering worker was nearly backed over by a tipper truck, leaving him with such serious leg injuries that he needed to be taken to hospital by air ambulance. The poor bastard was off work for seven weeks or so as doctors endeavoured to repair a severed artery and several other injuries, including a massive puncture wound and a seriously damaged thigh muscle.

The Health and Safety Executive just finished prosecuting the man’s employer this month, and not the Swindon-based firm has to face fines of £10,000 for not setting better safety practices in place. This is of course on top of whatever personal injury compensation award the injured man wins from his employer – and heaven knows he’s going to be getting quite a bit of cash as long as he’s got a good personal injury solicitor team working for him.

Meanwhile another engineering firm – this one based in Jarrow – just got slapped with another fine from the HSE after one of the company’s workers mangled his hand quite badly in the inner workings of the manual lathe he was operating. The injured worker in question – 19 year old Jarrow native Jack Ward – dislocated one of his knuckles and broke his finger so badly that it required pins and wires to set it properly.

To this day Mr Ward still hasn’t regained full use of his hand. In fact he’ll need at least one more surgery to correct the problem, and all because his employer couldn’t be arsed to make sure its workers were trained properly or given proper safety guidelines.

Honestly I hope that Mr Ward hires the biggest, meanest personal solicitor injury team he can find and that he drains his employers absolutely dry. There’s no excuse for not looking after your own workers, and his employer definitely needs to be taught a lesson about taking care of its own – and I don’t mean just a slap on the wrist and a nominal fine from the Health and Safety Executive – no, he deserves to walk away with a big, fat personal injury compensation award for all his pain and suffering.

I’ve just got no patience for employers like that. I hope Mr Ward ends up getting that last surgery he needs to help him regain some more regular feeling and function in his poor abused hand.

Blame in the time of high legal costs

Industry news roundup: week ended 2 Sept 2013:

The war rages on between the insurance industry and the personal injury claims sector, with finger-pointing and recriminations dominating as usual.

The so-called ‘compensation culture’ that’s gripping the UK is apparently because there are too many personal injury solicitors looking to line their pockets with our hard-earned money, according to the insurance industry – and the Government seems to be choosing sides. Who can forget the ‘where there’s blame, there’s a claim’ slogan that David Cameron trotted out once the Coalition moved in and set up residence?

Well the Government has been doing its best to meddle with the personal injury compensation industry, including pushing through reforms that are supposedly going to make it less expensive for insurers to defend injury claims and will allow these companies to pass on the savings to customers. Only some of these measures have gone into effect but insurers are already gambling that their costs will decrease, and a price war has started between competitors fighting over every single last customer they can claim.

The thing is, there’s no indications that motor insurance is actually going to be profitable this year even with these new changes. Industry experts said recently that it would take a miracle to get the sector back on track – something it hasn’t been in nearly twenty years – and if you ask me this is going to lead to a backlash that will drive prices back up into the stratosphere once these insurers realise their efforts are not netting them the types of cash they need to keep their businesses open and operating successfully.

Of course this isn’t the only aborted attempt on the Government to give personal injury lawyers a hard time. Just recently the Law Society had to weather a hearing to see if an advert campaign it ran this summer had been in breach of any rules or regulations.

The ‘Don’t Get Mugged’ campaign was deemed to actually not be such a terrible thing after all, according to the Advertising Standards Authority, despite the fact that quite a few people lodged complaints.

The advert wasn’t even all that bad, if you ask me – it simply compared using an insurer’s third party capture offer was tantamount to being robbed blind in the aftermath of an accident. Instead, the advert encouraged accident victims to find a qualified injury solicitor instead – something that I’m sure angered the insurance company and its cronies in the Government.

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!

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to go off to work in the morning

Industry news roundup: week ended 29 July 2013:

Everyone’s had days where they would rather stay in bed instead of going to work, as these two blokes that got injured on the job recently can attest to.

First up the unfortunate tale of a very unlucky brewery worker that ended up a few fingers short after a run-in with a faulty grain dust extractor. The poor man had been busy trying to clear a blockage on the extractor by hand, but as he reached deep into the machine’s chute the rotary valve inside made short work of his index and middle fingers.

Poor bastard needed five surgeries to repair his hand. On top of that, the Health and Safety Executive found out that the brewery’s owners, Hall & Woodhouse Ltd, had somehow neglected to place any arrangements in place for employees to clean out the piece of machinery besides, you know, sticking your hand in.

I swear it’s like employers have their heads up their arses when it comes to employee safety. This poor man should get the biggest, meanest personal injury solicitor he can find and he should sue the pants off his employer; I’ll wager that will be the last time that brewery looks at safety issues the same way!

Meanwhile, this isn’t just an isolated incident. Another story I read recently recounted how another food industry worker – this time the health and safety manager for a Lincolnshire frozen potato product manufacturer, ironically enough – ended up showered with scalding hot 160-degree oil because he inadvertently knocked into a pipe as he was keeping an eye on an unrelated procedure.

62 year old Harvey Hopwood, an employee of PAS (Grantham) Ltd, was simply making sure the lads were jet washing the facility’s oil storage tank properly when the incident occurred, which left him with 10 per cent burns over his upper body. Poor Mr Hopwood was laid up for a month before eventually having to leave the company due to his injuries, which occurred because the pressure valve of the pipe he came into contact with fell right off.

This is another case where I hope Mr Hopwood has a very aggressive injury solicitor working for him. I can’t imagine the pain, suffering, and indignity of having to be showered with boiling hot oil because my employer is too lazy to ensure that all the pressure valves at their facility are secure and working properly!

Injury claims a-plenty predicted for two manufacturers

Industry news roundup: week ended 22 July 2013:

Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed: not one but two manufacturers are likely facing costly injury claims after serious work injuries.

It’s gruesome and nobody wants to think about it – especially me – but manufacturing workers are often the recipient of some of the worst incidents of personal injury at work out there. Yes, construction workers often suffer nasty falls from height, and we can’t discount the type of injury an office worker can get if he or she slips and falls on the job, but by and large the worst and most painful injuries often occur to these poor blokes who work in manufacturing roles.

I mean, did you hear the story of Michael Taylor? The man was working for The Paper Pallet Company when his hand was pulled into a laminating machine. If you don’t have any idea what these machines do, they have two massive rollers designed to glue things together, and that’s where Michael’s and and arm ended up getting sucked into.

The poor man’s injuries were absolutely dreadful. In fact it took a total of four surgical procedures to get his hand back into some semblance of working order, and he still needs physiotherapy; even in the face of all that work, his doctors say there’s a good chance he may not regain the full use of his arm even after all that effort.

On top of that, it turns out the laminating machine wasn’t guarded properly, which spells bad, bad news for Michael’s employers. This sets up a situation where Michael can bring a personal injury claim against The Paper Pallet Company, and let’s be honest: he probably deserves every single penny he can get from them.

Meanwhile things aren’t much better in Somerset at the Brothers Drinks Co Ltd manufacturing plant, where another worker ended up arm-deep in yet another machine. This time it was a depalletiser that nearly severed the arm from the 52 year old employee (his name is being withheld from the press); the machine, which features a mechanism that swipes empty bottles from a conveyor on their way to be filled with whatever drink the firm is bottling that day, started up suddenly while the worker was trying to clear a stoppage.

Maybe it’s just me but shouldn’t employers ensure that their machinery doesn’t do that? It’s not too bright to operate unguarded pieces of machinery like that, especially when a work accident claim is going to absolutely ruin a company; perhaps these firms will learn their lesson?

Mind the gap or you might need to make an injury claim!

Industry news roundup: week ended 15 July 2013:

Public transport can be a pain, but it can be positively dangerous to your health as well; nowhere is it more dangerous than in London!

At least that’s what it looks like if a recent Freedom of Information request can be believed, as it came out this week that the London Underground has seen so many accidents over the past four years that it’s had to pay out on £2.5 million in personal injury compensation to thousands of injured tube riders. There were some 3,471 injuries last year alone – an increase of some 200 over 2011 figures, according to the information – with the most common occurrences being trips and falls.

You should be especially careful if you get on or off at Kings Cross St Pancras as well, as this station has the dubious honour of being the most dangerous. Transport for London received 147 passenger injury reports in 2012, making it the clear ‘winner;’ from 2009 to last year there were a total of 661 reported injuries in all.

Budget cuts have been the culprit, according to the Road Transport Union, as stations with skeleton crews simply can’t keep up with the maintenance needs of a massive railway network like the Underground. I wonder if it would have been cheaper to simply pay the salaries of a few more railway workers instead of paying out on such an enormous number of accident claims over the past four years!

It’s not just passengers that need to watch their necks, either; the few railway workers left are also experiencing some rather serious injuries whilst on the job. In fact i read about how a 32 year old railway worker that was severely burnt in an explosion has ended up with a massive settlement after he was left in the burn unit for an excruciating 10 weeks.

The poor man suffered 30 per cent burns to not just his upper body but his face as well, causing severe injuries and limiting his ability to breathe and speak. He also has ended up with poor movement in his right hand due to numbness and is now permanently disfigured as well, all because he had been working on a power cable that hadn’t been isolated properly and was actually coursing with electricity.

Can you imagine the pain and suffering this railway worker has had to endure since his personal injury at work? I suppose tripping down the stairwell at a tube station seems like a rather minor injury indeed in comparison, doesn’t it?

Win modestly but dream big when it comes to damages

Industry news roundup: week ended 8 July 2013:

When it comes to personal injury compensation claims, it’s all right to dream big – but don’t be afraid to take a modest win if you can.

At least that’s the lessons that I’ve gleaned from this week’s crop of injury news anyway, especially when I’ve read about one successful claimant taking a £15,000 settlement offer even as another one makes a new claim for nearly £650,000! It’s a big gap, but I think it illustrates the point perfectly: aim high, but don’t leave money on the table.

Lina Waghorn definitely made the right decision in my case when she accepted a settlement offer from Dundee City Council the other day. The senior education officer for the council had brought a work injury claim after a nasty spill down some stairs saw her with a broken leg as she was working as one of the school’s musical theatre producers in 2011.

Mrs Waghorn initially faced more than a bit of pushback from her employers based on the fact that they said she wasn’t working in her normal role at the time of the injury. The whole matter was being hotly debated when the city council finally decided to just offer the injured woman the settlement – probably because its legal costs were mounting – and not wanting to prolong the matter on her side either, the injured woman wisely took it. Good on her!

Of course, just because your end result is relatively modest doesn’t mean you can’t reach for the stars. That’s what one seriously injured carpenter is doing with his £645,000 accident claim made against a film company for a grisly injury involving a table saw on the set of the Adam Sandler movie ‘That’s My Boy.’ Notwithstanding whether or not Adam Sandler should be sued for his horrid sense of humor or not, the injured carpenter named him and other production company bigwigs in his compensation claim for the injury that saw more than one finger sawed clean off his right hand and probably left him with nightmares for the rest of his life!

The table saw just wasn’t adequately guarded, according to his personal injury claim, and if this turns out to be the truth then Happy Madison is going to be in big, big trouble. Sandler’s going to have to put out a few actually funny movies to pay this legal bill, if you ask me!

In all honesty I haven’t actually seen ‘That’s My Boy,’ but it looked absolutely rubbish. I’m sure I’m not missing anything.

Only those deserving should bring accident claims

Industry news roundup: week ended 1 July 2013:

There are all too many people with legitimate injuries that deserve personal injury compensation – yet there are still those that try to game the system.

Luckily when it comes to those trying to pull the wool over on insurers it seems that these bastards are caught quite regularly. In fact, one such high-profile instance in the news this week was the exposure of 31 year old David Ribchester as a complete and utter fraud after his insurer secretly filmed him playing rugby – despite the fact that he was making injury claims for nearly £1 million in compensation due to wrist injuries he allegedly suffered back in 2006.

Ribchester swore up and down that he couldn’t conduct simple tasks such as hold his baby daughter, pick up and carry shopping bags, or even drive, but something smelled fishy to RSA Group and decided to clandestinely follow him about for a few days. Much to Ribchester’s chagrin, the insuerr caught him on camera engaging in activities such as playing the drums, driving, carrying shopping; the rugby playing was just icing on the duplicitous cake if you ask me.

Well Ribchester was rewarded for his blatant falsehoods by being awarded an eight month jails sentence and the only thing I can say is ‘good,’ considering how he tried to game the system like that. It just makes things that much harder for people who are legitimately injured and need of financial help!

However, this week saw another high-profile accident claim that turned out much better for the claimant, considering she made off with £14 million in damages. Unfortunately the injured party – a 17 year old girl who was left with life-changing injuries from a car crash at the age of nine and is confined to a wheelchair that she controls with her chin, needs the cash to provide for her medical needs for the rest of her life, which includes the need for a ventilator.

The terrible car accident that left her completely paralysed hasn’t slowed the girl down though, considering that she completed her AS levels. Not only that, she’s set her sights firmly on university with an eye to seek out languages as a career path.

Good on her, I say. She’s infinitely more deserving of that massive financial reward than that fraudster Ribchester; I wish that girl nothing but the absolute best of luck and success in all her endeavours.

Think your injury is bad? At least you can still send texts

Industry news roundup: week ended 24 June 2013:

Never mind that some poor bloke was nearly crushed to death and only ended up with £70,000 – one worker wants £150,000 because he can’t send texts anymore.

I had really thought I’d seen, heard, and read everything when it comes to personal injury claims, but I was so very wrong; this week, I found out about one man that is so upset at no longer being able to send texts on his mobile that he’s looking for £150,000 in personal injury compensation! Meanwhile, even as I read this ridiculous bit of news I was struck at the difference between him and another person who nearly died in a terrible personal injury at work, but only received £70,000 in damages, and I can only conclude that the world has gone absolutely mad.

Isaak Alpman, an IT specialist, says he tumbled down a flight of stairs while at work and sustained what his personal injury solicitors called ‘personal injuries,’ whatever in the world that means. Somewhere along the way he did something to his right index finger that rendered him unable to send texts or use other sorts of items that he usually does for work, so now he wants massive sums of cash because the stairwell was unsafe.

Listen, I’m not about to say that anyone wasn’t terribly injured or not – I wasn’t there and I can’t say for sure what happened. But £150,000 for a crooked finger seems more than a bit mad to me – especially when other people have received much less for injuries much more severe – like when a metal cutting tool weighing well over a tunne landed atop an engineer so spectacularly that onlookers thought he had been instantly crushed to death!

David Hynds found himself trapped between the floor and a girder support when the massive tool fell 13 feet to the ground below, sustaining life-threatening fractures to his vertebrae. Unbelievably it just took five minutes for the 52 year old man to extricate himself safely from his position, and he was left with some quite severe and long-lasting injuries.

Mr Hynds, who is undoubtedly a very lucky man to have escaped with his life – considering how one of his colleauges was convinced Mr Hynds had been slain instantly in the accident as he observed it –  found that since the accident he had both enough physical pain and post-traumatic stress that he simply could not return to work in any sort of reliable capacity. As a result he brought a compensation claim against his employers and received a £70,000 compensation package for his trouble.

In other words, one man gets a one-tonne weight dropped on him and is satisfied with only £70,000, so where does another man get off with asking for £150,000 for a crooked finger?

Work accidents could spell financial disaster for two firms

Industry news roundup: week ended 17 June 2013:

Everyone knows that personal injury at work can lead to serious repercussions, and not just Health and Safety fines – work accident claims can be killer!

In fact, not one but two firms have been in the news lately for some severe workplace accidents, the first being an incident serious enough to lead to the unfortunate death of one worker. West Yorkshire native David Vickers, a 37 year old construction worker employed by Adis Scaffolding, sadly lost his life when he was crushed under an overturned truck, leading to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.

According to HSE investigators, the truck overturned because the skip it had been lifting had not been secured properly to it, unbalancing the large vehicle and causing it to upend. Mr Vickers’ employer was found to be in violation of several Health and Safety rules and has been fined an absolute fortune of some £420,000 in combined fines and court costs, but there could very well be even more costs on the horizon for the construction firm in the event that Mr Vickers’ surviving family members decide to sue the bloody trousers off the firm – and if you ask me, it’s more than even money that they will try to squeeze every penny they can from Adis Scaffolding!

Luckily the next incident in the news wasn’t fatal, though this doesn’t minimise the amount of suffering the poor man went through when an accident left him with a damaged eye and broken cheekbone when an air hose whipped his face. The injured man – whose identity has been kept a secret due to legal and privacy reasons – was busily cleaning a paint fume filter for the European branch of multinational firm Faltec when he disengaged the air hose of his sprayer without venting it first, which caused the terribly painful incident.

The HSE investigated this incident as well, discovering that Faltec didn’t give enough instruction to the worker regarding how to operate the sprayer, especially when it came to warnings about disconnecting a pressurised air hose. The employee never received the proper training or information, HSE inspectors determined, and as a result the poor man suffered life-changing injuries; the incident left him with permanent damage to one eye, resulting in visual impairment!

If there’s anything that will be an expensive personal injury compensation claim, it’s going to be that one once the injured worker gets time to find a decent injury lawyer. I don’t envy Faltec Europe at all – they’re going to be taken to the cleaners!

It’s no fun at all being the victim of a serious injury, now is it?

Industry news roundup: week ended 10 June 2013:

Much has been said about the massive personal injury compensation payouts that accident victims can get, but the pain of injury isn’t exactly fun, you know.

In fact, there were two major news stories this week recounting how people have been privy to massive damages awards thanks to their hard-working personal injury solicitors. Both payouts were well over £1 million, but it’s not like these claimants are going to be sitting back and living the good life now – they have serious medical conditions that need looking after; this cash goes towards such care, not an all-expenses holiday somewhere sunny and warm.

Think about it: do you think it was fun for poor Rebecca Coles to collide with a boat as she was being towed in an inflatable ring in Suffolk on the River Orwell? The 19 year old was injured so badly that a piece of her skull had to be removed in order to help her recover – and that recovery includes permanent mobility impairment as well as reduced hearing and vision thanks to her brain injuries – so don’t think that the £1.37 million being paid to her is going to be living the high life any time soon.

Likewise the claimant in a personal injury compensation claim that just won some £10 million in damages isn’t going to be rubbing elbows with Richard Branson anytime soon. James Kennedy, a recruitment consultant living and working in Rome at the time of the incident, won the compensation award after the details of a catastrophic accident left him with massive brain injuries; the 37 year old man was struck by a vehicle driven by a Catholic priest of all people, who then fled the scene temporarily before a very angry crowd chased after him and bloodied his face; say what you want about Italians but they don’t let behaviour like that stand, especially from a priest!

Meanwhile, poor Mr Kennedy isn’t going back to Rome any time soon, considering how the accident left him with absolutely crippling injuries. In fact, he was in a coma for ten long months following the incident, only to awake with the kinds of life-changing injuries that require medical care for the rest of his life – something that absolutely contributed to the massive payout on his car accident claim.

For the priest’s part, I heard he was sentenced to a month in prison and slapped with a hefty fine. Good, I say – no man of God would flee the scene of a horrific accident, much less one that actually caused it in the first place!

Government and local authorities taken for a ride

Industry news roundup: week ended 3 June 2013:

Individuals bringing personal injury claims against the government and local authorities alike are making off with thousands of pounds for all sorts of things.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like every news story I stumbled across this week had something to do with someone soaking either the cash-strapped government or a local authority for thousands of pounds. Now, I’m not saying that the injured shouldn’t be compensated for their loss, but sometimes these personal injury compensation claims seem a bit spurious, especially when I read about some of the claims that the Ministry of Defence has paid out over the past few years.

In fact, more than £1.4 million has been paid out by the MoD over a three year period of time. Some are more or less all right, especially in the event that low-flying aircraft coming by and startling livestock or pets so badly that they end up injured or even dead – if you’re flying a bloody fighter jet at 500mph and you’re only 1,000 feet up off the ground, you’re going to cause some property damage, and I feel terribly for the owner of a pet parrot whose bird died after one jet passed over its house in a screaming scramble.

However, I really don’t think it’s necessary to pay out on claims to therapy groups that were supposedly ‘disturbed’ by the jets passing close by. I suppose I’m more sympathetic to animals than I am human beings!

Of course it’s not just the government that’s gotten itself into legal hot water – local authorities get raked over the coals all the time. Nottingham City Council And Notts County Council have together paid out some £565,000 over the past five years alone – and that’s just from accidents occurring on school ground!

Inadequate training, slips and trips, and defective equipment have all been blamed on the injuries sustained by students, staff and teachers alike. Injuries sustained through the not-so judicious application of force on the part of particularly horrid students whilst not properly supervised have also caused more than a few headaches, though the worst offenders seem to be improperly gritted pavements during the winter months.

There have been nearly 75 separate claims since April of 2008, sources say. Nottingham City Council has paid around £255,000 in compensation, while the county council has paid out an even larger sum of around £310,000 if you can believe it!

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