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Ski Lift Accident Claim Resolved after Court Proceedings Issued

February 3, 2017

A ski lift accident claim has been resolved for an undisclosed amount after court proceedings were issued in France against the ski lift operator.

Twenty-five year old Tom Giddens – a student from Solihull, West Midlands – was on holiday at the Val Thorens Ski Resort in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France, when he and a friend decided to go for one final run of the evening.

Although the light was beginning to fade, Tom and his friend got on the ski lift to ascend the slope but the ski lift stopped 200 feet from the top. The two men shouted for help, but nobody came to their assistance as the temperature dropped to -16 degrees.

Tom rang the emergency number printed on his ski lift pass, but was only able to get through to a recorded message. After thirty minutes of waiting for the lift to restart or help to arrive, Tom and his friend decided to jump down from the ski lift to the ground below.

Tom´s friend was able to lower himself down onto the bar of the ski lift and lumped to the ground without injury. However, when Tom tried the same approach, he landed awkwardly and broke his leg so badly that the bone pierced his skin.

Fortunately help arrived quickly, and Tom was taken down the slope on a bud wagon. He was treated at the resort´s medical centre before being taken to Moutiers Hospital, where a metal rod was inserted into his leg to help heal the broken bone.

Tom was flown back to the UK five days later and transferred to the Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield. He was discharged on crutches five weeks later, but had to undergo physiotherapy for eighteen months and has never regained the level of fitness he enjoyed prior to his accident.

After seeking legal advice, Tom made a ski lift accident claim against the operator of the ski lift – Societe D’Exploitation des Telepheriques Tarantaise-Maurienne – on the grounds that there had been a failure by the ski lift operator to maintain an acceptable standard of safety.

Liability for Tom´s injury was initially denied and the ski lift accident claim contested. However, after Tom´s solicitors issued court proceeding against the ski lift operator in France, the claim was resolved by negotiation for an undisclosed five-figure sum.

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Decree Passed to Provide Compensation for Spanish Mortgages

January 20, 2017

The government in Madrid has passed a decree setting out a timeframe for lenders to identify property owners entitled to compensation for Spanish mortgages.

During the Spanish property boom of the early 2000´s thousands of UK investors bought a property in Spain – taking advantage of low introductory interest rates on mortgages being offered by Spanish banks. What many people did not realise was that the once the introductory interest rates had expired, their mortgage agreements included a “clausula suelo” or lower cap on the minimum interest rates that banks could charge.

Consequently, when EURIBOR rates were slashed following the collapse of the property market in 2008, many property owners discovered they were paying the same – if not more – than before in repayments. Many property owners complained they had been treated unfairly, as the lower interest rate cap had never been explained to them. They also felt that the cap was only briefly mentioned among lengthy and complicated terms and conditions.

Some investors attempted to recover compensation for Spanish mortgages on the grounds that they were unfairly sold to them. However, courts often found in the lenders´ favour – agreeing it was the purchaser´s responsibility to read and understand the terms and conditions of the mortgage agreement. This situation continued until May 2013, when Spain´s Supreme Court ruled that BBVA´s lower cap clauses were unfair and said the clauses should be voided in ongoing mortgage agreements.

Following the Supreme Court´s ruling, more than fifteen thousand property owners brought a class action claiming compensation for Spanish mortgages. The claim was resolved in April 2016, when Judge Carmen Gonzalez found in the property owners favour and said that “quantities improperly charged” since May 2013 should be refunded. Her ruling attracted the attention of European Commissioners, who felt that, if a clause in a mortgage agreement was to be voided, compensation for Spanish mortgages should be paid for the entirety of the agreement.

Spanish banks argued against the Commissioners´ opinion – stating that, if they paid compensation for Spanish mortgages for the entirety of every agreement with voided clauses, their liabilities would exceed €4 billion. It was claimed by many in the banking sector that this level of compensation for Spanish mortgages would cripple the industry. The EU Court of Justice disagreed, and ruled in December that compensation for Spanish mortgages should be paid on full to each qualifying mortgagee.

Afraid that Spanish lenders could be faced with up to 2.5 million compensation claims at the same time, the Spanish government has announced a process for banks to pay compensation for Spanish mortgages over a three-month period. Banks are to identify each mortgage agreement containing the lower cap clause, and write to each customer with an offer of settlement. Property owners than have fifteen days to decide whether the offer of compensation for Spanish mortgages is appropriate.

If the offer of settlement is considered inappropriate and no agreement can be reached within three months – or property owners are not contacted within the three month timeframe – the “extra-judicial procedure” will be considered concluded. After this time, property owners will be able to claim compensation for Spanish mortgages through the courts. As some lenders have already stated they will not fully comply with the decree, and others are likely to mitigate their liabilities with inappropriate offers of settlement, we advise those affected by lower cap mortgages to seek professional legal advice from a solicitor familiar with the Spanish real estate market.

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Employers Suffer Severe Chemical Burns in a Workplace Accident

January 5, 2017

Two employees of a North East engineering company suffered severe chemical burns in a workplace accident due to inappropriate equipment being supplied.

On 31st July 2014, two employees of PSL Worldwide Projects Ltd were trying to clean a pipe system at a site in Cramlington, Northumberland. While they were cleaning the system with Sodium Hydroxide granules, a chemical reaction occurred between the granules and the water they were using, causing the liquid to heat up and create intense pressure within the hose.

Due to the intense pressure, the hose detached and sprayed both employees with the hazardous solution. Both employees suffered severe chemical burns in a workplace accident – one receiving life threatening burns to his back, buttocks, arms, leg, neck, and one side of his face. The other receiving burns to the right side of his head, neck, back, left arm and behind his right ear.

Officers from the Health and Safety Executive investigated the cause of the accident and discovered that an inadequate risk assessment had been conducted prior to the two employees being assigned the job, the hosing provided for the job not suitable for the solution, and that PSL Worldwide Projects had failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment to the two employees.

PSL Worldwide Projects was prosecuted for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and found guilty of being responsible for the severe chemical burns in a workplace accident by Bedlington Magistrates´ Court last November. Sentencing was referred to Newcastle Crown Court, who this week fined the company £150,000.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, HSE inspector Laura Catterall commented: “If a suitable risk assessment had been undertaken it would have identified that the equipment being used was not right for the chemicals or the work being carried out. All companies who work with high hazard chemicals should learn from this case and ensure that their workers are properly protected.”

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Court Issues £3 Million Fine for Workplace Injuries at a Chemical Plant

November 10, 2016

Hull Crown Court has issued fines totalling £3 million for breaches of health and safety regulations that resulted in workplace injuries at a chemical plant.

On March 5, 2010, forty-eight year old Paul Doyley was working at the Crystal Pigment chemical plant in Grimsby, when a build-up of Titanium Tetrachloride within the vessel he was working beneath leaked from its tank, came into contact with water and created a violent explosion.

The explosion ruptured the vessel above Paul´s head, showering him with corrosive liquid. As two colleagues came to his aid, the mixture of the liquid and the air created a toxic vapour cloud, causing Paul and one of his colleagues to sustain internal lung damage.

The toxic vapour cloud expanded quickly and blew from the chemical plant across the River Humber – closing the shipping lanes for a period of time. The Humberside Fire and Rescue Service attended, and the incident was brought under control after several hours.

Paul was taken by ambulance to Wakefield´s Pinderfield Hospital, where he received specialist treatment for his workplace injuries at a chemical plant. Tragically he died from his injuries two weeks later – an inquest into his death recording a narrative verdict.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the incident and found that Paul´s employers had deviated from the normal procedures for the management of Titanium Tetrachloride. Inspectors also identified a lack of safety procedures and systems of work to assess and control risk.

Crystal Pigment UK Ltd was prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 for breaches that resulted in workplace injuries in a chemical plant. The company pleaded guilty to the charges, and a sentencing hearing took place at Hull Crown Court.

After hearing that there had been a second uncontrolled release of a toxic vapour in July 2011 during the cleaning of a redundant vessel, the court issued fines totalling £3 million for the breaches of health and safety regulations that resulted in workplace injuries at a chemical plant and also ordered Crystal Pigment UK Ltd to pay £37,868 in costs.

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Liability Determined in Claim for a Broken Back in a Horse Riding Accident

November 7, 2016

A dispute over liability has been resolved at a hearing of the High Court into a teenager´s claim for a broken back in a horse riding accident.

The claim for a broken back in a horse riding accident was made by Ashleigh Harris from Lydney in Gloucestershire, who at age fourteen was “encouraged” to ride a thoroughbred racehorse by the mother of her then boyfriend, Rachel Miller.

The experience at the Miller home in Malthern, Monmouthshire, started well for Ashleigh – who, although a competent pony rider, had never ridden a racehorse in an open field before. However, after five minutes of trotting, the racehorse broke into a canter that Ashleigh was unable to control.

As the horse and rider descended an incline, the racehorse bucked and started throwing its head. Ashleigh was thrown from the saddle and – despite wearing body armour – broke her back in the fall. Ashleigh is now permanently disabled from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair.

On turning eighteen, Ashleigh made a claim for a broken back in a horse riding accident against Miller – alleging that she should never have been encouraged to ride “a green, unresponsive and uneducated horse” that would be difficult to control.

Miller denied that there was a foreseeable risk of injury, and the case went to the High Court in London to determine liability. The liability hearing took place last week before Judge Graham Wood QC, who was told that Miller had asked Ashleigh to ride the racehorse because Ashleigh had more riding experience than Miller.

Miller told the judge she had asked Ashleigh´s mother if it was okay for Ashleigh to ride the horse and had spoken to her again on the morning of the accident. However, Judge Wood said that Miller was an unreliable witness, particularly in relation to her account of the events leading up to Ashleigh´s fall.

Finding in Ashleigh´s favour, Judge Wood said: “In my judgment, it was reasonably foreseeable that the horse would be strong and difficult to control, and in certain conditions likely to unseat a rider who was not used to managing a horse bred to race and trained to gallop.”

The judge adjourned the hearing so that reports concerning Ashleigh´s future needs can be prepared. Ashleigh´s lawyers believe that, due to the cost of her ongoing specialist care, the final settlement of the claim for a broken back in a horse riding accident could be several million pounds.

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Employer Pleads Guilty in Car Mechanic Injured at Work Case

October 25, 2016

The employer of a car mechanic injured at work has pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act at a hearing of Preston Magistrates Court.

In November 2014, thirty-four year old Stuart Currey from Morecambe in Lancashire was cleaning out a vehicle inspection pit at Pye Motors, when an apprentice drove a Ford Transit over the top of the inspection pit, unaware that Stuart was working inside of it.

Stuart was caught by the bottom of the Ford Transit and dragged along the floor for ten metres before the driver became aware of his screams. Work colleagues jacked the vehicle off of Stuart, and he was airlifted to the Royal Preston Hospital suffering from multiple injuries to his pelvis, hips, ribs, shoulder and spine.

Stuart remained in hospital for five weeks and now relies on crutches to assist his mobility. Due to the nature of his injuries, Stuart has one leg shorter than the other, will never be able to work as a car mechanic again and is unable to play with his four daughters.

An investigation into the car mechanic injured at work accident was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who subsequently prosecuted Stuart´s employer for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Pye Motors pleaded guilty to the charges at Preston Magistrates Court earlier this week, paving the way for Stuart to claim compensation for a car mechanic injured at work. Speaking after the Magistrates hearing, Stuart´s solicitor told press reporters:

“Stuart is determined to get answers about what happened to him and his former employers taking responsibility for what happened to him is a major step forward. We are now helping Stuart and Natasha in a civil claim against his former employers in a bid to secure him the funds he will require to continue his rehabilitation and physiotherapy”.

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Hotel Guests Claim Compensation for Illnesses on a Greek Holiday

October 12, 2016

Seventeen hotel guests are claiming compensation for illnesses on a Greek holiday against tour operator Thomas Cook due to swimming in a contaminated pool.

In August this year, multiple guests at the all-inclusive Marelen Hotel on the Greek Island of Zante started suffering symptoms of a gastric illness. Many had their holidays ruined by stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea which, on their return to the UK, were found to be attributable to the Cryptosporidium parasite – a parasite that thrives in contaminated swimming pools.

On discovering the probable cause of their illnesses, seventeen of the guests contacted solicitors – some commenting that they had seen faecal matter in the swimming pool, while others claiming they had observed staff cleaning the surrounds of the pool with a brush and then rinsing the brush in the pool. None of the guests saw any water tests being conducted during their stay.

One of the hotel guests who suffered from the Cryptosporidium illness was twenty-seven year old Rosanna Crowley from Kettering in Northamptonshire. Rosanna, her partner and her two children were all taken ill after swimming in the Marelen Hotel pool. Rosanna told her local newspaper: “It was hideous. We had all swam in that pool. As soon as I started feeling unwell I just knew it was bad. And then one-by-one we all came down with it.”

When the family returned to Kettering, all four were diagnosed as being infected by the Cryptosporidium parasite. None have yet fully recovered, and Rosanna´s home had to be inspected by environmental health officers because of the breeding habits of the parasite. Now, along with the other guests that fell ill after swimming in the pool, Rosanna and her family are claiming compensation for illnesses on a Greek holiday against Thomas Cook.

Their solicitor has said that the aim of the claims is not only to recover compensation for those who became ill due to the contaminated swimming pool, but also to make sure Thomas Cook implements measure to prevent the same scenario from happening again. A spokesperson for Thomas Cook refused to comment as the legal action is ongoing.

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Couple Make Holiday Campylobacter Food Poisoning Claim

September 13, 2016

A couple from Stockton Heath in Cheshire are making a holiday campylobacter food poisoning claim one year after an illness ruined their vacation in Crete.

Last summer, William and Leanda Kidley booked a holiday at the Katrin Suites in Crete through tour operator Thomas Cook. The holiday in the resort town of Stalis was going well until a few days before the couple were due to fly back to the UK, when William started to exhibit flu-like symptoms and suffer from nausea.

On the day the couple returned home, William started suffering from diarrhoea. He visited the family´s GP who referred him to Warrington General Hospital for tests. The tests revealed that William was suffering from campylobacter food poisoning and he was admitted into hospital for a week to receive treatment.

After he was well enough to leave hospital, William and Leander sought legal advice. The couple allege that William´s illness was attributable to a poor standard of hygiene at the all-inclusive hotel, and claim they saw insects flying around uncovered food during the day and that their food was frequently undercooked in the evenings.

Solicitors representing the couple in their holiday campylobacter food poisoning claim have got an agreement from Thomas Cook that, if a connection between the hygiene at the Katrin Suites and William´s illness can be established, the tour operator will admit liability and settle the claim.

Speaking to her local newspaper about the holiday campylobacter food poisoning claim, Leander said: “The last thing we ever expected when we booked the holiday was for either of us to end up in hospital going through tests to find out exactly what was wrong. William missed time off work because of the problems he was having and it took him a long time for his stamina to improve and even now he has not made a full recovery.”

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Essex School Fined for Maintenance Worker´s Fall from Height

August 11, 2016

An Essex school has been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £1,477 costs for a maintenance worker´s fall from height at a hearing of Chelmsford Crown Court.

Keith Chandler (63) was a member of a maintenance team restoring the Grade II listed Newnum House when, on February 17th2015, he fell 2.6 metres from the roof of a bay window he was helping to repair. As a result of the maintenance worker´s fall from height. Keith suffered five damaged vertebrae a bruised kidney and a hairline fracture of his shoulder.

Despite being able to return to work within six weeks, Keith is still unable to climb ladders or lift heavy loads eighteen months after his maintenance worker´s fall from height. The accident has also had an impact on his personal live. The pain Keith experiences in his back prevents him from enjoying his leisure time playing with his grandchildren.

An investigation into the maintenance worker´s fall from height was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Inspectors found that Keith´s employers – the Brentwood School in Essex, on whose grounds the listed building is located – had breached Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to conduct a risk assessment or install guardrails.

The HSE prosecuted the Brentwood School´s trust – the Brentwood School Charitable Incorporated Organisation – and a hearing to hear the charges was held this week at the Chelmsford Crown Court before Judge Charles Gratwicke.

At the hearing, Judge Gratwicke was told that although health and safety policies existed, they were rarely enforced. The school´s former maintenance manager – Anthony Bridger – told the judge that the policies were difficult to enforce because the maintenance team consisted of tradesmen who were “old school and just wanted to get on with the job in the easiest way”.

Representatives of the Brentwood School acknowledged that the work was not closely supervised and admitted liability for the maintenance worker´s fall from height. Judge Gratwicke fined the school £40,000 and ordered it pay £1,477 costs – commenting that the outcome could have been much more serious if Keith had landed on his head when he fell.

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British Woman Awarded Au$12 Million Compensation for Quadbike Injuries

July 20, 2016

A British woman has been awarded Au$12 million compensation for quadbike injuries she sustained while herding cattle on a dairy farm in Tasmania.

Holly Raper from Chorley in Lancashire was on a backpacking holiday in Australia in December 2011, when she took a job at the King Island Dairy Farm in Tasmania. Shortly after she started working at the farm, Holly – who was twenty-one years of age at the time – was asked to round up cattle using a quadbike.

Tragically, while herding the cattle, Holly had an accident and fell from the vehicle. She suffered a catastrophic brain injury that left her in a coma for several months. Due to the severity of the injury, Holly is now quadriplegic and requires around-the-clock care due to not be able to communicate or feed herself.

After being flown home in Chorley in March 2013, Holly´s parents claimed compensation for quadbike injuries from the owners of the King Island Dairy Farm – David and Jocelyn Bowden. The Bowden´s denied responsibility for Holly´s injuries and contested the claim for compensation for quadbike injuries on the grounds that Holly´s accident had been caused by her own lack of care.

However, solicitors investigating the accident found that the quadbike had several defects including faulty brakes, a worn steering mechanism and a rear wheel fitted back to front. It was also discovered that Holly had not been given a helmet to wear or instructed on how to ride the quadbike over the terrain.

A hearing to resolve the claim for compensation for quadbike injuries was scheduled for April; and, as Holly´s medical experts were located in the UK, Judge Steven Estcourt flew to Manchester to hear three weeks of testimony. When the hearing concluded in Hobart, Judge Estcourt found in Holly´s favour – finding the Bowden´s negligent and liable for her injuries.

After dismissing the claims of contributory negligence, the judge awarded Holly Au$12 million compensation for quadbike injuries. After deductions for legal costs and the support she has already received from the Tasmanian Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Tribunal, the balance will be put into a UK trust to pay for Holly´s future care.

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Woman Recovers Compensation for an Accident on a Rented Bicycle

July 8, 2016

A woman, who suffered cut and bruises when the brakes on her bike failed, has recovered a settlement of compensation for an accident on a rented bicycle.

Phyllis Bright (21) – a third-year nursing student from Lincolnshire – visited the Upper Derwent Valley in the Peak District with her boyfriend in July 2013. The couple hired bicycles from the Peak District National Park Visitor Centre by the Fairholmes car park, and set off to enjoy a day´s cycling.

Soon after the couple left the Visitor Centre, they encountered a steep hill running down to the Abbey Brooke Bridge. AS Phyllis started freewheeling down the hill, she realised that her brakes were not working and jumped from her bicycle to avoid cycling into the stone wall of the bridge.

As a result of falling onto the tarmacked surface of the road, Phyllis suffered multiple cuts and bruises to her legs, arms and chest. She was taken by ambulance to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, where stitches were applied to close the worst of the cuts and she received treatment for an injured jaw.

Due to her injured jaw, Phyllis was unable to eat without pain for two months. She also has visible scars on her chin, legs, arms and chest as a permanent reminder of her accident. Phyllis subsequently sought legal advice and claimed compensation for an accident on a rented bicycle against the Peak District National Park Authority.

In her legal action, Phyllis alleged that the rented bicycle had not been maintained property or given a safety check before she was allowed to ride it. The Peak District National Park Authority acknowledged the negligence of its employees at the visitor centre and settled Phyllis´ claim for compensation for an accident on a rented bicycle for a four-figure sum.

Speaking with the Sun newspaper after recovering the compensation, Phyllis said: “Realising I had no brakes halfway down a steep hill with a stone bridge at the bottom of it was a scary experience. I never thought I’d end the day in an ambulance on the way to hospital with cuts and bruises all over me. I’m glad I can now begin to put this all behind me and move on with my life after receiving a settlement from the park authority.”

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Driver to Receive Compensation for PTSD following a Car Crash

June 9, 2016

An injured driver is to receive £30,000 compensation for PTSD following a car crash after being told his claim was likely to be worth little more than £3,000.

Fifty-year-old Warren Smith from Lancashire suffered head, chest and back injuries when he was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle travelling on the wrong side of the A671 between Burnley and Rochdale on March 8th, 2012.

The negligent driver responsible for causing the head-on collision died in the accident, and Warren later developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression due to the emotional trauma he had suffered at the time of the accident.

Warren lost his job as a contracts manager as he was unable to drive the long distances required to fulfil his duties. He subsequently sought legal advice in order to claim compensation, but his psychological injuries were disregarded and Warren was told that the value of his claim was little more than £3,000.

Fortunately Warren sought a second legal opinion and, once the consequences of his emotional trauma were taken into account, the suggested value of his claim rose considerably. Warren claimed compensation for PTSD following a car crash and his claim was recently settled for £30,000.

Warren still suffers from the emotional trauma of the fatal head-on collision, and the settlement of compensation for PTSD following a car crash will go towards the cost of continuing his therapy and rehabilitation. Warren told his local newspaper:

“People should not underestimate the consequences of car accidents and I am lucky to be alive. I am still haunted by the events of that day and my injuries are a constant reminder of the fact that someone died in the crash. But I am incredibly relieved that I now have access to the care and support that I need to move forward with my life.”

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Judge Awards Compensation for Serious Injuries in an Antrim Car Crash

May 18, 2016

A judge has awarded a former world-class competitive sailor compensation for serious injuries in an Antrim car crash after a hearing at Laganside High Court.

In July 2012, twenty-nine year old Rosie Sands from Exmouth in Devon had been invited to stay with some friends of her family in Northern Ireland after having just competed in the World Sailing Championships. Also invited to stay was a long-time friend of Rosie´s – Michelle Hulford from Luton.

The party of friends had just picked up Michelle from the airport, and were driving home along the A57, when their car was involved in head-on collision with a jeep and trailer just outside the town of Doagh. Michelle (21) was killed in the collision, while Rosie and the other occupants of the car were taken to hospital with multiple injuries.

On her discharge from hospital – where she was treated for back shoulder and abdomen injuries – Rosie claimed compensation for serious injuries in an Antrim car crash. In her legal action, she claimed that the flashbacks and nightmares she continued to suffer had resulted in a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The driver of the jeep responsible for causing the accident – Stephen Hamilton – admitted liability for Rosie´s injuries; but the two parties could not agree on a settlement of compensation for serious injuries in an Antrim car crash, and the case was sent to the Laganside High Court in Belfast where it was heard by Mr Justice Adrian Colton.

At the hearing, Judge Colton was told the Rosie´s life had changed “irrevocably” after the accident. The judge heard how, due to her injuries, Rosie was unable to complete her honours degree at Bath Spa University or continue to sail competitively, and that she had to abandon plans to join the Navy or RAF.

After commenting that Rosie had been a “honest, understated, stoical and admirable” witness, Judge Colton awarded her £464,655 compensation for serious injuries in an Antrim car crash to account for her physical and psychological injuries, the cost of her treatment and future loss of income.

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Holidaymaker Makes Claim for Food Poisoning at a Moroccan Resort

April 26, 2016

A holidaymaker is making a claim for food poisoning at a Moroccan resort after being diagnosed with campylobacter on his return from a holiday in Marrakech.

In order to celebrate James Gratton´s fifty-first birthday in March, James and his wife Paula booked a week´s holiday at the Medina Gardens Hotel in Marrakech. Several days into their holiday, James started to complain of stomach pains, a high temperature and diarrhoea. His condition deteriorated during the rest of the holiday and he was in significant distress when the couple flew home to Heanor in Derbyshire.

On their return, James called NHS Direct. He was advised to go to his local hospital, where he was prescribed medicine to help him cope with his symptoms. However, James continued to feel ill and was unable to carry on working as an HGV driver. Following a visit to his GP and providing a stool sample, he was diagnosed with campylobacter food poisoning contracted from eating poorly prepared chicken.

James sought legal advice and made a claim for food poisoning at a Moroccan resort against TUI UK Limited trading as First Choice Holidays – the tour operator through which James and Paula had booked their holiday in Marrakech. James alleged in his claim that there had been a failure to maintain acceptable food standards at the resort and, as a result, he had contracted campylobacter food poisoning.

Speaking with the Ripley and Heanor News about his claim for food poisoning at a Moroccan resort, James said: “We booked this holiday as a way of celebrating my birthday and we’d been looking forward to it for a long time. But, in truth, it turned into a nightmare for both of us. I had to take some extra time of work to recover from the symptoms and I still don’t feel completely right.”

An investigation has now started into James´ allegations. A spokesperson for First Choice Holidays would only comment: “First Choice is sorry to hear of Mr and Mrs Gratton´s experience.”

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Claim for Cycling Injuries due to a Poor Road Surface Resolved in Court

April 4, 2016

A claim for cycling injuries due to a poor road surface has been resolved in Edinburgh´s Court of Session, with the injured cyclist being awarded £100,000.

David Robinson, a fifty-two year old chartered surveyor from Edinburgh, was cycling with members of the Edinburgh Cycling Club when – on 1st December 2013 – the group of twelve riders approached the bridge crossing the Biggar Water on the A701 near Broughton.

Suddenly, the front wheel of David´s bike lodged in a metal groove in the road surface. David was catapulted into the air and landed on his right arm – suffering multiple cuts and bruises and fracturing his wrist and elbow.

An investigation into David´s cycling accident found that the groove was one of several joints between an old masonry arch and a newer concrete construction that had been built in 1990 and that sat proud of the road surface.

David sought legal advice and made a claim for cycling injuries due to a poor road surface against Scottish Borders Council – alleging that the exposed groove represented a hazard in the road that local authority had failed to deal with.

Scottish Borders Council contested the claim for cycling injuries due to a poor road surface on the grounds that the exposed groove did not constitute a defect, and that David´s accident was more likely attributable to his own lack of care.

The case went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, where Lady Wolffe heard that the edges of the grooves would not have been exposed if work carried out by the council in May 2015 had been completed competently and brought the level of the roads surface up to or above the level of the exposed joints.

The judge dismissed Scottish Borders Council´s argument that David should have taken more care while cycling along the road, saying that there was no evidence to support claims that David was riding inappropriately “in either speed or manner, having regard to the weather and road conditions”.

Finding in David´s favour, Lady Wolffe awarded £100,000 in settlement of the claim for cycling injuries due to a poor road surface – an amount that had been agreed prior to the hearing should Scottish Borders Council be found at fault.

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Pensioner Awarded Injury Compensation for Slipping on Ice Outside of a Church

March 24, 2016

A judge at Belfast High Court has awarded a sixty-six year old pensioner £60,000 injury compensation for slipping on ice outside of a church.

Angela McCluskey´s accident happened in December 2010 as she was visiting St Malachy´s Chapel in Armagh to light a candle on the anniversary of her niece´s death. As Angela walked up the path to the entrance of the church, she slipped on ice and fell heavily – dislocating her knee and sustaining an injury to her ligaments.

The former hospital cleaner and school dinner lady was taken to hospital where she underwent surgery for her injuries and was later discharged in a wheelchair. Angela has had to move from her previous home to a single-storey bungalow that she is able to negotiate with help from a walking stick.

Angela claimed injury compensation for slipping on ice outside of a church from St Patrick’s Archdiocesan Trust. The Trust said that it had done all that it could to prevent injuries to visitors in extremely harsh weather and denied responsibility for Angela´s injuries.

The case went to Belfast High Court where Mrs Justice Siobhan Keegan found in Angela´s favour. The judge said that, although the path to the entrance to the church had been salted the night before Angela´s slip and fall accident, it should have been checked for hazards the following morning.

Saying that the Trust could have implemented other measures to prevent a risk of injury to church visitors, she commented: “In my view the risk was clearly foreseeable considering the extreme weather at the time”. The judge also dismissed suggestions of Angela´s contributory negligence.

Awarding Angela £60,000 injury compensation for slipping on ice outside of a church, the judge noted that the Trust had no formal system in place to manage the church grounds at the time of Angela´s accident and had not conducted a risk assessment to evaluate whether the church should remain open.

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Blackpool Council Denies Liability in Pothole Injury Compensation Claim

March 21, 2016

Blackpool Council is denying liability in a pothole injury compensation claim on the grounds that the pothole on which the plaintiff tripped was too small.

In December last year, Blackpool resident Barbara Fielding (53) was walking her dog along Windermere Road when she tripped on a pothole and fell badly. Barbara sustained multiple cuts and bruises as a result of her fall, and underwent a CT scan at the Blackpool Victoria Hospital to identify any signs of brain damage.

Fortunately, Barbara suffered no internal injury as a result of her accident but, for the next five weeks, spent much of her time in bed suffering from depression. Barbara took photographs of her injuries and sent them to Blackpool Council to support a pothole injury compensation claim. However, the council denied it was liable for her injuries due to the pothole not being sufficiently deep enough to qualify for compensation.

In a written reply to Barbara´s pothole injury compensation claim, Blackpool Council explained that regular inspections of the town´s roads are conducted, and any pothole with a depth of 40mm or more reported and repaired. The council claims that Windermere Road had been inspected in June 2015, and no potholes were identified as needing repair at the time.

Speaking to her local newspaper, Barbara expressed her disappointment at the council´s denial of liability. “They say the hole isn’t big enough to be considered a pothole – but how big does a hole have to be?” Barbara told the Blackpool Gazette, “They know the extent of the injuries I had because they’ve got the photographs”. Barbara is now considering whether or not to take formal legal action.

Editor´s Note: In Pitman v. Southern Electricity Board (1978), the claimant´s pothole injury compensation claim was decided on the length of time that a pothole has presented a risk of injury in relation to the volume of foot traffic on the road where it is located. The claimant was awarded compensation even though the pothole on which she tripped was just 3mm in depth.

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Family to Claim Compensation for a Faulty Product bought from Costco

March 5, 2016

A family from Wyke in West Yorkshire are claiming compensation for a faulty product bought from Costco that ignited and set fire to their house.

Last Christmas´s present from Vinh Hung Chiem and Thu Tram to their two children Tony (9) and Karen (8) was a hoverboard bought from the Costco store in Leeds. The children loved their gift but, while – on January 15 this year – it was plugged into an electric socket to charge its battery, the hoverboard ignited and set fire to the house.

Fortunately a friend of the children – Jibril Faris (11) – saw the fire start and raised the alarm. After calling 999, Jibril escorted his younger friends out of the house as well as their mother, Thu. All four were taken to hospital by ambulance, where they received treatment for burn injuries. Speaking with a BBC reporter, Thu said that the children were recovering well from their physical injuries, but still suffer from nightmares.

The West Yorkshire Fire Service conducted an investigation into the cause of the fire and confirmed Jibril´s version of events that the fire started where the hoverboard was charging and spread quickly through the house. The likely cause of the fire, according to a Fire Service spokesperson, was that lithium batteries in the hoverboard had overheated while charging and exploded or ignited.

The family has now taken legal advice and are claiming compensation for a faulty product bought from Costco – either from Costco directly under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 or from the manufacturers of the hoverboard under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. A spokesperson for Costco UK said: “This is a terrible tragedy and we are looking into this matter but we have no comment at this time.”

Thu told the BBC reporter: “We thought we bought a reliable product from a trusted retailer and we want to know how something with so much potential to cause this type of devastation was sold to us.”

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Translink Pays Out Almost £2 Million Bus Accident Compensation in Five Years

February 8, 2016

Northern Ireland´s public transport company – Translink – paid out £1,948,000 bus accident compensation between April 2010 and April 2015.

Translink is the operator of the Ulsterbus, Citybus, Metro and Goldlink bus services and the NI Railway. Between April 2010 and April 2015, the provinces transport operator paid out almost £2 million in bus accident compensation to passengers and other road users who had suffered an injury or property damage due to the negligence of its drivers.

The figure of £1,948,000 bus accident compensation was released by Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen in response to an Assembly question from SDLP MLA John Dallat. Mr Dallat – who sits on the Northern Ireland regional development committee – commented that the amount of bus accident compensation was “horrendous”.

Despite Translink issuing a statement in which it said the company was committed to delivering the highest safety standards, Mr Dallat said that the board needed to implement measures that would avoid situations which led to payouts, and also review its policy on defending claims for bus accident compensation made against Translink.

News of how much bus accident compensation the company has paid out come just months after unions warned that budget cuts were having a “devastating impact” on public safety. £13m of cutbacks were made by the Department for Regional Development during the last financial year – a year in which Translink recorded the worst operating losses in its history (£8.4 million).

A Translink spokesperson said: “It is important to put some context around these figures which cover a five-year period. The level of compensation paid out is less than 0.5% of our annual revenue, and more importantly, Translink’s annual level of compensation is also amongst the lowest paid out when benchmarked against other UK operators”.

He continued by saying “We carry around 80 million passenger journeys every year and their safety is a top priority for everyone at Translink. We are committed to maintaining our high safety standards across the business and have comprehensive procedures in place to fully and thoroughly investigate all claims.”

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Power Company Fined £1 Million for a Fatal Accident Caused by Negligence

February 1, 2016

The electricity distribution company – UK Power Networks – has been fined £1 million for a fatal accident caused by negligence at Chelmsford Crown Court.

On 24th July 2012, four runners from the Saffron Striders running club were on a training run in Newport in Essex when they took a route through a cornfield adjacent to a frequently-used public footpath. As the runner at the head of the group – Dr James Kew – entered the cornfield, he ran into a cable carrying 11,000 volts that had become unsecured from its mast and was sagging at a height of 1.5 metres.

James (41) from Ashton in Essex was killed instantly, and several of his co-runners suffered burn injuries trying to retract him from the live cable. The inquest into his death heard that UK Power Networks were aware of sagging cable but, due to an “underestimation of the risk to human life” the company sent an engineer to investigate the fault rather than cut the power to the area.

The Health and Safety Executive conducted its own investigation into the fatal accident caused by negligence and prosecuted UK Power Networks for breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 – finding that the company had “failed to fully assess the risk of injury posed to the public and control the risk”.

Last week at Chelmsford Crown Court, the company pleaded guilty to the charges, and was fined £1 million for the fatal accident caused by negligence. Speaking after the verdict of the court had been announced, HSE inspector Paul Carter said: “Dr Kew’s family remains completely devastated by their loss and witnesses to this incident have suffered severe trauma and stress-related illness. The incident was entirely preventable”.

He added: “Distribution network operators have an absolute duty to ensure that they do everything reasonably practicable to ensure the health and safety of members of the public who may be put at risk by the operation of their undertakings. In this tragic case, the death of Dr James Kew could have been prevented by immediate remote de-energisation of the power network which the circumstances on that evening clearly called for.”

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Judge Approves Settlement of Lorry Accident Compensation

January 27, 2016

A judge at the High Court in Dublin has approved a settlement of lorry accident compensation in favour of a man who was brain damaged in the collision.

On 27th January 2009, Francis Smith (then eighteen years of age) was driving near Edgeworthstown in County Longford, when he had to take evasive action to avoid a car heading towards him. As he swerved to miss the car, Francis ran into the back of a stationary council lorry that was parked by a set of roadworks.

Francis, who had a good job in a local factory at the time, suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident – due to which he has cognitive and physical difficulties. He is no longer able to work and is cared for by his mother, Martina Dempsey.

On her son´s behalf, Martina made a claim for lorry accident against Longford County Council – alleging that the accident had occurred due to the council´s negligence. In the legal action, Martina claimed that the council had failed to give adequate warning by means of bollards or warning signs that work was underway, and that there was no flagman in place to warn oncoming traffic.

In the claim for a settlement of lorry accident compensation it was also alleged that the manner in which the lorry had been parked on the exit of a bend made it a danger to other road users. Longford County Council denied its responsibility for Francis´ devastating injuries, and said that Francis had significantly contributed to the cause of the accident by driving too fast into the bend in the road.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that a settlement of lorry accident compensation amounting to €750,000 had been agreed between the two parties. After noting that the settlement of lorry accident compensation represented 25% of the full value of the claim, Judge Cross said that it was a good one in the circumstances.

The judge approved the settlement of lorry accident compensation and wished Francis all the best for the future.

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Woman Awarded £263,534 Compensation for Post-Infection Irritable Bowel Syndrome

January 22, 2016

A jury at the Court of Session in Edinburgh has awarded a 44 year-old mother of two £263,534 compensation for post-infection irritable bowel syndrome.

Tracey Rae visited the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society´s Restaurant in 2009 with her husband and four friends for what was described at the time as a “nice meal”. However, the following morning, Tracey awoke suffering from nausea, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

The symptoms of food poisoning deteriorated and Tracey was seen by a doctor after she started passing blood. The doctor diagnosed Tracey with a campylobacter infection that was attributed to eating undercooked chicken livers served in a salad at the restaurant.

Tracey´s symptoms continued, and six months later she was diagnosed with post-infection irritable bowel syndrome. Tracey was told that the IBS would remain with her for the rest of her life and that she would have to adopt to a gluten-free and dairy-free diet.

Unable to return to work because of continuing stomach and bowel pain, Tracey sought legal advice and claimed compensation for post-infection irritable bowel syndrome against James Freeman – trading as Saffron Private Catering – who was in charge of the food preparation at the time.

Freeman admitted liability for Tracey´s injury, but his insurance company failed to agree to an appropriate settlement of compensation for post-infection irritable bowel syndrome. Consequently, Tracey´s claim for compensation proceeded to the Court of Session for the assessment of damages.

During seven days of evidence, the jury heard that there was no treatment for Tracey´s condition and that all she could do was eat carefully to try and minimise the symptoms. The court was also told that Tracey has to prepare one meal for herself and one for the rest of her family.

The jury awarded Tracey £263,534 compensation for post-infection irritable bowel syndrome to account for her pain and suffering and loss of earnings. Included in the award was a special amount of £30,000 to account for the additional cost of following a restricted diet.

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Passenger Claims Compensation for a Head Injury on a BA Plane

January 11, 2016

A British Airways passenger is claiming compensation for a head injury on a BA plane after receiving two “derisory” offers of compensation from the airline.

On 28th October 2014, Wayne Herbert (45) from North London had taken his seat on a BA plane scheduled to fly from Heathrow to the United States, when he was struck on the head by a rucksack containing a heavy laptop as the bag fell from the overhead luggage locker above him.

According to a report of the accident in the London Evening Standard, the passengers in the row behind Wayne had a substantial amount of hand luggage and, as they tried to manipulate the rucksack to fit into the luggage locker, the bag fell on him.

The blow on the head caused Wayne to suffer a soft tissue injuries similar to whiplash. He was taken off the plane and assessed by a paramedic who considered that a hospital visit was not necessary. Wayne flew to the United States the following day, but claims that BA did nothing to make his journey more comfortable.

When he returned home, Wayne got in touch with the airline to claim compensation for a head injury on a BA plane. An airline is responsible for any injuries sustained by passengers once they have boarded and – under the Montreal Convention – are liable to pay compensation.

However, the offers of compensation for a head injury on a BA plane made to Wayne first consisted of air miles and then £500. Wayne told the London Evening Standard that the offers were “derisory” and that he had taken legal advice about obtaining an adequate settlement.

Wayne also told the newspaper that BA´s policy of allowing passengers to take large items of hand luggage onto flights was just an accident waiting to happen. “The staff certainly were not checking what people were doing” he said, “and I’m suffering as a result”.

A spokesman from British Airways told the London Evening Standard: “Our cabin crew gave every possible help to our customer and we are still in contact with him to resolve this issue.”

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Care Worker Receives Injury Compensation for a Fall Down a Lift Shaft

January 4, 2016

A care worker from Cardiff has received in excess of £50,000 injury compensation for a fall down a lift shaft at the care home at which she worked.

The tragic accident occurred on 6th March, 2012, when Carol Conway (52) was taking 96- year-old resident from her second floor bedroom at the Pontcanna House Care Home in Cardiff to the ground floor for her breakfast.

Carol wheeled Mrs Lewis to the door of the second floor lift and waited for it to arrive. When the bell indicated the lift had arrived, Carol unlocked the door to the lift and reversed Mrs Lewis´ wheelchair to back her into the lift.

Due to a technical fault, the platform of the lift had not moved from the ground floor. As Carol walked in backwards with Mrs Lewis, both fell twenty feet – Mrs Lewis dying from her injuries and Carol suffering multiple broken bones and internal injuries.

An investigation into the accident found that, just weeks before the accident, an engineer had locked the second floor lift access and considered it unfit for use. However, the owners of the care home – Shirwan and Nasik Al-Mufti – had allowed care workers to override the safety mechanism with an emergency access key.

Shirwan and Nasik Al-Mufti were fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £25,000 in costs by Cardiff Crown Court in August 2015 after being prosecuted by the HSE for breaches of health and safety regulations. With liability established for the accident, Carol sought legal advice and claimed injury compensation for a fall down a lift shaft.

Carol did not reveal to a local reporter the exact amount of the compensation settlement, but indicated it was in excess of £50,000 when she told him: “the money will never change that terrible day. I think about it constantly. My heart goes out to May and her family. I am so sorry she died the way she did – it´s tragic”.

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Pensioner Settles Injury Claim for a Trip and Fall Accident in Sainsburys

December 9, 2015

A pensioner has settled her injury claim for a trip and fall accident in Sainsburys which left her with a fractured arm, nerve damage and facial injuries.

Jean Annis (79) was shopping at her local Sainsburys in Alsagar, Cheshire, when she tripped on a loose mat by the entrance to the supermarket and fell heavily onto the floor. As a result of her accident, Jean fractured her right arm, was diagnosed with nerve damage and sustained multiple facial injuries.

Although Jean received prompt and professional medical treatment, her dominant right arm was weakened due to her accident and, when she fell again five months later, her arm fractured again – a fracture doctors said would not have occurred had it not been for her fall in Sainsburys.

Doctors have advised Jean to have pins inserted into her right arm to provide support, but Jean is concerned that her husband Norman (89) – who suffers with dementia – will have to be cared for in a specialist home while she undergoes the operation and recovers from the surgery.

Jean sought legal advice and made an injury claim for a trip and fall accident in Sainsburys – alleging that her injuries were attributable to Sainburys´ negligence in allowing the mat to become loose and become a hazard. The supermarket was quick to acknowledge liability for Jean´s injuries, and a settlement of her injury claim for a trip and fall accident in Sainsburys was negotiated.

The settlement of Jean´s injury claim for a trip and fall accident in Sainsburys is believed to be in five figures. Although Jean´s solicitor would not reveal the exact amount, she said: “It is imperative that premises such as supermarkets take great care to ensure their stores are safe for visitors at all times, particularly the entrance and exit area which can become hazardous due to wear and tear caused by the sheer number of people passing through on a daily basis, and also as the result of wet weather conditions.”

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Court Resolves Claim for a Car Crash Fatality

November 21, 2015

The High Court in Belfast has resolved a claim for a car crash fatality in a hearing to establish liability for the death of a County Down man.

In July 2010, Leslie Browne and his wife Elizabeth were driving on the B8 from Newry to Hilltown, when they were involved in a head-on crash with a Toyota Yaris driven by Sandra Murray. The stretch of road on which the accident happened is known locally as the Seven Sisters because of its dangerous bends.

Leslie was badly injured, and died one month later. Elizabeth sought legal advice and made a claim for a car crash fatality against Murray; alleging that she had been driving inattentively and in a manner that was inappropriate for the wet road conditions.

Murray denied liability for causing Leslie´s death and claimed that she had lost control of her vehicle due to being hit from behind by a Fiat Punto driven by Michal Marczak. Marczak denied that there had been any contact between the two cars and said that the accident was caused by Murray braking excessively on the crown of a bend and losing control of her vehicle.

The claim for a car crash fatality went to the High Court in Belfast, where it was heard by Mr Justice Stephens. Judge Stephens was told that a settlement figure of £50,000 had been agreed, and the case was before him to establish liability.

After hearing that there was no evidence of contact between Murray´s Toyota Yaris and Marczak´s Fiat Punto, Judge Stephens found Murray solely responsible for causing Leslie´s death. He rejected Murray´s evidence that she had been travelling between 27mph and 37mph, and said that a combination of excessive speed and excessive braking had led to her losing control of her car.

Mr Justice Stephens agreed with the claim that Murray had been inattentive while driving along the B8, and commented “I consider that it reflects the fact that the first defendant did not and does not know what happened so that she grasped at anything that might exonerate her.” The judge ruled that Murray was totally liable for the settlement of the claim for a car crash fatality and also for Elizabeth´s and Marczak´s legal costs.

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Compensation for Injuries in a Cycling Accident Approved

November 17, 2015

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for injuries in a cycling accident in favour of a former journalist injured on her way to work.

On 4th November 2011, Mary Bowers (31) – a journalist for The Times – was cycling to work at the News International building in Wapping, East London. As she stopped at a red light on Dock Street – 90 metres from her workplace – a 33 tonne lorry pulled up behind her. Unfortunately, the driver of the lorry – Petre Beiu – was distracted by a mobile phone call and failed to engage the handbrake.

As Mary waited for the lights to change, the lorry rolled over her – causing Mary to suffer a severe brain injury, two broken legs, a severed artery, a punctured lung, a broken arm and a broken pelvis. Emergency services arrived at the scene within minutes, but Mary fell into a coma. She is now only minimally conscious and reside in a rehabilitation unit in Brentwood, Essex.

Following a police investigation, Beiu was found guilty of careless driving, fined £2,700 and disqualified from driving for eight months. Following Beiu´s conviction at Snaresbrook Crown Court in December 2012, Mary´s father – Peter – claimed compensation for injuries in a cycling accident on behalf of his critically injured daughter.

At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Supperstone heard how Mary was a bright and intelligent woman with a promising career at The Times ahead of her. The judge also heard that, on the day of the accident, Mary had been wearing a cycling helmet and a high-visibility jacket, and that she had remained in a designated cycling lane before moving into the cyclist stopping box at the traffic lights.

The judge was told that the undisclosed settlement of compensation for injuries in a cycling accident – funded by Beiu´s insurance company – would be used to move Mary into a private bungalow and to provide lifelong care and therapy. Judge Supperstone said that he had no hesitation in approving the settlement.

Speaking after the approval hearing, Peter Bowers told his local newspaper: “The impact of Mary’s injuries has been devastating to her – her career was flourishing and she had her whole life ahead of her. We are relieved that now she will have access to vital funds which will help go toward specialist treatment to help and support her through her ongoing rehabilitation.”

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Family Claim Compensation for Scalding in a Hotel Shower

November 12, 2015

The family of a woman, who died from injuries sustained in an accident at the Premier Inn, has made a claim for compensation for scalding in a hotel shower.

In the summer of 2012, Kalyani Uthaman (59) from Bangalore in India was staying at the Premier Inn in Newcraighall while she was on a sightseeing holiday in Edinburgh. While staying at the hotel, she was scalded when taking a shower and suffered burns to 25% of her body. Kalyani died six weeks later in hospital due to multiple organ failure.

Kalyani´s death was attributed by doctors to the degree of burns she sustained in the accident. Investigations into Kaylani´s death were conducted by the police and Edinburgh City Council, but the Crown Office decided that a fatal accident enquiry was not “in the public interest”.

Annoyed that they still had unanswered questions, the Uthaman family have now made a claim for compensation for scalding in a hotel shower, and a summons has been issued to Whitbread PLC – the owners of the Premium Inn budget hotel chain.

A date of November 20th has already been set for the initial hearing of the claim – a “significant milestone” according to the family´s solicitor. A spokesperson for Premier Inn also released a statement to the press in which the hotel chain said; “Our thoughts are with the family of Ms Uthaman during what must have been, and which must remain, an extremely difficult period for them.”

However, the statement was dismissed by the family for being the first communication from Whitbread PLC for over two years. Kalyani´s son – Sundar – told BBC Scotland “It is an irreparable loss, given the love and affection she had for us and we had for her. It was something none of us expected would ever happen in a very safe country like the UK.”

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High Court Approves Settlement of Motorbike Crash Injury Compensation Claim

November 7, 2015

The High Court has approved the settlement of a motorbike crash injury compensation claim made on behalf of a catastrophically injured motorcyclist.

Forty-eight year old Anthony Royle and his pillion passenger were riding along the A54 near Chester on 20th September 2012, when they approached a stationary row of traffic. Anthony continued travelling at 60mph as he started overtaking the row of traffic, but he failed to notice the protruding ploughshare attachment on a tractor that was turning into a field.

Anthony and his pillion passenger met the ploughshare attachment at head height, and both were knocked unconscious due to the impact. Anthony´s bike continued a further 150 metres down the road before coming to rest on the grass verge.

As a result of the accident, Anthony suffered a catastrophic brain injury. He has significant permanent disabilities and will never be able to lead an independent life. On his behalf, a motorbike crash injury compensation claim was made against the owners of the farm to which the tractor belonged – GA and S Broster and Son.

It was alleged in the claim that the tractor was being driven by a seventeen-year-old farm employee; who, although he had a license to drive the tractor, did not have sufficient experience to manoeuvre the attachment safely – which had been across the white line in the road at the time Anthony had driven into it.

Liability was admitted by the farm owners, but their solicitors argued that Anthony had contributed to his injury by failing to give the tractor a wide berth when overtaking it. A compromise settlement of the motorbike crash injury compensation claim was negotiated that will Anthony with the care he needs for the rest of his life.

As the motorbike crash injury compensation claim was made on Anthony´s behalf, the settlement package had to be approved by a judge to make sure it was in his best interests. Consequently, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Jay was told the circumstances of Anthony´s accident and the settlement package of compensation that was being proposed.

Approving the settlement, the judge said that, bearing in mind all the factors and the possibility of being considered partially responsible for his injuries, the settlement could have been better, but it could also have been worse.

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Courier Reports on Falls in the Street due to Potholes

November 2, 2015

Falls in the street due to potholes are becoming so commonplace in the Highlands that more than £½ million is outstanding in personal injury claims.

According to the Inverness Courier, more than £600,000 has been claimed for injuries related to falls in the street due to potholes in the Highlands over the past six years. As only a fraction of these claims has been resolved in this time, the Highland Council has a potential injury compensation liability in excess of £½ million.

Reporting on the injury claims for falls in the street due to potholes, the Inverness Courier revealed that the largest outstanding claim was made by a resident who suffered a serious back injury when tripping and falling over a pothole in Baron Taylor Street in February 2012. The victim is claiming £147,591 compensation for his injury.

The outstanding claims for injury compensation for falls in the street due to potholes were revealed following a Freedom of Information request to the Highland Council. Many of these date back more than two years and include:

  • A claim for £25,615 compensation made by a plaintiff who suffered a leg injury suffered in a trip and fall accident in January 2013 on Fortrose´s Tavern Road.
  • A claim for £15,387 compensation dating from an accident in July 2014 when a pedestrian suffered serious facial injuries due to falling over a pothole on Inverness´s Southside Road.
  • A claim for £3,637 compensation made in respect of a June 2014 accident, when another Inverness resident sustained a back injury due to a trip and fall accident in the City Centre.

The Highland Council was ranked third-worst of the thirty-two Scottish local authorities for the condition of its roads in last year´s Scottish Maintenance Road Condition Survey, and residents complain that the situation is getting worse.  More than six thousand road and pavement maintenance faults were reported to the Highland Council last year – although these figures are likely to include multiple reports of the same fault from different members of the public.

Responding to the significant number of outstanding injury claims for falls in the street due to potholes, a council spokesperson said: “In 2014/15 the council set aside funding to be used in identifying and testing better ways to achieve a shift towards more potholes being repaired permanently rather than temporarily and also to identify cost effective and sustainable recycling techniques for more substantial repairs to road construction”.

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Claim for a Car Crash Traumatic Brain Injury Resolved in Court

October 21, 2015

A young man´s claim for a car crash traumatic brain injury has been resolved at the High Court with the approval of a £4.3 million compensation settlement.

In March 2009, seventeen-year-old Jack Mitchell from South London was the front seat passenger in a friend´s Fiat Punto, when the friend swerved his car to avoid hitting an animal and crashed. Jack sustained multiple injuries in the crash, and was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with a broken leg, severe lacerations to his head and a traumatic brain injury.

Jack remained in hospital for three months before being transferred to a rehabilitation unit. However, his treatment at the rehabilitation unit lasted only three weeks before he was discharged.  Due to the lack of sufficient rehabilitation treatment, Jack has significant concentration problems and behavioural difficulties and he suffers from extreme fatigue.

Through his mother – Frances Mitchell – Jack made a claim for a car crash traumatic brain injury against the driver of the Fiat Punto. In his legal action, Jack alleged that the negligent manoeuvre by his friend was responsible for his injury. Liability was conceded by the driver´s insurance company, but Jack´s family were followed by agents of the insurance company while the settlement of the claim was being negotiated.

Ultimately, a settlement of the claim for a car crash traumatic brain injury was agreed, which consists of an immediate lump sum and annual tax-free, index-linked payments for the remainder of Jack´s life. The total value of the settlement is estimated at £4.3 million and, as the claim was made on behalf of a claimant unable to represent themselves, the case went to the High Court in London so it could be approved by a judge.

At the High Court, Mrs Justice Whipple heard the circumstances of the accident and that Jack is now living in a residential rehabilitation centre in Banstead, Surrey. The judge approved the structured settlement of the claim for a car crash traumatic brain injury and paid tribute to Jack´s family for the care and support they had provided for him over the past six years. Mrs Justice Whipple then closed the hearing and wished Jack all the best for the future.

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Mothers Seek to Change the Law for Bereavement Compensation Claims

September 18, 2015

The mothers of two girls who were fatally injured in a car accident have started an e-petition to change the law for bereavement compensation claims.

In November 2014, five people travelling in a Toyota Corolla were fatally injured when the driver of the car lost control of the vehicle on the A360 in Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, and crashed into a Seat Leon travelling in the opposite direction.

The 45-year-old driver of the Seat was lucky to escape from the car accident with a broken leg, and during an investigation into the accident the driver of a third car was interviewed by police, but no charges were brought.

Two of the dead passengers were Jordanna Goodwin (16) and Megan Storey (16) from nearby Doncaster. The two girls had been life-long friends and were described as inseparable by their grieving mothers.

As nobody was found to be at fault for causing the accident, both mothers made bereavement compensation claims and each received £12,980 – a figure described as pitiful my the mothers´ solicitor in comparison to what public figures receive for a breach of their privacy.

Now the two girls´ mothers – Tracey Storey and Vicki McCarthy – have launched an e-petition to change the law for bereavement compensation claims, so that the process is more like in Scotland – where judges have the discretion to settle bereavement compensation claims for much higher amounts.

“This is not about being greedy and seeking more money” Tracey Storey told The Times, “as no amount of money can compensate for the loss of Megan or Jordanna. It is about the injustice of the way the system works”.

The e-petition has gained the support of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). APIL has campaigned in the past to change the law for bereavement compensation claims and argue that not only are settlements too low, but the criteria for eligibility criteria is too narrow.

As the law for bereavement compensation claims currently stands, compensation can only be claimed by husbands, wives, civil partners, and parents of children under eighteen years of age. The parents of children over eighteen years of age, children of a deceased parent, and parents of a stillborn child are not entitled to make bereavement compensation claims.

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Solicitors Instructed to Pursue Compensation for an Injured Lorry Driver

August 11, 2015

Solicitors have been instructed to pursue compensation for an injured lorry driver who was badly hurt after helping a transit van driver pass his vehicle.

HGV driver John Finney (42) – from Harthill in South Yorkshire – was making a delivery to the Station Hotel in Finningley near Doncaster when, in April 2015, he interrupted his delivery to help a transit van driver manoeuvre passed his vehicle and into the hotel car park.

When he was satisfied that the transit van had cleared his lorry, John returned to unloading his HGV and started lowering the tail-lift. While he was focusing on the tail-lift, the transit van drove into John – pinning him against the tail-lift and then dragging him along its solid edge.

John was rushed to by ambulance to Doncaster Royal Infirmary suffering from back, leg and rib injuries. He remained in intensive care for eleven days and underwent two surgeries to remove his appendix and part of his bowel before being discharged.

John is still recovering from his injuries and has been unable to work since the accident. He is unlikely ever to enjoy his previous hobbies of keep-fit and motor cycling and finds everyday events difficult because of his ongoing pain – such as eating dinner with his family.

The van driver responsible for John´s accident was given seven penalty points and fined for his negligence. John then instructed solicitors to commence legal action and pursue compensation for an injured lorry driver to account for his pain and suffering, his loss of income and the cost of rehabilitation.

Speaking about his claim for compensation for an injured lorry driver, John said: “This incident has had a huge impact on my life as I can no longer do the things I have always enjoyed. I loved to keep fit and take part in charity walks, but I know that for the time-being those activities are a distant memory for me. I hope by speaking out it makes drivers think carefully about how they drive in future.”

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Fund to Pay Lloyds PPI Compensation Claims Increased by £1.4 Billion

August 4, 2015

The fund to pay Lloyds PPI compensation claims increased by £1.4 billion in the last quarter, and there could be more to come according to group´s CEO.

With the latest addition to the fund to pay Lloyds PPI compensation claims, the Lloyds Banking Group has now allocated £13.4 billion pounds for the mis-selling of PPI – more than half the total provision of the entire UK banking industry.

Describing the additional provision as “disappointing”, the group´s CEO – Antonio Horta-Osario – admitted that the situation could get worse before it gets better, and that shareholders could expect the group to allocate a further £1 billion pounds this year – and £2 billion more in 2016 – to cover the volume of Lloyds PPI compensation claims.

More than 1.2 million Lloyds PPI compensation claims are being re-assessed following the Financial Conduct Authority´s £117 million fine for the group´s failings in fairly assessing customers´ claims, and millions more are expected following the Supreme Court´s verdict in Plevin –v- Paragon Personal Finance. The specialist securities firm Cenkos has forecast that the verdict in “Plevin” could cost the Lloyds Banking Group £10 billion.

One of the reasons that the provision to pay Lloyds PPI compensation claims is so much higher than provisions made by other financial institutions is that the banking group sold sixteen million PPI policies in the UK from 2000. Claims against 45 percent of these policies have now been settled but – judging by the addition to the fund to pay Lloyds PPI compensation claims – the volume that claims are being received is not decreasing as fast as the group expected.

Also revealed in the group´s first half report was the volume at which branches of the Lloyds Banking Group mis-sold packaged bank accounts. The group set aside £175 million to pay compensation for mis-sold packaged bank accounts during the first half of the year. This figure is also expected to increase as claims volumes escalate based on the provisions put aside by Lloyds High Street competitors. The RBS Group allocated £300 million to pay compensation for mis-sold packaged bank accounts, while Barclays put aside £200 million.

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Settlement of Compensation for a Brain Injury in a Car Crash Approved in Court

July 30, 2015

A multi-million pounds settlement of compensation for a brain injury in a car crash in favour of a twenty-one man has been approved in the High Court.

On 7th August 2010, Josh Humphrey (16) from Bognor Regis in West Sussex was a passenger in a car that was involved in a head-on crash with a lorry on the A272 Billingshurst Road. Josh was airlifted to hospital with a traumatic brain injury, while one of the other passengers in the crumpled vehicle – Kirsty Hicks (16) from Slinford in West Sussex – died six days later from her injuries.

Josh received treatment for his traumatic brain injury at several different hospitals and rehabilitation centres over the next few months, before being discharged to live with his parents in a specially adapted bungalow. The driver of the car – Laura Stocker (18) – was charged with causing death by careless driving and given a suspended custodial sentence the following February at Chichester Crown Court.

Josh´s mother – Steph Humphrey – claimed compensation for a brain injury in a car crash against Stocker on her son´s behalf; and, as Stocker had been convicted for causing the crash, her insurance company admitted liability for Josh´s injuries quickly. Nonetheless, it took several years before an acceptable settlement of compensation could be agreed upon.

As Josh had been a legal minor at the time the claim was made on his behalf, the settlement of compensation for a brain injury in a car crash – believed to consist of a seven-figure lump sum payments and annual payments thereafter – had to be approved by a court to ensure that it was in Josh´s best interests.

Consequently, earlier this week, the circumstances of the car crash, Josh´s brain injury and the settlement of the claim were heard at the High Court. The settlement of compensation for a brain injury in a car crash was approved; after which Steph Humphrey had this to say to her local press: “We are grateful this aspect is now over. Nothing will take away Josh’s terrible difficulties but at least we no longer have the huge financial worries that arise as a result of brain injury.”

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Families Initiate Claims for Ski Holiday Coach Crash Injuries

July 24, 2015

Two families from West Lancashire have initiated claims for ski holiday coach crash injuries after experiencing a near-fatal accident in France.

On 4th January 2015, the Hannah family from Ormskirk and their friends – the Rothwell-Bowness family from Aughton – had just completed their holiday in the ski resort of La Rosière in south-east France and were on a coach transfer to Chambéry Airport to catch their flight home.

Suddenly, the coach on which they were passengers left the road, overturned and came to rest against guard rails preventing a fall into a deep ravine. French police are still investigating the cause of the accident, but driver error is suspected.

Of the thirty-two British tourists travelling in the coach Katie and Gary Hannah, and Sarah Rothwell-Bowness seem to have suffered the most severe injuries. Fortunately the children travelling in the party escaped with minor bruising and a few cuts and grazes.

Katie Hannah (40) suffered terrible injuries to her right arm. Still to undergo surgery to remove fragments of glass that are embedded in her arm, Katie has significant physical scarring which is likely to remain with her for the rest of her life.

Gary Hannah (44) is still undergoing treatment for nerve damage to his right shoulder and it is not yet known whether or not he will regain the full movement of his right arm. Sarah Rothwell-Bowness (42) suffered extensive injuries to right forearm and has been told that she might never regain the full use of her right hand.

After seeking legal advice, the two families have initiated claims for ski holiday coach crash injuries against the tour operator through whom the skiing vacation was booked – Esprit Holidays of Godalming in Surrey. If driver error is confirmed, it is likely that the claims will be successful.

Speaking with her local press about the claims for ski holiday coach crash injuries, Sarah said: We had a great trip in France but the day of the crash has to be one of the worst of my life. We all simply want to know what happened and what can be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The last few months have been the most difficult time of my life and I would not want anyone to have to face what I’ve been through.”

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Settlement of Credit Card PPI Compensation Claims is a “Lottery”

July 20, 2015

The settlement of credit card PPI compensation claims is a “lottery” according to a personal finance expert who appeared recently on the BBC´s Moneybox program.

Listeners to Radio 4´s Moneybox program recently heard personal finance expert Jonquil Lowe allege that the settlement of credit card PPI compensation claims “is becoming a bit of a lottery” due to two different methodologies used to calculate compensation settlements when credit card holders pay off their monthly balances in their entirety.

Ms Lowe said that both methodologies are supposed to return the credit card holders to the financial position they would have been in had payment protection insurance not been mis-sold to them. However, the way in which certain credit card companies settle credit card PPI compensation claims means that consumers could receive different amounts depending on the issuer of their credit card.

Explaining the difference between the two methodologies, Ms Lowe said that when settlements of credit card PPI compensation claims are calculated, the consumer´s credit card history is reconstructed. Premiums paid for the mis-sold insurance policy are removed, as are any fees and charges that have been triggered by the premiums. Interest charged on the premiums, fees and charges is included in the calculations and 8% is added to the total amount for statutory interest.

She continued to explain that once all the premiums, fees, charges and interest are removed, the recalculated balance due each month is lower. Consequently, when credit card holders have paid off their balances in full, they have effectively overpaid the credit card issuer. When this happens, High Street banks regard the overpayments as temporary credits to be used against future spending; and, when they calculate settlements of credit card PPI compensation claims, High Street banks include the overpayments in their compensation settlements.

However, when certain other issuers calculate the settlement of credit card PPI compensation claims, overpayments are regarded as permanent loans and therefore not included in their compensation settlements – thus reducing the value of the customer´s refund and creating a scenario in which two credit card customers may have paid the same amount in premiums and charges for PPI, but the customer who got their credit card from a High Street bank receives significantly more compensation than the customer whose credit provider uses the latter method of calculating PPI compensation.

The two credit providers specifically identified as using the latter method to calculate the settlement of credit card PPI compensation claims were MBNA and Capitol One. However, there may be several other credit providers also using this method for calculating settlements of credit card PPI compensation claims. Customers are advised to check their offers of compensation carefully, or call our claims helpline and have your settlement checked accurately by one of our experienced claims advisors.

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Settlements of PPI Compensation Claims up Year-on-Year

July 15, 2015

The latest data released by the Financial Conduct Authority reveals that settlements of PPI compensation claims have increased by almost £100 million in 2015.

Ever since January 2011, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has maintained a database of how much is refunded to the public in settlements of PPI compensation claims. The latest addition to the database reveals that in May £390.4 million was refunded to the public banks and other credit providers.

The settlements of PPI compensation claims paid in May brings the total amount PPI refunded to the public so far in 2015 to £1.985 billion – almost £100 million more than was paid during the first five months of 2014 (£1.886 billion) – and brings the total amount paid out in settlements of PPI compensation claims since the FCA started its database to more than £20 billion.

The year-on-year increase in settlements of PPI compensation claims implies that the volume of complaints about PPI is not declining as quickly as was forecast; although some of the increase could be attributable to the re-assessment of previously under-settled Lloyds PPI claims as ordered by the FCA, or a higher percentage of disputes being upheld in favour of the consumer by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

The Ombudsman is due to release its first half year report shortly. The report will give some insight into the reasons behind the increased value of settlements of PPI compensation claims and how many unresolved PPI cases still require investigation. In January this year, the Ombudsman acknowledged that there was a backlog of 280,000 PPI cases to be resolved and that new cases may take up to eighteen months to resolve because of their increasing complexity.

There was some good news regarding the PPI complaints procedure last week, when it was announced that the FCA had approved the Ombudsman´s application for certification under the “Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)” directive. Once the certification as an ADR takes effect in July 2017, the Ombudsman will have to resolve future PPI cases within a ninety day period.

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FCA Fines Lloyds for Failure to Settle PPI Claims Fairly

June 5, 2015

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued its biggest ever fine of £117 million for the Lloyds Banking Group´s failure to settle PPI claims fairly.

The record fine of £117,430,600 was issued against the Lloyds Banking Group following an investigation into the way in which Lloyds claims handlers handled complaints from customers that had been mis-sold payment protection insurance.

The investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) covered the failure to settle PPI claims fairly between 5th March 2012 and 28th May 2013, during which time the “complaint uphold rate” – the percentage of PPI complaints that are settled in customers´ favour – fell from 82 percent to 26 percent.

The FCA´s investigators attributed the decline in upheld complaints to guidelines being issued to claims handlers that stipulated Lloyds´ PPI sales processes were compliant unless proved otherwise. This “overriding principle” resulted in more than 850,000 claims from customers being rejected without proper investigations being conducted.

Claims handlers were also told to make only “reasonable attempts” to contact customers when further information was required to conclude investigations. If claims handlers were unable to contact customers for more evidence to support their PPI claims, the company line was that the customer had failed to meet their “burden of proof” and the PPI claims were rejected.

Lloyds´ failure to settle PPI claims fairly was exacerbated by the banking group omitting to inform claims handlers about known failings in the sale of payment protection insurance. These failings included the failure of sales advisors to assess a customer´s suitability for PPI, the automatic inclusion of PPI in online loan quotes, and the faking of PPI agreements in order to meet sales targets.

Due to Lloyds´ failure to settle PPI claims fairly, some customers whose PPI claims were rejected were incorrectly informed that their complaint had been “fully investigated” with “appropriate weight and balanced consideration to all available evidence”. Other customers were offered “ex gratia” payments, rather than receiving their full entitlement to PPI compensation.

Speaking about Lloyds´ failure to settle PPI claims fairly and the £117 million fine, Georgina Philippou – the FCA´s Acting Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight – said: “The size of the fine today reflects the fact that so many complaints were mishandled by Lloyds.  Customers who had already been treated unfairly once by being mis-sold PPI were treated unfairly a second time and denied the redress they were owed. Lloyds’ conduct was unacceptable.”

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Driver Receives Compensation for Soft Tissue Injuries in a Car Crash

June 3, 2015

A thirty-seven year old man from Saltash in Cornwall has received an undisclosed settlement of compensation for soft tissue injuries in a car crash.

In April 2013, Nick Brancher was driving eastbound along the A38 near Bodmin after dropping his nine-year-old daughter off at school, when he was involved in a head-on collision with a car travelling in the opposite direction.

The driver responsible for causing the road traffic accident had swerved across from the westbound carriageway and had hit two other vehicles before crashing head-on at 50mph into Nick´s seven-seater people carrier.

Nick suffered a fracture to his left elbow and extensive soft tissue injuries to his ribs, neck and back. Although he was able to return to work as a maintenance team leader two days after the accident, he was only able to perform light duties.

The full extent of Nick´s soft tissues injuries did not manifest for two weeks, after which he sought legal advice through his union representative and made a claim for compensation for soft tissue injuries in a car crash.

In his claim, Nick said that he could only work flexible hours and on light duties until he had recovered sufficiently to resume his normal role. He also alleged that his injuries prevented him for pursuing his hobbies of Ju Jitsu, climbing, kayaking and cycling for several months.

Liability for Nick´s accident and injuries was admitted by the negligent driver´s insurance company, and an undisclosed settlement of Nick´s claim for compensation for soft tissue injuries in a car crash was negotiated without the need for court action.

Speaking after his claim had been resolved, Nick told his local press: “The other driver had lost control and hit two other cars before we collided head-on, it all happened so fast. I‘m just very grateful my daughter wasn’t in the vehicle with me”.

Rob Miguel – the regional officer at Unite’s Plymouth office who assisted Nick with his claim for compensation for soft tissue injuries in a car crash – said: “Our member sustained a series of injuries because a driver wasn’t concentrating. The level of injuries could have been far worse, but nevertheless the accident was still a serious one and went on to affect our member’s life for months after the crash”.

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