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Personal Injury in the UK

In the UK, personal injury claims can be made by anybody who has sustained a personal injury or loss due to the lack of care by a third party. The two elements of injury and negligence have to be present in order for claims for personal injury in the UK to be successful, however some claims can be made when the injured party are themselves partly to blame.

To ensure that you receive your full entitlement of compensation when you make UK personal injury claims, it is in your best interests to take professional legal counsel. Speak with an experienced personal injury solicitor on our freephone injury claims advice service for impartial advice in clear English without obligation

Changes to Whiplash Compensation Claims to Take Effect Oct 2018

February 28, 2017

The government has announced changes to how whiplash compensation claims will be handled and the date from which the changes will take effect – Oct 1st 2018.

Details of most of the government´s personal injury reforms were announced last week by the Ministry of Justice – including changes to how whiplash compensation claims will be handled from Oct 1st 2018. As largely expected, the threshold for claims made through the small courts has been raised to £5,000, but this increase only relates to injuries sustained in road traffic accidents. Other personal injury claims through the small claims court will be subject to a ceiling of £2,000, with the exception of claims for minor psychological injuries such as travel anxiety and shock.

In addition to the new threshold for small claims, whiplash compensation claims will be settled according to how long the symptoms of whiplash persist. Over the seven bands ranging from “up to three months” to nineteen to twenty-four months” claimants will be entitled to receive a set figure of between £225 and £3,725 – generally much lower than the current levels of whiplash injury settlements. Strict definitions will be applied to what constitutes a whiplash injury in order to reduce the scope for whiplash compensation claims to circumnavigate the new measure.

In one further significant change to whiplash compensation claims, insurance companies will be prohibited from making an offer of settlement without medical evidence. This measure will help eliminate bogus whiplash compensation claims and encourage insurance companies to make fair and accurate offers of settlement to claimants injured in a road traffic accident. The Ministry of Justice commented it expects the savings made by insurance companies under the changes to be reflected in the cost of future motor insurance policies.

The Ministry also added that judges would have the discretion to increase or decrease whiplash compensation settlements by up to 20% “in exceptional circumstances”. No definition has been given of what “exceptional circumstances” should involve, the Ministry believing it is more appropriate for the courts to decide when circumstances are exceptional.

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Dozens Receive Compensation for Food Poisoning from Street Food

January 30, 2017

Dozens of visitors to Newcastle´s 2013 Street Spice Festival have received compensation for food poisoning from street food sold at the event.

At the end of February 2013, more than 12,000 people attended the Newcastle Street Spice Festival – a non-profit event organised by a local restaurant owner to raise funds for a brain tumour charity. Sadly, one of the sixteen stallholders was serving a chutney that had been prepared with raw curry leaves, causing over 400 visitors to suffer gastric illnesses.

Almost fifty of those most seriously affected by illnesses claimed compensation for food poisoning from street food, including twenty-nine that had suffered the symptoms of Salmonella poisoning. Other claimants suffered symptoms caused by E.coli and Shigella poisoning – some of whom still suffer the consequences of eating the contaminated chutney three years after attending the event.

All of the injury claims have now been resolved, with settlements of compensation for food poisoning from street food ranging from £1,200 to £29,000 depending on the severity and impact of the individual´s illnesses. In total, the settlements have cost the event´s insurers more than £400,000 – an amount they intend to recover from the vendor of the curry leaves.

Speaking after the last of the claims had been settled, festival organiser Bob Arora told his local newspaper: “We are pleased that the matter has now been settled. As a result of our reporting of the outbreak to the Environmental Health Office and cooperating with their investigation fully, the EHO has been able to suggest changes in legislation in the use of curry leaves in order to prevent any further instances of food poisoning.”

He added: “Prior to the outbreak, the use of curry leaves in cooking was an extremely grey area, with no indication that raw leaves would be harmful to anyone’s health. Although the curry leaves were washed thoroughly prior to use by the vendors it was unfortunate that the contamination remained. Hopefully now that it has been clarified.”

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Horsing Riding Accident Claim Resolved at High Court

November 4, 2016

A horse riding accident claim has been resolved at the High Court in favour of a woman who broke her back due to falling from a thoroughbred racehorse.

In September 2012, when Ashleigh Harris from Lydney in Gloucestershire was just fourteen years of age, she was encouraged to ride a thoroughbred racehorse by Rachel Miller – the mother of Ashleigh´s then boyfriend – at the Miller family home in Malthern near Chepstow.

Although Ashleigh had considerable experience riding ponies, and had ridden the racehorse briefly when Miller first purchased it, she had never trotted a racehorse in an open field before. After riding for five minutes, the racehorse broke into a canter that Ashleigh was unable to control.

As the horse and rider started a downhill descent, the horse started throwing its head and bucking. Ashleigh was thrown from the saddle and despite wearing body armour broke her back when she landed. Ashleigh is now permanently paralysed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair.

Ashleigh made a horse riding accident claim against Miller, alleging that by encouraging her to ride “a green, unresponsive and uneducated horse that would be difficult to control”, Miller had place Ashleigh at a foreseeable risk of injury.

Miller denied the allegations and claimed that she had sought permission from Ashleigh´s mother before asking her to ride the horse. The horse riding accident claim went to the High Court in London for liability to be established, where it was heard by Judge Graham Wood QC.

At the hearing, Judge Wood said that Miller was an unreliable witness, particularly in relation to her account of the events leading up to Ashleigh´s fall, and said that she had made a serious error of judgement by encouraging Ashleigh to ride the horse.

The judge added: “By positively encouraging Ashleigh to ride the horse and condoning, if not specifically instructing, a trot in an open field for the first time, Mrs Miller was exposing her to a risk of injury from a horse which could not be controlled in other than the most benign of conditions.”

Finding in Ashleigh´s favour, Judge Wood adjourned the hearing to allow for reports to be compiled relating to Ashleigh´s future needs. The reports will determine how much compensation the judge will award in settlement of Ashleigh´s horse riding accident claim at a further hearing later in the year.

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Claims for Injuries due to Defective Street Lighting Increase

October 31, 2016

Claims for injuries due to defective street lighting have increased in Northern Ireland according to the province´s Infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard.

Mr Hazzard was responding to an Assembly question from East Belfast UUP MLA Andy Allen when the minister revealed that there were sixteen claims made against the Department of Infrastructure last year in which defective street lighting was primary responsible for an injury being sustained.

Settlement of the claims for injuries due to defective street lighting amounted to £59,000 – a fifteen-fold increase from two years ago when there were just three claims settled. The figure represented a three-fold increase from 2014/15, when twelve claims for injuries caused by defective street lighting were settled.

The minister said there may be other claims made against the Department of Infrastructure in which defective street lighting was a contributory factor, but it was not possible to identify these in the department´s database. The minister also agreed that the figures related only to compensation settlements, and that there may be other legal and administrative costs to account for as well.

Defective street lighting is a hot topic of debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly. In 2015, members of the Assembly raised concerns about the number of complaints relating to defective street lighting they were receiving from their constituents. It was found that 17,888 street lights were not working and that around a third of all the province´s street lights were turned off at night to save money.

More than £2 million was spent fixing the defective street lighting, and a further £1 million was added to the department´s budget in June for investment in cost-saving LED street lighting. The minister said that of 48,000 street light outages reported over the last 12 months, 42,500 have already been repaired. The replacement of the existing street lighting with LED lights is an ongoing project that is expected to conclude next year.

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Man Due Compensation for Falling from a Guest House Balcony

September 27, 2016

A man who was seriously injured while on honeymoon is waiting to hear how much injury compensation for falling from a guest house balcony he is entitled to.

On 21st September 2015, Matt and Marilyn Bullivant arrived at the Chellowdene guest house in Falmouth, Cornwall, for the start of a week-long honeymoon. After checking into in their room, Matt (36) put the kettle and, while waiting for it to boil, stepped out onto the guest house balcony. Unfortunately, as Matt rested against a balustrade, it gave way under his weight and the newlywed from Peterborough fell fifteen feet to the ground below.

Matt was taken to hospital, where he was treated for serious head and back injuries and a shattered right hand. He spent most of his honeymoon in hospital recovering from his injuries and was unable to return to his job as a warehouseman for three and a half months. A year after the accident, Matt still suffers severe pain from the metal plate in his right hand and has lost sensation in the top half of his back.

An investigation into the cause of Matt´s accident found that the balcony had been inadequately maintained. The guest house owners – Troy and Julie McCann – were prosecuted by Cornwall Council´s Public Protection Department for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act and last week pleaded guilty to the charges at Truro Magistrates´ Court. Both owners were fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £3,037 costs.

Matt has already taken steps to recover injury compensation for falling from a guest house balcony and has been waiting for the health and safety prosecution to conclude before moving ahead with his claim. He told his local newspaper: “I was angry with them to start with – they should’ve maintained the property. If it was my wife or kids out on the balcony they could’ve died.”

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Girl Awarded Undisclosed Compensation for Road Rage Injuries

August 29, 2016

A girl, who was seriously injured when run over by a dangerous driver, has been awarded an undisclosed settlement of compensation for road rage injuries.

In June 2012, Emily Kirwin was just four years of age when she was riding in the trailer of her father´s bicycle, as he and Emily´s mother were cycling near their home in North Cave, East Yorkshire. As the family cycled along through Yorkshire Wolds, a Range Rover driven by Carl Baxter drove past dangerously close to them.

Emily´s father – Stephen Kirwin – shouted at Baxter and raised his fist in anger. Baxter retaliated by reversing his vehicle at speed into Stephen´s bicycle – crushing both Stephen and Emily. Stephen suffered broken ribs, a broken pelvis and a broken leg. Emily´s injuries were so serious that three passing nurses who stopped at the scene initially thought she was dead.

Emily was taken to hospital in a coma, where she remained unconscious for six days. Among her many injuries were a broken jaw, a broken nose and blurred vision. She was unable to walk for several weeks and had to undergo regular check-ups through her childhood to identify any brain damage that had occurred.

In 2003, Baxter was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to two counts of inflicting grievous bodily harm, dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident. He was also banned from driving for two years.

The family refrained from claiming compensation for road rage injuries on Emily´s behalf until they received a final confirmation that there was no long-lasting injuries. When the claim was made, Baxter´s insurers admitted liability and the claim was settled for an undisclosed five-figure amount.

Speaking with her local paper, Emily – now eighteen years of age – said: “In a way it was worse for my parents because they witnessed the accident, whereas I can only remember waking up in hospital.
My face is still slightly distorted, but fortunately for the most part I have made a good recovery.”

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Liability Determined in Claim for a Fall Down Stairs at a Nightclub

July 11, 2016

A venue´s failure to install an identifiable handrail has been ruled sufficient cause to determine liability in a claim for a fall down stairs at a nightclub.

In June 2011, a Manchester businessman was leaving the Pulse Nightclub on the city´s Dantzic Street, when he fell head-first down a flight of stairs from the converted 19th Century warehouse onto the street below. The man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – fractured his skull and suffered serious brain damage.

Due to the extent of his injuries, the man will never be able to lead an independent life and requires around-the-clock care. On his behalf, lawyers made a compensation claim for a fall down stairs at a nightclub against Pro-Nation Ltd, the owners of the Pulse Nightclub.

Pro-Nation denied liability for their customer´s accident, claiming that the man had drunk “six or seven pints” while at the club and that the fall down the stairs was due to his drink-fuelled incapacity. Due to the serious consequences of the accident, a hearing was scheduled to determine liability at London´s High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Richard Pearce was told by friends of the businessman that he was “not visibly affected by his drinking” and appeared “essentially normal”. The judge also heard that the presence of a curtain at the top of the stairs masked a small handrail that the businessman could have used to address his fall.

Ruling that the venue was not fitted with a “visible and identifiable handrail” as recommended by building regulations, Judge Pearce found in favour of the claimant. He said that Pro-Nation had failed in its duty of care to keep customers safe and rejected the argument that the businessman had contributed to the fall down stairs at the nightclub “through his own blameworthy conduct”.

The claim for a fall down stairs at a nightclub will return to the High Court later in the year once an assessment has been conducted to assess the man´s future care needs. The settlement of the claim will need to be approved by a judge to ensure it is in the claimant´s best interests as he is unable to represent himself due to his injuries.

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Liability Admitted in Compensation Claims for Norovirus Sickness

June 30, 2016

Liability has been admitted in nearly three hundred compensation claims for norovirus sickness made by customers of the Exeter Arms in Middlemoor, Devon.

On Sunday March 29th 2015, a customer of the Exeter Arms Hotel and Restaurant in Middlemoor was sick in the restaurant foyer. Subsequent tests revealed the customer was suffering from norovirus sickness, and both the restaurant and the hotel were closed on Thursday April 2nd to undergo a deep clean.

Although the hotel remained closed, the restaurant opened for the busy Easter weekend. However, when scores more customers and staff fell ill after eating at the Toby-managed pub and carvery, the restaurant was forced to close once again on Tuesday April 7th. Subsequently 285 compensation claims for norovirus sickness were made against the chain´s owners – Mitchells and Butlers Retail ltd.

Now, more than a year after an investigation was launched by environmental health officials, Mitchells and Butlers Retail Ltd has acknowledged the company was in breach of duty by opening so soon after the deep clean and admitted liability for the injuries suffered by the customers who contracted the norovirus sickness.

The admission of liability will enable those affected by the outbreak to proceed with their compensation claims for norovirus sickness, with settlements based on the extent of the injury and the length of time it took them to recover. Although the symptoms of norovirus can clear up within a few days, more vulnerable people can suffer longer-term effects.

John Williams (68) from Bangor in North Wales was one customer who experienced the longer-term effects of norovirus sickness. He told the Exeter Express and Echo that his symptoms had lasted three weeks, ruined his holiday and stayed with him after his return to Wales. He said; “The Exeter Arms failed to inform me before travelling to the restaurant and hotel that there were problems with illness. My holiday was absolutely ruined and I want to know why more wasn’t done to control the outbreak.”

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Personal Injury Claims in Northern Ireland Could be Settled Online

April 22, 2016

According to one of the province´s top judges, “small value” personal injury claims in Northern Ireland could be settled online in the future.

Lord Justice John Gillen – one of Northern Ireland´s three Lord Justices of Appeal – has indicated that significant changes are on the way to the province´s court system, including the possibility of personal injury claims in Northern Ireland being settled over the Internet.

Speaking at the British Irish Bar Association Conference at the Bar Library´s Inn of Court, the judge said he is considering a proposal similar to the process followed in the Netherlands where small value claims are settled online without arguments being heard in court.

If the proposal is adopted, Judge Gillen believes that personal injury claims in Northern Ireland could be settled without the need for expert witnesses “to sit around for hours in drafty courthouses” waiting to be called – thus reducing the costs of legal action.

The judge was particularly critical of case management hearings – in which judges, lawyers and expert witnesses may have to return to court several times to resolve issues even before a case can be listed for a full hearing. These hearings, Judge Gillen said, could be conducted over a video-link at an appointed time to reduce costs further.

Further cost reductions could be achieved the judge said if “matters [were] dealt with by court officers rather than rather more costly judges”. He added that Northern Ireland must explore such options if it is to uphold the “constitutional principle of due process (which) requires us to utilise new technology”.

Judge Gillen explained that many personal injury claims in Northern Ireland would still be settled by court hearings. He told delegates at the British Irish Bar Association Conference: “Legislation will always be with us and will always involve costs. There will be oral hearings, the oral tradition will not disappear here in Northern Ireland.”

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Claim for Injuries from a Bull Attack Resolved Out of Court

April 8, 2016

A claim for injuries from a bull attack, made by the widow of a man who was killed in the incident, has been resolved out of court for an undisclosed amount.

In November 2010, Glenis Freeman and her husband Roger were following a public footpath through the Underhill Farm in Stanford-on-Soar in Leicestershire, when they started to be followed by a herd of cows. On realising that there was a bull among the herd, the couple quickened their pace, but the bull attacked – fatally injuring Roger and seriously injuring Glenis.

Glenis manage to scramble to the safety of a nearby road and attract the attention of a passing car. An ambulance was called and Glenis was given emergency treatment by a paramedic at the site, before being taken to hospital. At the hospital, Glenis was put into a coma while she receive treatment for a ruptured spleen, a broken wrist and multiple rib fractures. It was only after she was woken from the coma that Glenis learned of Roger´s death.

An investigation into the incident saw the owner of the farm – Paul Waterfall – charged with gross negligence manslaughter. He was acquitted from the charge at Nottingham Crown Court in May 2014, but Glenis sought legal advice and made a claim for injuries from a bull attack – not only in respect of her physical injuries, but also for the emotional trauma she had suffered.

After a period of negotiation, the claim for injuries from a bull attack was settled for an undisclosed amount – described by Glenis´ solicitor as a “significant sum”. Speaking to her local paper after her claim for injuries from a bull attack had been resolved, Glenis said:

“The trial was extremely distressing and I was particularly upset with the not-guilty verdict. I hope that the settlement of this case goes a long way to stop this ordeal happening to anyone else. If only there had been a sign up saying there was a bull in the field, we wouldn’t have gone into the field, and Roger would still be alive today. All farmers should follow the HSE recommendation and put up a sign. As it is, this settlement has shown that farmers can be found liable if they do not show a duty of care to the public.”

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Man Seeking Compensation for Burns from an E-cigarette Battery

April 1, 2016

A man from Manchester is seeking compensation for burns from an e-cigarette battery after the lithium battery of his e-cigarette exploded in his pocket.

Thirty-two year old Colin Crow from Levenshulme in Manchester was on an evening out with friends in Sheffield on January 30th this year when the lithium battery in his electronic cigarette exploded in his pocket. According to eye witnesses, the flames leaping from Colin´s pocket led them to believe he had set a firework alight.

Staff from the bar he was in gave Colin first aid before an ambulance arrived and took him to Sheffield´s Northern General Hospital. At the hospital, Colin was transferred to the burns unit, where he received treatment for burns to his left thigh, knee and calf, and also to his left hand – which had been burned as Colin tried to extinguish the fire in his pocket.

As a result of his injuries Colin has been unable to work in his job as an economic consultant. The burns to his hand have resulted in temporary loss of movement, while the burns to his leg have left Colin unable to walk without being in considerable pain. Now Colin has sought legal advice about claiming compensation for burns from an e-cigarette battery.

All lithium batteries can explode when they overheat, but the risk is greater when the batteries are manufactured using poor quality components. If the battery Colin was sold presented a risk of injury at the time it was sold to him, he may be entitled to compensation for burns from an e-cigarette battery under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 or Consumer Rights Act 2015.

The solicitor acting on Colin´s behalf told the Manchester Evening News: “This is the latest is a series of incidents in which e-cigarettes have caused extensive burns after exploding in people’s pockets and it is clear that an urgent investigation is needed to determine if more should be done to protect the users. We are now investigating exactly what caused his device to explode as we seek to help him overcome what happened”.

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Girl Airlifted to Hospital after Accident at a Trampoline Park

March 31, 2016

A teenage girl has been airlifted to hospital after an accident at a trampoline park in High Wycombe that has allegedly a reputation for serious injuries.

The unnamed teenager was airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford yesterday afternoon after suffering serious leg injuries as she jumped on a trampoline in the high performance arena of the Rush UK Trampoline Park in Cressex Business Park, High Wycombe.

According to Sam Williams – the founder and chief operating officer at Rush UK – CCTV footage of the incident is being reviewed and the trampoline park is in close contact with the family of the teenage girl. While an investigation into the accident at a trampoline park is ongoing, the park has closed the high performance arena.

The Rush UK trampoline park was opened last December by Olympic medallist Denise Lewis and, in addition to the high performance trampolines, the centre has two dodgeball courts, climbing obstacles and a foam pit. The park has attracted thousands of visitors already, but local residents are concerned that this latest accident at a trampoline park is just one of many to have occurred this year.

Readers submitting comments to the publication of the news story on BucksFreePress.com expressed concerns that the centre was allowing too many people on the trampolines at the same time, without there being enough experienced staff to supervise the activity. Several mothers wrote in to complain that their children were also injured in an accident at a trampoline park.

Several other commentators complained that they were forced to sign waivers prior to their children being allowed on the activities and, although some did not object to this practise, they felt that health and safety should be reviewed at the trampoline park. Sam Williams told BucksFreepress.com: “We will make a formal statement once our investigation has been concluded and we have consulted the family.”

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Claim for Injuries due to Ice Outside of a Church Resolved at Court

March 28, 2016

A pensioner´s claim for injuries due to ice outside of a church has been resolved at Belfast High Court with an award of £60,000 compensation.

In December 2010, Angela McCluskey (66) slipped on ice outside St Malachy´s Chapel in Armagh as she arrived at the church to light a candle on the anniversary of her niece´s death. The retired hospital cleaner and school dinner lady was taken to hospital, where she underwent surgery for injuries that included ligament damage and a dislocated knee.

Following her discharge from hospital, Angela spent a period of time confined to a wheelchair and now uses a walking stick to aid her mobility. Angela´s home in Armagh also had to be adapted to account for her impeded mobility and she has since had to move to a single-storey bungalow.

After seeking legal advice, Angela made a claim for injuries due to ice outside of a church against St Patrick’s Archdiocesan Trust – the authority responsible for the safety of visitors to St Malachy´s Chapel. The Trust denied liability for Angela´s injuries, claiming that they had salted the path on which Angela slipped the night before her accident.

The claim for injuries due to ice outside of a church went to Belfast High Court, where it was heard by Mrs Justice Siobhan Keegan. Judge Keegan was told there was no formal system in place at the time of Angela´s accident to manage the church grounds, but that the church had been doing its best during a period of extremely harsh weather to remain open to visitors.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Keegan found in Angela´s favour. The judge said that although the path on which Angela had slipped had been salted the previous evening, it should have been checked for hazards the following morning. Judge Keegan told the court: “In my view the risk was clearly foreseeable considering the extreme weather at the time”.

The judge elaborated: “The defendant knew about the bad weather conditions and in my view had the ability to take precautions to protect visitors to their premises. I consider that this incident was preventable by measures such as warning signs, closing a gate, directing pedestrians to a safe path, creating one dedicated path, [and] salting/gritting the dangerous area”.

Judge Keegan rejected any suggestion of contributory negligence, or that Angela should have taken more care in the icy conditions, and awarded her £60,000 in settlement of the claim for injuries due to ice outside of a church.

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Dog Walker Denied Council Pothole Injury Compensation

March 19, 2016

A dog walker who tried to claim council pothole injury compensation has been told that she is not eligible as the hole on which she tripped was “too small”.

Last December, Barbara Fielding (53) was walking her dog along Windermere Road in Blackpool when she tripped on a pothole in the road and fell – sustaining a significant cut to her head, a black eye, cut lip and severe bruising to her face and shoulder.

Barbara was taken by her daughter to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where she underwent a CT scan to ensure she had not suffered any serious brain injuries; and, although the scan revealed no internal injury, it took five weeks for the lump on Barbara´s head to recede.

After recovering from her accident, Barbara wrote to Blackpool Council asking for council pothole injury compensation. However, the council wrote back to her refusing her request as – the council claimed – the hole was too small for Barbara to be eligible for injury compensation.

According to Blackpool Council´s reply, the local authority will “repair any defect in the carriageway which on inspection exceeds a measurement of 40mm”. The letter stated that Windermere Road had been inspected for potholes in June 2015, but the hole was not considered dangerous at the time.

Talking with her local newspaper, Barbara expressed her disappointment at the refusal to pay council pothole injury compensation. She told the Blackpool Gazette that her experience had a long-term effect on her health and wellbeing. She said: “I still don’t go outside much now. I’ve even changed my route when I walk my dog because every time I see that hole it brings it all back.”

Barbara is now considering her next course of action and deciding whether she should seek advice about taking legal action to recover council pothole injury compensation. “They say the hole isn’t big enough to be considered a pothole – but how big does a hole have to be?” Barbara added. “They know the extent of the injuries I had because they’ve got the photographs”.

Blackpool Council continues to deny its liability for Barbara´s injuries, although the pothole on which she tripped has now been repaired.

Editor´s Note: Following Pitman v. Southern Electricity Board in 1978 – in which the claimant was awarded compensation for tripping on a metal plate with a height of just one-eighth of an inch (3mm) -claims for council pothole injury compensation should be assessed on the length of time that the pothole has presented a risk of injury in relation to the volume of foot traffic that uses the road on which it is located.

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Family Seeks Compensation for Burns from a Faulty Hoverboard

March 3, 2016

A family from West Yorkshire is seeking compensation for burns from a faulty hoverboard after the allegedly faulty product caused a fire while on charge.

Last November, Vinh Hung Chiem and Thu Tram bought their two children – Tony and Karen – a hoverboard as a gift for Christmas. On January 15 – while the hoverboard was plugged into a wall socket to charge its battery – the toy burst into flames, setting light to the family home in Wyke, near Bradford in West Yorkshire.

The fire quickly swept through the house and Thu, her two children and one of their friends – Jibril – were injured in the fire. All four were taken to hospital and treated for burns. According to Thu, Tony (9) and Karen (8) still suffer nightmares from the incident and, as their home is now inhabitable, the Chiem family is living in a single room in temporary accommodation.

An investigation into the fire determined that lithium batteries in the hoverboard had likely overheated and exploded or ignited. Now the family is seeking compensation for burns from a faulty hoverboard from the manufacturer of the product – Air Runner – and the store from which the product was purchased, Costco in Leeds.

Thu told a reporter from the BBC, She said: “The kids could have been killed. They all believed they were going to die in the fire. Everything was ruined in the fire… it’s turned our lives upside down. 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.”

A spokeswoman for Costco UK said: “This is a terrible tragedy and we are looking into this matter but we have no comment at this time.” The family´s solicitor commented that the family have justifiable claims for compensation for burns from a faulty hoverboard under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and Consumer Rights Act 2015 if it is proven that the hoverboard was faulty.

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Claim for Injury Caused by Failure to Apply Handbrake Resolved

February 16, 2016

A woman´s claim for an injury caused by the failure to apply a handbrake has been resolved for £5,000 in an out-of-court negotiated settlement.

In April 2014, Lynne Short (46) from Dundee was driving her son to school through the city´s West End, when she saw a driverless Vauxhall Corsa rolling backwards along Blackness Road. With dozens of children walking along the road to get to school, Lynne feared for their safety. She swung open the driver´s door of her car and attempted to get inside the driverless Corsa.

However, Lynne was unable to prevent the Corsa rolling backwards and it trapped her against the body of her own car. Fortunately, Lynne only suffered a broken wrist and bruising in the accident. Had she not been trapped against the body of her car, she could have been run over by the Corsa. Lynn was taken to Ninewells Hospital by ambulance, where she was treated for her injuries.

After recovering from her injuries, Lynne sought legal advice and made a compensation claim for an injury caused by the failure to apply a handbrake. Although liability was admitted, the owner of the Vauxhall Corsa – Angela Black – said that she had applied the handbrake, but the mechanism had failed. She told the Dundee Evening Telegraph that she took the car to the garage immediately after the accident to have the fault repaired.

After a period of negotiation, a settlement of Lynne´s claim for an injury caused by the failure to apply a handbrake was negotiated with Angela´s insurers for £5,000. Details of how the settlement was arrived at have not been revealed, but it is likely to have taken into account Lynne´s contributory negligence. Lynne said at the time of her accident:

“In hindsight, it was a silly thing to do, but with the adrenaline I thought of it careering into the school or hitting a car and going up in flames. It could have been a lot worse. The thing is that there were kids walking to school.”

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Injury Claim for Being Bitten by a Police Dog Settled Out of Court

February 8, 2016

An injury claim for being bitten by a police dog has been settled out of court with no admission of liability or an apology for the injured victim.

On 13th October 2007, twelve-year-old Rhys Bennett and three of his friends were playing in a park close to his home in Sapcote, Leicestershire. When the group of friends attempted to break into a derelict pavilion, a passer-by called the police.

When the police arrived, several of the officers had police dogs with them. One officer – not realising that the intruders were children – released his dog. The police dog attacked one of Rhys´ friends before turning his attention to Rhys himself.

The dog pulled Rhys to the ground before biting him on the face and back. Rhys was taken to hospital, where he underwent constructive surgery on his face. He subsequently had to undergo counselling due to his developed fear of leaving the house on his own.

As he was too young to represent himself legally, Rhys´ mother made an injury claim for being bitten by a police dog against the Leicestershire Police on her son´s behalf. Leicestershire Police failed to accept responsibility for Rhys´ injuries or apologise to Rhys for the police officer´s mistake.

The injury claim for being bitten for a police dog was scheduled to be heard in court this week; but, days before the hearing was due to commence, Leicester Police agreed to an out-of-court compensation settlement of £10,000.

The settlement was made without an admission of liability or an apology to Rhys, who is now twenty years of age and an engineering student. The family´s solicitor told reports that Rhys had never been in trouble with the police before or since the incident.

Leicestershire Police said in a statement: “The training, deployment and management of police dogs within Leicestershire Police is constantly reviewed and developed in order to maintain the highest possible standards of professionalism.”

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Settlement of Lorry Crash Injury Compensation Approved in Court

January 28, 2016

A €750,000 settlement of lorry crash injury compensation has been approved at the High Court in Dublin in favour of a brain damaged twenty-five year old man.

Francis Smith was just eighteen years of age when – on January 27, 2009 – he crashed into the back of a stationary council lorry while taking evasive action to avoid hitting a car on the outskirts of Edgeworthstown in County Longford.

The council lorry had been parked close to where Longford County Council was conducting roadworks just beyond a bend on the southbound carriageway, and Francis was unlikely to have seen the lorry as he came around the bend and saw a car heading towards him.

Neither of Francis´ two passengers were injured in the accident, but Francis sustained a traumatic brain injury. As a result he suffers from physical and cognitive difficulties that have prevented him from leading an independent life or maintaining his job in a local factory.

On her son´s behalf, Francis´ mother claimed a settlement of lorry crash injury compensation from Longford County Council. She alleged in the claim that the lorry was parked so far out into the carriageway that it created a hazard for motorists and that there were no warning signs erected by the council to advise of the roadworks.

Longford County Council denied that it was responsible for Francis´ accident and injury, and argued that Francis had been negligent by taking the bend at an excessive speed. Eventually the two parties agreed on a €750,000 settlement of lorry crash injury compensation; but, as the claim had been made on behalf of somebody unable to represent themselves, the settlement went to the High Court to be approved by a judge.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of the accident and the impact it had on Francis´ life. Judge Cross approved the settlement of lorry crash injury compensation, noting that it represented 25% of the claim´s full value, and saying that it was a good settlement in the circumstances. The judge closed the approval hearing by wishing Francis all the best for the future.

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Court Awards Compensation for Campylobacter Food Poisoning

January 25, 2016

A Court of Session jury has awarded a woman £263,000 compensation for campylobacter food poisoning she suffered after eating at an Edinburgh restaurant.

Forty-four year old Tracey Rae from Falkirk ate at the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society´s Restaurant in 2009 with her husband and four friends. At the time, Tracey described her experience as a “nice meal”, but the following morning she awoke suffering from nausea, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

Tracey´s condition deteriorated, and a doctor was called when she started passing blood. The doctor diagnosed Tracey with campylobacter food poisoning caused by eating undercooked chicken livers that had been served to her in a salad at the restaurant.

Despite taking her medication, Tracey continued to suffer pains in her stomach and bowel. Six months after eating the undercooked chicken livers, Tracey was diagnosed with post-infection irritable bowel syndrome. Tracey was told that she would have to stop drinking alcohol and coffee, and adopt a gluten-free and dairy-free diet.

Unable to return to work because of the extreme symptoms of her irritable bowel syndrome, Tracey sought legal advice and claimed compensation for campylobacter food poisoning against James Freeman who was in charge of the catering at the restaurant. Freeman – trading as Saffron private Catering – admitted liability for Tracey´s condition, but his insurance company failed to agree to an appropriate settlement of her claim.

Consequently, Tracey´s claim case proceeded to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, where it was heard by a jury for the assessment of damages. At the hearing the jury was told that Tracey will suffer from irritable bowel syndrome for the rest of her life due to eating the undercooked chicken livers and that all she could do was eat carefully to try and minimise the symptoms.

The jury awarded Tracey £263,534 compensation for campylobacter food poisoning. The award included £50,000 for her pain and suffering, £175,000 for her future loss of earnings and £30,000 for the additional cost of following a gluten-free and dairy-free diet.

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Company Fined for Injury due to a Hazardous Restaurant Floor

January 23, 2016

Leicester Magistrates have fined a London company with a substantial UK presence almost £30,000 following an injury due to a hazardous restaurant floor.

Trading under the name of Zizzi, Azzurri Restaurants has almost 250 outlets throughout the UK. The company has an excellent record for health and safety in its premises, but recently that record was blemished due to a series of accidents in its Belvoir Street restaurant in Leicester.

The health and safety standards at the restaurant were investigated following a slip and fall injury due to a hazardous restaurant floor suffered by assistant chef Cosmin Mihut. Cosmin had slipped on the ceramic tiled floor in the kitchen, fallen and broken his elbow.

Council investigators found that, because of the ceramic tiling, the restaurant´s kitchen floor was a hazard whether it was wet or dry. They also found that there had been a failure to conduct a risk assessment on the safety of the floor, and a failure to advise staff to wear non-slip footwear.

Further health and safety breaches included the lack of proper first-aid training and the failure to advise staff of the on-duty first-aider. Investigators also discovered that Cosmin´s injury due to a hazardous restaurant floor was the five accident of its nature in the past four months.

Leicester City Council prosecuted Azzurri Restaurants of Chapel Street, London, with multiple breaches of health and safety regulations. The company pleaded guilty to all the charges when the case went before Leister Magistrates´ Court earlier this week.

Passing sentence on the restaurant chain, bench chairman Nigel Sudborough said that it was fortunate no employee had suffered a more serious injury due to a hazardous restaurant floor in the premises. He fined the company £12,000 for failing to ensure the restaurant floor was safe and without risks to the health and safety of restaurant employees.

He also fined the company £6,000 for failing to conduct suitable risk assessments, and a further £6,000 for failing to inform restaurant staff on how to get first-aid treatment when required. The court also granted the council´s application for costs (£5,967.75) – bring the total fine for an injury due to a hazardous restaurant floor to £29,967.75.

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