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Class Action Suits in the UK

Class action suits in the UK can only be started if a number of people have suffered a similar injury or have a similar complaint against a product or service. The process in the UK for commencing a class action suit is complicated and has to be approved by a judge before the class action can be filed. There are advantages of class action suits in the UK over litigation, however a significant amount of resources have to be allocated to prepare a class action suit with no guarantee of a settlement. It is in your best interests to discuss the likelihood of success with a solicitor on our freephone injury claims advice service before considering becoming the lead claimant in a UK class action suit.

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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Groups Claim Compensation for Food Poisoning at Butlins

June 24, 2014

Two groups of holidaymakers, who contracted the norovirus stomach bug at a holiday camp in West Sussex, have started a claim for compensation for food poisoning at Butlins.

Members of the Ealing Handicapped Irish Dancers and Mencap Hillingdon North were among 219 visitors to the Butlins Holiday Camp in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, between May and July 2011 who were subsequently diagnosed with the norovirus stomach bug – a highly contagious illness which manifests in vomiting and diarrhoea.

The two parties, and many of the other individuals who are pursuing compensation for food poisoning at Butlins, claim that they were served undercooked food, had seen flies on and around uncovered food, and pigeons on tables which were later used to serve food on. Also alleged in their action is that the resort the swimming pool was cloudy “with slime around the edges” and that raw sewerage could be smelled in several areas of the resort.

A spokesperson for the groups confirmed that papers had been filed with Birmingham County Court after liability for the food poisoning injuries was denied by Butlins´ parent company – Bourne Leisure. In a statement, the spokesperson said that the groups were claiming compensation for food poisoning at Butlins as they had been left with no other option but to seek justice for their ruined holidays.

Butlins´ responded by announcing the company would “robustly defend the speculative action”. The company issued a statement in which it claimed to operate the resorts to the highest health and safety standards and liaise closely with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to prioritise the safety of guests.

No date has yet been set for a hearing by the Birmingham County Court.

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Guests Compensated for Food Poisoning at Wedding Reception

October 18, 2013

A newly-wed bride and groom – and twenty-eight of their guests – have been compensated for food poisoning at their wedding reception after the venue admitted two charges of poor food hygiene practise.

Alex and Nicola Hamill from Luton in Bedfordshire were married at the Letchworth Hall Hotel in Hertfordshire in September 2011 and, together with 118 of their guests, sat down after the ceremony to enjoy a carefully planned wedding reception.

However, soon after they left the reception for their honeymoon in Las Vegas, Alex (33) was taken ill on the plane with nausea and ­diarrhoea. Nicola (31) was taken ill two days later at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, and the couple spent the first five days of their honeymoon crippled with what hospital tests later revealed to be campylobacter bacteria food poisoning.

On their return to the UK, Alex and Nicola discovered that twenty-eight of their guests had also suffered from food poisoning after the wedding reception, and the source of the infection was identified as the chicken liver pate which had been served as a starter at the reception, and which Nicola had complained about at the time.

Hertfordshire environmental health officers investigated the significant number of food poisoning cases and discovered that the chef at Letchworth Hall Hotel had cooked the chicken livers for the pate at 60ºC – breaching Food Standards Agency guidance which recommends heating the livers to 75ºC to prevent the possibility of campylobacter bacteria food poisoning.

The Letchworth Hall Hotel was prosecuted by Hertfordshire County Council and was fined £12,000 by magistrates after pleading guilty to two charges of poor food hygiene practise.

The couple and their affected guests each made a claim for food poisoning at the wedding reception to recover compensation for the injuries they received and loss of earnings. Alex and Nicola received £31,190 which also included the cost of their ruined honeymoon, while other settlements of food poisoning injury compensation for their guests ranged between £875 and £16,095.

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Phurnacite Workers Claims Upheld at High Court

October 23, 2012

More than one hundred workers at the former Phurnacite plant in Abercwmboi in South Wales will be entitled to compensation following a test case at the High Court in which four Phurnacite workers claims were upheld.

The test cases were part of a Group Litigation Order on behalf of 183 former employees of British Coal, who had developed illnesses allegedly due to working at the Abercwmboi site where waste coal was processed into smokeless fuel. The work-related illnesses varied from lung cancer and respiratory diseases to skin and bladder cancer, and were caused – according to the claim for Phurnacite workers compensation – from working in conditions which were described in court as the “dirtiest in Europe”.

The Phurnacite workers claims were made against the Department of Energy and Climate Change, who now have liability for claims made against British Coal, and alleged that British Coal had breached its statutory duties for health and safety. It was claimed in the High Court that “dust and fumes to which men were regularly exposed contained substances which were known to be harmful, indeed carcinogenic.”

After hearing testimony relating to the working conditions at the plant, Mrs Justice Swift found there was convincing evidence that diseases of the lung, namely Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema, chronic bronchitis and lung cancer could be caused by the dust and fumes produced during the manufacturing process of the Phurnacite briquettes. However, there was insufficient evidence to connect the instances of skin and bladder cancer to the working environment.

The judge said in her summing up “I decided that the operators of the plant were in breach of statutory duties owed to their employees throughout the period of its operation. There were many measures that they could have taken to minimise or eliminate altogether the risks to their workforce had they chosen to do so”. Mrs Justice Swift made awards of compensation of between 4,500 pounds and 120,000 pounds to the four successful Phurnacite workers claims.

The judge´s decision not only opens the door for the other qualifying former Phurnacite workers to make claims for compensation, but also for hundreds of other former British Coal employees throughout the country who have developed work-related illnesses due to their working conditions. Settlements of Phurnacite workers compensation will be calculated on the extent of the individual´s injury and the consequence the injury has made to the individual´s quality of life.

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BT to Impose Limits on BT Engineers Loss of Hearing Claims

June 30, 2012

British Telecommunications has announced that in accordance with the Statute of Limitations it will be imposing limits in respect of BT engineer´s loss of hearing claims for compensation with effect from 1st January 2013.

Following the company´s acknowledgement in Watkins v British Telecommunications (August 2010) that it exposed engineers who used the green oscillating and amplifying equipment to trace, install and repair BT telephone lines to an excessively high level of noise likely to cause injury, BT engineers loss of hearing claims for compensation have been most frequently settled out of court for amounts of between 5,000 pounds and 20,000 pounds depending on the severity of injury.

Currently, BT engineers and former employees of British Telecommunications who have been diagnosed with a loss of hearing injury due to using BT´s green and unmodified yellow testing sets are able to settle their BT loss of hearing claims for compensation irrespective of when their injury was diagnosed.

However, from the end of 2012, BT intends to enforce a three-year time limit on BT engineer´s loss of hearing claims from the date on which a BT engineer or former BT engineer is diagnosed with a loss of hearing problem; after which time, should a period of more than three years elapse, the company will contest liability.

The same three-year time limit will be applied to all claims for BT engineers loss of hearing compensation made by former employees who sustained a hearing injury due to working close to jack hammers and kango hammers while installing lines without having been provided with adequate protection for their hearing.

Although the announcement will not have an impact on any former employee who has recently been diagnosed with a loss of hearing injury due to the negligence of BT, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has advised any employee or former employee suffering from a loss of hearing injury to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Please note: Not all BT engineers loss of hearing claims are settled out of court. In January 2012, a BT engineers claim for loss of hearing was heard in Cardiff County Court (Dew v British Telecommunications) after BT disputed the former engineer´s claim for the cost of a private hearing aid. BT contended that an NHS-issued hearing aid should be adequate for his hearing, however the judge upheld the claim and the former BT engineer received a total of 19,372 pounds in settlement of his BT engineers loss of hearing claim for compensation.

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Compensation for Tassimo Burns Likely Due to Recall

February 10, 2012

Claims for compensation for Tassimo burns are likely to follow the recall of the Tassimo coffee maker in the United States and Canada, after the manufacturers acknowledged that at least 160 cases of burn injuries and scalding were attributable to a design fault.

More than 1.7 million Tassimo coffee makers have been withdrawn in North America after the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that the machine´s T-disc – the plastic pot containing the coffee – could explode and shower bystanders with scalding water. Thirty-seven instances of second-degree burns have been reported to the CPSC, including the case of a two-year-old girl who was hospitalised after receiving burns to her face.

The Tassimo coffee making machines, which are still on sale in the UK, have been marketed worldwide since 2008, and the Tassimo coffee maker recall has been extended to include 4 million Gevalia, Maxwell House and Nabob espresso T-discs still believed to be in circulation in American grocery stores. The recalled discs are sold in packets of eight and sixteen and, like the Tassimo coffee making machines, are still available in stores in the UK.

Compensation claims for Tassimo burns are likely to be made against BSH Home Appliances Corporation – the manufacturers of the Tassimo coffee makers – who are based in Irvine, California. Burn injury compensation for a burn from a Tassimo coffee maker should also account for any permanent scarring resulting from a Tassimo coffee maker burn and – especially when a child has been scalded by a Tassimo coffee maker – consideration should be made for any ongoing psychological injury.

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IKEA High Chair Recall: Compensation Claims Likely

January 5, 2012

For the second time in a little over two years, an IKEA high chair recall has been announced following complaints about safety issues and after children have been injured due to the company´s negligence.

 In December 2009, an IKEA high chair recall was announced in respect of the “Leopard” brand of high chairs after it was discovered that a design fault in the safety lock could cause the locks to release suddenly and allow children seated in the high chair to fall between the high chair table and seat. One IKEA high chair injury claim is known to have been made after a little boy fell in this way and received severe bruising to his legs.

 Now, following reports of a further design fault, the belts on the “Antilop” IKEA high chairs have been recalled after reports of several children being injured when they fell from the chairs after the safety belts had unexpectedly opened. More than one million IKEA high chairs are estimated to be affected, with over 60,000 sold in the UK between 2007 and 2011. Already three children are reported to have sustained injuries from falls from an “Antilop” high chair, entitling their parents to make IKEA high chair injury compensation claims.

 Parents who are concerned that the belts on their “Antilop” high chair are subject to the IKEA high chair recall should look at the label on the underside of the chair. Only chairs with the supplier #17389 and a production date between 0607 and 0911 are considered to be hazardous and present a risk of a child falling. However, due to the popularity of this particular brand of IKEA high chair, parents should also be vigilant when placing their child in an “Antilop” high chair in a crèche, restaurant of other business establishment with a duty of care towards children.

 The possibility of further IKEA high chair injury compensation claims exists for the parents of children who have sustained an unreported injury due to faults in the recalled IKEA high chairs – claimed either against the Swedish furniture manufacturer, or from any business establishment who continues to provide these high chairs on their premises while known to present a dangerous hazard.

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