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UK Public Liability Claims

In the UK, public liability claims are made against shops, restaurants and other places of public access when you have sustained an injury due to the negligence of the business or organisation which owed you a duty of care. Typical accidents which lead to public liability claims in the UK are trip, slips and falls, but injuries such as food poisoning in a restaurant and injuries to children in a playground also qualify as UK public liability claims.

Establishing negligence in UK public liability claims is not always straightforward and, due to insurance companies keen to minimise their losses, pressure is often put upon victims to accept inappropriate compensation settlements. At a time when your injuries may incapacitate you from collecting the evidence you need in order to make public liability claims in the UK, or your accident has happened abroad while you were on holiday and you are unable to return, it is in your best interests to speak directly to a solicitor on our freephone injury claims advice service to receive impartial and practical advice about UK public liability claims.

Our solicitors will advise you whether you have UK public liability claims for compensation which are worth your while to pursue, build the strongest possible claim for public liability injury compensation on your behalf and negotiate the maximum possible settlement of public liability injury compensation in the shortest possible time. Many public liability claims in the UK qualify for “No Win, No Fee” legal representation which means that you do not have to pay for our solicitor´s time should you lose your public liability claim, whereas you will keep 100 percent of your public liability injury compensation settlement should your claim be successful.

Claim for being Hit on the Head by a Shop Sign Remains Unresolved

May 5, 2017

A woman´s claim for being hit on the head by a shop sign remains unresolved despite the negligent shop´s owners admitting responsibility for her injuries.

In May 2014, Petula Chapman (61) from Truro in Cornwall was visiting her son – Ian – in Penarth, South Wales. The couple went into town together, and were just leaving the Euronics electrical appliance shop on Windsor Road, when the sign above the entrance to the shop was caught by a gust of wind and fell – hitting Petula on the head.

Petula was knocked unconscious by the impact of the shop sign and suffered multiple fractures to her shoulder, wrist and both legs. She also sustained three broken ribs and spinal injuries in the accident. Both she and her son – who was also struck by the falling shop sign – were taken to hospital by ambulance. Ian´s injuries were not considered serious and he was soon discharged.

The incident was captured by the shop´s CCTV, and the shop´s owners – Kitchener & Thomas Ltd – admitted responsibility for Petula´s and Ian´s injuries. However, although the company has settled Ian´s personal injury claim, Petula´s claim for being hit on the head by a shop sign remains unresolved. She has now filed a High Court writ claiming £200,000 compensation.

According to court papers, the accident has left Petula with mild brain damage and serious disabling injuries. In her claim for being hit on the head by a shop sign, she alleges she is unable to work and needs constant care. The writ adds that Petula has developed significant psychological problems and depression which complicate the effects of her brain injury.

The legal representatives of Kitchener & Thomas Ltd have not commented on the issuance of the writ, but the fact that it has been issued would imply that the company is disputing the value of the claim for being hit on the head by a shop sign. If no resolution is found soon, the settlement of her claim will be determine by a judge at the High Court.

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Couple Receive Compensation for an Illness on a P&O Cruise

February 25, 2017

A couple who were both taken ill during a holiday to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary have received compensation for an illness on a P&O cruise.

In January 2015, David and Doreen Dale from Whitstable in Kent were on the holiday of a lifetime to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Having flown out to Australia to join the P&O cruise ship Arcadia, the couple were looking forward to enjoying a luxury vacation.

However, on the fourth day of their holiday, Doreen contracted a respiratory tract infection – a contagious illness that affects the lungs and airways. She was able to receive medical attention in Perth, but David was not so fortunate – contracting the disease later in the trip and being denied the opportunity to see a doctor at the on-board medical centre.

Both David and Doreen needed further medical attention when they returned to the UK and thereafter sought legal advice, discovering later that a total of eleven passengers on their vacation were claiming compensation for an illness on a P&O cruise – at least one of whom had contracted the food poisoning bug Campylobacter.

Describing the conditions on board the ship, Doreen said: “Both David and I were really concerned by certain things on board the ship, such as air conditioning units that were leaking and the bed linen not being changed daily. It was obvious that people on board the ship were not well as in the evenings you could hear lots of coughing in the theatre.”

Solicitors acting on behalf of the group of holidaymakers have now negotiated a settlement of compensation for an illness on a P&O cruise. Speaking to the Daily Express, Doreen said: I am relieved that our legal battle is finally over. Our cruise was a nightmare and we were so disappointed and upset that our fiftieth wedding anniversary was ruined.”

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Council Fined for an Accident in a School Workshop

February 23, 2017

Islington Borough Council has been fined £200,000 for a health and safety breach that resulted in a pupil losing a finger in an accident in a school workshop.

On 25th March 2014, the unnamed eleven-year-old boy was in a design and technology class when he went to use a Morris flex belt sanding machine to file his project. The boy had never used the machine before and was shown how to operate it by another pupil who was unaware of the purpose of the raised metal guard.

When the boy put his plywood project onto the sanding belt, the metal guard flipped downwards and trapped the boy´s left hand between the sanding belt and shape he was trying to sand. The accident in a school workshop resulted in the boy having the middle finger of his left hand amputated down to the knuckle.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the accident in a school workshop and found that the teacher in charge of the class had not receive sufficient training to identify the machine was in an unsafe condition or the risks involved in allowing pupils to use the machine unsupervised.

The HSE prosecuted Islington Borough Council for breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and, at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Deborah Taylor fined the council £200,000 for an accident in a school workshop plus costs of £19,865. Judge Taylor said: “I make it clear that, had this not been a local authority and bearing in mind the size of the organisation and the way it worked, the fine would have been considerably higher.”

Speaking after the hearing, an Islington Borough Council spokesman said: “This was a serious injury, which could have been prevented. We’re very sorry this happened and apologise to our student and his family. Since this accident in 2014 we have introduced comprehensive new procedures for health and safety in our schools.”

HSE inspector Jane Wolfenden added: “It is important to create a safe teaching environment for pupils where they can learn to appreciate and manage the risks they will face in life. If the teacher had been appropriately trained on how to use the equipment for the lesson, they would have been able to show the pupils how to properly use the sanding machine. Instead a young boy sustained an extremely painful injury that could have easily been avoided.”

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Claim for an Injury at a Ski Resort Resolved by Negotiation

February 2, 2017

A holidaymaker´s claim for an injury at a ski resort has been resolved by negotiation following court proceedings being issued against a ski lift operator.

In December 2010, twenty-five year old Tom Giddens was on holiday at the French ski resort of Val Thorens in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, when he and a friend got onto the ski lift with the intention of enjoying one final run of the day.

The ski lift stopped 200 feet from the top of the run and, as the two friends waited for the lift to restart, the temperature started falling. Tom – a student from Solihull in the West Midlands – rang the ski lift emergency number, but only got through to a message service in French.

After thirty minutes of waiting for help to arrive, Tom and his friend decided to jump from the ski lift. Tom´s friend lowered himself onto the bar of the ski lift and landed safely on the ground but, when Tom jumped, he landed badly and broke his leg.

Fortunately help arrived quickly, and Tom was taken to the resort´s medical centre on a bud wagon. After receiving preliminary treatment, he was transferred to Moutiers Hospital, where a metal pin was inserted into his leg to help the broken bone heal properly.

Tom returned to the UK five days later, where he spent five weeks recovering at the Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield. He was discharged on crutches and subsequently underwent eighteen months of physiotherapy. Sadly, he never regained the level of fitness he had prior to the accident.

Tom sought legal advice and made a claim for an injury at a ski resort against the operator of the ski lift – Societe D’Exploitation des Telepheriques Tarantaise-Maurienne – on the grounds that there had been a lack of safety standards.

The ski lifted operator initially denied liability, but once court proceedings were filed he France, negotiations started to resolve the claim for an injury at a ski resort, and Tom´s case was eventually settled for an undisclosed five-figure amount.

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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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Claim for Sickness on Holiday in Egypt Settled for £29,850

November 15, 2016

A family´s claim for sickness on holiday in Egypt, made after eleven of the thirteen family members suffered a stomach bug, has been settled for £29,850.

As a special treat for their family, Brian and Pamela Pilling from Chesham in Buckinghamshire paid more than £17,000 for a dream holiday at the five-star Sea Club Resort in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. The holiday was supposed to be an action-packed event that included trips to the beach, camel trekking and quad biking; but, from the fifth day of their stay at the resort, the family started to fall ill.

Brian (61), a retired labourer, was one of the first of the family members to develop the symptoms of a stomach bug.  “I thought at first it would just be a day thing, a little gastric upset but wow was I wrong” Brian told newspaper reporters. “In the end, we had to ask the hotel doctor to visit. He immediately put me on an intravenous rehydration with antibiotics and paracetamol.”

Brian was one of two family members that needed to be treated with intravenous rehydration and antibiotics, and in total eleven of the thirteen family members fell in on the trip – some experiencing symptoms that continued after the family returned home to the UK. Brian said: “The holiday was a great disappointment devastated by illness and I wish we had never gone.”

On their return to the UK, Brian and Pamela sought legal advice and made a claim for sickness on holiday in Egypt on behalf of the whole family. The claim against Thomson Holidays not only accounted for the pain and suffering of each family member, but also the amount of money the family spent on medical treatment in Egypt and the cost of the holiday.

Brian and Pamela alleged in their claim for sickness on holiday in Egypt that their illnesses were caused by the unhygienic conditions at the resort. Members of the family reported that food was not cooked properly and that sparrows were regularly seen around uncovered food. Thomson Holidays investigated the allegations, and the Pilling´s claim for sickness on holiday in Egypt has now been settled for £29,850.

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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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Solicitors Investigating Unhygienic Hotel Swimming Pool Claims

October 10, 2016

Solicitors are investigating several unhygienic swimming pool claims made by a group of holidaymakers who fell ill during an all-inclusive holiday in Greece.

Earlier this year, several families booked all-inclusive holidays at the Marelen Hotel on the Greek Island of Zante. During their stays, seventeen guests are known to have contracted severe gastric illnesses attributed to the Cryptosporidium parasite – a microscopic parasite that breeds in contaminated water in swimming pools.

The guests reported several lapses in hygiene at the resort including faecal matter in the swimming pool. Other guests reported seeing staff cleaning the tiles surrounding the pool with a nailbrush and then rinsing the nailbrush in the swimming pool water. No deep cleaning of the pool or water testing was witnessed by any of the guests.

One of the holidaymakers who suffered from the Cryptosporidium illness was Rosanna Crowley (27) from Kettering in Northamptonshire. She 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.”

On her return to Northamptonshire, Rosanna visited her local GP as she was still suffering the symptoms of stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. The presence of the Cryptosporidium parasite was confirmed by her GP and, due to the breeding habits of the parasite, her house also had to be inspected by Environmental Health Officers to ensure her own hygiene standards were being maintained.

Now Rosanna and the other holidaymakers that suffered a gastric illness have instructed solicitors to make unhygienic swimming pool claims against the tour operator through whom the holiday was booked – Thomas Cook. According to the solicitor, the aim of the unhygienic swimming pool claims is not only to recover compensation for those whose holiday was ruined by the Cryptosporidium parasite, but also to make sure that steps are taken to prevent the same thing from happening again.

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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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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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Claim for Cycling Accident Injury Compensation Resolved

July 5, 2016

A woman, who suffered multiple injuries when the brakes on her rented bike failed, has resolved her claim for cycling accident injury compensation.

In July 2013, Phyllis Bright (21) travelled up to the Peak District with her boyfriend to enjoy a day of cycling. The couple rented bikes from the Peak District National Park Authority´s visitor centre in the Fairholmes car park and then set off in the direction of the Upper Derwent Valley.

However, as the couple were descending a hill towards the Abbey Brooke Bridge, Phyllis – a student nurse from Lincoln in the East Midlands – realised that the brakes on her bicycle were not working and leapt from her bike to avoid crashing into the stone wall of the bridge.

As the result of hitting the ground at speed, Phyllis suffered cuts and bruises to her chest, legs and arms, and a jaw injury. She was taken to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, where she received treatment for her injuries and stitches for the cuts to her hand and chin.

After seeking legal advice, Phyllis made a claim for cycling accident injury compensation against the Peak District National Park Authority, alleging that the bike she had rented had not been properly maintained. The authority acknowledged liability and a four-figure settlement of her claim was agreed.

Speaking with the Sun newspaper after her claim for cycling accident compensation had been resolved, Phyllis said: “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.”

She added: “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. The accident has left me with a number of scars that act as a long-term reminder of what happened and I really struggled to eat and sleep afterwards.”

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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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Claim for an Illness on Holiday in Egypt Settled Out of Court

June 27, 2016

A family from Essex has resolved its claim for an illness on holiday in Egypt, and received extra compensation for injuries due to being bitten by bed bugs.            

In December 2014, Rae Clayton and his partner Rachel visited the five-star Hotel Sunwing Waterworld in Makadi Bay, Egypt – together with Rae´s mother and Rachel´s five-year-old daughter – to celebrate two years of being together.

However, during the first night of their stay, Rachel suffered hundreds of bites believed to be caused by bed bugs. She was subsequently given a cortisone injection, and prescribed antihistamines and pain killers, but has been left with scars on her legs.

The family changed rooms the following morning, but soon after all four of the party started suffering from diarrhoea, stomach cramps and sickness. Rachel was affected particularly badly, and continued to suffer the symptoms after her return to the UK – losing more than half a stone in weight.

On the family´s return, Rae sought legal advice and made a claim for an illness on holiday in Egypt against the tour operator through whom the holiday had been booked – Red Sea Holidays Ltd. The claim also covered the bite injuries that Rachel had sustained on the first night of their holiday.

Rae alleged in his claim for an illness on holiday in Egypt that old food had been added to freshly cooked food, and that some of the meals appeared to have been reheated and served on more than one occasion. He also claimed that there was a general lack of cleanliness throughout the hotel – particularly the utensils that were used to serve the food.

Red Sea Holidays Ltd. denied responsibility for the family´s illnesses and Rachel´s bed bug bite injuries. However, after the family´s solicitors had issued legal proceedings, the tour operator agreed to a five-figure settlement of the claim for an illness on holiday in Egypt without an admission of liability.

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Passenger Seeks Injury Compensation for Accident at Baker Street Station

June 13, 2016

A passenger who fell through the gap between an Underground train and the platform is seeking injury compensation for an accident at Baker Street station.

On 13th May this year, Deepa Patel was travelling from her job as a fashion designer in Ladbroke Grove to her home in Watford. Her journey entailed a change of Underground trains at Baker Street; and, as Deepa was boarding the Metropolitan Line Underground train to Watford, she fell through the gap between the train and the platform.

Fortunately passengers aboard the train witnessed her accident, and were able to force open the doors and pull Deepa to safety. Deepa was taken to hospital, where she received treatment for a badly bruised coccyx. Although she has now been able to return to work, Deepa still suffers severe back pain and her doctors have told her it will take a further three months until she is fully recovered.

Speaking with the London Evening Standard, Deepa said that she is seeking injury compensation for the accident at Baker Street station. Operations Director for Transport for London – Steve White – said: “The safety of our customers is our number one priority and we are sorry about Ms Patel’s injury. We have been speaking with Ms Patel and are carrying out a thorough investigation into what happened”.

Deepa´s accident is not an isolated one. Transport for London recorded 307 accidents in 2015 that were attributable to passengers falling through the gap between a train and a platform – 52 of the accidents occurring at Baker Street. The reason for so many accidents of this nature has been blamed on the introduction of new wheelchair-friendly trains on routes that pass through Baker Street station.

The new “S-stock” trains are designed to be level with the platform edge but, in stations with curved platforms, the new design means that there can be more space than before between the train and platform. As Deepa described to the London Evening Standard: “The platform is curved. The lady in front stopped as she got on, I took a step in mid-air and went straight down”.

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Court of Appeal Upholds Decision in Injury Claim for a Fall at a Tourist Attraction

June 3, 2016

The Court of Appeal has upheld an injury claim for a fall at a tourist attraction made by a 69-year-old man who fell into the moat at Carisbrooke Castle.

In April 2011, Ian Taylor from East Grinstead in Sussex was visiting Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight with his wife and two grandchildren. As he descended a steep grass bank below the castle to take some photographs, Ian lost his footing and slipped – falling over the bastion wall and into the castle´s moat, twelve feet below.

Ian was knocked unconscious in the fall and suffered permanent head injuries. After seeking legal advice he made an injury claim for a fall at a tourist attraction against English Heritage – the organisation responsible for the management of the historic site – alleging that the drop was not visible from the bank he was descending and there were no signs warning him of the danger.

In 2015, Judge David Blunt QC ruled in Ian´s favour and said that English Heritage were at fault for failing to erect a sign warning of the risk of falling – although assigning him 50% contributory negligence for his own lack of care. English Heritage contested the decision, and the injury claim for a fall at a tourist attraction was heard again recently by three judges at the Court of Appeal.

At the hearing, barristers representing English Heritage argued that sensible people could assess risks for themselves and that Judge Blunt´s decision – if upheld – would force historic sites into “an unduly defensive approach” – implying that a decision in Ian´s favour would result in a “plague of unattractive warning signs” around historic monuments.

However, Lords Dyson, McFarlane and Beatson upheld Ian´s injury claim for a fall at a tourist attraction. The three Appeal Court judges ruled that the risk of injury was not obvious from the location from which Ian had attempted to take photographs, and that the absence of a warning sign meant that reasonable steps had not been taken to ensure his safety.

It is not yet known whether English heritage will take the injury claim for a fall at a tourist attraction to the Supreme Court as it has implications for future injury claims at all of the organisation´s four hundred managed historic sites. Much may depend on how much compensation is awarded to Ian for his injury – the amount to be decided by a judge in the near future if a settlement is not agreed by the parties beforehand.

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BUPA Fined for Care Home Resident Death in Fall from Bed Accident

May 31, 2016

Healthcare company BUPA has been fined £400,000 for failings in the standard of care that led to the death of a care home resident in a fall from bed accident.

On September 24th 2013, ninety-one year old Josephine Millard was found dead on the floor in her room at the BUPA-owned Beacon Edge residential care home in Penrith. An investigation into Josephine´s death by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that although the care home had a policy on bedrail management, a sensor pad that would have alerted staff to her fall had not been activated.

According to the HSE´s report into Josephine´s death, staff at the care home were not trained on bedrail safety and assessments not conducted or reviewed as required. HSE inspectors also found that there had been a failure by BUPA to provide appropriate “care and support for people with dementia type illnesses” that resulted in Josephine´s fall from bed accident.

The HSE prosecuted BUPA Care Homes (CFC Homes) Ltd with breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Earlier this year at Carlisle Magistrates´ Court, BUPA pleaded guilty to the charges and the case was referred to Carlisle Crown Court for sentencing.

At the sentencing hearing last week, BUPA was fined £400,000 for failings in the standard of care that led to Josephine´s fatal fall from bed accident. The healthcare company was also ordered to pay £15,206 costs. Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Carol Forster had the following words to say:

“The need for adequate risk assessment and management of third party bedrails has been recognised in the healthcare sector for a number of years. In this case there was a lack of appropriate assessment of the residents’ changing needs and review of the control measures in place to protect her. The measures that were in place were not used correctly in that the sensor pad which would have alerted staff to the resident’s being out of bed was not switched on”.

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Disney Cruise Injury Claims Likely Following Norovirus Outbreak

May 10, 2016

Up to 145 passengers and crew aboard a Caribbean cruise may be eligible to make Disney Cruise injury claims following confirmation of a norovirus outbreak.

A Caribbean cruise from Miami to the Bahamas turned sour for 131 passengers and 14 crew of the Disney Wonder when they were struck down with vomiting and diarrhoea between 27th April and 1st May.

When the outbreak of illnesses was reported to U.S. Center for Disease Control, the cruise ship was boarded by environmental health officers on its return to Miami, and an assessment was conducted to review the outbreak and the company´s response.

The company informed the environmental health officers that increased cleaning and disinfection procedures had been instigated in accordance with the cruise ship´s outbreak prevention and response plan, and that stool specimens had been collected for testing from affected passengers and crew members.

The Center for Disease Control has now analysed the stool samples and confirmed that the illnesses were attributable to norovirus – a common and highly contagious form of gastroenteritis that can be transmitted quickly in confined environments. Environmental health officers are still trying to locate the origin of the outbreak.

The company hopes to avoid a significant number of Disney cruise injury claims by handling requests for refunds on a case-by-case basis. Some of the affected passengers are also being offered credits for future cruises.

Disney cruise injury claims are rare. The most recent outbreak comes fourteen years since the last recorded outbreak of norovirus on a Disney cruise ship. On that occasion hundreds of passengers fell ill on two Disney Magic cruises from Port Canaveral. The lack of Disney cruise injury claims has been attributed to staff handing guests hand wipes when they enter dining areas.

This is the tenth outbreak of norovirus on a cruise ship that the Center for Disease Control has investigated and confirmed this year.

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Holidaymaker Makes Food Poisoning Claim against First Choice

April 25, 2016

A holidaymaker from Derbyshire, who contracted campylobacter while celebrating his birthday in Morocco, has made a food poisoning claim against First Choice.

In March 2016, James and Paula Gratton booked a week´s stay at the four-star Medina Gardens Hotel in Marrakech to celebrate James´ 51st birthday. Half-way through the holiday, James began to suffer with a high temperature, stomach pains and diarrhoea. His symptoms worsened as the holiday continued, and James was in considerable distress on the couple´s return flight to their home in Heanor in Derbyshire.

When he returned home, James called the NHS Direct service. He was advised to attend his local hospital, where he was examined and prescribed medicine to control his symptoms. However, James continued to feel unwell, and a stool sample provided to his GP subsequently tested positive for campylobacter – a form of food poisoning most commonly associated with badly prepared poultry.

Having missed a significant time from his job as a HGV driver, James sought legal advice and made a food poisoning claim against First Choice – the holiday company through which the Moroccan holiday had been booked. James´ solicitors have now instigated an investigation into the food preparation standards at the Medina Gardens Hotel to establish if James´ illness was due to negligence.

Speaking with his local newspaper – The Ripley and Heanor News – James said about his food poisoning claim against First Choice: “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.

The holiday company declined to comment on the ongoing investigation into James´ food poisoning claim against First Choice, choosing instead to issue a brief statement that read: “First Choice is sorry to hear of Mr and Mrs Gratton´s experience.”

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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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