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UK Wrongful Death Claims

In the UK, wrongful death claims for compensation can be made by the closest relative when a loved one has suffered a fatal accident due to the negligence of another. Examples of wrongful death claims in the UK would be when a husband has been killed in a work accident, a parent has died due to medical negligence or a mother and wife has been lost in a car accident due to the negligence of another road user.

Insurance companies may say that they feel your pain, while those responsible for the tragedy issue apologies, but to ensure that you receive an appropriate compensation settlement for UK wrongful death claims, speak with an understanding and experienced solicitor on our freephone injury claims advice service.

Widow to Donate Mesothelioma Compensation Settlement

April 11, 2017

The widow of a man who died from asbestos-related cancer is donating her mesothelioma compensation settlement to the hospice that cared for her husband.

Barry Dempsey from Scarborough in Yorkshire was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in June 2015. He died from the condition the following April aged 75 and, prior to his death, Barry instructed solicitors to investigate how he came into contact with the asbestos responsible for his illness.

His solicitors discovered that, during the five years he worked as an apprentice electrician at ICI, he was exposed to asbestos dust due to the poor condition of asbestos lagging around boilers and pipework. Despite Barry´s passing, his widow pursued a claim for compensation against ICI´s formers insurers.

In the claim for a mesothelioma compensation settlement, Barry´s widow – Patricia – alleged that ICI did not take reasonable steps to prevent Barry inhaling deadly asbestos dust, even though the company was aware of the risks from asbestos and that asbestos was present in the workplace.

After a period of negotiation, ICI´s former insurers agreed to a mesothelioma compensation settlement, which Patricia – Barry´s wife of 52 years and mother to their three children – has said she will donate to the hospice that provided a care at home service during the final days of Barry´s life.

Speaking with her local newspaper, Patricia said: “Barry’s death has been difficult for us all to come to terms with and one of the primary reasons for taking legal action was to recoup the cost of care provided to him by the staff at St. Catherine’s Hospice.

“All of us have at some time been touched by a friend or family member who has been diagnosed with a type of cancer and we have seen the amazing job the dedicated staff at St. Catherine’s do to make people as comfortable as possible in their final days.”

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Widow Settles Claim for the Misdiagnosis of a Heart Disease

March 28, 2017

A widow from Bridgend in South Wales has settled her claim for the misdiagnosis of a heart disease that resulted in the death of her forty-seven year old husband.

Father of three, Andrew Jones, had suffered from high blood pressure and chest pains since 2002, but in July 2011 he felt particularly unwell and attended his GP, who referred him to the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend for tests. Andrew was admitted for a short time for the tests, and then returned regularly to the hospital as an outpatient.

Irregularities in Andrew´s heart were identified by doctors at the Princess of Wales, but they were attributed to an enlarged heart and his health problems were diagnosed as acid reflux. Tragically Andrew collapsed at his home on 17th March 2012 and died in hospital the following day.

The hospital´s error was not identified until the inquest into Andrew´s death; following which his widow – Jacqueline – sought legal advice and made a claim for the misdiagnosis of a heart disease against Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board. In her claim, Jacqueline alleged the hospital was aware Andrew had a history of heart trouble and failed to make a correct diagnosis due to negligence.

The Health Board contested the claim for the misdiagnosis of a heart disease but, after a period of negotiation, it agreed to six-figure settlement of the claim without an admission of liability. Speaking with her local newspaper after the claim had been settled, Jacqueline said:

“We remain devastated by the nature of his death, considering that he had been receiving ongoing treatment for his cardiac problems yet the issues which led to his death were not identified. While nothing will ever bring Andrew back, we truly hope that steps have been taken to ensure that no other family faces the loss and the subsequent ordeal we have been through.”

When asked for a comment, a spokesperson for the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board said: “We are committed to learning from cases to improve practice. We have reviewed this case to determine if any lessons could be learnt from it or changes made to processes.”

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Company Fined for Fatal Fork Lift Accident at Work

March 10, 2017

A recycling company has been fined by Wolverhampton Magistrates Court for health and safety failings that resulted in a fatal fork lift accident at work.

On 4th January 2013, Mohammed Yasin (37) was working at the Recycled Paper UK Ltd factory in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, when the fork lift truck he was driving overturned due to the weight of the load it was carrying. Mohammed was thrown from the cab of the vehicle, and fatally injured when he was hit by the fork lift truck as it overturned.

An inquest into the fatal fork lift accident at work heard that Mohammed had been driving fork lift trucks for almost ten years without ever having taken the required health and safety training course. It was also disclosed it was common practice for fork lift truck drivers not to wear seatbelts, and that the company´s management never insisted upon it.

The inquest jury noted several factors had contributed to the fatal fork lift accident at work – not least that Mohammed had received insufficient training to safely operate the vehicle as a result of Recycled Paper UK´s failed to implement and enforce an adequate health and safety policy. The coroner – Robin Balmain – returned a verdict of accidental death.

An investigation into the fatal fork lift accident at work by the Health & Safety Executive also found the company failed to have adequate supervision of its drivers and prosecuted Recycled Paper UK Ltd with breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. However, as the company is now in liquidation, Wolverhampton Magistrates Court was only able to impose a nominal £1.00 fine.

Speaking after the Magistrates hearing, HSE inspector Caroline Lane said: “This was an extremely tragic incident which highlights the importance for duty holders to appropriately supervise and train workers to the required standard when operating such machinery.”

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Mother to Receive Compensation for Brain Damage during Surgery

March 3, 2017

The mother of a woman who died ten years after undergoing a routine operation is to receive £430,000 compensation for brain damage during surgery.

In September 2003, nine-year-old Carrie Wright from Hull in Yorkshire attended Leeds Royal Infirmary to undergo elective surgery to repair a heart defect. In order to prevent brain damage while her heart was being repaired, Carrie was put into Deep Hypothermic Circulatory Arrest. However, rather than limiting the period of circulatory arrest to the recommended forty-five minutes, the surgeon kept Carrie in this condition for more than two hours.

As a result of the surgeon´s negligence, Carrie sustained significant brain damage. She was unable to walk or stand without help, she needed assistance with practically every aspect of her daily live and had very limited speech. Until her death in December 2013, Carrie attended a specialist college in Nottinghamshire during the week and was cared for by her parents at weekends.

While she was still alive, Carrie´s mother – Dawn Clayton – claimed compensation for brain damage during surgery on her daughter´s behalf, alleging there was no justifiable reason for Carrie´s surgeon keeping her in circulatory arrest for so long. Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust initially denied liability for Carrie´s injury until the surgeon – Dr Nihal Weerasena – was referred to the General Medical Council to answer charges of gross misconduct.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust finally admitted liability for Carrie´s injuries last year – just months before a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service found Dr Weerasena guilty of eight charges of gross misconduct. A settlement of compensation for brain damage during surgery was subsequently agreed with the NHS Litigation Authority. Speaking after the claim has been resolved, Carrie´s mother told her local newspaper:

“Prior to the operation, Carrie was just like any other active nine-year old girl. She left me early on the day of the operation and came back from surgery that evening changed forever. I only received a letter of apology last year, some 13 years after the operation. I have always felt that they wanted to sweep this matter under the carpet. It has been horrendous for our family to lose Carrie in the way that we did. This has been exacerbated by the long battle we have had with the hospital to get recognition of their failings.”

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Company Fined for Fatal Exposure to Toxic Vapour at Work

November 9, 2016

A chemical company in Grimsby has been fined £3 million for health and safety breaches that led to an employee´s fatal exposure to toxic vapour at work.

Paul Doyley (48) was working beneath a tank containing Titanium Tetrachloride at the Crystal Pigment UK Ltd chemical plant in Grimsby on 5th March 2010, when the chemical came into contact with water and created a chemical reaction. The force of the reaction ruptured the tank, and Paul was showered with corrosive liquid.

Two colleagues rushed to Paul´s assistance but, as the liquid came into contact with air, a further chemical reaction created a cloud of toxic vapour. Paul and one of his rescuers – Ron Ingoldby – were blanketed by the rapidly increasing toxic vapour cloud, both suffering severe lung damage. The second rescuer – Steve Russell – suffered chemical burns.

The toxic vapour cloud continued to expand and blew from the chemical plant across the River Humber – closing shipping lanes in the process. The Humberside Fire and Rescue Service was summoned, and the incident was brought under control after several hours – avoiding a potentially serious incident close to a heavily populated residential area.

Paul was taken to Wakefield´s Pinderfield Hospital, where he received specialist treatment for his chemical burns and exposure to toxic vapour at work. Tragically Paul died from his injuries two weeks later. Ron Ingoldby, the first of his colleagues to come to his aid, has suffered irreversible lung damage and a likely shortening of his life expectancy.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the fatal exposure to toxic vapour at work incident and found that Crystal Pigment UK Ltd had deviated from the normal procedures for the safe management of Titanium Tetrachloride. Inspectors also identified a lack of safety procedures and systems of work to assess and control risk.

The HSE prosecuted Crystal Pigment UK Ltd for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 following a second Titanium Tetrachloride incident in July 2011 in which nobody was injured. The company pleaded guilty to the charges, and a sentencing hearing took place at Hull Crown Court earlier this week.

At the hearing, the court issued fines totalling £3 million for the failures in health and safety that resulted in a fatal exposure to toxic vapour at work. The court also ordered Crystal Pigment UK Ltd to pay £37,868 for the costs associated with bringing the prosecution.

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High Court Urges Reform of Bereavement Compensation for an Unmarried Partner

October 20, 2016

A judges at the High Court has urged parliament to introduce legislation to change the law relating to bereavement compensation for an unmarried partner.

In 2011, John Bulloch (66) – a retired prison governor from Chorley in Lancashire – died when an infection was overlooked by his doctors and it spread to his brain. John´s partner of sixteen years – Jakki Smith – made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the NHS and also claimed bereavement compensation for an unmarried partner.

Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1974, bereavement compensation of £12,980 can be claimed by a spouse or civil partner when the other partner has died due to negligence. Jakki´s medical negligence claim was settled on the grounds that she and John had lived together for more than two years and she was entitled to dependency damages. However her claim for bereavement compensation for an unmarried partner was denied because she and John had never married.

Jakki argued that couples in verifiable long-term relationships should be treated the same as married couples and took her claim to the High Court. Her case was heard in September by Mr Justice Edis, who ruled there is no compatibility between the Fatal Accidents Act and Jakki´s assertion that she was being denied her right to private and family life under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, and unjustified discrimination under Article 14.

Although rejecting her argument, Judge Edis commented he hoped the outcome of the case would urge parliament to introduce legislation to change the law relating to bereavement compensation for an unmarried partner. He said: “Legislation was thought necessary by the Law Commission and the government in 2009 to achieve this reform and I agree with them.” (In 2009, the government published draft proposals with this aim, but they never became law).

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice commented: “While no payment can provide adequate financial compensation for the grief felt at the loss of a loved one, there are bereavement damages available to a person’s spouse or civil partner or to their parents if they were under 18. There are no plans to change the law at this time.” Jakki intends to appeal the High Court ruling and seeks a reinterpretation of the current legislation so that couples who have “lived as man and wife” for over two years are entitled to bereavement compensation for unmarried couples.

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Company Fined £1 Million for Fatal Crush Accident at Work

September 19, 2016

A manufacturing company has been fined £1 million for a fatal crush accident at work after multiple failings in the system of work were identified.

On April 30, 2015, Colin Reddish (48) was part of a team involved in moving a large milling machine at the Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Ltd factory in Grantham, Lincolnshire. The machine had been lifted using jacks, and placed onto skates so that Colin could access securing bolts and cut through them with an angle grinder.

As Colin started cutting through the securing bolts, the milling machine overturned and crushed him. Despite attempts to rescue him by his work colleagues and an ambulance crew, Colin died at the scene of the accident.

An investigation into the fatal crush accident at work was launched by Lincolnshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive. It was found that the manufacturing company had not ensured workers involved in lifting and moving the machine were sufficiently trained or had the right experience for carrying out such a potentially dangerous task. It was also discovered that the task had not been adequately planned and that the machine´s centre of gravity had not been assessed.

Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Ltd of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, was prosecuted for breaches of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Health and Safety of Work Act 1974. The company pleaded guilty to the charges at Lincoln Magistrates´ Court and were fined £1 million for the fatal crush accident at work, plus ordered to pay £6,311 costs and a victim surcharge of £120.

Speaking after the Magistrates´ hearing, HSE Inspector Martin Giles said: “Colin Reddish’s death was entirely preventable. Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Ltd had already tried unsuccessfully to lift the machine using a fork lift truck but instead of learning from this failure they carried on. Their ad hoc approach to managing dangerous tasks resulted in one of their workers losing his life”.

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HSE Releases Figures for Fatal UK Workplace Accidents in 2015/16

July 7, 2016

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has released details of fatal UK workplace accidents for the twelve months to 31st March 2016.

The figures relating to fatal workplace accidents in the UK are provisional but reveal a slight increase in the number of employees and self-employed workers who were killed in workplace accidents, from 142 in 2014/15 to 144 in 2015/16.

The figures exclude employees killed in road traffic accidents, or those travelling by sea or air when they were killed, as well as deaths attributable to industrial diseases – estimated to be around 13,000 each year. They also exclude fatal UK workplace accidents in Northern Ireland.

Also absent from the HSE figures for the first time are fatal workplace accidents in the UK in premises registered with the Care Quality Commission. Since April 2015, workplace fatalities in locations such as care homes, hospitals and mental health facilities are no longer included in the annual report.

Within key industrial sectors, 43 workers died in construction, 37 workers lost their lives in service industry jobs, while there were 27 deaths each in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. The remaining ten deaths occurred in the mining, utilities, waste and recycling sectors.

In addition to the 144 employee and self-employed workers who lost their lives in fatal workplace accidents in the UK, 103 members of the public were killed in accidents on retail premises, in care home facilities or on public transport – down from 127 in 2014/15.

It is important to note that the number of deaths does not directly correspond with the number of fatal UK workplace accidents as some accident result in multiple fatalities. For example, eight lives were lost in three of the accidents in the manufacturing section.

The HSE´s provisional figures are compiled only on accidents that are reported through the RIDDOR process and only when an employee or self-employed worked has died within a year of an accident. Consequently the confirmed number of deaths due to fatal UK workplace accidents will not be published until July 2017.

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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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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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Family Settle Claim for Negligent Care in a Nursing Home

March 21, 2016

A family has settled its compensation claim for negligent care in a nursing home which, it was alleged, led to the death of a County Durham man.

In March 2011, John Blenkiron was placed at the Lindisfarne Care Home in Chester-le-Street on a two weeks stay to give his wife some respite from caring from him after she had injured her leg. John (63) suffered from dementia and was on medication for Parkinson´s disease.

After visiting their father, John´s sons suspected that he was not receiving an adequate standard of care or being kept up-to-date with his medication. They removed him from the nursing home and subsequently noticed pressure sores on his back and heels.

The following morning, John was unresponsive and an ambulance was summoned. John was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham by ambulance men, who were so shocked by his condition that they reported the matter as a safeguarding issue.

John remained in hospital for five weeks. He died in May 2011, having never gained his mobility.

Shocked by the rapid deterioration in John´s health, his widow – Christine – and her two sons sought legal advice and made a compensation claim for negligent care in a nursing home against Gainford Care Homes Ltd trading as the Lindisfarne Care Home.

Despite an investigation into John´s death revealing failings in the standard of care John had received at the nursing home, Gainford Care Homes Ltd denied medical negligence or any contribution towards his death due to negligence.

The family´s solicitor issued court proceedings and, just before a court hearing was about to get underway, Gainford Care Homes Ltd agreed to an undisclosed out-of-court settlement of the compensation claim for negligent care in a nursing home.

Speaking after the compensation claim for negligent care in a nursing home had been resolved, John´s son told the Sunderland Echo: “I think it is important that what happened to my dad doesn’t happen to anyone else and that other families don’t have to go through what we have in the last four years. I hope by taking legal action we will ensure care homes are reminded that elderly people should be treated with dignity and respect.”

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£1 Million Fine for Failure to Prevent a Fatal Electrocution Accident

January 29, 2016

UK Power Networks has been fined £1 million by Chelmsford Crown Court for the failure to prevent a fatal electrocution accident in which a runner died.

On 24th July 2012, Dr James Kew from Ashton in Essex was out on a training run with three colleagues from the Saffron Striders Running Club. As he entered a corn field alongside a public footpath in Newport, Essex, he ran into an 11,000 volt electricity cable that was suspended 1.5 metres from the ground.

James was killed instantly when he completed the circuit from the cable to the ground, while his colleagues suffered minor burn injuries. An inquest into the fatal electrocution accident heard that a porcelain insulator that should have secured the cable to a wooden pole had disintegrated, causing the cable to fall from its usual height of 5.5 metres to just chest height.

The inquest also heard that the fallen cable had been reported to the National Grid and UK Power Networks thirty minutes prior to the fatal electrocution accident. However, rather than cut the electricity supply to that part of the grid, UK Power Networks sent out an engineer to investigate the dangerous cable. Tragically, the engineer arrived twenty minutes too late to prevent the fatal electrocution accident.

A second investigation in James´ death by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that UK Power Networks failed to fully assess the risk of injury posed to the public and control the risk. The company was prosecuted for breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 – a charge to which UK Power Networks pleaded guilty to when the case was heard by Chelmsford Crown Court earlier this week.

After hearing evidence from HSE inspectors, the court fined UK Power Networks £1 million for failing to prevent a fatal electrocution accident and ordered the company to pay £153,000 costs. Speaking after the verdict had been announced, HSE inspector Paul Carter said: “Dr Kew’s family remains completely devastated by their loss and witnesses to this incident have suffered severe trauma and stress-related illness. The incident was entirely preventable”.

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Family to Receive Compensation for Fatal Surgical Complications

December 16, 2015

A family is to receive a six-figure settlement of compensation for fatal surgical complications that could have been avoided if surgery had been rescheduled.

Thirty-eight year old Tracy Hall from Castleford in West Yorkshire underwent elective surgery for the reversal of a stoma on 28th April 2009 at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. The procedure took more than nine hours to complete, after which Tracy – who was diagnosed with Crohn´s disease in 1996 – contracted an infection and suffered from internal bleeding.

Tracy´s condition continued to deteriorate and, on 4th May, medical staff identified blood in her stoma bag. Tracy underwent investigative surgery to establish the reason for the blood, when it was found that her abdominal wall had burst. Tracy was transferred to a High Dependency Unit, where she was put on a life support machine. Tragically she died eight days later from multiple organ failure caused by sepsis.

Tracy´s husband – who had watched his wife suffer with abdominal pain and lose nearly three stones in weight in the months prior to the surgery – sought legal advice. After discovering that Tracy´s surgery should have been delayed because her Crohn´s disease was active at the time, he claimed compensation for fatal surgical complications on the grounds that they could have been avoided if Tracy´s surgery had been rescheduled.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust admitted that the surgery should have been rescheduled, and that Tracy would have probably survived the fatal surgical complications if her condition had been more stable. The NHS Trust agreed to a six-figure settlement of compensation for fatal surgical complications, after which the family´s solicitor said:

“Tracy’s family have been left completely devastated by her sudden death and are still coming to terms with what has happened. Her surgery should have been delayed as she was not stable enough to have an operation. The NHS Trust has admitted if the surgery had been delayed, she would have survived. We hope that lessons can be learned by staff at the hospital to ensure critical mistakes like this when treating people with Crohn’s disease do not happen again to any other families.”

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Compensation Claim for Fatal Head-On Crash Resolved at Hearing

November 19, 2015

A compensation claim for a fatal head-on crash has been resolved at the High Court in Belfast after a hearing to resolve a dispute about liability.

In August 2010, Leslie Browne from County Down in Northern Ireland died from injuries he had sustained in a head-on crash the month earlier. The accident had occurred on a stretch of the B8 between Hilltown and Newry when a driver heading in the opposite direction had lost control of her car on a sharp bend and crashed into the Browne´s car.

Leslie´s widow – Elizabeth – made a compensation claim for a fatal head-on crash against the driver of the car – Sandra Murray – alleging that she had been driving without due care and attention, and too fast for the wet road conditions. Murray denied that she had caused the accident due to inattentiveness, and alleged that her Toyota Yaris had been hit from behind by another car driven by Michal Marczak.

Marczak admitted that he had been driving his Fiat Punto close to Murray´s car, but denied that there had been any contact between the two vehicles. A value of Elizabeth´s compensation claim for a fatal head-on crash was assessed at £50,000 but, before the claim could be resolved, the dispute over liability had to be determined.

Consequently the compensation claim for a fatal head-on crash was heard by Mr Justice Stephens at Belfast Crown Court. Judge Stephens heard that there was no evidence to suggest that Murray´s car had been hit from behind by Marczak´s Fiat Punto and that her loss of control was likely due to her braking excessively on the crown of the bend after realising she was travelling too fast.

The judge ruled that Murray was solely responsible for causing the accident in which Leslie died and said that there was no reason to consider Marczak at fault. He commented “I consider that it reflects the fact that the first defendant did not and does not know what happened so that she grasped at anything that might exonerate her.”

Mr Justice Stephens confirmed the settlement of the compensation claim for a fatal head-on crash and awarded Elizabeth and Marczak their legal fees.

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Claim for being Scalded in Hotel Shower made against Whitbread

November 12, 2015

The family of a tourist from Bangalore, who died from multiple organ failure, has made a claim for being scalded in a hotel shower against Whitbread PLC.

In August 2012, Kalyani Uthaman (59) was a guest at the Premier Inn in Newcraighall while she was sightseeing around Edinburgh. While staying at the hotel, she suffered burns to 25% of her body due to being scalded in the hotel shower. Kalyani died six weeks later due to multiple organ failure.

Despite doctors attributing Kalyani´s death to the degree of burns she sustained in the hotel shower, and separate investigations into the accident being conducted by Edinburgh City Council and Police Scotland, the Crown Office decided not to hold a fatal accident enquiry.

Frustrated by the pace at which information was being released to them, and the fact that they still had unanswered questions, the Uthaman family have now made a claim for being scalded in a hotel shower against Whitbread PLC – the owners of the Premium Inn budget hotel chain.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh has issued a summons against Whitbread PLC and scheduled the first hearing of the claim for being scalded in a hotel shower for November 20th – a “significant milestone” according to the family´s solicitor.

Subsequent to the issuing of the summons, a spokesperson for Premier Inn said: “This is a very sad incident. Our thoughts are with the family of Ms Uthaman during what must have been, and which must remain, an extremely difficult period for them.”

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

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Company Fined after Death of an Electrician at Work

October 26, 2015

Ipswich Crown Court has fined Balfour Beatty Engineering Services £280,000 for health and safety failings that resulted in the death of an electrician at work.

Martin Walton (27) from Blackhall Colliery in Cleveland was part of a team employed by Integrated Cable Services Ltd that was scheduled to connect three power distribution units to the existing infrastructure at Morgan Stanley´s Heathrow Data Centre over the weekend of 16th to 18th October 2010.

Integrated Cable Services had been subcontracted to carry out the work by Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd, while the company that had effective control of the site was Norland Managed Services Ltd – who were already contracted to provide mechanical and electrical maintenance, and who issued the permit-to-work to Integrated Cable Services´ employees.

Last minute modifications to the units required them to be tested with two live electrical supplies to ensure they functioned correctly, and the first unit was successfully modified, tested and connected to the existing infrastructure. However, during the installation of the second power distribution unit, Martin was electrocuted when his forehead made contact with live terminals each carrying 415 volts.

An investigation into the death of an electrician at work by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found both Norland Managed Services and Balfour Beatty Engineering Services in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. An earlier hearing resulted in Norland Managed Services being fined £100,000 for allowing Martin to reroute the existing power supply through a new distribution unit without confirming that the power source was isolated.

However, according to evidence given to Ipswich Crown Court, the health and safety breaches by Balfour Beatty Engineering Services that resulted in the death of an electrician at work were far more serious. HSE inspectors testified that there was a complete breakdown of the company´s health and safety management that was exacerbated by a lack of communication. One HSE inspector described the company as having lost sight of the need for the effective control of risks.

At the close of the hearing – in which Balfour Beatty Engineering Services pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – the company was fined a total of £280,000 for the death of an electrician at work and ordered to pay £42,240 in costs.

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Family to Receive Compensation for Fatal Brain Injury in Hospital

October 20, 2015

A family from the West Midlands is to receive an undisclosed settlement of compensation for a fatal brain injury in hospital following the death of a son.

On New Year´s Day in 2010, Ross Askew from Selly Oak in the West Midlands attended the Selly Oak Hospital, having started complaining of abdominal pains the previous evening. He was diagnosed with severe necrotising pancreatitis and transferred to Birmingham´s Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment.

During his admission to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Ross (33) – who was already receiving treatment for a recurring brain tumour – started to vomit bile. The vile blocked his respirator and, unable to breath, Ross suffered acute respiratory failure and went into cardiac arrest.

The lack of oxygen also caused Ross to sustain a significant brain injury. He remained in a specialist rehabilitation unit until August 2010, when he was discharged into the care of his family. Sadly Ross died in October 2011 after being readmitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital following the return of his brain tumour.

After seeking legal advice, Ross´s mother – Carol – claimed compensation for a fatal brain injury in hospital; alleging that there had been a lack of care when Ross was being admitted to the hospital in January 2010 and that the lack of care had caused her son to suffer the cardiac arrest and subsequent brain injury.

The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust contested the claim for compensation for a fatal brain injury in hospital – arguing that the treatment Ross received during the admissions process was unrelated to the cause of his death. However, after a period of negotiation, an undisclosed settlement of compensation for a fatal brain injury in hospital was agreed without an admission of liability.

Speaking after the family´s claim had been resolved, Carol Askew told her local newspaper: “We are bitterly disappointed that the Trust did not accept responsibility for the failings in his treatment. After he suffered the brain injury in early 2010, Ross needed 24-hour care as he wasn’t able to move independently or look after himself. We are devastated that he was taken away from us so suddenly and it is incredibly difficult for us to come to terms with.”

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Mothers Take Action to Increase Compensation for Bereavement

September 17, 2015

The mothers of two girls who died in a car crash have started a petition to increase the amount of compensation for bereavement parents are entitled to claim.

In November 2014, Jordanna Goodwin (16) and Megan Storey (16) from Doncaster in South Yorkshire were passengers in a Toyota Corolla travelling along the A360 in Conisbrough, when the driver of the car lost control of the vehicle on a known blackspot and crashed into a Seat Leon travelling in the opposite direction.

All five occupants of the Toyota were killed in the accident, while the 45-year-old driver of the Seat was fortunate to escape with a broken leg. The police interviewed the driver of a third car, but no charges were brought in connection with the accident.

The mothers of the two girls – who were live-long friends and “inseparable” – each received £12,980 compensation for bereavement. Their solicitor described the settlement as “pitiful” in comparison to the amounts received by celebrities for injuries to their pride, and the two mothers have now launched an e-petition in an attempt to change the law regarding compensation for bereavement.

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

The e-petition to change the law regarding compensation for bereavement has gained the support of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). APIL´s president – Matthew Stockwell – said that the association´s members are concerned that the level of compensation for bereavement is too low and that the criteria for eligibility is too narrow.

As the law currently stands, compensation for bereavement is only available to husbands, wives, civil partners, the parents of a fatally-injured child under the age of eighteen, or the unmarried mother of a fatally-injured illegitimate child under the age of eighteen. The parents of a child over the age of eighteen, children of a deceased parent, parents of a stillborn child and other relatives are not entitled to compensation for bereavement.

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HSE Releases Statistics for Fatal Accidents in the Workplace

July 6, 2015

The Health and Safety Executive has released a preliminary report covering fatal accidents in the workplace and deaths due to exposure to asbestos at work.

The provision annual report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shows a slight increase in fatal accidents in the workplace. Between April 2014 and March 2015, 142 employees died in fatal accidents at work compared to last year´s all-time low of 136. This represents a rate of 0.46 fatalities per 100,000 workers – one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers in leading industrial nations.

The industries which experienced the highest rates of fatalities were agriculture, recycling and construction. The agriculture industry recorded a rate of 9.12 fatalities per 100,000 workers after the number of fatal accidents in the workplace increased year-on-year from 27 to 33. There were five fatal accidents in the waste and recycling industry (a rate of 4.31 fatalities per 100,000 workers) and thirty-five fatal accidents in the construction industry (down from 44 fatal accidents recorded in 2013/14).

Included in the provisional report were the latest available figures for deaths attributable to mesothelioma cancer from exposure to asbestos at work. Deaths caused by mesothelioma cancer are one of the few work-related diseases that can be accurately recorded, and the latest figures show that in 2013, exposure to asbestos in the workplace accounted for 2,538 deaths – a slight decrease on the 2,548 asbestos-related deaths recorded in 2012.

Commenting on the statistics for fatal accidents in the workplace, Judith Hackett said “It is disappointing last year’s performance on fatal injuries has not been matched, but the trend continues to be one of improvement. Our systems and our framework remain strong as demonstrated by our performance in comparison to other countries. Every fatality is a tragic event and our commitment to preventing loss of life in the workplace remains unaltered.  All workplace fatalities drive HSE to develop even more effective interventions to reduce death, injury and ill health”.

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Legionnaires Disease Compensation Claims to be Heard in Court

May 15, 2015

Four Legionnaires disease compensation claims are to be heard in court after the families of the victims failed to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.

In the summer of 2012, three men died due to inhaling legionella bacteria at the JFT Warehouse in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent. A further eighteen people needed hospital treatment. After an investigation into the outbreak, the Health Protection Agency identified the source of the bacteria as a spa pool on display in the store.

The bacteria had been allowed to develop due to a lack of adequate pool maintenance and was inhaled by the victims as the water in the spa pool was aerosolized. Those mildly affected by the Legionnaires illness suffered chills, fever, headaches and coughs, but in the cases of the three men who died, the bacteria caused pneumonia which deteriorated into organ failure.

The first of the victims to die – sixty-four year old Richard Griffin from Clayton in Staffordshire – inhaled the bacteria while delivering meat to the café situated in JTF Warehouse. Seventy-nine year old William Hammersley from Chesterton in Staffordshire died two days later, and seventy-one year old Harry Cadman from Stoke-on-Trent died within the same week.

Fourteen of the surviving victims made Legionnaires disease compensation claims, and thirteen of these have been settled out-of-court. The one remaining surviving victim – who contracted a serious lung infection – and the families of the three fatal victims have been unable to resolve their claims by negotiation are pursuing their claims through the courts.

Richard Griffin´s daughter – Rachel – issued a statement explaining why she felt it appropriate that the Legionnaires disease compensation claims should be heard in court. The statement said: “Nothing can ever bring our dad back but we just want to make sure justice is done and that there is some accountability for his death. I truly hope no one ever has to go through what we have.”

JFT Warehouse´s public liability insurance company has admitted liability on behalf of its policyholder and the court case will be heard to determine how much the Legionnaires disease compensation claims should be settled for. Inquests into the three fatalities are due to be held later this year and the Crown Prosecution Service is also reviewing whether to add criminal charges to the civil action against JFT Warehouse.

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