Facts of personal injury debate being distorted says Law Society

The Transport Select Committee has come under fire from the Law Society for allowing the debate over whiplash injury compensation claims to be dominated by motor insurers at the expense of those genuinely injured in road traffic accidents.

The President of the Law Society, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff sent a letter to the Transport Select Committee which is currently conducting an inquiry into whiplash claims warning of the consequences of not listening to other views. With the voice of the insurance industry dominating the inquiry, it is feared that policy makers will act upon exaggerated information and make ill-considered policies which harm the interests of those with valid whiplash claims.

Scott-Moncrieff is particularly aggrieved at the coalition’s decision to increase the small claims limit and maintains that this decision was based on aggressive lobbying from insurers.

The Law Society has expressed willingness to give evidence at any hearings involved in the inquiry so that injury lawyers and the interests of their clients are represented as well as insurers.

The coalition’s propensity to try and rush through legislation without taking time to properly consider to consequences leads to poor policies. We therefore welcome the Law Society’s attempts to make the views of legal professionals known.

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Make sure that you instruct a specialist personal injury solicitor following your road traffic accident. Our personal injury solicitors have the expertise needed to win the full and fair amount of compensation you deserve.

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Claiming injury compensation for broken bones

With 206 bones in the body and a whole host of hazards present at home, in public and in the workplace, it is no surprise that may bones are broken in the UK each year. Almost every bone fracture is excruciatingly painful and the recovery process and associated financial costs can cause great distress to the unfortunate victim. This suffering is magnified if you know that your accident was caused by the carelessness or intent of another individual, like an employer for example. Indeed, close to 19,000 bones are broken in the workplace each year and whilst some of these are purely accidental, many are down to employer negligence.

If you believe that your broken bone injury was caused by the negligence or malice of another individual you should approach a specialist personal injury solicitor about making a compensation claim. Our expert lawyers could quickly determine whether or not you have a claim and how much compensation you may be entitled to.

The amount you are paid in compensation should reflect the following:

• Your pain and suffering: ‘General damages’ should cover the physical and emotional hardship you have had to confront as a result of your broken bone injury. The severity and location of the break will be important in calculating this figure. Some bone breaks may be so minor that you do not even notice them and finger or toe breaks may only involve relatively minor suffering. However, life-altering fractures of the skull or spine for example can lead to dire consequences such as permanent paralysis.

• Your financial losses: ‘Special damages’ should compensate the loss of earnings you have faced due to the extended time off work required for your recovery. Medical expenses and the increased cost of travel incurred through your inability to drive for example may also be included. Given that your accident was someone else’s fault, it would be wrong if you were forced to shoulder the financial burden.

An enormous amount of work goes into a compensation claim and we will collect the documentation needed to prove your financial losses and suffering. This will include obtaining a medical report from an independent medical expert specifying the follow up treatment needed, the potential recovery costs and the extent of the injuries. We can be relied upon to do everything possible to ensure that you receive the full compensation amount that you deserve.

Don’t delay – make your broken bone injury claim today

Strict time limits apply to broken bone compensation claims so it is important that you start the claims process as soon as possible. Our personal injury specialists have the expertise required to win the compensation you deserve.

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Broken ankle injury compensation claims

An ankle break can be completely incapacitating. In the best case scenario, with a neat break and no collateral nerve or blood vessel damage, the injured will face weeks without being able to walk, drive or carry loads, and in all likelihood they will be unable to work for around two months. As a result they will lose income and be unable to provide for themselves and any other dependents. Indeed, in the worst case scenario, the injured may require multiple surgeries, extensive physiotherapy and a permanent loss of mobility.

Many people wrongly believe that compensation claims can only be made for injuries sustained in the workplace. On the contrary, provided that the accident was caused by someone else’s deliberate or negligent actions, you could claim compensation for accidents which have occurred anywhere including hospitals, shops, public areas and on the roads. Ultimately, if you sustain injuries through no fault of your own, it is own right that you deserve to be compensated for the associated financial losses incurred.

Is a personal injury solicitor really necessary?

There is some public scepticism about the importance of personal injury claim solicitors and the fees they charge, with many feeling it would be better to pursue a claim without such legal representation. However, doing so is ill-advised. Personal injury solicitors have a detailed understanding of the claims process and specialist knowledge in their area of law, or at least out do. Our specialist solicitors know never to settle for less than you are entitled to and are able to use their expertise to recover the full and fair amount you deserve in light of your injuries and the effect they have had on your life. Given that your opponent is likely to have instructed a specialist solicitor to defend them, it would be foolish to put yourself at a disadvantage.

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How common are injuries when working with dangerous chemicals?

On the scale of things, for instance compared with the number of fatalities and major injuries caused by falling from height (the most common cause of work related death and injury), injuries sustained working with dangerous chemicals are not that common in the United Kingdom anymore, making up only 2% of all recorded workplace fatal injuries and 2.2% of all non-fatal injuries. In total, less than three thousand people were injured in the UK during 2011-12 due to accidents involving dangerous chemicals, with fewer than five hundred of the those being unfortunate enough to suffer injuries categorised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as ‘major’.

When the capacity of dangerous chemicals to ignite or burn through bodily tissues, locally or systemically poison or irradiate, blow people and objects to smithereens and cause cancer is considered it is seriously good news that such injuries are relatively rare. However, when you consider that the HSE defines major injuries as those such as fractures of major bones and loss of limbs it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to contemplate what the major injuries of those victims of accidents involving dangerous chemicals must be like, the most common type of which occur due to inhalation of a chemical, closely followed by accidental ingestion and other forms of skin (including eyes) contact.

Even the most hard-nosed business person endlessly reciting their mantra of ‘cost-cost-cost’ is likely to quail, and rightly so, when confronted by the victim of a serious accident involving dangerous chemicals which was caused by a misplaced prioritisation of profit over employee safety. In this day and age there is absolutely no reason why a worker should have to suffer an appalling chemical injury for that reason – or indeed any reason.

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Avoiding construction accidents

The law requires that health and safety be managed and controlled on construction sites. It’s as simple as that. Employers know their responsibilities in this respect and should be familiar and adept at using the knowledge and guidance at their disposal to achieve a safe working environment.

A construction project is a complex operation and integral to its success is the advanced planning, organising, controlling and monitoring and reviewing of health and safety issues. A failure to address health and safety adequately can, apart from the legal and personal pain and suffering consequences, have a detrimental effect on completing the project on time and on the morale and commitment of the workforce.

The most common accidents on construction sites are:

• Falls from height – due to poorly designed, positioned or built working positions or inadequate access to those positions.

• Accidents involving vehicles (mobile plant) – most usually caused by rutted, uneven, holed ground conditions, poor driver visibility (especially when reversing) and plant operators being killed or injured when their vehicle turns over.

• Falling or moving materials and collapses – caused by vehicles shedding their loads, materials falling off working positions, incorrectly shored excavations collapsing, overloaded or undermined structures falling down and botched demolitions.

• Trips and slips – caused by untidy sites and unaddressed spillages.

• Electrical accidents (shocks and burns) – mainly due to using faulty equipment or workers coming into contact with underground or overhead power lines.

The methods employed to eliminate or control such risks are extensive and detailed but basically boil down to the following:

• Undertaking a preliminary review of site history to determine the threat of hazardous substances such as asbestos, the location of underground and overhead power lines, the geology of the site, the routes of public rights of way and non-construction project related activity on the site and adjacent to it.

• Agreement to the work methods and safety precautions by everyone involved in the project (who will also be given a copy of them).

• A detailed checking to ensure that every employee or sub contracted worker, from the managers through supervisors to site workers are all adequately trained to undertake the jobs required of them.

• Careful planning of the construction site that will be include, if possible, segregation of vehicles and pedestrians and the demarcation of areas for loading/unloading, parking and manoeuvring of vehicles.

• Provision of personal protective equipment and training on how to use it.

• Trips hazards keep away from stairs and walkways.

• Footpaths kept, firm, level and uncluttered.

• Guards on all raised walkways.

• Adequate (preferably natural) lighting.

• Always considering if hazards can be avoided altogether before imposing controls.

• Establishment of the standard ‘hierarchy of control’ for working at height which is, in order of preference:

o Avoid working at height if possible.

o Use equipment to minimise working from height.

o Minimise distances and consequences.

o Adopt collective protective measures.

o Adopt personal protective measures.

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Avoiding injuries when working in mines and quarries

It’s the same old story. Regardless of where you work from the relatively safe environment of a supermarket or office to the harsher settings of construction sites and farms and forests, the same categories of accidents and injuries predominate.

Mining and quarrying are no different, with falls, vehicles, machinery, being hit by moving or falling objects and explosions killing most people and handling, falls, slips and trips, vehicles, machinery and hand tools causing most non-fatal injuries. Where might you have heard or read this litany of pain and suffering before? Why, from a study of health and safety in practically any industry sector you care to name.

The injuries are the same; the results for the individual injured the same and the effects on the businesses they work for the same. What of course are also the same are the means by which such injuries can be avoided. We are of course talking about employers in the mining and quarrying industries complying with all the requirements of the UK’s copious and all-encompassing health and safety legislation and providing a safe workplace and ensuring as far as is reasonably practicable their employees’ health, safety and welfare whilst they are at work.

The risks to be managed in mining and quarrying, such as the unpredictability of the environment, the presence of heavy machinery and the danger from collapses, flooding and exposure to harmful dusts, gases and other particulates, are obviously different from those encountered in other types of workplace, but the process of managing them, based on risk assessment, remains the same. So why, based on the Health and Safety Executive’s workplace injury report data, are these proven tools not apparently doing their job in the mining and quarrying industry?

There is insufficient space in this article for, and the complexities of mining and quarrying preclude, the inclusion of all the risks and controls involved in helping to prevent injuries, but it still appears that the combination of the hazardous nature of the work and its complexity are continuing to frustrate attempts to bring down the injury rates, both fatal and non-fatal, in the mining and quarrying workforce, despite the industry seriously ramping up its engagement with health and safety over recent years.

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How to avoid factory accidents

The works accident book is recommended by the Health and Safety Executive and various Manufacturing trade bodies’ advice on health and safety as a good place to start when seeking to avoid factory accidents. We are of course presuming that the factory owner/employer is already complying with all the pertinent health and safety legislation applicable to the health, safety and welfare of their employers at work and the safety of the workplace itself.

The contents of the accident book will provide a reliable heads up on any historical and current trends in types of accidents, enabling the employer to identify areas of risk control that need re-visiting. For instance, an upsurge in slipping accidents might point to the fact that shop floor’s none slip surface is wearing out and requires refurbishing or a constant high number of back injuries due to lifting or carrying indicating that the frequency of manual handling training refresher courses needs increasing or more mechanical handling devices need to be integrated into certain processes.

Another source of information that can help to avoid factory accidents comes from the employees themselves. They also have health and safety duties which should be explained to them when they are initially employed. They are:

• To carry out their work in the way they have been trained to do and to follow instructions.

• Report any dangerous situations they encounter.

• Refrain from behaviour or activity that would endanger themselves or others.

Employees also have the right to refuse to undertake work that they perceive to be dangerous and that has insufficient risk controls in place. However it is the employees’ duty to report dangerous situations they encounter that can make the long term difference as to whether a workplace is reactive or proactive in the way it deals with the control of risks. ‘Good’ employers will also empower employees, within the bounds of their competencies, to take a ‘see it, sort it’ attitude to health and safety.

For instance in the case of an artificially lit corridor, where a couple of light bulbs have failed, making a section hazardously dark, the ‘see it, sort it’ empowered employee will take it upon herself, if she can safely do so, to replace the bulbs, rather than report the situation to a central facilities department who might not be able to act on the report quickly enough to prevent another employee tripping over an unseen obstacle in the darkened corridor.

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Common causes of injuries when working in mines and quarries

The coal mining industry in the UK today is but a shadow of its former self having contracted in size to approximately one hundred small to medium sized mines employing no more than six thousand people.  The majority of the coal mining specific, generally prescriptive health and safety legislation, was framed and passed into law over fifty years ago when the industry employed tens of thousands and the technology and working processes were different from those of today. Although it has been supplemented by more recent legislation, it is generally recognised as being in need of re-visiting.

The coal mining industry is also having to cope with an aging workforce and although the remaining workers in the industry are adequately qualified and experienced, the industry is losing far more managers, engineers, surveyors and supervisors due to retirement than it can replace and it is in those categories of employee than the bulk of the health and safety expertise resided.  The Health and Safety Executive acknowledge this loss of health and safety knowledge and awareness at the leadership level in the industry and have linked most fatal and major injuries reported over the last couple of decades to breakdowns of and issues surrounding mines’ safety management systems.  They also express concern about the reduction in scope of mines safety inspections with many concentrating on environmental risks and managing an aging infrastructure at the expense of not adequately addressing work processes related risk.

This situation, on-going, poses substantial problems around maintaining the required levels of health and safety in coal mines and is further exacerbated by the almost complete disappearance of coal mining specific training within the UK’s educational system – a provision which collapsed as a result of the radical reduction in the size of the industry.  This has made recruiting suitably qualified employees at all levels extremely difficult and in turn led to increasing levels of recruitment of foreign, non-English speaking workers – a situation that has its own health and safety implications.

In contrast to coal production, the other forms of mining for metals and minerals and quarrying in the UK present a more dynamic picture when it comes to the workforce, recruitment and training.  However, strangely enough and based proportionally on the number of workers they employ, these other forms of mining and quarrying produce a greater number of fatal and serious injuries than does the atrophying coal mining sector – 3000 reportable injuries, including 24 fatal injuries since the turn of the century.

In 2002 the mining and quarrying sector took top spot, displacing agriculture and construction, as the most dangerous industries to work in.  This might lead to the conclusion that although the mismanagement of risk in the sector is far from systemic, and the rates of fatalities and serious injuries are very slowly reducing there are still far too many pockets of bad practice out there in industries that are by their inherent nature extremely hazardous.

Our personal injury claims experts can help you win compensation for an injury sustained working in a mine or quarry

Working in mines and quarries is extremely dangerous however your employer should still be able to protect you. If your employer has negligently failed to do so, our expert personal injury solicitors could help you win compensation.

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Claiming compensation for a tendon injury

Our tendons are composed of thick fibrous tissues which serve to attach muscle to bone and provide support and flexibility. When the tendons are worn-out or directly traumatised a range of tendon injuries could be sustained. These can range from minute tears and swelling right through to large tears and ruptures. Tendon injuries can be sustained in a number of ways including sports injuries, car accidents and falls and in serious cases where the skin, muscles or bones are penetrated the victim may find that they never regain movement in the affected limb.

The way in which your tendon injury will be treated depends upon the severity of the injury. You may have been relatively fortunate and suffered a micro tear or possible inflammation of the tendon. In such cases you should be able to make a full recovery using the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and anti-inflammatories. However, in more unfortunate cases, extensive physiotherapy, injections and shockwave therapy may be required. Some cases may even require multiple surgeries, with the first needed to repair the tendon and the additional surgeries needed to remove the scar tissue. This could therefore mean a considerable amount of time off work incapacitated causing great stress and financial concerns.

Given the anguish and financial troubles associated with tendon injuries, knowing that your injury result from someone else’s carelessness or wilful intent can be especially traumatising. If you have sustained a tendon injury which a third party is to blame for you could make a tendon injury compensation claim. Our expert injury claim solicitors can help as we specialise in such claims and will be able to quickly determine how strong your claim is and how much compensation you may receive. It is crucial that you instruct a specialist because of the volume of work that goes into each claim. Your pain and suffering and the financial losses you incur are central to calculating your final award and these things can be difficult to evidence. However, out solicitors have the skills needed and the necessary links with medical experts who will produce a medial report for your claim. It could be a long time before you recover from your tendon injury so it is only fair that you are compensated for your hardship.

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Claiming compensation for an eye injury

Our eyes are so much more than the sensory organs for sight. They convey emotion, character and help us to build relationships with other people and engage in conversation. Therefore, when one or both of your eyes become damaged, it can cause enormous emotional pain as well as physical pain. However, the tragedy of an eye injury is magnified when it is sustained during an accident for which the victim was not even to blame. Fortunately, under such circumstances, victims may find that they are entitled to claim eye injury compensation.

In order to make such a compensation claim it is crucial that you instruct an expert personal injury solicitor who will be able to evidence the pain and suffering you have endured as well as the financial losses you have incurred as a result of the injury. Our eye injury specialists have the expertise required and will also be able to put you in contact with the expert ophthalmologists and opticians who will be required to produce a detailed medical report on the nature of your injuries and the prognosis which will be crucial to your evidence.

Your eye injury may range anywhere from relatively minor scratches to blunt trauma which blinds you in one or both eyes. Even if your injury is one which you can recover from, the recovery process is likely to involve an eye patch or something similar which will be of great inconvenience. It may not be a single event which damaged your eyes. Perhaps and unsafe working environment or overuse of screens affected your eyes over a long period of time. If your employer failed to take the necessary steps to protect your eyesight, you may be able to claim against them for the damage to your vision.

The idea of losing one’s sight strikes fear into the heart of any individual. No matter what type of eye injury you have sustained, if you believe that you were not to blame for the injuries you sustained, you deserve to be compensated and our specialist injury claim solicitors will work tirelessly to recover the full and fair amount of compensation you deserve.

Claiming Compensation For An Eye Injury ? Call our solicitors today

Eye injuries can be devastating, so if you have sustained one which was not your fault, it is only fair that you are compensated. Our personal injury solicitors can help you recover the full and fair amount of compensation you deserve.

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