Road Safety Week 2017

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Road Safety Week 2017

Posted on: November 16th, 2017 by Isobel Addison No Comments

Davey Law is delighted once more to be working with local primary schools Powell’s (Cirencester) and St. Mary’s (Purton) to raise awareness of road safety. 

This year Road Safety Week takes place between 20th and 26th November and this year’s message is ‘Speed Down Save Lives’.

 We all live busy lives and there is often a temptation to speed up in the hope of saving time, where in fact we could be costing lives. Mark Tawn of Davey Law commented “To keep our children safe Davey Law and our partner schools will be exploring how drivers can be encouraged to stay within speed limits and slow down to a maximum of 20mph around schools, homes and shops”.

Isobel Addison added “Now the days are shorter and the nights longer and darker it is ever more important for drivers to watch their speed, especially near schools and in built up areas. Over many years the children of Powell’s and St. Mary’s have learned to ‘be bright and be seen’.  Mark and I are thrilled to be involved with both schools as they continue their invaluable work; we always look forward to awarding prizes to the children who draw and paint such fabulous posters whilst learning about road safety”.

With permission winning entries from both schools will be displayed in Davey Law’s window and on-line following Road Safety Week .

 

 

 

Compensation reduced for fatal accidents

Posted on: October 17th, 2017 by Isobel Addison No Comments

Guidelines reduce compensation for victims who die from their injuries and levels compensation between the sexes

The 13th edition of the “Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases” was published in 2015. This essential text has now been updated and the new 14th edition has one or two significant changes.

In some tragic cases death swiftly follows catastrophic injury. In such cases a victim may be fully aware of their injuries for a short period; may suffer fluctuating degrees of consciousness; undergo intrusive treatment and may fear impending death.

What the Guidelines say

 

Chapter 1 : Injuries Resulting in Death (14th Edition)Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases 14th Edition

Fatal accident claims sometimes include an element for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for the period between injury and death. In some circumstances the awards may be high, for example those relating to asbestos exposure or misdiagnosis of cancer. Others follow extensive periods of disability before death supervenes. In such cases reference should be made to the awards for the underlying injuries or condition, suitably adjusted to reflect the fact (if it be the case) that the claimant knows that death is approaching, and the period of suffering.

Yet there are many cases in which a serious injury is followed relatively quickly by death. Factors that inform the level of general damages include the nature and extent of the injury, the claimant’s awareness of his impending death, the extent or pain and suffering or, in cases where the claimant is unconscious for all or part of the period, loss of amenity. Under s.1(1)(a) of the Administration of Justice Act 1982 awards may be made for ‘mental anguish’ (even in the absence of psychiatric injury) caused by fear of curtailment of life: see Kadir v Mistry [2014] EWCA Civ 1177.

(A) Full Awareness
Severe burns and lung damage followed by full awareness for a short period and then fluctuating levels of consciousness for between four and five weeks, coupled with intrusive treatment or significant orthopaedic/physical injuries followed by death within a couple of weeks up to 3 months.

(B) Followed by Unconsciousness
Severe burns and lung damage causing excruciating pain but followed by unconsciousness after 3 hours and death two weeks later.

(C) Immediate Unconsciousness/Death after Six Weeks
Immediate unconsciousness after injury, and death occurring after six weeks.

So what’s changed?

 

Perhaps unusually, there has bee a reduction in some categories/brackets of these awards.

In 2015 category (A) injuries justified awards of between £17,550 and £19,910 while the 14th edition set the brackets at £11,000 to £20,880.

Furthermore category (B) awards justified £8,800 – £11,720 in 2015, yet have now reduced to £9,210 – £9,350.

Bizarrely and most noteworthy are the changes to category (C) awards, where unconsciousness occurs immediately after injury and death follows after six weeks, there has been an almost 50% reduction from £7,040 in 2015 to between £3,300 and £3,850.

Men and women to receive equal compensation for facial injury

 

Due to ever increasing statements about equality section 9 of the JCG relating to facial injuries, has been amended to remove the distinction between the levels of awards between males and females, with the introduction explaining that such an outdated stereotype was indefensible.

Other changes

 

In 2015 section 12 related only to dermatitis. The updated JCG now covers other skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

The figures we set out above are those attracting a 10% uplift since the decision in Simmons v Castle:
….with effect from 1 April 2013, the proper level of general damages in all civil claims for (i) pain and suffering, (ii) loss of amenity, (iii) physical inconvenience and discomfort, (iv) social discredit, or (v) mental distress, will be 10% higher than previously, unless the claimant falls within section 44(6) of LASPO.

Does your dog break the law?

Posted on: September 21st, 2017 by Isobel Addison No Comments

If you carry your dog in your car without a seatbelt on or in the boot of a vehicle, you could be breaking the law.

There are few things is life more likely to make you smile than seeing a dog’s ears blowing in the wind out of a car window.  But drivers that allow dogs to stick their heads out the window could be breaking the law.  Or worse still, may be invalidating their car insurance.

Carrying an unrestrained animal in a vehicle is against the law and could cost a driver their licence.

dog in car

A spokesman for insurance comparison site gocompare.com said: “The law is clear – you must secure your animal while in a car – therefore if you don’t do this and an animal roaming freely around the vehicle is said to have contributed to causing an accident, then an insurance company could be well within their rights not to pay out on a claim.”

The law on carrying animals

Rule 57 of the Highway Code states: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.

dogs in boot
Breaking the Highway Code does not carry a direct penalty, motorists could still be pulled over for driving without due care and attention. The maximum penalty for this is a maximum fine of £2,500 and nine penalty points and could see you need to take another test.

Many of the rules in the Highway Code are legal requirements, and to disobey these rules is to commit a criminal offence. The result could be a fine, penalty points on your licence, disqualification from driving and ultimately a custodial prison sentence.
Even where a rule in the Highway Code does not constitute a specific offence the Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts to establish liability.

The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 states: “You must not transport an animal in a way that causes, or is likely to cause, injury or unnecessary suffering to that animal.”

Special Constable or paramedic sir?

Posted on: May 9th, 2017 by Isobel Addison No Comments

Would you be happy if a Special Constable arrived rather than a paramedic?

A pilot scheme has been launched in Hampshire which will see six Special Constables serving as First Responders for the Ambulance Service.

The Specials who have been trained by paramedics will be deployed to carry out initial lifesaving treatment at medical emergencies where an ambulance may not be able to attend in time.

Sooner rather than later

The training provided by Southern Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) provided the Specials with basic lifesaving skills including the use of oxygen and a defibrillator in cases of cardiac arrest. The idea is that the Specials could be the closest medically trained person to an incident which would mean a response in minutes which might save lives in cases such as cardiac arrest.

Clearly where time is of the essence it is better to have someone on scene who can provide treatment until the ambulance services can reach the scene.  We would however be concerned that decisions on the need for an ambulance attending at all, when the service is overstretched, might be left to the first attender.

Liability

The Special Constables will be classified as First Responders when deployed by the ambulance service to avoid the potential of an IPCC investigation in the event of a death which would typically be investigated as a death following police contact.

The pilot scheme raises questions as to whether it is papering over the cracks of a broken ambulance service when police officers are struggling to respond to their own 999 calls.

Retained fire fighters

PCSOs are already used as retained firefighters in Devon. The voluntary role is part of a two-year pilot scheme by Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

This pioneering initiative joining up the emergency services will combine the roles of PCSOs and retained firefighters.  The scheme will see PCSOs trained up as retained firefighters so that they can carry pagers and respond to fire calls when they are on duty as PCSOs.

The cover provided by the officers is particularly valuable during weekdays when the fire service struggle to cover retained stations when most of their responders are committed n their normal day jobs.

It is hoped that the officers will be able to provide a better more joined up service where officers visiting premises or engaging with community groups can not only deliver crime related advice but also fire safety advice that will protect people from harm.

It has been suggested that PCSOs are taking the strain for overworked social services, mental health services, children’s homes and hospitals, fire service and now the ambulance service.

 

We would love to know how you feel about the pilot scheme and whether it is positive thing to have more First Responders or a situation where follow up training and driver response training will not be provided and will result in a recipe for disaster.

 

 

Uninsured driver compensation

Posted on: March 16th, 2017 by Isobel Addison No Comments

New rules allow uninsured drivers hit by another uninsured vehicle to claim compensation

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident with an uninsured or untraceable vehicle, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) would deal with much of your claim.

The MIB is funded through a levy on all companies offering motor insurance in the UK. That levy was £244,000,000 in 2016.

until now, if you were uninsured at the time of the incident you were not entitled to use the scheme; presumably because you had failed to contribute to the fund which would ultimately pay the compensation.

However, under the new MIB Uninsured Drivers Agreement and Untraced Drivers Agreements between the organisation and the government things have changed.

Insurance policy

New Agreements

New Agreements, which came into force from 1st March 2017 permit uninsured drivers who suffer car damage in accidents caused by another uninsured or an untraceable motorist to claim compensation from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) as long as they also have a claim for significant personal injury.

Time for Change

It has ben suggested that there were a number of reasons for the changes to the Untraced Drivers Agreement, but some had been implemented to ensure compatibility with European law.

The government has hinted that once we leave the EU they will revisit these changes.

Under the 2003 MIB Agreements if uninsured drivers were excluded from claiming compensation for property damage.

But is it fair?

The new Agreements give uninsured drivers the same rights to compensation for property damage as those who are insured.

The changes have been criticised by some for allowing people who have not paid for insurance themselves the right to compensation from a fund subsidised by insurers.

 

Whether or not the new system is fair it is clear that uninsured drivers can now pursue claims through the MIB schemes which up until now they could not have pursued. And that this is going to have to be paid for from somewhere.

 

McKenzie friends

Posted on: September 22nd, 2016 by Isobel Addison No Comments

Guidance on the appointment of McKenzie friends (High Court)

Chief Master Marsh has provided helpful guidance on the approach when considering applications for permission to appoint a McKenzie friend in the case of Ravenscroft v Canal & River Trust [2016] .

A McKenzie friend assists a litigant in person in a court of law in England and Wales. This person does not need to be legally qualified. The crucial point is that litigants in person are entitled to have assistance, lay or professional, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Chief Master Marsh noted that the relevant starting point was to consider whether the applicant reasonably needed the assistance of a McKenzie friend and to determine the appropriate scope of any assistance. He stated that consideration should be given not just of the applicant’s personal position but, also, the context in which the application was made, and principles in the overriding objective.

In Ravenscroft, the judge weighed the considerations and concluded that it was appropriate to appoint a McKenzie friend.  He further accepted that the McKenzie friend should have rights of advocacy even though that is “an exceptional course of action … only justified by exceptional circumstances”.

For full details seeRavenscroft v Canal & River Trust [2016] EWHC 2282 (Ch).

Road Safety Week 2016

Posted on: September 20th, 2016 by Isobel Addison No Comments

Road Safety Week 2016

Davey Law is joining with the Brain Injury Group to support this year’s Road Safety Week campaign between the 21st and 27th of November.  The theme for 2016 is ‘Slow, Sober, Secure, Silent, Sharp and Sustainable’.

RSW16no1

To celebrate this idea, we will be working with children from Powell’s Church of England Primary School, Cirencester and St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, Purton to raise awareness of road safety.

A few facts on the theme:

  • Slow: Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for the road conditions is recorded by police at crash scenes as a contributory factor in more than one in four (27%) fatal crashes in Great Britain.
  • Sober: Having even one drink before getting behind the wheel can affect your ability to drive. In 2013 one in 10 (11%) drivers/motorcycle riders killed in a crash had alcohol present in their body, even though they weren’t over the legal blood-alcohol limit. One in seven road deaths are at the hands of someone who has driven while over the limit.
  • Secure: Seat belts are still seen as an inconvenience by some drivers, yet using one reduces the chance of dying in a crash by 50%. 21% of car occupants killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
  • Silent: Drivers who perform a complex secondary task, like using a mobile, while at the wheel are three times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers.
  • Sharp: Booking in for a regular eye test should be at the top of any driver’s to-do list. Road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties and cost £33 million in the UK per year.
  • Sustainable:By minimising the amount we drive, and walking, cycling or using public transport instead, we are making our communities safer places, and doing the best we can for the environment and our individual health. Air pollution is a major killer: there are an estimated 29,000 deaths per year from particulate matter pollution in the UK, 5,000 of which are attributable to road transport.

Road traffic collisions are currently the leading cause of brain injury.

in the UK which is why we have supported the Road Safety Week initiative for several years.  This year Davey Law will be helping to raise awareness of road safety with the help of the children and staff of Powell’s and St Mary’s Schools.

Mark Tawn, Solicitor at Davey Law says, “We work with many adults, children and the families of those who have suffered a brain injury as the result of a road traffic accident. We look forward to parents and teachers engaging with the campaign to encourage children to recognise dangers on the road. ”

For more information about Road Safety Week, visit http://www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk/

Are you dishonest?

Posted on: July 14th, 2016 by Isobel Addison No Comments

fundamental dishonesty

It is fair to say that most of us would not consider ourselves to be ‘fundamentally dishonest’ but what does it actually mean and why does it matter?

Fundamental dishonesty. Liar, LiarRecent changes[1] in the rules that affect personal injury practice mean that if a Claimant is found to have been fundamentally dishonest in relation to any aspect of their case then their entire claim can be dismissed[2] and they can become liable for the other party’s costs.

Needless to say this is a change that has been seized upon by the insurers, not least because of the lack of clarity over what will be considered fundamental dishonesty.

Fraud or dishonesty?

Fundamental dishonesty is not defined in any statute, explanatory notes, the Civil Procedure Rules or any practice direction.

Traditionally the standard was always one of fraud but the new rules are enabling judges to set a lower threshold for fundamental dishonesty than they would for fraud.

The most likely area for dispute is medical evidence.   The suggestion that someone  suffered a little less than the evidence suggests or exaggeration of a care claim where a care givers evidence does not align with that of the Claimant under cross-examination.

Often claims can take many months, even years and memories fade and records are mislaid so it is essential for any potential Claimant to instruct a solicitor early to guide them through the claim and ensure that they keep a proper and detailed record of their injury and losses. Failure to do so could be catastrophic.

Personal injury compensation claims have been turbulent over the years with successive governments trying to curb the media-touted increase in low-value claims. A host of measures have been introduced over the years, intended to curb the cost of compensation claims. Fixed costs, the abolition of referral fees, the inability to recover insurance premiums or success fees from losing defendants, various costs protection and budgeting schemes, the increase in court fees, and now ‘fundamental dishonesty’. There is also the recently announced intention to increase the small claims limit to £5,000 and remove the right to compensation completely for soft-tissue minor whiplash injuries.

Dawid Masel v Esure

 

On 21st April 2016 one the first fundamentally dishonesty cases was heard.

The claimant had said that he had been injured for a total of four months following a minor car accident. Esure, who insured the defendant’s vehicle uncovered a publicly-available video on YouTube in which the claimant took part in, and won, a ‘Total Full Contact’ kickboxing fight within a month of the accident date. The Judge watched all six rounds of the contest, during which she commented that the claimant looked “a picture of health”. The Claimant’s claim was dismissed following the defendant’s argument that the claim was fundamentally dishonest.    The claimant was ordered to pay the defendant’s costs.

 

If you have been involved in an accident or suffered at the hands of medical professional we urge you to seek early legal advice.

At Davey Law we have decades of experience in personal injury and clinical negligence claims. We can guide you through the process and help you to keep accurate records of your losses and details of your recovery.

Contact our serious injury experts on 01285 654875 for further information.

 

July 2016

 

[1] 13th April 2015

[2] under Section 57 Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

 

Never Mind the Botox

Posted on: July 1st, 2016 by Isobel Addison No Comments

Never Mind the Botox – Chronic Pain in the UK

Chronic PainThe estimated number of people suffering with chronic pain in the UK is bound to differ from time to time. Is there a reliable source of information?

The Numbers

The British Pain Society web-site suggests that:

“Almost 10 million Britons suffer pain almost daily..”

Are these numbers accurate and up to date? Can approximately one-sixth of the population really be experiencing pain? Is the true position actually far worse? Is the level of pain in the UK of epidemic proportions?

The authors of an article* published on BMJ Open only last month concluded:

“Chronic pain affects between one-third and one half of the population of the UK, corresponding to just under 28 million adults, based on data from the best available published studies. This figure is likely to increase further in line with an ageing population”.

The authors of the article reviewed 19 studies which matched their inclusion criteria, presenting date from 139,933 adult residents of the UK.

Chronic pain, moderately-severe disabling chronic pain, chronic widespread pain, chronic neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia were considered as was the prevalence of each “type” of pain.

Interestingly, chronic pain was more common in female than male participants, across all measured phenotypes.

If pain lasts for more than 12 weeks it is defined by the British Pain Society as chronic/persistent pain.

*Prevalence of chronic pain in the UK: a systematic review and meta-analysis of population studies A Fayaz, P Croft, R M Langford, L J Donaldson, G T Jones BMJ Open 20th June 2016

The Causes of chronic pain

There are many causes of pain and we could only begin to scratch the surface if were we to discuss them. Davey Law have helped many clients with all manner of injuries who have gone on to suffer chronic pain as a consequence of their accident or clinical negligence.

The Treatments for chronic pain

By the time we get to meet them our clients have very often sought and with luck found some relief from their pain, but many have not. We always try to work constructively with insurers and defendant solicitors to arrange prompt investigations and treatment. Where appropriate we help our clients to secure interim payments to help with their immediate needs.

And as for the botox, well, if that is an appropriate treatment, the experts will tell us – and we work with some of the finest medical experts in the land.

If you are suffering from a chronic pain condition as a consequence of a personal injury or clinical negligence accident and would like to talk to us about it in confidence email our Mark Tawn:

mtawn@daveylaw.co.uk or enquiries@seriousinjury.expert

01285 654875

No win, no fee. No call centres.

www.seriousinjury.expert

HATCAMS

Posted on: June 23rd, 2016 by Isobel Addison No Comments

HATCAMS – WHAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER

Our guest blogger Emma McClean BSc(Hons) RN, Bridge Case Management considers Hatcams.

Whilst I would not dispute that it is now a real need to have some form of video capture equipment when riding out on the road these days, I would like people to strongly consider where they mount such a camera, without just following fashion.

I have been in contact with two major riding hat manufactures to seek their advice on mounting cameras on riding hats, and have combined this with my own 20+ years of trauma nursing experience to provide some points for consideration.

Blunt trauma produces injury by transferring energy through acceleration forces (+ and -) to the victim (usually from motor vehicles or falls). The pattern and severity of injury are determined by the magnitude and orientation of the acceleration change to the victim’s anatomy. Mechanisms and patterns of injury: the key to anticipation in trauma management, Grande CM, Crit Care Clin, 1990 Jan;6(1):25-35. Review

Your riding hat is designed to dissipate the energy around the shell of the hat, thus reducing the energy transfer (and therefore potential for injury) to your skull and brain.

Fixing anything to your riding hat will alter how the energy is dissipated.

Using adhesives or screws to fix anything to your riding hat can inhibit the ability of the riding hat to dissipate the energy by altering the construction.

There is no current test within the safety standards to look at how mounting a camera on your hat could affect it in an impact.

The next point to consider is the alteration of ‘head shape’ caused by a hat mounted camera. Our heads are shaped so that in a fall with rotational movement our heads will roll. Consider how easy it is to roll a foot ball compared to a rugby ball end to end. An object which prevents the roll of the head will increase the amount of energy transferred to the body. This rotational energy increases the risk of a diffuse axonal brain injury, which at worse can result in brain death, and at best a wide range of neurological damage. It can also increase the risk of spinal cord damage from the same increased rotation.

Well done if you’ve made it this far through the post, but the facts should be considered. I have spent some time contemplating whether I should write this or not but I feel compelled too. After 20 years as a front line trauma nurse, and now working within the field of rehabilitation I feel I have a responsibility to ensure people are making choices for safety based on fact not fashion.

I wear a Contour Roam 2 when hacking out. I wear it at the top of my boot. It captures the information which may be required if anything bad was to happen. And I risk a minor leg fracture. I can live with that, but I don’t want a brain injury!

We buy riding hats to protect our heads when riding, why would you then risk altering how it is designed to work? Would you tamper with the seat belts in your car?

Questions received:

 

I use a hatcam on a band around my hat will this have the same effect?

There are 2 points to consider here. Firstly the weight of the camera may in itself pull the hat slightly in that direction, thus altering the fit. During a fall the velocity of movement can increase the weight, thus causing the hat to slip further, and not be sitting adequately over the areas that it was designed to. Secondly, if the strap is stable enough to keep the camera in place when trotting, cantering and jumping, it is more likely that it will stay in place during a fall. The hat strap that came with my camera had the wiggly grippy lines on it. This combined with the textured surface of my skull style hat meant the strap was not going to budge.

Is a chest mounted camera safe?

When we fall forwards our instinct is to put our arms out to break the fall. This reduces the energy transmitted to our face and chest, but can lead to broken arms, which generally mend ok. Our sternum and ribs are there to protect our heart and lungs and are well sprung to aid in doing this. Based on the above I would think your chances of serious injury from a chest mounted camera are relatively low. You may have to experiment with this type of placement to see if you capture the images you want on the camera.

Could I mount a camera on my arm?

I’m sure you could. If you are mounting a camera on your arm try and have it in the middle of your upper arm, or the middle of your forearm i.e. avoid the joints. If you were to fall fractures in the middle of your arm bones heal well. Again you might have to experiment with the quality of footage you get from an arm mounted camera, as there could be a lot of movement.

How do you secure your camera?

I was inspired by the placement when I found an old mobile phone holder in a drawer. If you don’t remember they were neoprene holders we strapped round our legs to hold our Nokias! I bought a kit of mounts for my camera, and I am using two straps (as 1 is not long enough) designed to fasten to handle bars or ski poles. I have joined them together with a bit of elastic. They then attach to a camera mount (again for handle bar use) which swivels and locks.

Insurance*

If you did make a claim for injury following an incident any alteration to personal protective equipment (or omission to use it) would render you partially liable for your injuries. This would affect any monies awarded.*

Thank you again, stay safe

 

Thank you to Emma McClean BSc(Hons) RN, Bridge Case Management for allowing us to reproduce this informative article.

20.06.2016

http://www.bridgecasemanagement.co.uk/uploads/1401795481_EmmaMcCleanCV.pdf

www.bridgecasemanagement.co.uk

*This is the view of Emma McClean and not Davey Law, nor should it be considered any substitute for legal advice.