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.”

Chronic Pain and Fame

Posted on: March 23rd, 2017 by Mark Tawn 1 Comment

Chronic Pain and Fame

Does chronic pain affect the rich and famous? When we talk about the wealthy we may instinctively think:

“They: don’t know how I feel; have money; are pampered; can live and eat healthily and if they fall ill can have any treatment they need. If that doesn’t work they are well looked after.”

Are we right? Are the wealthy exempt from the suffering caused by chronic pain? If they are in pain can they pay for early and expensive treatment? Can they therefore bring their suffering to a prompt end?

The Beatles

The Fab Four reminded us that money can’t buy love; but can riches buy a pain free life? Apparently not:

Spider senses tingling

Tobey Maguire is famed for his roles in films such as “Seabiscuit” and “Spider-Man”. He has experienced debilitating back pain for years. Maguire had to disclose this because it had the potential to affect his ability to perform his own stunts and limit his availability for filming. This could have caused him to decline (or lose) lucrative roles. Even super-heroes can’t escape the clutches of chronic pain.

spiderman 

Opposites Attract

In the 1980s Paula Abdul found fame as a dancer turned pop star. Those who watch talent shows may know her now as a judge who was, more often than not, kind to contestants on “American Idol”.

paula-abdul

Abdul was involved in a cheerleading accident in her teens. Later she had a couple of car accidents and was also involved in a ‘plane crash. Refusing to give in to her injuries and working on despite her symptoms, she experienced years of pain, took medication which caused awful side-effects, had injections and underwent surgery many times.

Reported to have been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (now usually referred to as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS) Abdul has said at long last she is feeling much improved following treatment with Enbrel, a medication used to treat arthritis and psoriasis.

Jump to it

Star of the stage production of the musical “Ghost”, Sarah Harding, revealed that she suffered chronic pain, caused by a knee injury she suffered when filming for Channel 4’s “The Jump”.

sarah-harding

Harding told Hello Magazine:

“..as anyone in chronic pain will be able to tell you, it can take a massive toll on your mental as well as physical wellbeing”.

Wiltshire wonder

melinda-messenger

Melinda Messenger, born in Swindon, collapsed several times having suffered a disc prolapse in her back. The star of “Cowboy Builders” and “Live on Five”, who had always kept herself fit and healthy, was terrified by the agonising pain she experienced. On one occasion she reported having to drag herself across the kitchen floor and on others her pain was so bad she was unable to get out of bed.

Messenger spent many months in constant pain which decimated her quality of life. She received advice on pain management which included pain relief and physical therapy and now, thankfully, reports having many more good days than bad.

Having driven herself too hard for too long, Messenger now paces herself and uses coping strategies to manage her ongoing condition.

Serious Injury Experts

Pain is indiscriminate. It can affect anyone, including the rich and famous, at any time.

If you are suffering chronic pain as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault talk to us and see how we can help.

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).

Compensation for sight lost in one eye

Posted on: July 18th, 2016 by Mark Tawn No Comments

Compensation settlement for sight lost in one eye

Devastation after sight lost following surgery.  Sight lost

In May 2012 Mrs S went to see her GP with a letter written by her optician who recommended onward referral to an ophthalmological specialist.

Instead of referring her Mrs S’ GPs prescribed eye drops following various appointments over several months. Mrs S was a patient of a group practice and so was seen by a number of different doctors.

After about five months one of Mrs S’ GPs finally referred her (urgently) to a local hospital. The specialist there was so concerned by his own findings that he made an urgent onward referral to a specialist eye hospital and they saw Mrs S promptly.

Thorough assessment and further investigations revealed that Mrs S had a tumour behind her eye and she was listed for surgery to remove it.

The tumour was removed but sadly Mrs S lost the sight in her eye.

Breach of duty was admitted by the first GP Mrs S had seen: on the basis that she should have been referred to a specialist but was not.

The first GP did not however accept that there was a causative link between the delay in referring Mrs S to a specialist and the eventual loss of sight in the affected eye.

Expert evidence was obtained from a GP and a Consultant Ophthalmologist with a special interest in orbital surgery. Counsel (a barrister) was instructed and Mrs S’s claim was valued.

The GP’s solicitors advanced what appeared to be a nuisance offer, which was quite upsetting for Mrs S. Court proceedings were issued and defended. Offers and counter-offers were exchanged and eventually, Mrs S elected to settle her claim without proceeding to trial.

At the conclusion of her claim Mrs S wrote to our Mark Tawn:

“Thanks for all your help and support and to the team at Davey Law as well throughout. Truly grateful.”

We were delighted to work for and with Mrs S and to achieve an outcome with which she was happy.

If you think you have been inadequately treated by your doctor and that you have suffered injury and loss as a consequence talk to Davey Law now.

Telephone us on: 01285 654875

Or send us an email: enquiries@seriousinjury.expert

No win, no fee. No call centres. Just serious injury experts.

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.

 

Would you fail a drug test?

Posted on: May 24th, 2016 by Isobel Addison No Comments

Would you fail a police drug test on your prescription medication?

Telephone our legal experts NOW

England and Wales have put in place some of the strictest drug driving laws on the planet in an effort to get drug-impaired drivers off the roads.

From 2 March 2015 the introduction of roadside ‘drugalyser’ tests has made it easier and faster for drug drivers to be prosecuted by police.

Police can now use ‘drugalysers’ to screen for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside and for other drugs, including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin, at a police station, even if a driver passes the roadside check.

Roadside ‘drugalysers’ can detect cannabis or cocaine in the saliva, but laboratory testing is needed for other banned substances.

The new law sets permissible limits at very low levels bordering on ‘zero tolerance’. The illicit drug limits have been set at the lowest possible level that rules out accidental exposure. For example, passive inhalation of marijuana smoke at a party.

The law covers for eight illegal drugs including cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy but more alarmingly covers eight prescription drugs, typically used for insomnia or anxiety although the limits generally exceed normal prescribed doses.

The prescription drugs for which legal levels have been set include morphine, methadone and diazepam. People using these drugs within recommended amounts will not be penalised.

Penalties will be stiff with up to six months in prison, up to £5,000 in fines and a license disqualification for at least 12 months. The penalties are designed to be in line with drink driving penalties.

Setting aside the illicit drugs the limits set for prescription drugs are as follows:

  • Clonazepam, 50 µg/L
  • Diazepam, 550 µg/L
  • Flunitrazepam, 300 µg/L
  • Lorazepam, 100 µg/L
  • Methadone, 500 µg/L
  • Morphine, 80 µg/L
  • Oxazepam, 300 µg/L
  • Temazepam, 1000 µg/L

The new rules may be worrying to those people prescribed medication to cope with serious injuries, chronic pain and PSTD.

It is very difficult to provide an estimate of how much of a drug such as Valium or Temazepam will put you over the limit and for how long, because body physiology varies so greatly. Davey Law recommend anyone taking any of these prescription  drugs consult with their doctor about what might constitute safe usage.

There are clearly social consequences to setting limits on prescription drugs. Some people may be forced to give up driving, or stop taking their medication to stay on the road.

If you are feeling any kind of effect from one of these drugs then stay off the roads.