Good morning everyone,
I thought I’d blog about accidents caused by or near scaffolding and the fact that this often includes working at height.
Sadly, we have dealt with a lot of accident compensation cases from these scenarios over the years because the erection and use of scaffolding can be very hazardous. There is no avoiding the fact that their erection and use exposes people to a cocktail of serious risks and hazards.
The scaffolding industry is extremely competitive and keen on price. Unfortunately, in my experience, that can often lead to corners being cut and unsafe practices being used. There is often a lot of time pressure put on employees to work fast and mistakes are made or poor work is overlooked.
There are many regulations in place that are aimed at making working at height and the erection and use of scaffolding safe. If they were always followed, then there would be a lot fewer accidents and those that did occur would be a lot less serious.
Scaffolding workers themselves are often exposed to unnecessary risks.
Personal protective equipment is vital, such as the use of hard hats, safety boots and gloves. It is amazing and sad how often serious accidents are caused simply by something being dropped from height and hitting someone who hasn’t got the proper safety equipment on and is standing below. It can be something as small as a tiny fitting, or as hazardous as a hammer, a big spanner or even a pole. If any of these hit someone they are going to hurt them, but wearing safety equipment will significantly reduce the seriousness of the injury.
Another common scaffolder’s injury is to the hand or fingers. They are under pressure to work quickly either removing or erecting steel fittings and it is all too easy to slip and hurt yourself, especially if gloves are not worn.
Probably the most hazardous risk for scaffolders, and for those who then use the scaffolding to work from, is the simple fact that they are working at height. A fall from height is still the most common cause of accident related death in the construction industry. These tragic accidents are almost always preventable with the simple precautions and equipment. Working at height is a very highly regulated area and shoddy employers can end up with criminal prosecutions as well as very strong injury compensation claims against them.
Put very simply, if someone has suffered injuries in a fall from height it is very likely that they have a strong chance of succeeding in a claim for compensation.
Scaffolding can be hazardous for passers by too and people going about their every day business. We have seen several of these injuries and accidents too.
If you’ve had an accident that has been near or has involved scaffolding then it is likely that you have a reasonable chance of winning a claim for compensation , so give us a free call or click on the case evaluation button below.
That’s all for now,
If you are unfortunate enough to have an accident, whether it is a road traffic accident or an accident at work or and other type of accident for that matter and you sustain an injury then you may be able to make a claim for damages for your injuries and losses.
We are all familiar with the idea of being able to claim for the “injury” which is compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the accident but the damages you may be able to recover do in fat go some way beyond simply beyond that.
When I see a client for the first time after an accident I spend a good part of that first meeting exploring the financial losses that have been sustained because of the accident and also what financial losses might accrue in the future.
Most of you will know instantly if you have suffered a loss of earnings because if your employer does not operate a Sick pay scheme then you are not paid for the time you are off work. That is straight forward enough. But also remember that if your employer works to a bonus scheme and you miss out on payment of a bonus because of your time off work then you are entitled to claim for that lost bonus as part of your claim. I occasionally come across cases where a client has missed out on a pay rise because of an absence following an accident and that is also a valid item of claim. The key thing to remember is that damages following an accident are intended to put you back in the position you would have been in had the accident not happened so it is worth looking deeper than just a simple loss of earnings claim.
In addition to loss of earnings you can also claim for any care and assistance you needed following an accident whilst you were incapacitated and recovering from the accident. And importantly that is not restricted to any actual payments you made for someone else to drive you to appointments, do your shopping etc – it extends to the day to day care your spouse or relatives and friends provided even though they did not charge for that care and assistance. This is a recognised valid item of claim recognised by the Court and one which I always raise at our first meeting.
You can also claim for loss of use of gym membership or golf club membership – those occasions where you have paid or are committed to paying fees and you cannot use the facilities because of your injuries. With proof of the amounts involved I can include those in your claim for you.
You can also claim for your sundry expenses such as prescription charges and petrol. They might seem minor items in some cases but if you are attending multiple appointments the expense quickly grows and it is worthwhile claiming this as part of your case.
In cases involving serious injuries you might have on going care needs and in such matters it is often necessary to obtain a specialist report from an expert who has detailed knowledge of the needs both now and also in the future. We have excellent contacts throughout the profession and if your case is one where such input is required, you can be sure that we will choose the right expert for you so as to advance the best possible case for you.
These are the main items of claim I tend to come across on a day to day basis but it is not an exhaustive list. When we first meet I will ask you if there are any other less obvious losses you have suffered and if there are then I will include those in your claim for you. The thing to ask is “Have I suffered a loss or incurred expense solely because of that accident?” and if the answer is “YES” then in all likelihood I will be able to claim it back for you.
If you have had an accident and suffered injuries and losses give me a call and I will be happy to discuss pursuing a claim with you.
Until next time
Good afternoon everyone.
I thought I’d try and address this pretty crucial question for anyone who has been unlucky enough to have had an accident or suffered an injury.
The short answer is just give us a free call, or send us a quick free case evaluation message by clicking through the contact button below. We’ll let you know pretty soon whether we think you have a good chance of winning a claim.
We do have a fault based system of justice in England and Wales, so you normally have to have some person or body (like an employer at fault or a driver at fault) to bring a claim against. The identity of the opponent can often be quite simple and obvious, but sometimes it can be complex. You don’t need to worry too much though, because if you tell us the circumstances of the accident then we can tell you whether you have good prospects of succeeding in a claim and, if so, against whom it ought to be brought. There are even some strange circumstances where you don’t strictly have to have a genuine opponent, but you can still bring a claim.
We often get contacted by people who are really uncertain, even embarrassed, about whether or not they might have a claim; in fact some people blame themselves for their accident. Once again, it’s free to find out, so just contact us and we’ll talk it through with you.
The case studies on our website ought to help you with some good examples and the claims process section will do too.
One crucial and simple piece of advice for all accident victims is that time limits apply to the bringing of claims. It makes sense to get on with any claim as soon as possible, because you don’t want to lose out on any chance of claiming simply by missing a time limit. Information can be lost over time too and witnesses can be lost and evidence can go cold. I’d urge you to call us for free as soon as possible, if you want to consider whether you might have a claim.
Some people worry that they are doing something wrong in thinking of claiming, but remember that you have already suffered an injury, don’t make things worse by missing out on a chance to recover proper compensation. The law decides whether you may be entitled to it, so enquire with us today.
That’s all for now,
I have recently been looking at the various regulations that apply to people who work at heights and it struck me just how far we have come in protecting employees who work in these conditions. I thought it would be a good idea to go through some of those so that if you are one of those people who DO work at heights you know where you stand in law.
Without doubt if you work at height you take a risk that you may fall and sustain injury. And of course the fact that you are working at height means that if an accident DOES happen and you fall then the injuries you sustain are likely to be serious. This is the main reason why the law not only makes general provisions for people who may be injured at work but also makes specific provision for people working at height.
As a general starting point the law requires that an employer who employs staff has the take reasonable steps to ensure that the employee is safe whilst he/she is at work. This includes making sure that the site and system of work are adequate, that you are given adequate equipment to work with and that competent people are employed so that you are not injured because of someone else’s incompetence..
Over the years this “general duty” has been refined so that in addition to that general duty the employer must also comply with various statutes which are specifically there to protect employees. The main set of Regulations in relation working at heights is the appropriately named “Working at Height “Regulations 2005 which contain a whole raft of rules and regulations. In particular the Regulations require that an employer carries out a risk assessment of the working conditions to identify areas of risk and then take steps to avoid accidents happening. For example, the employer is required to take steps to provide adequate working platforms, safe scaffolding, safety harnesses and protective clothing. The Regulations are far reaching and are specifically there as an acknowledgement of the risks of working at heights.
In addition the Construction Regulations of 2007 may apply if you are working at height on a construction site. These Regulations provide that the Employer must provide a safe place of work and also that structures you are working on (scaffolding or working platforms) are stable.
You may also find that the Manual Handling Regulations Operations Regulations 1992 apply to your accident if you are handling loads whilst working at height. Again these regulations are far reaching and require your Employer to carry out a risk assessment of the manual handling risk and that appropriate steps to reduce the risk of injury.
This is not an exhaustive list of the Regulations but are the main ones because they are so comprehensive in their wording. It may be that other regulations would also apply in the circumstances of your own particular accident and I would consider those with you if that was the case.
Remember that the Regulations do not place an absolute duty on your Employer. When you pursue a claim you have to show that your Employer did something wrong but the Regulations (particularly the Working at Height Regulations ) are very tightly worded and the duty on an employer is high. They are designed to protect you from injury. At our first meeting I will ask you questions and then my job would be to identify which of the Regulations your employer has breached – and as you can see from above there are a lot to choose from!
Injuries from a fall from height are potentially very serious. If this has happened to you then call me and I will be happy to meet up with you and explain how I can help.
Until next time
John blogging again.
I thought I’d blog about claiming compensation for injuries to the foot or feet.
Foot injury compensation claims are pretty common and we have dealt with a lot of them over the years here at Ibbotson Brady Solicitors.
Feet are quite vulnerable parts of our bodies. I’ve had claims where things have been dropped on them, where feet have been crushed in the work place and where feet have been run over, to name just a few scenarios. The mechanics and the structure of the foot makes them particularly vulnerable too. They are weight bearing and there are lots of small but important bones and many complex soft tissue structures, like tendons and ligaments.
In a workplace where activities like loading or packing or carrying heavy materials are involved, then employees really ought to be issued with personal protective equipment, or “PPE”. Where there is any possibility or likelihood of a foot injury then the PPE issued ought to include work boots or shoes with steel toecaps.
As with all injuries it is important to seek medical treatment before thinking about making a claim. In the long term your health and recovery will be more important than a compensation claim. By seeking medical help you will also have the accident and the injury logged and recorded, so make sure you give a clear description of how it happened to the doctor.
Foot injuries commonly affect your mobility and perhaps the ability to work, so they can often lead to large loss of earnings claims in addition to all of the other losses you can seek recovery for.
Foot injuries themselves will attract compensation for your pain and suffering too, if you have a good claim. For example, very serious injuries such as an amputation of one foot can attract pain and suffering damages alone of up to £78,300 (Source: Judicial Studies Board guidelines, 11th edition). More modest injuries like a moderate toe injury such as a straightforward fracture would be likely to attract pain and suffering damages of up to £6,850 (same source).
If you’ve had an a accident and hurt your foot (or anything else for that matter) we’ll speak to you for free and without any obligation. We can let you know whether we think you have a good claim. If we think you do, then we will be happy to offer you a “no win, no fee” arrangement so that if the claim does not succeed you will still not have to pay anything. In other words it’s free to try. Give us a call on the above number or click the case evaluation button below and we’ll call you back.
That’s all for now,
Good morning all once again,
Apologies if this blog post carries on with the same theme as Lorraine’s last one, but lawyers like us who are working in the field of injury compensation work and in ”litigation” claims generally are facing the biggest changes in a generation almost overnight, so forgive us if we are a bit obsessive about it!
More importantly, the seismic changes are going to have a big impact on the individual people who are injured and who are bringing claims for compensation, or any claims for that matter, and the changes will almost certainly not be for the better. The big winners are undeniably the insurance companies, but don’t hold your breath if you expect them to reduce premiums.
There is no getting away from the changes; they are coming in on the 1st April 2013 and that’s that. Some observers think it is very appropriate that they are coming in on April Fools’ Day because the changes are ill thought through and very poorly executed, leaving holes and uncertainties galore. There will be disputes and a great deal of uncertainty for years.
This is all clearly bad news for injured clients and future clients, but as Lorraine said last time in her blog, as sure as the sun will rise in the morning, people will still have accidents, suffer injuries and bring genuine and justifiable compensation claims. And we will still be here, doing the same great job we’ve always done for our clients.
We’ve helped thousands of clients and out of every 10 new cases we take on, 7 come from former clients who want to use us again or from us being warmly recommended. Word of mouth still works for good personal services.
Our job is always a little bitter-sweet because we usually meet new clients when something nasty has happened to them and they have been hurt. We help our clients to pick up the pieces after an accident and pursue fair and appropriate compensation that is rightfully due to them. That will still be the case after the 1st April 2013, it will just be under a new and bleaker set of rules.
So in some respects nothing has changed. We will still, as always, fight hard for you and your best interests.
We pride ourselves on the job we do and our approachability, so if you’ve been hurt and wonder whether you might have a claim for compensation give us a call of click on the link below.
Bye for now,
Many of you will have seen from the press and TV coverage that the law relating to Personal Injury claims will change from 1st April 2013.
The changes are huge and will have an enormous effect on you, the innocent victim of an accident. The time for protesting about the changes and campaigning about the injustice of the changes on people who have been injured through no fault of their own has long since gone. The changes ARE coming in and they will take effect in less than 3 weeks time.
I have noticed that there is a lot of confusion as to what the changes will mean to you so it may be useful for me to give a guide on the ones that will effect you most.
Firstly the legal fees that are recoverable in claims for injuries arising from road traffic accidents are about to be cut dramatically meaning that it will be impossible for solictors to carry out the work on your case WITHOUT a contribution from the damages (up to 25%) you are awarded to cover the cost of the work necessary on your case. My best advice is that if you have had a road traffic accident and have not yet made a claim then do so NOW before the 1st April because after that date the amount the will actually receive for your injuries and losses will be reduced as you have to make a contribution to the cost of pursuing the claim. And if you have a road traffic accident AFTER 1st April be cautious about who you instruct to deal with your case for you - do not shop around for the “cheapest deal” because in all likelihood what you will get is a cheap service. After 1st April it will be more important than ever that you instruct a good solicitor who will still do the right job for you and not cut corners because the fees recoverable are reduced.
There is some good news in that the damages you can claim will be increased by 10% which goes some way to meeting the cost of the contribution you will have to pay but wont of course cover all of it.
Similar rules are due to come in for accidents at work and acidents on the public highway (trips and slips) in July so again my message is that if you have already had an accident contact a solicitor before July to make sure that your claim is made before the changes in the law affect you.
But remember this… Even after 1st April accidents will still happen; You will still have the right to claim if you have been injured and suffered a loss and you will still have the right to instruct a solicitor to pursue your claim for you. The fact that that you may have to make a contribution to the cost should not discourage you from bringing your claim but it SHOULD encourage you to make sure you get the best legal advice and support you can. This is one of those occasions when the level of service you receive is far more important that the cost to you.
Here at Ibbotson Brady we plan to carry on as we have always done – offering the same personal service to you that we have built our reputation on and providing the high quality of service we believe you are entitled to receive.
Until next time
Hello again all,
We often deal with accident compensation claims arising from falls at work (or falls in various other places) and so I thought I must have blogged about this subject before, but quite remarkably it seems I haven’t.
I have been contacted by a number of new clients about a rash of these types of accidents recently and most of them were entirely preventable had suitable training and equipment been made available to the injured person. This raft of new accident claims has prompted me to write this blog entry because it seems that falls like these are always going to happen.
Falls sound so innocuous, mundane and simple, but they can be deadly. HSE statistics show that falls from height account for nearly a quarter of all fatal injuries in the workplace (2011/12 figures). As you might expect, most of those fatal falls (over 60%) occurred in the construction industry. Falls can also include being struck by falling objects, again something common in the construction industry, but possible almost anywhere – I’ve had claims for injured people struck by falling files at work and by badly stacked goods in supermarkets, for example.
Whilst, thankfully, most falls are not fatal, they are rarely trivial. If you feel unsafe at work in this sort of scenario or doing these sort of duties then I’d urge you to tell your employer. They have many duties to train you and provide safety equipment.
In the workplace the legislation and regulations recognise the potentially grave consequences of someone falling from any height at all and so this area is one of the most regulated of all. Because we have seen many of these accidents we have a devoted page on this website under “Cause of Injury” and “Workplace accidents” that helps to explain more about such accidents and the factors that affect claims. There is also an interesting case study for one claim that I conducted a while ago under our “Case studies” tab – look for the case described as “Mr C – fall from height (£305,000.00)”. You can tell from the size of that compensation payout that the injury was a very nasty one and the claim was quite complex.
If you’ve had any kind of falling accident, whether at work or otherwise, I’d urge you to call or make contact with me or Lorraine (there’s a link below). It’s very likely we can help and we can talk you through the issues for free and without any obligation at all.
That’s all for now,
Whilst I was out and about over the weekend I noticed that the number of cyclists on the roads had suddenly increased (no doubt keen to get out again after the long winter months!). I also noticed as I drove over a big pothole that nearly took my front tyre off that the roads are in a pretty poor condition after all the bad weather!
It’s one thing damaging a car tyre on a pothole but a much more serious affair if you are a cyclist dismounted from your bike. Car tyres can be easily replaced but the injuries to a cyclist can be far more significant.
So what rights do you have as a cyclist? Well the law in this area is quite clear – those responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the roads (usually the Local Authority or Highways Authority) have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that roads are maintained to a reasonable standard. This does not mean that any of us can expect the roads to be kept in perfect condition at all times but it does mean that the Local or Highway Authority have to take their duty to mantain the roads seriously or face the consequences. If they fail in that duty then they will be considered to be “negligent” or in breach of their “Statutory Duty”.
The fact that a road is defective is not therefore enough to establish fault on the Local/Highway Authority. You have to go further than this and the two most common ways of doing this are either to show that the road was not regularly inspected and maintained or that previous accidents had been reported and the Local/Highway Authority had not responded within a reasonable time to repair it and prevent other accidents occurring. These are exactly the enquiries that we as solicitors pursuing a claim on your behalf would make. Effectively the arguement runs that if the Local/Highway Authority knew or OUGHT to have known (if they had carried out their job properly) that the road was defective then they are liable for the injuries and consquential losses that follow.
It is often not possible to say until after the enquiries with the Local/Highway Authority are complete whether you have a good claim or if a valid defence is likely to apply. But if you are the injured party then it is certainly worthwhile at least making the enquiry. If liability on the Authority cannot be established then we will tell you. If it CAN then we will happily pursue a claim for you for compensation for your injuries, any loss of earnings if you have been unable to work and any other consequential losses flowing from the accident.
John and I have been pursuing claims like this for many years so you can be sure that in bringing you claim to us you will be in safe hands.
Until next time
We often get calls about injuries sustained in accidents caused by moving, lifting, carrying, pushing or lowering things at work. These accidents are categorised as manual handling claims.
Even in this age of mass mechanisation and computerisation many work tasks simply have to involve a lift, a shift or a pull etc by hand. For instance, the massive growth of Internet shopping has meant more multi drop delivery van drivers than ever out on the roads dropping off the Internet bought goods. That’s easy if it’s a DVD or a paperback book, but big, heavy and awkward goods need to be delivered too and it is rare these days for a driver to have a mate to help carry at the delivery address.
Very often it is not just the sheer weight of something that is the problem. It can often be the fact that it is an awkward or unwieldy item, or there is a limited space to manoeuvre it into. For example, a Christmas tree might only weigh 10Kg, but it is an awkward thing to carry and if it has to be taken up narrow stairs or round a tight corner it puts extra strain on various parts of the deliverer’s body. I’ve had window fitters injured carrying window units that perhaps only weighed 15Kg, but were big and awkward or had to be held or lifted into to strange places. I’ve also had hurt builders, industrial workers, cleaners, bin men, in fact you name a workplace and I bet I’ve seen a manual handling accident in it!
You might think that office workers don’t have these accidents, but you would be surprised by what I’ve seen. There can be big heavy archive boxes, awkward pieces of heavy office furniture, computers to move etc. This is often made worse by the fact that you might have a older person with other health issues doing the manual handling task, or perhaps someone who is tiny doing a job that is unsuitable for them and their body.
These accidents are surprisingly common and there are specific Manual Handling Regulations in place that are aimed at protecting employees whose work includes any manual handling at all. The Regulations are detailed and quite strict, so if you have had an accident involving manual handling then there will almost certainly be something relevant and helpful in them. Manual handling compensation claims are frequently successful and so if you have had such an accident it is definitely worth considering bringing a claim. Contact someone like us who will consider the accident with you for free and work on a no win no fee basis, with no risk to you.
As you would expect, back injuries are the most common sort of injury suffered in accidents of this sort, but I have seen all sorts of injuries suffered. Sometimes it is as much the dropping of an item as the lifting that causes the injury!
If you have any injury at all, give us a call.
That’s all for now,