Afternoon all, John here again.
Most of our work here at Ibbotson Brady Solicitors involves us acting as expert personal injury solicitors helping clients who have suffered accidents and want to claim compensation. Sadly, we are sometimes presented with new clients who come to us because they already had a good injury compensation claim up and running, but their solicitors have made a mistake and so the claim has failed (or is failing), or it has ended up being worth much less than it should have been.
I say that these are sad cases because the poor client has been doubly injured; they suffered the injury in the accident in first place and then suffered again when the solicitor who they instructed and trusted got it wrong.
In many of these cases there is no second chance at bringing the original injury claim against the person or company at fault for the accident – in fact those opponents have had a very lucky escape. This can mean that the only recourse that the poor client has is the daunting one of bringing a professional negligence claim against their own former solicitor.
Of course, just because a claim has failed or you are unhappy with the outcome doesn’t necessarily mean that the solicitors have been negligent, or done anything wrong at all. There are naturally strong claims, weak claims and those that are on a knife edge. The outcome of the original case is not always the dictating factor in whether there is a strong professional negligence claim and negligence claims are sometimes hard to win.
Some common themes I have seen with genuinely strong professional negligence claims against solicitors include chaotic law firms or situations where perhaps the solicitor or “file handler” is either very junior and out of their depth, or else their identity constantly changes all of the time, so that you barely talk to the same person twice. Also, situations arise where the solicitor doesn’t explain things properly, or at least in terms that can be understood. Sometimes clients might feel pushed into taking steps without really having the chance to consider them properly or agree anything. Sometimes this takes the form of too much bland standard written explanation without any actual specific case related advice in it; disappointing when a 20 minute face to face meeting or telephone call would make things much, much clearer.
It doesn’t automatically follow that these worrying themes equal negligence either , but they do seem to be common indicators of problems to come.
One small crumb of comfort in cases like these is that solicitors must, as a condition of being able to call themselves and practice as a solicitor, have professional negligence insurance. This compulsory insurance is pretty comprehensive, specifically so that the client is protected and to maintain public confidence in the profession.
If something like this has happened to you it can be gut wrenching and it often feels like you are starting again at square one.
Some of these professional negligence claims against solicitors are pretty simple and straightforward, such as where there has been a very basic and obvious mistake, like missing a crucial time limit. Others are much more complicated and subtle.
There is a prescribed protocol that must be followed for these claims and it is even more important than ever that you go to a solicitor who knows what they are doing second time around!
If you think you might have one of these situations then give me a call or send me an email. You can also use the case evaluation button below to make a free enquiry and we’ll call you and have a free chat.
Have a great weekend,
Good afternoon and welcome to the latest blog.
I thought I’d write about a rash of cycling injury claims that we have had in recent months, mostly for clients in and around Leeds. I have no idea why there has been such a number in a short space of time, but I thought I could offer some common themes and tips for bringing claims.
The latest ROSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) figures show that casualty figures have risen in recent years and they suggest that this is mostly because of the increase in popularity of cycling. That makes sense and it will be interesting to see what difference the forthcoming staging of The Tour De France in Yorkshire makes to cycling numbers. I’ve got a strong suspicion that there will be a massive increase in the numbers of cyclists on the roads this coming summer. Let’s hope that they stay safe and that organisers and logistical planners have their wellbeing at heart.
ROSPA say 80% of cycling injuries are to males and the most vulnerable group age wise is 10 to 15 year olds. Most accidents are in urban areas. Roundabouts are particularly hazardous.
80% of accidents happen in daylight, but then that is because the vast majority of cycling takes place then. I wonder if the recent spate of claims we have seen have in part been because the very short hours of daylight and the almost constantly wet weather and therefore wet road surfaces?
More accidents numerically actually occur in Spring and Summer, but that is because many more miles are cycled in those milder months. This is confirmed by the fact that per mile cycled, the Winter is statistically the most dangerous time.
Injury patterns confirm that limb injuries are very common. Over 40% of hurt cyclists have arm injuries and about 25% have leg injuries.
Chest and abdominal injuries are more rare, at about 5%, but are more often serious and are often sustained with head injuries too.
Head injuries are common with over 40% of injured cyclists suffering them and they are more often serious. Over 70% of cyclist fatalities in London were due in large part to head injuries.
Injured cyclists almost always come off worst when in collision with any other vehicle and the most common cause of accidents involving them is due to one or both of the parties not looking properly. In my experience, it is much more likely to be the other vehicle driver/rider at fault and not the cyclist. This means that cyclists often have strong claims.
Many cyclists now have head cameras to record other driver behaviour and the footage can often be very helpful with a claim. They are a good idea.
Evidence is the key to most claims and that is just as true in cycling claims. Gathering evidence is sometimes hampered by the fact the cyclist has the more serious injuries – it’s hard to gather witness details etc if you are in a bad way. Fortunately, when serious accidents occur the public usually respond well and police attend.
It makes sense to contact a good Solicitor pretty swiftly after the accident, so that no evidence is lost. Pick someone, like us, who has a lot of experience of such claims and who will speak to you for free and explain how a claim will be pursued. Give us a call or click on the button below.
Happy (and safe) cycling!
Looking out of the window right now I see rain. LOTS of it! The roads are wet, the ground is wet and floors in shops are wet and even the pavements are wet!
We also know that with the rain comes the increased risk of accidents… Whether you are a car driver, a motor cyclist, a cyclist or a pedestrian. If you are driving you find that it takes you longer to to stop if you need to brake; if you are a motorcyclist car drivers may not see you because they are concentrating on their own journey and not as much on other road users; if you are a cyclist then you are even less visible; and if you are a pedestrian then just about everywhere you go is a potential hazard.
You will know from reading our previous blogs that to be able to pursue a claim if you are injured as a result of an accident you must be able to show that the accident was due to someone else’s fault. Then in law you have a legal right to pursue that person for compensation for your injuries and the consequential losses. In the case of accidents on the road that is relatively straight forward because the law requires that all motor vehicles have insurance in place before using the public roads. So if you bring a claim against a car driver or motor cyclist you can be sure that there are funds available to pay your compensation. Even if the motorist or motorcyclist is NOT insured there is a public body called the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) who will deal with your case.
It can be different if you are pursuing a claim against someone who is NOT compelled to have insurance in place because then the question is “who is going to pay your compensation?” . Many big stores and companies have in place an insurance known as “Public Liability”. They are not legally obliged to have this but they decide to arrange it because it provides them with cover in case an accident happens. If they didn’t have insurance in place then your right to claim would be against them DIRECTLY. And that is fine so long as they have the finances available to meet the cost of your case. But if they do not have the finances that leaves you with the question of who will pay. You will almost certainly need legal advice and that’s where we can help.
At Ibbotson Brady we have over 50 years of combined experience of dealing with all types of claims both against wrongdoers who ARE insured and those who are NOT. We have extensive experience on the best ways to pursue your claim and the chances are that whatever the circumstances of your accident then we will have seen it all before.
In a perfect world we would rather you didn’t have an accident and that as motorists you take just that little bit of extra care; that as motorcyclists you are just a little more vigilant; that as cyclist you make sure you are visible; and that as pedestrians you proceed with just a little more caution. But we also recognise that despite all of that accidents DO happen. And if they do, then call us. John and I are here and waiting to help you if you need to pursue a claim following an accident.
Still looking out of the window… and it’s still raining. At least we havn’t had the snow this year…
Until next time
Good afternoon and, this being my first blog of 2014, Happy New Year,
I moved house recently and even though we paid for a professional removal service, I was left with a sore back from all of the lifting and awkward carrying involved. Thankfully, I was okay again within a few days.
We often get calls from clients 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 still 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. Just think how much was shifted by Amazon and similar companies in the weeks up to Christmas.
Very often it is not just the sheer weight of an item 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, or steps to negotiate. 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 kinds of 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 an 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 very 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.
Hopefully, I won’t be moving again for a very long time.
That’s all for now,
It seems no time at all since last Christmas and here we are again! Already, with over a week to go to Christmas day, there is a feel of slowing down as everyone prepares to go home to their families to celebrate.
For many of us that means travelling to the homes of family and friends with an uncertainty as to what the weather and road conditions are likely to be over Christmas and New Year. If you are planning to drive over the holidays it makes good sense to extra vigilant whilst out and about. You may be perfectly safe yourself but you can never predict the actions of other road users. Some simple steps can help prevent accidents from happening.
Before you leave to make your journey make sure your vehicle is safe, that the tyres are the right pressure, your lights are working and you have plenty of fuel in the tank. Many drivers choose to carry a red warning triangle in the boot of their vehicles now so that if they break down or are involved in an accident they can warn other road users and prevent further problems.
Always carry with you your insurance and breakdown cover details just in case you need them.
When out and about on the roads keep an even more careful look out for unusual events – vehicles going very slowly or wavering about on the road and give them a wide berth.
And keep a look out for cyclists who are sometimes not that easy to see. And likewise with pedestrians – there will be more people on the streets as they celebrate parties and nights out and don’t assume that they will stay safely on the pavement as you drive along – they have a habit of stepping out!
Just by taking a few of these quite simple steps you can reduce the chances of you being involved in an accident over the Christmas holidays.
Sometimes of course with all the best precautions in the world accidents still happen and it may not be your fault. If that should happen to you then you will need legal advice on what to do about your damaged vehicle, what you should do about any injuries you have sustained and any concerns you may have about what to do if you cannot work because of the accident. John and I will be around over the Christmas period so if you do need any help or advice about how to pursue a claim we will be here to help. What we would ask in advance is that if possible you take some details at the scene of the accident such as the location of the incident, the names addresses of anyone else involved in the accident and registration numbers of any other vehicles involved. With that basic information we can then start helping you straightaway.
My sincerest hope is that we do not hear from you – that means that you have stayed safe on the roads but if you do need us, then you know where we are.
Wishing you a peaceful Christmas and a very Happy New Year from myself and John.
Good afternoon, John here blogging again.
Forgive us if we have gone on a bit about the rapidly changing world of injury compensation claims, but this year has been the biggest year of change ever and, being in the business, it is fascinating to us (sad, I know). The volume and impact of the changes has been huge and the fallout is still happening.
The aspect I want to blog about today is the type of solicitors and firms who have been caught out by the changes and why. Also, what does that mean for ordinary folk who have an accident now and want to claim?
The latest two things to happen in this amazing year arise out of two court cases that have just been decided.
The first is one small part of the infamous “plebgate” case. One outcome from this case has been little noticed by the press and public, but it concerns the overall attitude of the courts to claims and how they are to be progressed in the courts. Put very simply, the courts have now told lawyers loud and clear to make sure they have all of their papers and evidence in place in advance because defaults, missed dates and errors in the court process won’t be tolerated. Seriously draconian sanctions will meet any such errors.
The second case concerned an old coal miner’s claim against his own solicitors for failing to advise him well enough. He argued that they didn’t advise him effectively and so he lost out on part of the value of his claim because of that. The suggestion was that the solicitors in question had taken on thousands of such claims and failed to provide a personal service to each and every client. Once again, put very simply, the suggestion was that the claim had been relegated to a factory farm process and the court held that the miner had indeed lost out because the advice wasn’t good or thorough enough.
So what is the theme coming from these two cases and what do they tell us?
I’d argue that the theme is that solicitors who take on work for clients had better know what they are doing AND that they ought to provide a personal service to each and every client. Hardly rocket science or too much to ask.
What the cases tell us is that for too long some clients have had to put up with a factory farm style approach to their claims, rather than the proper personal service they ought to receive and to which they are entitled. They tell us too that lawyers had better listen up and do the right job. The use of bland questionnaires, the infuriating call answering of “press 1 for this, 2 for that and 3 for the other” and never speaking to the same lawyer twice are not good enough.
I’d be so bold as to suggest that what clients really need is often dismissed as “old fashioned” personal service, like we offer. If I take on your case and you call for an update, then you get to speak to me, or if I am not around, I call you back. If Lorraine takes on your case, then the same applies. You don’t get fobbed off with a procession of “file handlers”. If we have something complicated to advise you on then a face to face meeting is often appropriate or maybe a long phone call. Not a standard questionnaire with no guidance or advice. There is a definite advantage to using a lawyer who is based near you.
These (often massive) firms who reduce YOUR important claim or case to a conveyor belt “process” are having to wake up and, in many cases, are shipping out. The changes are too uncomfortable for them and ask too much of their poor profit driven processes.
So, in conclusion, demand more as a client. Don’t put up with shoddy service and aim to see the “whites of the eyes” of the lawyer who will be dealing with your claim – face to face is best, but at least have a long chat on the phone. Ask yourself, can you get on with this person who is running your claim? Do they make sense? Can you understand them?
If you have had an accident call me or Lorraine or click on the enquiry button below.
All for now,
Without doubt the number of claims arising against GPs, Hospitals and Consultants is increasing. People are becoming more aware that if they receive unsatisfactory treatment and suffer adverse consequences, then they are entitled to pursue a claim.
Medical advisers, including GPs, Hospitals and Consultants owe you a duty of care. To pursue a claim you have to be able to show that the treatment you received fell below the standard you were entitled to expect. Effectively you have to show that the GP, Hospital and/or Consultant were negligent in the treatment they provided to you. In the case of medical advisers this is called “Clinical Negligence” . Some of you may be familiar with the most obvious instances of Clinical Negligence – where you are given the wrong medication or wrong dosage of medication and it makes you ill; or where an operation goes wrong due to fault on the part of the Consultant. But Clinical negligence involves much more than obvious cases.
One of the areas where I am noticing an increase in the number of calls I receive, is cases where there has been a failure to diagnose a condition in the first place – so it is not so much a case of the medical adviser being negligent in the treatment they provided but more a case of being negligent in NOT providing treatment. Typical examples of how this occurs are when you attend your GP with clear symptoms of a condition and the GP fails to identify the problem and in failing treat you, your condition worsens. Or maybe your GP fails to diagnose the CORRECT condition and treats you for something else.
If that has happened to you then you may be able to pursue a claim against your GP. This is not to say that on every occasion where this has happened then a claim will succeed. If your GP can show that his/her actions were reasonable in the circumstances then they will have a defence available to them. But you should at least consider legal action and speak to us to discuss your own particular case and we will give you our view on whether you are likely to succeed with a claim.
Such cases are not limited to GPs. I hear of many cases where a correct diagnosis was not made at the Accident and Emergency department of a hospital and this has gone on to cause medical problems that could have been avoided. Or cases where a referral has been made to a Consultant and even then a correct diagnosis is not made.
Every case turns on its’ own particular facts and sometimes as the person who has been affected by the failure to diagnose it is difficult to know if this amounts to negligence. We will always be happy to discuss your case with you and give you our initial opinion on your prospects of success. If it is not possible for us to do that based on the information to hand at that time then we can outline what further information is needed to be able to give you our view. Then you will have a good idea of what needs to be done.
If you would like to talk to us about a case where you consider that there has been a failure to diagnose a medical condition then call us.
Until next time
Good Afternoon all,
Finally, I have some good news to report for injured people in the world of injury compensation claims, but first of all a reminder of the context.
The year 2013 will probably remain imprinted on the minds of all lawyers who work in the field of injury compensation claims for ever. There has never been a year of so much change and those particular changes have been of such a seismic kind. Please forgive us if we’ve gone on about this a bit in our regular blogs (and I won’t repeat it all now), but put very simply, the climate for somebody who has been blamelessly injured and seeks some sort of compensation for this in our country has become much, much bleaker. Justice is in shorter supply for individual underdogs and that saddens me.
In trying to “handbag” the so called “compensation culture” the Government has eroded the rights of individuals and played right into the hands of the ginormous insurance companies who moan piously about this “claims culture”, but make billion pound profits year on year. They wring their hands and talk about the need to put up premiums, but they are not too keen to talk about their massive profits or the joy of their shareholders. They also lobby and lobby and lobby and pour treacle into the ears of the politicians. It seems to me that the hefty premiums they charge fund dividends for shareholders and investors.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there is a genuine problem with some fraudulent or exaggerated claims, but in my experience these are usually pretty easy to spot and the insurance industry ought to be fighting those claims, not paying them out and then moaning. The cynic in me suspects that the insurance industry is delighted to have the pretext or excuse of a nebulous, insinuated cheating culture so they can play the “good guys” and push the Government into what we have seen – an over-reaction to the problem and a crushing of the rights of the little guy.
As the saying goes, “we are where we are”. Life goes on and injured people can still bring a claim and we can still help them. It is just a bit more difficult and less friendly or fair to the underdog any more.
So what is the good news then?
In addition to all of the other changes the Government was seriously thinking of increasing the small claims limit for injury claims. At the moment, if you have an injury that is serious enough to attract likely compensation of £1,000.00 or more then you can go to a Solicitor for help. If you have a good claim and win it then your opponent has to pay you your compensation and at least a contribution towards the legal fees of your Solicitor. As a general rule, you will keep at least 75% of any compensation you win and the insurers are forced by the presence of the Solicitors to pay fair and decent compensation and to behave honourably.
This is important because, putting it very bluntly, you cannot trust the insurance industry to respond fully, openly and fairly if you try to bring a claim without a Solicitor to help. The insurers cry foul when they are accused of this, but their charge sheet is too long and, quite frankly, the Government have shown they don’t trust them to behave honourably either.
The government had toyed with the idea of increasing the small claims limit to about £5,000.00 or so, meaning that individuals with injuries worth up to that amount would have to think twice about using a Solicitor because the opponent would not even contribute to the cost of that Solicitor. These are starting to be quite hefty claims with a lot of complexity and the insurers would love to avoid having pesky lawyers involved who would ask awkward questions of them and make sure they pay fair compensation. The insurers would love to deal direct with the injured person and you simply can’t expect them to play fair.
Thankfully, the Government changed its mind and decided it could not trust the insurance industry and so the limit stays at £1,000.00. This is one small but important decision that has gone in the favour of the underdog.
Those of you who read the articles that John and I post on the site may remember that back in March I set out details of how the law was about to change and how that was likely to affect you as the person injured because of another’s negligence.
Just as a recap… before 1st April 2013 the position in so far as the law was concerned was that if you had an accident and successfully recovered compensation then in addition, your legal costs in instructing solicitors to deal with the claim for you were also recoverable from the other side.
Then came changes in the law from 1st April that said that only a PORTION of the costs could be recovered and the balance of the costs had to be paid by you, the Claimant from your compensation up to a maximum of 25% of the damages you received. To counterbalance that, the value of compensation for the injuries was increased by 10% but even so, this still meant that Claimants were now required to make a contribution towards their solicitors costs.
So the position we now have is that the majority of personal injury claims are covered by the changes in the law, leaving you, the Claimant liable to pay a part of your solicitors costs.
It goes without saying that we would have preferred it if the law had stayed the same as it was before April but the changes have come in and so we have to work within the rules.
It is now 6 months on since these major changes took effect. So what is our experience so far….? Well, firstly (and as predicted) accidents STILL happen and Claimants need good quality legal advice to help them pursue their claims. As a well established firm specialising in Personal Injury we have seen an increase in the number of claims being brought and we are pursuing them on your behalf in the same professional and ethical way we always did!
We understand that there are organisations out there who are attempting still to deal with cases without a contribution from the Claimant. My view is that these organisations should be treated with great caution. Any organisation who tells you that you do not have to pay anything towards your legal costs is cutting corners SOMEWHERE to make that viable. My best guess is that the compromise is on the service you receive; if your case is being dealt with for a low fixed fee you cannot expect (and you are unlikely to receive) the personalised service you deserve. There is an old saying ” You get what you pay for” and that has never been more true for personal injury claims.
If you have had an accident and been injured and suffered financial losses you only get one chance to get it right and claim the proper amount of compensation. If you end up receiving far less because the organisation working for you did not pay full attention to your case, then any saving you made in choosing someone who was prepared to deal with your case on a low budget, will not look like such a bargain…
Until next time
Can I finish my compensation claim if there is a possibility my injury could get worse in the future?
Good afternoon all.
In most injury compensation cases it is not safe to settle a claim until you have a clear medical prognosis and have either recovered fully, or can at least be pretty clear about what symptoms or disabilities you will be left with and for how long. In other words, you get one bite of the cherry. If you settle the claim then you can never re-open it and seek more compensation if you take a turn for the worse. This is why swift settlements are often a bad idea, particularly when serious injuries have been sustained. You need to take time to investigate all of the injuries and symptoms and quite simply allow the healing process to take its course.
In circumstances where the medical prognosis and overall recovery remain uncertain, it is sometimes possible for a Court to award a Claimant what are called Provisional Damages.
These are Damages awarded on the basis that some foreseeable serious medical deterioration or fresh but foreseeable condition does not come about, whilst leaving open the chance for the Claimant to go back to Court and seek more compensation at a later date if that feared deterioration/condition does then come about.
In other words, it allows a Claimant to settle the Claim, but leaves the door open for them to go back to seek more compensation if some feared deterioration/condition later arises as a result of the original accident.
An award of Provisional Damages is therefore usually a lower award for a lesser sum of Damages than might otherwise be awarded on a full and final settlement. This is because it is an award made on the basis of the deterioration (or fresh but foreseeable condition) not coming about. If it does later come about then the Claimant must apply to the Court for a further award and must then prove that the specifically feared deterioration/condition has arisen.
These awards are pretty rare and defendants and their insurers don’t like them and try to resist them. This is mainly because they cannot close their file, which is hated by insurers because they not only need to leave the door open to a potential future liability, but also maintain insurance provision and cover.
That’s all for today. Give me a call or click on the link below if you want a chat or might have a claim.