The Danger of Heights

Posted by Oliver on May 23,2017

Working at heights is often required in many jobs and industries. Those working on building sites or construction yards, those working in the flies of a theatre, those working building a large ship, or those working as window cleaners all have to work at height.

However, working at heights can also often result in accidents, and is quite dangerous. That is why extra precautions have to be taken, and extra safety procedures followed. Training is often mandatory, as are safety harnesses, hard hats, specific working practices whilst at height, and precautions taken whilst ascending and descending. Working at any height above the ground needs to be attempted with all and every care and attention.

Despite all the best precautions, safety equipment, and training – it is sadly too easy for something to happen. A small accident or mistake can have big consequences when quite high off the ground. Ropes and equipment used – even safety equipment – can tangle people up. Even if there is a firm barrier, it is still too easy to fall from a height.

All of those, and many more incidents, can result in someone having an accident and ending up either falling from a height or seriously injured by working at a height.

In line with the law, in every workplace all and every precaution must be taken to minimise the risk of any accidents; this includes workplaces that involve heights. That workplace and the management will beheld to be legally responsible (unless proven otherwise) for any accident that occurred. In this way, an injured employee is able to make a claim against those held to be responsible following an accident at height that resulted in a personal injury.

Working at heights in any industry can be exhilarating, what with the views, and sensation of being so high. However, working at height can be inherently dangerous, and can ultimately result in a (often serious) personal injury if all precautions are not carried out. The law allows the injured party to make a claim against the party responsible for the accident, and allows compensation to be awarded in most cases following such an accident at work, whether heights were involved or not.

To discuss an injury that you recieved following an accident that occurred whilst working at height, contact the personal injury experts at

Negligence And The Law

Posted by Oliver on May 18,2017

Negligence. It is a very important word in law.

Civil litigation – in personal injury and other tortious cases – often depends on one key word – negligence. But what exactly does that word mean, and how is it defined?

According to the law, companies and professionals (such as accountants and doctors) are expected to act within the standards and abilities of the reasonable man, or within reasonable expectations. If those standards are breached, if by an act or omission the professional or the company management fall short of acting competently and within the abilities of the average person, then the person or company can be said to be negligent.

If there was such negligence, and an accident was the result – then a personal injury could very well follow. After an accident that resulted in a personal injury, then the injured party in most cases can make a claim against those responsible – usually the management of the company in question, whom the law automatically assumes to have responsibility until proven otherwise.

The key issue in proving and settling a legal claim is negligence; was the person or company negligent in discharging their duties and responsibilities to the standards expected?

The outcome of the case, and of the personal injury litigation, can depend on the answer to that question. Negligence is considered in law to be failing to act with reasonable care and attention, a failure to adhere to the reasonable practices expected of the average person or professional. Negligence will result of those reasonable standards are breached. Such a breach can also often result in a dangerous situation – which in turn could cause an accident – which can often lead to someone being injured, often seriously.

The law also attributes blame to the party considered to be negligent, unless proven otherwise. A legal claim can be made, and compensation sought, from that negligent party. Negligence can therefore be an expensive word for that at fault party.

In civil law, negligence is quite well defined, as a word and as a legal concept. The word negligence is used slightly differently in the legal sector, and outside it.

To discuss negligence further, or to see whether you might be able to bring a claim if you were injured due to another party’s negligence – then contact the personal injury lawyers at Compensation today.

Pedestrians & Road Accidents

Posted by Oliver on May 10,2017

Pedestrians are often classed as vulnerable road users.

It is easy to see why. With drivers paying attention to the roads, it is often easy to miss seeing a pedestrian on the pavement. Zebra crossings, or large crossroads or roundabouts with pedestrian crossings lend themselves only too easily to road accidents. Pedestrians can often be concealed behind junctions, hedges or even open car doors. Indeed, quite often pedestrians can unwittingly cause a road accident themselves by not paying due care and attention to the road as they cross, or by jaywalking.

Car drivers have safety precautions such as airbags. Passengers have safety features such as (mandatory) seat belts. Pedestrians have no such protection from road accidents involving cars. Additionally, Most cars can brake very quickly now, or otherwise manoeuvre out of the way of a pedestrian in many cases. Pedestrians quite often can not do the same.

Accordingly, pedestrians are very much considered to be vulnerable road users. Despite modern safety features in vehicles – accidents on the roads still happen. In many cases it is the pedestrian who comes off the worse, and receives the worse injuries following a road traffic accident. In some accidents, the injuries received by a pedestrian can be very serious indeed.

Following suffering a personal injury in a road traffic accident that was not their fault, a pedestrian (or any injured party) can make a legal claim against the at fault party. Provided several legal tests under tort law are met, civil litigation proceedings can be started against the one responsible for the road accident. In some cases, the accident can end up additionally categorised as a criminal offence; the at fault party could have to pay compensation to the injured party, and also can end up with criminal proceedings initiated against them by the police arising from dangerous driving charges.

In any event, making a legal claim after being injured in a road traffic accident, whether pedestrian, driver or passenger, is more about seeking justice, and bringing the at fault party to court after their negligence or actions, rather than seeking any compensation. However, following a serious injury that resulted in lengthy medical treatment or time off work – any compensation awarded can be quite helpful.

To discuss making a personal injury claim following a road traffic accident, contact the specialist lawyers at

The Jackson Reforms a few years ago were vastly unpopular and unwelcome amongst the legal profession. The major aspect of the Jackson Reforms was essentially more reductions in legal aid, and a restructuring of the personal injury sector, with new guidelines imposed.

Amongst the Jackson Reforms, and other regulatory changes, was the fear that CFA’s would be totally abolished. Conditional Fee Arrangements  (CFA) are a method of funding personal injury and other civil cases. Essentially, the claimant does not pay any legal fees or costs up front. In most cases, all costs are met by the law firm representing them. If unsucessful in their legal action, then the firm will absorb the financial loss in most cases. If successful in court,  then the opposing lawyers will meet the legal costs, or costs and fees will be deducted by the lawyers from the successful claimant’s final settlement.

More popularly referred to as “no win no fee” case funding, they were a fair way of obtaining justice. In an open democracy that values and supports the rule of law, it is horrendous that many claimants suffering personal injuries after minor (or major) accidents are simply unable to obtain justice and compensation as a result of an accident that was not their fault or not due to thier own negligence. With CFA’s, such claimants could still obtain justice. Their cases could still be funded, even though it was after any settlement and legal action. Those injured could retain a lawyer to present their claim in court, using a CFA method of funding.

The Jackson Reforms, and other changes to the procedures and rules behind civil litigation, seemingly were the death knell of CFA’s. By extension, the end of the ability of many being able to obtain justice following an accident. Although the scale of CFA’s have been reduced, and in some firms replaced – many law firms in the personal injury sector still offer them as a means of funding personal injury cases, so justice and compensation can be obtained by those suffering a personal injury following an accident.

However, those many changes to the personal injury sector have had a significant impact upon both law firms and the ability of injured claimants to make such claims in other ways. Despite having the right to make a legal claim against the at fault party in the event of being injured in an accident that was not your fault – the ability to do so in practice has been eroded the last few years. There are still many law firms who champion such injured claimants and litigation, and who still work hard to see justice done – including by offering CFA’s in order to fund cases that normally would not make it to court. is one such firm. Call us to today to discuss your personal injury claim – and we will work hard to see justice done in your case, and to successfully settle your case against the at fault party.

Dr Ian Paterson: Medical Malpractice in the Dock

Posted by Oliver on April 30,2017

An eminent breast surgeon was recently charged and convicted in court for professional medical misconduct.

Dr Ian Paterson, 59, was convicted of carrying out unnecessary breast operations on patients. In most cases, he pressured and urged the women to have invasive, life altering and often unnecessary breast operations citing high risks, or evidence of, breast cancer.

In court, Dr Paterson’s motives were described as “obscure” but may have included desires for the private doctor (who also worked at an NHS hospital) to “earn extra money.” Dr Paterson was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent, in relation to cases involving nine women and one man, in addition to other charges. In the legal proceedings, the women described his behaviour and actions, and how they were subtly pressured into undergoing various surgical procedures. Jurors heard how he exaggerated or invented signs of breast cancer as the trail unfolded.

It was established that the NHS at least had had their concerns about Dr Paterson as far back as 2003 but a proper and full investigation was only carried out in recent years as his victims started coming forward. An earlier 2013 investigation had mostly cleared him. However, Dr Paterson has now been convicted, and struck off the register of the General Medical Council. It was further mentioned that in October 2017, up to 350 of his private patients will seek compensation at the High Court for his medical malpractice.

In their following press statements, both Spire Healthcare, which runs the private hospitals Dr Paterson worked at, and Heart of England NHS Trust, have expressed their regret at Dr Paterson’s actions. Whilst expressing sympathy with his former patients, both were at pains to stress that this was a one-off case of medical malpractice. No doctor or clinician ever seeks to harm their patients; quite the opposite. However, there are those very few cases where procedures, often through simple negligence, or a tiny error or fault, can go wrong. That can leave a patient worse off than they were before, or not tackle an existing condition at all. In those cases, as the October court hearing demonstrates that patients have a right to seek legal and financial compensation for a breach of the medical trust and duty of care that is owed to all patients.

Although extremely rare, it is the tragic and very rare cases of doctors such as Ian Paterson that illustrate that such a system is sadly necessary. No one wants to consider prosecuting or claiming compensation from honest, hardworking, dedicated doctors and nurses – but it is a patient’s right if the standard and nature of medical care is substandard for whatever reason.

Providing certain legal criteria are met, patients can seek compensation for medical malpractice. Talk to our specialist medical negligence lawyers at today to discuss this, or a potential claim, further.

Government Reforms To Sentenced For Speeding Offences

Posted by Oliver on April 20,2017

It was recently announced that the Sentencing Council has reviewed the sentences that judges and magistrates can impose for various offences.

The Sentencing Council is a government body that sets guidelines and  recommendations regarding court sentencing. According to its website, its aims are to promote

“greater consistency in sentencing, whilst maintaining the independence of the judiciary. The Council produces guidelines on sentencing for the judiciary and criminal justice professionals and aims to increase public understanding of sentencing.”

One of many sentences that new guidelines were issued to courts recently was regarding speeding. Sending a clear message to reckless and dangerous speeding drives, on April 24th of this year the fines for speeding were increased, in accordance with Sentencing Council guidelines.

The current upper limit for a speeding fine is up to and including 100% of the speeding driver’s weekly wages. As a cash fine, this is up to a maximum of £1,000 – or a maximum of £2,500 if caught speeding on a motorway. After April 24th, the new guidelines will allow magistrates to increase those fines up to 150% of weekly wages – but the upper cash limit will remain the same. These upper limits will be particularly imposed for significant speeding cases, considered by the Sentencing Council to be:

  • 20mph speed limit; 41mph+ recorded
  • 30mph; 51mph + recorded
  • 40mph; 66mph +recorded
  • 50mph; 76-85 + recorded
  • 60mph; 91mph +recorded
  • 70mph; 101mph +recorded

This is welcome, as figures released show that in 2015 166,695 people in England and Wales were actually sentenced for various speeding offences, with two jailed for dangerous driving, and 166,216 were awarded fines. The average fine in 2015 was £188. However, those numbers stubbornly remain relatively unchanged in 2017. The Sentencing Council had a recent consultation with magistrates and local judges – the result of which was the increase in speeding fines. In a press statement, the Council stated that it wanted to ensure a clear increase in penalty “to reflect the seriousness of speeding offences”, and wanted to target specific offences (not just speeding and dangerous driving related).

In the consultation last year, it was felt that current sentencing guidelines “did not properly take into account the increase in potential harm that can result as speed above the speed limit increases”. It is hoped that the new potential fines will deter reckless, speeding drivers. Indeed, many accidents on the roads are caused by excessive speed.

That excessive speed can, in a moment, result in a tragic road traffic accident, which can leave drivers, passengers, other drivers and indeed often other road users seriously injured in a matter of moments.  Despite many public safety campaigns, and the efforts of driving schools, speeding is still a problem – and ultimately has the power to seriously injure those involved.

If you have been injured as a result of a car accident, whether the car was speeding or not, in many cases a claim for compensation can be made against the at fault driver. Following a personal injury arising from a car accident, legal action might be the last thing on the mind of the injured party – but such legal action can often go a long way in resolving the matter, seeking justice, an in obtaining compensation following a serious personal injury.

Speeding can cause serious car accidents, and even worse injuries for those involved. Such increased fines could hopefully go a long way in reducing the numbers of reckless drivers – but there will sadly always be cases of speeding drivers. Even if a road accident is not caused by speeding, accidents and personal injuries can occur only too easily on the roads.

If you want further details about the speeding fine increases, or assistance in making a personal injury compensation claim following a road accident, then our personal injury lawyers at will be happy to advise you.

Consent & Personal Injury

Posted by Oliver on April 12,2017

Volenti Non Fit Injuria is a Latin expression used in civil litigation, an by extension personal injury.

Literally translated, it means “to the consenting, no injury is done.” What that means to the layman is that there are situations and circumstances where an individual places themselves in a position of risk. It is assumed that they understood the nature and severity of the risk, and so consented (unintentionally) to any injury they might receive.

When, however, would someone willingly place themselves in danger?

The law mostly uses this theory in situations similar to sports fixtures. For example, if the victim was a spectator at a Formula 1 race, and one of the race cars suffered a major fault that meant that they accidentally crashed into the stands, then it would be hard for anyone injured from that to make a claim against organiser or driver. By buying their ticket, and standing by the race track to watch the race, spectators have unintentionally and tacitly consented to receive any injury that might occur. Skiing is another such example; by the very hazardous nature of the sport, by taking part in downhill or alpine skiing, the skier has taken responsibility for any risk and injury.

That seems quite unfair, in some cases involving personal injury. That is why volenti non fit injuria (often simply abbreviated to volenti) is considered as a partial defence on the part of the defendant in a negligence and personal injury claim. Volenti cannot (in most cases) totally exempt liability – but it can partially deflect the negligence and responsibility.

Another important point is that the injured party has to consent. The mere fact or knowledge or tacit assumption of the risk is in most cases not sufficient. Volenti will only work if the injured party has explicitly signed or acknowledged a waiver. So, the skier would have signed a waiver when they hired their skis, or got their lift pass, and the Formula 1 spectator would have to sign a waiver when they collected their ticket, or entered the stands.

Although on the fact of it volenti seems slightly unfair – volenti is actually very useful. Aside from deflecting frivolous personal injury claims, the nature of the defence, and the stringent requirements, actually means that in most cases volenti will be hard to apply by a defendant. As such, those impacted upon by a personal injury have more chance to make a successful claim against the party responsible.

To find out more, or to discuss a personal injury claim where volenti may or may not apply, contact the personal injury experts at today.

It was in the late 1960’s that experienced driving instructor Eric Nettleship agreed to teach Lavinia Weston how to drive to drive in her husband’s car – only after he had inquired the relevant insurance policy. It was during one of those driving lessons that Mrs Weston lost control of the car, and caused a road traffic accident. In the accident, Mr Nettleship suffered an injury. He made a claim against Mrs Weston for her negligence. In court, her lawyer argued that the Mr. Nettleship was well aware of her lack of driving skill and that the court should therefore make allowances for Mrs Weston’s driving since she could not be expected to drive to the same standards of an experienced driver.

It was already established that all road users owe a duty of care to other road users, with all drivers being held to the standard, skill and expertise of the reasonable, average, every day driver. But did that apply here?

The case went through the courts, eventually reaching the Court of Appeal. It was decided there that holding Mrs Weston to the lower standards of a learner driver would complicate matters, and unintentionally bring in a sliding scale of shifting standards depending on experience – and not just for drivers. It was therefore held that Mrs Weston should be held to the same standards as an experienced, regular driver.

This leading case of Nettleship v Weston [1971] is still referred to today. From that case the principle arose that the standard of skill and care to be exhibited and expected should be that of the average and reasonable person – at least at law. It is not just road users who are held to the same standard; professionals such as doctors are all held to the same standards, as are trades workers such as electricians, creative workers such as hair stylists, and so on.

If that average and reasonable standard is breached – and someone is injured as a result – then the at fault party van be held liable, as they did not adhere to the standards expected of the average, reasonable person or professional. As such, if you have been injured and it was not your fault, you could make a personal injury claim against the at fault party for their negligence in not acting to the required standards.

To make a successful personal injury claim, other criteria also need to be met under law. To find out more, to discuss whether your personal injury could entitle you to make a compensation claim, contact the expert lawyers at today.

Occupiers Liability

Posted by Oliver on March 28,2017

How often have you entered a large building or company, and laboriously had to “check in” at a reception desk? Aside from reasons of practicality an ease, fire safety, and general health and safety, and other reason for those and other procedures is legal – Occupiers Liability.

Under the legal doctrine of Occupiers Liability, the owners, managers or operators (the “Occupiers”) have a responsibility towards people on the premises. Those people could be anyone; employees, managers, contractors, visitors, or even members of the public. For example, an art gallery has a legal liability and duty of care towards visitors, just as a café has a similar duty to those seeking a hot drink, and an insurance firm has towards an external IT specialist coming in to fix a computer issue.

Under Occupiers Liability, owners and operators of premises and buildings a have a duty of care towards all those on the premises, at any time, for any reason. Under the Occupiers Liability Acts of 1957, 1985 and 1995, and supported by various other government regulations and case law, owners and occupiers of premises are obliged to take all reasonable care and precautions regarding health and safety, for anyone who enters the premises. Those precautions are not specified, but are expected and required to be appropriate to the building, premises, and nature of the building or operations. For example, a construction site would require all those entering to have a basic health and safety brief, and to be issue with high – visibility jackets and hard hats. A museum would be required to post warning signs if appropriate, and to ensure that the building open to the public was as safe as reasonably possible, whilst not restricting access to the exhibits. The nature of the precautions taken varies from premises to premises, and from business to business.

Under the concept of Occupiers Liability, if an accident occurs, and someone (be they employee, visitor or contractor) is hurt, in many cases the law will portion some blame to the owners and operators. The legal thinking will be that the occupiers were careless or negligent in their health and safety precautions, or otherwise did not obey the various legal requirements imposed. It is up to the occupier or operator to dispute that, and to prove that all appropriate and reasonable precautions were indeed taken. Indeed, that is why in virtually all premises and buildings and companies, a specific and specialist (and valid and up to date) Occupiers Liability Insurance policy must be held, in accordance with legislation.

If there is an accident resulting in a personal injury – in many cases it is possible to make a claim for compensation citing Occupiers Liability. If the accident was not your fault, and resulted in a significant personal injury, it is your right (providing certain legal criteria are met) to make such a claim. Often a personal injury can leave someone seriously hurt, or requiring lengthy medical treatment. Quite often the cause of the accident was not your fault, but that of another party – such as the owners or managers of the premises where the accident occurred, either directly or indirectly.

To discuss a personal injury compensation claim under the doctrine of Occupiers Liability, contact the personal injury experts at today.

Personal Injury Reforms: A Denial of Justice

Posted by Oliver on March 20,2017

Following from a recent post, proving a soft tissue injury (such as whiplash) can be hard, as typical symptoms, whilst painful, do not show up regularly on medical scans. Those traditional symptoms can also take some time to manifest themselves, and therefore it can be hard in some cases to prove that the cause of those injuries is actually an accident that was not the victim’s fault. Further, proving that the party was actually at fault can also be hard in some personal injury cases.

Despite that, it is the victim’s right to seek a legal remedy. It is the victim’s right to seek justice, and to make a personal injury claim against the at fault party. It is a principle of law any such wrongdoer should be held to account for their actions or negligence.

That is why government proposals on reforms to soft tissue personal injury claims are all the more alarming. As part of the proposals, as mentioned, compensation claims for whiplash and related injuries would be capped. A proposal has also been suggested that compensation should only be awarded if a medical report was submitted as proof of injury.

Amongst the proposed changes, the limit for personal injury claims in the small claims courts would also be increased from £1,000 to £5,000. What that means is that currently, in cases where a personal injury claim is worth £1,000 or less, the victim’s legal costs are not recoverable from the other side regardless of success. Under the proposal, that limit for recoverable costs would be raised to £5,000.

The effect of that will be that fewer victims suffering from soft tissue injuries would be likely to make claims against the at fault party. The question of legal fees and costs would also become an increasing concern, for both victims and lawyers alike; for fear of hefty legal bills, against falling compensation awards, lawyers and victims would be less inclined to brings claims in many cases. Those seriously injured by soft tissue injuries would be the worst impacted.

At, we remain committed to seeking justice for victims of personal injury. If you have suffered a soft tissue injury in an accident that was not your fault within the last three years, then talk to our expert lawyers today to see whether you could make a claim against the at fault party.


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