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News (Personal Injury)

HSE Report highlights accidents at work are still a problem (12/11/2018)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released the latest figures showing the full scale of accidents in the workplace.

The Health and Safety at Work Summary Statistics for Great Britain 2018 revealed that 1.4 million people were suffering from work-related health problems, while around 555,000 sustained non-fatal injuries. Combined, this resulted in 30.7 million working days being lost in 2017/2018.

595,000 people experienced work related stress, depression or anxiety and despite Britain being one of the safest places to work, 144 people were involved in fatal accidents.

Fines totalling £72.6 million were imposed on 493 cases that were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive or passed to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in Scotland. Details of the report follows new legislation that came into force on the 1st November which has the power to jail employers who are proved to be responsible for employee workplace deaths (see our news article dated 24/09/18).

As has been the case in the past, agriculture and construction are the highest risk areas for injury. Overall, slips, trips and falls accounted for the majority of injuries (31%) with handling, lifting and carrying coming in at 21%. Being struck by an object made up 10% of injuries while falls from height was recorded at 8%. Injuries sustained as a result of violence in the workplace accounted for 7%.

In 2016/2017, workplace injuries cost Britain £5.2 billion, while new cases of work-related ill health cost £9.7 billion.

Speaking of the report’s findings, Jane Penman, partner in Russell & Russell’s personal injury department said: “Although the UK has an enviable track record in health and safety it’s clear there’s still much to be done. All too often, we see lots of people who have suffered an accident at work due to employers trying to cut corners or save money.

“Employers have a responsibility to keep their workforce safe, so they need to ensure their safety protocols leave nothing to chance. If they don’t, they can expect to see not only monetary fines, but also prison sentences imposed should they be found to have been negligent.”

Reforms to personal injury road traffic accident claims set to go ahead (29/10/2018)

New legislation on whiplash claims has passed through the House of Commons. The Civil Liability Bill introduces a fixed tariff for whiplash damages and will be complemented by a rise in the small claims limit to £5,000 for road traffic accident claims.

Alongside personal injury lawyers, Labour had opposed the changes, which are expected to come into effect from April 2020.

In essence, this means that any injuries sustained by a person in a non-fault road traffic accident will have to be valued at over £5,000 in order for legal fees to be recoverable by their solicitor from the third party Insurers. 

Jane Penman, partner and a personal injury solicitor at Russell & Russell, commented: “While everyone on both sides is keen to see a reduction in the number of bogus whiplash claims, these changes will mean genuine Claimant’s injured through no fault of their own will struggle to get justice.

“The fact that legal fees are no longer recoverable for claims valued under £5,000 leaves the client with the dilemma of taking the bold step of representing themselves through the legal process. There is also a concern amongst the legal profession that Claims Management Companies will seek to act on behalf of Client’s whilst deducting substantial fees from the Client’s limited damages that can be recovered under the fixed fee tariff.

“There’s also a very real chance  genuine accident victims will decide not to pursue a claim, leaving them to deal with not only the physical consequences of their accident, but also any financial implications as well.

“Everyone involved – the government, the insurance industry, personal injury lawyers – are painfully aware that there are people who will fiddle the system no matter what and no one wants to see this happen. But there are far more people who have genuine injuries and it’s these people who will pay the price of the uplift because it’s these people who will be denied access to justice.”

Employers to face prison if found negligent for fatal accidents at work (24/09/2018)

New rules are being introduced to hold companies responsible for fatal accidents in the workplace to account.

Anyone in England and Wales, aged 18 or over, who is sentenced on or after the 1st November this year will be subject to the new Definitive Guideline for manslaughter offences. Regardless of the date the offence was committed, the new rules will apply. If found guilty, employers liable for the most serious of health and safety breaches can face up to 18 years in prison.

The guidelines, which have been issued by the Sentencing Council, covers four distinct types of manslaughter, the most serious of which for accidents at work is gross negligence manslaughter. Employers are culpable of this when they fail in their duty of care, resulting in the death of an employee due to a health and safety breach which amounts to a criminal act or omission, whether in a workplace or domestic setting. 

Jane Penman, a Partner in Russell & Russell’s personal injury department, says: “Despite the amount of health and safety legislation already in place, we’re still seeing people come to us as a result of a family member suffering a fatal accident at work. Clearly, this is unacceptable.

“Employers who are found to have deliberately flouted the law in order to make more money or reduce costs should face the full force of the law. Hopefully the new guidelines will make employers think twice about cutting corners.

“It’s not just the victims themselves who suffer. For the families of those killed in a workplace accident, the reality of losing a loved one is bad enough, but the situation is exacerbated further because a criminal case normally has to take place before the civil case can be finalised. This results in a lengthy, drawn out process, making matters worse for the families who are grieving and trying to come to terms with their loss.

“Of course, accidents at work of any nature are always difficult for those affected, especially when more serious injuries are incurred. While someone may not die as a consequence of their accident, the injuries they sustain can be life changing. We’re acting on behalf of a number of clients who are claiming against employers who have shown a blatant disregard for ensuring health and safety standards are followed and maintained. In the 21st Century, and with all the legislation in place, this shouldn’t still be happening.”

Cut Whiplash Injuries With The Headrest Test (15/08/2018)

Whiplash injuries and claims can be avoided if drivers and passengers do a simple test this Injury Prevention Day.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) with support from motoring safety experts Thatcham Research, is urging car users to protect themselves by making sure their headrests are in the correct position.

“Half of all car crashes in England result in a whiplash injury and some of these could be avoided, along with the resulting compensation claims,” said APIL’s president Brett Dixon. APIL is a not-for-profit organisation which campaigns to prevent needless injuries.

“Your headrest can’t do its job if you haven’t adjusted it to fit you,” said Brett. “It’s like leaving the batteries out of a smoke detector.

“To test your headrest is very simple,” Brett explained. “Make sure it is as close to the back of your head as possible, ideally touching. The top of the headrest should also be as high as the top of your head. Place your hand on top of your head to check.

“It is easy to forget, but we hope drivers will make a point of doing the headrest test this Injury Prevention Day,” said Brett.

Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research said: “Whiplash is the most common injury in car accidents, and the correct position of the seat’s head restraint is the key factor in protecting people from these types of injuries. We’d recommend that the next time you get in your car, check that the headrest is positioned as high as the top of the head. Where possible, it should also be tilted as close to the back of the head as possible. Touching the head is best. In cars where the head restraint is not adjustable, making the seat more upright can help.

“It’s also really important to remember that whiplash can occur in the back seat as well. So remember to adjust for each rear occupant as well. And to check this for every journey.

Government Delays Changes to Personal Injury Compensation Claim Limits (13/08/2018)

The government has delayed plans to implement increases in the small claims limit for personal injury compensation claims.

The whiplash reforms, which were due to take effect in April next year, have been put back until April 2020 in order to ensure that a new digital platform for administering the pre-action stages of low value road traffic accident claims will be ready. Large scale testing of the new system, which will allow people to represent themselves, is anticipated to start in October 2019.

Although the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is considering whether to exempt vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, it plans to introduce a claims threshold of £5,000 – up from £1,000 – for road traffic injuries and £2,000 for all other personal injuries. Currently the limit for these types of injuries is £1,000. It’s also considering whether to require insurance companies to issue reports on how they have passed on savings made from the reforms to consumers.

The changes form part of the Civil Liability Bill and are an attempt to deter bogus personal injury claims and the perceived compensation culture surrounding motor insurance claims.

While the delay has been welcomed, around 36 MPs have signed an early day motion in Parliament, calling on the government to withdraw the planned increase amid fears that it will prevent genuine claimants from accessing justice.

Government is Blasted Over its Approach to Personal Injury Reforms (05/06/2018)

Personal injury lawyers have claimed a victory in their fight against the government’s proposals to raise the limits for claiming compensation on non-fault accidents.

The Justice Select committee has recommended that the small claims limit for personal injuries sustained in road traffic accidents should rise by inflation from £1,000 to £1,500, rather than the £5,000 threshold the government has proposed.

The Ministry of Justice has also come under fire for wanting to raise the limit for Employer Liability and Public Liability claims to £2,000. Instead, the committee has suggested a threshold of £1,500 should be applied.

In it’s 57 page report, the Select Committee also recommended that implementation should be delayed until April 2020, in order to get the technology right, after acknowledging the obstacles facing people who would represent themselves in the current personal injury claims process which would involve use of  an electronic platform to handle the pre-action stages of lower-value PI claims.

Although the Committee recognised the need to prevent fraudulent and exaggerated claims, it concluded that the government needs to provide further justification to back up its policy of raising the small claims limit, citing the current proposals as an unacceptable barrier to access to justice.

The report also condemned the proposals as “illogical” to introduce further reforms to the claims process before the government has reviewed the effects of earlier reforms.

Other concerns the committee raised was the Association of British Insurers (ABI’s) data on insurance fraud and the passing on of savings to motor insurance customers. The Committee was sceptical about the savings to motor insurance customers, concluding that the government’s estimate of the pass-through rate “may be over-optimistic, given the lack of robust evidence and the unenforceable nature of insurers’ promises to reduce premiums”.

A delay to rolling out the government’s electronic platform for the pre-action stages of lower-value personal injury claims was also recommended. In addition, the exclusion of employer liability and public liability claims on the new online platform was suggested due to the complexity of such cases.

Justice committee chair, Bob Neill MP said: “Access to justice, including the right of access to the courts, is a cornerstone of the rule of law but these reforms risk putting that right in doubt.

“This is a vitally important point of principle on which the government should reflect. The small claims limit for personal injury should not be increased unless ministers can explain how it will make sure that access to justice is not affected.”

Horse Riders and Road Traffic Accidents (21/03/2018)

The British Horse Society (BHS) has welcomed a drop in the number of road traffic accidents involving riders and their horses on Britain’s roads.

Between 2017 and 2018 there were 5% fewer incidents than in 2016 to 2017- 404 compared to 426 the previous year. Despite the good news, however, more than a quarter those who reported incidents suffered some form of road rage or abuse.

The main reason behind the figures is that cars drive too fast and/or too close to horses. The situation has not been helped by the reduction in the number of bridleways as a result of losing their official public status and being lost to developers.

BHS is working with a number of road safety partners, including mounted police, the Driving Instructors Association and charity, IAM RoadSmart on its Dead Slow campaign, which was launched in 2016 urging drivers to reduce speeds to 15mph when they encounter a horse and rider on a road.

Millions of people up and down the country ride horses, so it isn’t surprising that equestrian accidents are so frequent. Horse riding accidents can be extremely serious, causing life changing injuries such as traumatic brain injuriesspinal injuries and, unfortunately, can be fatal for both horse and rider.

Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury Reforms to Come into Force in April 2019 (27/02/2018)

The government has announced plans to press ahead with its reforms to personal injury compensation pay outs.

The new threshold for road traffic accidents (RTAs), in particular whiplash claims, are set to come into effect in April 2019. Reforms to other types of personal injury will come in at a later date.

The changes, which were part of the original proposals put forward in the Prisons and Courts Bill before it ran out of time prior to last year’s snap election, have been resurrected through the Civil Liability Bill which aims to address the alleged compensation culture surrounding motor insurance claims. The intention is to raise the limit on claims for road traffic accidents from £1,000 to £5,000, while the threshold for more general accidents - employers’ and public liability claims - will double from £1,000 to £2,000.

The Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Law Society have all vowed to fight the proposals, arguing that there are still questions about how it would be implemented and operated. Many in the legal profession are also opposing the move as they fear it will prevent victims of road traffic accidents bringing a claim as they will be liable for their own legal fees if they pursue compensation below the new limit.

Opposition parties have also raised concerns that the government has announced the changes before the Justice Committee has had a chance to publish its inquiry (see our news article dated 22/12/17), following its evidence gathering session in January.

If the proposals do go ahead, anyone suffering whiplash injuries lasting up to three months will receive compensation of £225 instead of around £1,600. Injuries lasting six months will receive damages of £450, down from around £2,250 and just £765 for people suffering with injuries lasting up to nine months.

Justice Committee to Review New Personal Injury Claims Limits (22/12/2017)

The Justice Committee plans to launch an inquiry into the government’s proposal to raise the threshold for personal injury compensation claims.

The announcement follows a government declaration earlier this year (see our news article dated 26.07.17) in which it stated its intention to raise the limit for whiplash claims from road traffic accidents from £1,000 to £5,000. Compensation claims for more general accidents is also set to double from £1,000 to £2,000.

The proposals, which are being pushed forward under the Prisons and Courts Bill, have been opposed by many personal injury solicitors who believe it will prevent access to justice for people injured through no fault of their own. Lawyers claim that victims of non fault accidents will be put off pursuing a claim for compensation if they’re required to pay their own legal fees for damages awards valued below the new claim limits.

The government’s view is that the new legislation will reduce the number of compensation pay outs in a bid to crack down on fraudulent claims and end what it calls the ‘compensation culture epidemic’.

The inquiry will look into the impact of the increases, given the planned move towards online court procedures as well as how it will affect claims management companies and the market for ‘before the event’ legal expenses insurance. It will publish its findings in 2018.

80% of Road Traffic Accident Claims Will End Up in Small Claims Court After Personal Injury Reforms (29/08/2017)

New research has shown that hundreds of thousands of people could end up having to pursue their own personal injury litigation for road traffic accidents.

The study, which was commissioned by lobbying group, Access to Justice revealed that 80% of road traffic accident claims settled by solicitors over the past year were for less than £5,000. Although the Ministry of Justice has yet to confirm it, this is below a new threshold outlined in plans put forward by the government to introduce reforms to personal injury compensation claims.

Currently, the point at which solicitors are able act on behalf of victims of road traffic accidents is set at £1,000. Under the new proposals, however, the limit will rise to £5,000, leaving claimants with the prospect of having to pursue their case through the small claims court themselves. At the moment, it’s not clear what the government has in mind to help people who want to bring a claim as it’s anticipated that many people won’t be able to afford the cost a solicitor.

The research carried out by Capital Economics analysed cases supplied by 58 law firms, which had settled 171,939 RTA claims between them in the previous year, accounting for almost a quarter of such cases. The average value of damages was £3,029. The figures were investigated alongside the government’s Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU), which recorded 780,324 motor claims in 2016/17.

Access to Justice believes that the limit should be set to £2,000 to match the limit being suggested by the government for other types of personal injury claims. A spokesman for Access to Justice said that a £5,000 limit would “open up the floodgates to the injured public being targeted by an increase in unqualified claims farmers and cold callers”. He also stated that a £2,000 limit would reduce the number of claims registered with the Compensation Recovery Unit a year by around 140,000, which the group has estimated will save insurers around £400m a year.

Government set to increase small claims limit (26/07/2017)

The Government has announced it is pressing ahead with plans to increase the small claims limit for personal injuries in road traffic accidents. It intends to raise the threshold for claiming compensation from £1,000 to £5,000 in an attempt to “crack down on the compensation culture epidemic”.

The new provisions are being tabled under the Prisons and Courts Bill and if it’s passed, it could become law as soon as October. Many personal injury solicitors, however, are opposed to the move, which they believe will adversely affect innocent victims of road traffic accidents as they will be liable for their own legal fees if they pursue a claim for compensation below the new limit.

The proposal will be brought in along with other measures designed to reduce compensation pay outs. These include introducing fixed tariff caps which will see a significant reduction in the amount of compensation paid out to whiplash victims. For example, whiplash injuries lasting up to three months will decrease from around £1,600 to £225. The cuts continue for injuries lasting six months – down from around £2,250 to £450 – and just £765 for people suffering with injuries lasting up to nine months.

The Ministry of Justice claims that by making these changes average insurance premiums will fall by around £35.00 per year, although many personal injury lawyers state that insurance companies profits are continuing to grow and the savings from this latest round of legislation won’t be passed on to motorists.

Hit and run road traffic accident claims (11/07/2017)

The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) is a UK Guarantee Fund that compensates eligible victims of negligent uninsured or untraced drivers - more commonly known as hit and run accidents. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau will pay for personal injury suffered by victims of uninsured or untraced drivers in road traffic accident claims and covers two types of road traffic accident claims:

  • Uninsured drivers who cause road traffic accidents to fellow motorists or pedestrians
  • Victims of hit and run accidents where the driver can’t be traced

If you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault and the other vehicle drove off, you need to report the incident to the police and comply with any subsequent investigations. Similarly, if you’re a motorcyclist who lost control due to diesel spillages or lorries shedding their load, you can make a claim.

Recent changes to both elements of the scheme include awarding compensation to victims of terrorism in road traffic accidents. It has also introduced a mandatory framework for dealing with road traffic accident claims for children and protected parties.

Russell and Russell sponsor the Preston PedalFest (06/07/2017)

A massive non-competitive cycling event is set to take place in Preston on Sunday 23rd July.

The Preston PedalFest cycle sportive, which is being sponsored by Russell and Russell’s personal injury department, will start from Avenham Park at 8.00am.

There are two routes taking in the views of the beautiful Lancashire countryside. The longer course is 65 miles, cycling through the Ribble Valley, Great Mitton and Whitewell before arriving in Dunsop Bridge to tackle the infamous Trough climb. There’s a food stop half way at Abbeystead.

A shorter route of 37 miles follows the same course, but forks off at Wilpshire via Longridge and over to Inglewhite before re-joining the route back to Preston.

Entrants can take home their own professional photo of themselves in action. All participants will be electronically timed and everyone taking part will be treated to free bacon butties and a brew at the finish.

To mark the occasion, we’re offering a great give away of a pair of Oakley Radar EV Iridium sunglasses on our Facebook page. Follow the instructions and a winner will be picked at random at 12 noon on Friday 21st July.

Anyone interested in entering the sportive has to be 16 years old or over and can register on line at Entries will close at 12 noon on Thursday 20th July or when the event is full.

Been ill on holiday? (06/06/2017)

Whether it was food poisoning, illness from unclean swimming pools, norovirus on a cruise or an injury abroad, you shouldn’t have lost the time, enjoyment and money while on holiday if it could have been prevented.

Sadly, food poisoning or stomach bugs affect lots of people during their break away. The most common causes can be from unhygienic food preparation, eating undercooked food, being served food not fit for human consumption and incorrect food storage.

Food poisoning claims can also arise from poor basic hygiene standard due to a lack of education amongst its catering staff and management, including:

  • Not washing hands
  • Cross contamination of infected raw meats and chicken on chopping boards/works surfaces
  • Not refrigerating perishable foods
  • Failure to wash kitchen utensils/knives/work surfaces thoroughly
  • Leaving food uncovered
  • A lack of pest and insect control

Holiday resorts can also spread viruses through the water systems. Where there’s poor or ineffective drainage and construction, contamination from toilets, wash basins, sprinkler systems and showers can occur. If you’ve experienced the following symptoms, you may be entitled to claim holiday sickness compensation:

  • Sickness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Upset stomach

In order to pursue a claim, it’s helpful if you can provide as many of the following items:

  • Evidence that you purchased the holiday
  • Photographs of the restaurant or hotel that caused the food poisoning
  • Names and contact details of any other holiday makers who can verify the conditions and who may also have also contracted food poisoning
  • Details, (and receipts if possible) of any medical treatment received, including medication, the doctor you saw on holiday at the resort or your own GP or hospital

If you’ve been affected by holiday sickness, call us so we can discuss your circumstances to find out if you can make a claim.

Concerns over changes to personal injury law pay outs (30/05/2017)

Despite falling road traffic accidents and improving car safety, the government is attempting to change personal injury laws, blaming the increase in compensation claims.

Justice Secretary, Liz Truss recently stated that the government intends to tackle the county’s “rampant compensation culture” by introducing a reduction in the level of pay outs victims of road traffic accidents receive from around £1,600 to £225 for soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash. But in an earlier debate, Ms Truss was asked what evidence underpinned the changes and proposed compensation tariff figures.

She replied: “We have changed the figures in response to the consultation document. Those were judged to be fair and reasonable for the level of injury that we are talking about in this case”. But, Labour MP, Rob Marris described the tariff as “bizarre… with no evidence of where the government got their figures from, but just an assertion from the Secretary of State that they believe in fair compensation”.

Shadow Justice Secretary, Richard Burgon said the proposed reforms of personal injury whiplash claims were based on “a false premise”. He went on to say that injured people “should not be made to pay the price for the behaviour of the unscrupulous minority” – specifically cold-calling claims management companies. He also urged the government to obtain guarantees from insurance companies that they would pass on the savings from the reforms.

Personal injury solicitors concerns are that if they’re no longer able to recover legal costs, injured victims will have no one to turn to, leaving insurance companies to deal with claimants direct. It’s fair to say that profit margins are likely to be high on the insurance industry’s agenda, so the best interests of the injured party may not always be the primary consideration.

The legal sector also believes that government’s changes will deter people with genuine claims from accessing legal representation and, without solicitors acting on their behalf, victims may not receive the correct level of compensation. Also, from a judicial perspective, there will inevitably be an increase in the number of people who try to take on the insurance companies. For those brave enough, they will have to be adept at navigating complex areas of law, while it remains to be seen how the courts will cope. 

UK is not the whiplash capital of Europe (16/05/2017)

A recent claim by insurance companies that the UK is the whiplash capital of Europe has been found to be based on unreliable data cherry picked to support the government’s reform agendas.

Ken Oliphant, professor of tort law at Bristol University, said the evidence has been misleadingly presented, with main evidence coming from a flawed study by the Comité Européen des Assurances (CEA) in 2004.

Professor Oliphant said the data actually showed that Italy had nearly 50% more whiplash claims than England and Wales in the period assessed, and that it had paid out almost twice as much in compensation. Claims in Switzerland cost 10 times as much as those in the UK, while the Netherlands, almost six times as much.

Professor Oliphant said that though there have been specific instances in which fraudulent whiplash claims have been exposed in the UK, “there is a lack of reliable evidence as to extent of the problems of fraud and exaggeration, and a corresponding concern that – as with the whiplash capital claim – unreliable data will be used as the basis of tendentious interventions in the public debate…..the majority of injured persons whose claims for compensation are entirely genuine.”

Russell and Russell specialises in road traffic accident claims and whiplash injuries. Our solicitors are experts in personal injury compensation claims and offer legal advice on a no win no fee basis so we can take on the insurance companies on your behalf.

Russell and Russell Launches Chester Personal Injury Department (28/03/2017)

Russell and Russell has set up a personal injury department at its Chester office.

The practice will be offering a 24 hour a day, seven days a week service for anyone who has been involved in an accident that wasn’t their fault. Specialist personal injury solicitor, Claire McKenzie will head up the department at the White Friars based practice in city centre. 

Speaking of the move, Derrick Smethurst, who heads up the firm’s personal injury department, said: “We offer a personal injury service at our branches across Greater Manchester so it was a natural progression for us to offer it in Chester. Personal injury is under represented in the area and we want to provide a local service so that people don’t have to travel to Liverpool or Manchester to see a solicitor. We can advise on all kinds of injuries, in particular accidents at work, road traffic incidents and clinical negligence cases.”

Which? Report Reveals Insurers Failing to Pass on Road Traffic Accident Savings (11/10/2016)

Consumer organisation, Which? has claimed that motor insurers are increasing driver’s premiums after a collision, despite the policy holder not being at fault.

The findings of the undercover investigation revealed that the cost of minor collisions are being passed on to policy holders, which is at odds with promises made by the insurance industry to reduce premiums after reforms were brought in to combat the number of whiplash claims.

The Law Society has spoken out about the report, saying it wants answers from the insurance industry.

It has suggested that, as a consequence of recent (the Jackson) reforms, the government’s objective to reduce the cost of motor insurance by reducing the number of personal injury claims was not being met because insurers are not passing the savings on. According to figures released by The Times, road traffic accident personal injury claims have fallen by 23,000, saving insurers almost £520 million.

In addition, the Law Society is also concerned that government plans to raise the non fault personal injury claims threshold from £1,000 to £5,000 will prevent access to justice for people claiming for soft tissue injuries. If the plans go ahead, it’s likely that those suffering from whiplash – perhaps the most common road traffic accident injury – won’t be able to get the legal advice they need to bring a claim because injuries of this nature tend to receive damages of less than the proposed £5,000 level.

As it’s a legal requirement for motorists to have insurance and declare any incident when renewing a policy, even if they failed to claim, the Law Society believes that motor insurance providers should not be financially benefitting from fewer road traffic accident claims by not passing on the savings to the public.

Great Langdale Set for Huge Cycling Event (18/04/2016)

A massive cycling event is set to take place in Great Langdale on Sunday 24th April.

Endurance sports organiser, Epic Events is hosting the Lakeland Loop Cycle Sportive, a challenging 86.5 mile bike ride around the Lake District.

Starting from the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Great Langdale, between 8:00 and 10:30am, the event is being sponsored by North West legal firm, Russell and Russell Solicitors.

Although not a competitive race, the route will incorporate some of the most gruelling climbs, so is not for the faint hearted. There will be two food stops on route and free parking is available at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.

Speaking of the Sportive, event organiser, Marc Laithwaite said: “Russell and Russell’s personal injury service is relevant for our members, and anyone involved in cycling, given how vulnerable they are as road users, so it was a natural fit for us to partner with the firm.”

“As a business that has a long history of community engagement, we felt that the Cycle Sportive was the perfect event to get involved in”, added Derrick Smethurst of Russell and Russell Solicitors. “The Lakeland Loop will be a fantastic day out and I wish all cyclists the very best of luck for completing the course.”

Entry for the Lakeland Loop is £25 and participants must be 16 years old or over. Enter on line at Entries will close at 12 noon on Thursday 21st April or when the event is full.

Eden Valley Epic Cycle Sportive - Sunday 6th March 2016 (29/02/2016)

As the Eden Valley Epic approaches, those who are taking part in the event will no doubt be getting excited about the challenges the ride will bring.

Cycling, as a competitive sport or a pastime, is gaining in popularity as more and more people realise the mental and physical benefits the sport offers.

At Russell and Russell we understand how incorporating a bit of exercise into your daily routine can have a positive effect on your life as a whole. The firm is actively involved in a scheme which provides a tax free way of enabling employees to purchase a bike to cycle to work and one of our equity partners, Peter Leather, is a keen cyclist himself.

Last June he took part in a charity fund raiser for Bolton Lads and Girls Club Hub and Spoke Appeal. A gruelling 500 mile cycle route over the Alps from Geneva to Nice, it included an exhausting 48km 9,068ft ascent up the Col de I`Iseran, the highest paved pass in the Alps. Over the seven days it took to complete the ride, he climbed over 60,000ft.

As a cyclist you’ll appreciate you’re one of the most vulnerable road users and if you find yourself involved in a road traffic accident, the consequences could be far reaching. Drivers pulling out of junctions without looking properly, defective or badly maintained road surfaces, drivers not seeing you and turning into your path and drivers failing to check their mirrors are just some of the reasons why cyclists get hurt.

While we’ve no doubt you would prefer the accident not to have happened in the first place, should you find yourself in the positon of having been hurt through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. We can help you on the road to recovery by recouping the cost of damage to your bike or any loss of income and expenses you may have incurred. Most importantly though, we can assist in getting you get the medical care and attention you need to help you get back in the saddle.

We operate on a no win no fee basis and deal with minor incidents to catastrophic life changing injuries and everything in between. So, if you’ve had an accident – whether that’s on the road, at work or in a public place – talk to Russell and Russell on 0800 731 7555.

Cyclists Promised a Cracking Ride Out (09/02/2016)

Grasmere is playing host to a major cycling event on Sunday 14th February. The Cumbrian Cracker, a 60 mile cycle route starting from Grasmere Village Hall, will take riders along the shores of Coniston before weaving their way through the country lanes of Grizedale forest, Hawkshead and Ambleside.

The event which starts between 7.30am and 10.30am is being hosted by Epic Events and is sponsored by law firm, Russell and Russell Solicitors. The ride is expected to take between three and seven hours, so slower cyclists should start early to allow time to complete the distance. Registration is open from 7.00am in the village hall and a maximum of 20 riders are able to start every two minutes.

The Cumbrian Cracker is one of four Cycle Sportives organised by Appley Bridge based, Epic Events. Free parking is available on the day and entrants can take home their own professional photo of themselves in action. All participants will be electronically timed and everyone taking part will be treated to free pie and peas at the finish.

“Russell and Russell’s personal injury service is relevant for our members, and anyone involved in cycling, given how vulnerable they are as road users, so it was a natural fit for us to partner with the firm”, explained event organiser, Marc Laithwaite of Epic Events.

“As a firm that has a long history of community engagement, we felt that the Cycle Sportive was the perfect event to get involved in”, added Derrick Smethurst of Russell and Russell Solicitors. “The Cumbrian Cracker will be a fantastic event that can be enjoyed by serious cyclists as well as those who enjoy it on a recreational basis. We’re expecting a huge turn out on the day, but the course is limited to 1,000 riders so entry will be on a first come, first served basis and as it’s non-competitive, we hope as many people as possible will take the opportunity to get on their bikes.”

The cost to enter is £25 and entries can be made online via the Epic Events website

What Can Happen if You Suffer a Brain Injury (04/02/2016)

A brain injury can be caused in many different ways, such as a road traffic accident, an accident at work, as a result of a criminal attack or even a slip or fall in a public place. 

Signs of a head injury can include unconsciousness, fits or seizures, difficulty speaking or staying awake, repeated vomiting, blood or clear fluid coming from the nose or ears and memory loss. If symptoms of a brain injury are not investigated quickly by a qualified medical professional, its affect can be life changing. 

While most people can fully recover from a brain injury, some less obvious problems can remain. These include headaches, bladder and bowel incontinence, difficulty with balance and coordination, a loss of sensation, Epilepsy, Dyspraxia, tiredness or trouble with speaking and swallowing. 

Changes to emotional and behavioural control can also be the result of a brain injury. Because they are not as obvious as physical injuries, they can be the most difficult to recognise and deal with. Emotional and behavioural brain injuries are split into the following 11 categories: 

  • Agitation – pacing up and down and restlessness
  • Anxiety - feeling insecure, having panic attacks and experiencing nightmares
  • Explosive anger and irritability – exaggerated reactions to minor annoyances
  • Impulsivity and disinhibition – not considering the consequences of actions such as speaking your mind or touching people inappropriately
  • Apathy and poor motivation – a lack of interest or enthusiasm to do things
  • Depression – feeling low and thinking that things have changed for the worse
  • Sexual problems – promiscuity, an increased sex drive and interpreting people’s behaviour as being provocative
  • Emotional lability – a tendency to laugh or cry very easily, shifting from one emotional state to another quickly
  • Lack of awareness and insight – an inability to adjust personal behaviour according to situations • Self-centredness – only being concerned with personal needs
  • Inflexibility and obsessionality – being unreasonably stubborn or exhibiting patterns of obsessive behaviour

Another consequence of a brain injury is how it affects our hormones. Damage to the hypothalamus and / or pituitary gland, which are at the base of the brain, can lead to too little or too much of one or more hormones being released. Damage to the pituitary gland can cause a reduction in hormone production, a condition known as hypopituitarism. 

Most people’s hormones levels are severely affected in the early stages after a brain injury which can make diagnosis of hypopituitarism difficult. The result of pituitary and hypothalamus damage can be wide ranging because of the large number of hormones which could be affected.

The lasting effects of brain injury can be devastating. If you’ve been affected, you could be entitled to compensation. Call our personal injury solicitors to discuss your situation.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (12/01/2016)

Every 90 seconds, someone in the UK is admitted to hospital with a brain injury; the effects of which can be short lived or life changing.

A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when the brain receives a blow or jolt. There are many ways of sustaining this type of injury, but they are often associated with road traffic accidents, assaults, falls and accidents at work.

Although initially caused by an external force, complications can develop as a result of a Traumatic Brain Injury, so the condition tends to be viewed as a chain of events:

  • In the seconds after the accident: this includes closed, open or crush wounds. Closed injuries are the most common and don’t break the skin. They often occur as a result of rapid acceleration or deceleration, for example if a car is struck from behind. As the skull is jolted, the brain has to move with it which can cause nerve fibres to twist, stretch or tear. The front of the skull also has sharp bony ridges that the brain can bash against and arteries and veins within the brain can be damaged, causing blood to leak.
  • Open or penetrating wounds can expose the brain to damage and are often associated with an acceleration type of injury, such as being hit with a sharp object like a motorcycle break lever or a pick axe. Although the accident may appear horrifying, if the injury is limited to a specific area, the outcome can be positive.
  • Crush injuries happen when the head is caught between two hard objects, such as a car wheel and the road. Damage is often caused at the base of the skull and nerves of the brain stem, rather than the brain itself. Thankfully, this is the least common type of injury.
  • The minutes and hours following a brain injury: this dependent on when medical intervention takes place. If the brain is starved of oxygen, it can make the damage caused by the injury worse. The ways in which this can happen include a person’s airways being restricted due to the way they are lying, blood blocking the airway or choking on vomit after an accident. Blood reaching the brain can also be reduced if a person sustains other injuries which cause serious blood loss.
  • Any time after the first and second stage: in the days and weeks following the injury, further complications can arise as a result of bruising or swelling in the brain, bleeding or blood clots developing.
  • As space in the skull is limited, any blood or other bodily fluids leaking into the area can be very dangerous as it causes the brain to swell. Complications occur because the soft, swollen brain presses against the hard internal walls of the skull, causing damage. Also, when the brain swells it can squeeze the blood vessels, limiting the brain's blood circulation, which can be fatal.
  • If blood has leaked from damaged veins and arteries and pooled, clots can develop. These can press on the surrounding brain tissue which can damage it. They also raise pressure in the brain. Clots can form in the brain itself or in the space between the brain and the skull. Even after minor injuries, blood clots can develop which is why patients are often kept in hospital under observation until the risk of a clot forming is minimal.

If you’ve suffered a brain injury, it’s vital you seek medical attention immediately. What may appear to be just a bump to the head, could have serious consequences so ensure you get yourself checked out by a skilled medical professional.

Our personal injury specialists can help if you’ve sustained a brain injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Call us to find out if you’re entitled to make a claim.

National Recognition for Russell and Russell's Personal Injury Department (29/09/2015)

Russell and Russell's personal injury department has achieved recognition from a national campaign organisation for injured and bereaved people.

The firm's Bury office has gained ‘corporate accreditation’ from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), a not-for-profit organisation which works to improve the law for people killed or injured through no fault of their own.

“People maimed because someone didn’t take proper care, or relatives of those killed due to another’s negligence are entitled to compensation. We can help these people get their lives back on track and attempt to restore some sense of the life they would and should have had,” said Vince Pearl, partner and personal injury specialist at Russell and Russell.

The firm can now display APIL’s quality mark logo which ensures individuals seeking legal help can be guaranteed a high level of experience and expertise.

The association’s president Jonathan Wheeler said: “When they see APIL’s accreditation logo clients can be assured they are in good hands. Russell and Russell Solicitors has successfully fulfilled extensive criteria to prove a high level of client care and quality assurance. APIL will provide the firm with ongoing training and development in best practice, enabling clients to get the justice to which they are entitled.” 

National Road Victim Month 2015 (04/08/2015)

National Road Victim Month, an awareness campaign organised by the road safety charity RoadPeace, is taking place throughout August. The initiative aims to remind people of the devastating impact road accidents can have on people’s lives and to remember past victims.

More people are killed on the roads in August than in any other month of the year. Reasons behind this include an increase in the number of cars on the roads and more children being outside during the school break.

Figures recently released by the Department for Transport showed that there were 1,775 reported road deaths in 2014, an increase of 4% in comparison to 2013. Car occupants made up 45% of fatalities, followed by pedestrians at 25%, motorcyclists at 19% and cyclists at 6%. Despite this, 2014 had 45% fewer fatalities in comparison to figures in 2005.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Britain continues to have some of the safest roads in the world. In 2013 fewer people died on British roads than at any point since records began and last year was the third lowest total on record.”

Non-built up roads accounted for more deaths (896) than built up roads (783), whilst motorway fatalities decreased slightly by four from 2013 to 96 in 2014. Worryingly fatal accidents involving pedestrians increased by 12% to 446 in 2014, whereas the number of cyclist mortalities did not increase significantly, up four deaths from 2013 to a total of 113. That said, the amount of serious injuries suffered by cyclists rose by 8.2% to 3,401.

Jane Penman, a Partner in the Specialist Personal Injury Department at Russell and Russell Solicitors said: “Although the figures report the third lowest number of deaths on record, the amount of incidents involving vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists is concerning. As a firm that deals with personal injury accidents, we see a huge amount of injuries that are caused by the negligence of others. Speed and distractions are likely to be factors and we need to remain mindful that we share road space safely with other users and try not to cause accidents that could be avoided.”

HSE Releases Fatal Injury in the Workplace Stastics (02/07/2015)

Provisional figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that in 2014/15, there were 142 fatal injuries in UK workplaces. Although this figure is 9% lower than the average for the previous five years (156), it is higher than the 136 recorded deaths in 2013/14. Industries with the highest risk of injury have not changed significantly, with construction, manufacturing and agriculture recording the most fatalities.

Due to variances in definitions of workplace accidents, and differences in internal industry structures, fatal injury statistics are difficult to compare with countries such as Asia and the USA, however, certain comparisons can still be made with other European countries. The United Kingdom continues to be one of the safest places to work in Europe with a fatal injury rate in 2012 of 0.58 deaths per 100,000 workers. When compared to other countries including Germany (0.9), Italy (1.29), Spain (1.99) and France (2.64), the UK rate is much lower.

Judith Hackitt, chair of the HSE said: “It is disappointing last year’s performance on fatal injuries has not been matched, but the trend continues to be one of improvement. Our systems and our framework remain strong as demonstrated by our performance in comparison to other countries. Every fatality is a tragic event and our commitment to preventing loss of life in the workplace remains unaltered. All workplace fatalities drive HSE to develop even more effective interventions to reduce death, injury and ill health.”

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the national, independent watchdog that acts to reduce the number of work-related deaths and serious injuries in the workplaces of Great Britain.