Spinal injury compensation claims

If a victim suffers from spinal injury or spinal cord injury due to a negligent accident, the claim which arises can be different to a regular personal injury compensation claim, as it results in serious injury. This causes a variety of other factors to be taken into consideration, and various experts may need to be consulted. This may also cause a higher amount of compensation to be sought in these types of cases, due to the sheer nature of the claim. Continue reading

Accident claims and contributory negligence

If an accident occurs on the road between vehicles, a lot of the time, the court may apportion the fault between the parties who are involved. Sometimes, the court may find one party at fault, and other times both parties are equally at fault or apportioned differently such as 60:40. This duty of care also extends to their own safety, to take precautions to minimise the risk of injury.

What Duties are Owed in an Accident

Any road user has a duty of care to avoid causing injury to other road users and pedestrians. The duty of care is not limited, and is not to say that each user has to make sure others are safe, but to prevent any injuries which could be reasonably foreseen from their actions on the road. Continue reading

Asbestos Compensation advice

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a fibrous material that was widely used in building work between the 1950s and the year 2000. Its most common use was as an insulator and to protect against corrosion. Asbestos was mixed with other material and can be found in building products such as tiles, pipes, boilers, ceiling and door panels, window panels, roof sheeting and sprayed coatings.   Continue reading

Compensation Claim Advice

If you have lost money or possessions or suffered an injury as a result of an incident which was not your fault then you may be entitled to claim compensation from the party at fault. This is not the most complex of processes but, to the lay person, it may be a daunting prospect. The easiest and most effective first step is to seek legal advice from an expert in the relevant field. A solicitor can advise you generally as well an answering any questions you have which are specific to your claim. Further, a solicitor can give you a true assessment of the chances of a successful claim as well as advising you on any further evidence which may be needed. Continue reading

Car accident insurance claims

Car accidents

Car accidents can happen when you least expect it and can leave you badly injured and severely out of pocket. They can also leave you without a vehicle which can mean a lot of hassle in doing the day to day things and can make other tasks impossible. It is a legal requirement to have insurance when driving a vehicle in England or Wales, a failure to do so can lead to a fine, points on your driving licence and possibly a disqualification.  Continue reading

Insurance Downgrades Due to Personal Injury Exposure

Insurers which are dealing with multiple personal injury claims are facing the prospect of a downgrade from credit rating agencies. This is largely due to Periodical Payment Orders (PPOs), which are an alternative to lump sum settlements in personal injury cases. Under a PPO a claimant will still receive a lump sum, but a smaller one, which is then periodically topped up to cover costs such as medical expenses and to compensate claimants for loss of earnings.

PPOs were introduced by the Courts Act 2003 which gave courts the power to grant claimants settlements to cover them for the rest of their lives. Two years after their introduction less than five claims were settled using PPOs whereas by the end of 2010 almost 20 claims were settled in this way. This increased trend has been driven by low interest rates amongst other factors.  Continue reading

Issues with injury claims and the personal injury market

The last decade has witnessed a boom in personal injury claims, particularly in those areas such as road traffic accidents, and work-related accidents. Whiplash injury claims have soared, with many labelling this new era as the ‘compensation culture’.

Although it is actually relatively simple to pursue a personal injury claim, the perceived complexity of such claims has led to a burst in claims management companies (CMCs).

Those that are thinking of using these companies should be wary of whether they are actually getting professional advice – many use ‘claims specialists’ rather than actual solicitors – and so advice can sometimes be diluted, or not be as professional as one might expect.

Problem #1: Time Delays between the Accident and the Claim

One of the biggest problems with personal claims is the time delay between the accident and the beginning of the case. Most of these claims are based on the negligence of the defendant, and so need to be pursued within 3 years from the date the injured party becomes aware of the fact that they have suffered an injury. Note that the time limit does not begin from the date of the accident, but from the date at which the claimant realises their injury. Continue reading

Car insurance renewals – check the prices

It seems to have become the norm in the motor insurance world that the quotes motorists receive to renew their insurance are often higher than many first time offers by other companies. In some extreme situations it has also been witnessed that renewal quotes can be higher than the original payments, causing many motorists to question their insurance companies.

Internet-savvy motorists have also discovered that their company, who offered them a pricey renewal quote, are offering the same cover cheaper through price comparison sites. This is a very risky strategy for insurance companies, who are assuming that loyal motorists will accept the higher renewal quote without question/looking around. This demonstrates how little the companies are taking into consideration individual drivers’ circumstances, skills, and accidents to date.

It has been found that insurance premiums have increased by 17% in the last year alone, with insurance companies quick to offer excuses of increased whiplash claims and increased fraudulent scams.

The BBC’s Watchdog programme highlighted this ‘trick’ that insurance companies use. Interestingly enough, it is not limited to the smaller insurance companies – instead companies like MoreThan, Admiral and Swiftcover were all offenders. The programme followed a MoreThan customer who had just received a renewal quote of £750. After visiting some price comparison websites, he found the same cover, from the same insurer, for just £512. MoreThan were contacted, and when demanded an explanation, the best they could do was offer the customer the £512 rate for renewal, instead of giving any justification as to their renewal quote pricing structure.

MoreThan later spoke to the BBC and stated that they need low premiums to attract new customers, but existing customers are quoted renewals based on the risk they pose to the company. If that truly were the case, then why were they so quick to offer the customer mentioned above the cheaper renewal rate?

Another customer the BBC Watchdog programme highlighted was a customer from Admiral. Paying £1000 a year for 2 cars, he was shocked to receive his renewal quote, which required him to double his premium at £2000. Searching online, this customer found exactly the same type of cover with the same insurer for just £961. After ringing up Admiral, they again were quick to offer him the cheaper rate without fuss. When asked for an explanation for this strategy, they too attempted to give a similar justification for their pricing structure.

Having read about these case studies, it is imperative that all drivers who manage their insurance do not just accept the renewal quote from their insurance company that gets posted through the door. At the very least, customers should check online price comparison websites, to ensure they are aware of the prices their insurance company are offering to new customers. According to GoCompare, some 27% of people do not even do this small step, allowing their insurance company to automatically renew their policy at the end of the existing one. Estimated savings which drivers could have saved by not doing this reach around £3.1 billion.

Everyone recognises that with the current economic climate, companies are feeling pushed to retain their profits. However, it becomes quite unacceptable when companies are resorting to these sort of tactics in an attempt to fleece their loyal customers. It means that customers are having to work extra hard in order to spot these tactics in an attempt not to trip over them. The sheer fact that these companies are readily offering the lower, new premiums when loyal customers complain about their renewal quotes is evidence to the fact that they are just trying to rely on those that will renew automatically without questioning the raised price.

Cosmetic Surgery Negligence Cases

When you undergo surgery, there is always the chance that something can go wrong and many people are finding out just how wrong cosmetic surgery can go, which is ironic considering it is supposed to make you look better!

The rise of cosmetic surgery negligence cases can be explained by one simple fact – more people are having it done. However, what is more worrying are the surgeons that people are going to when having their surgery. Due to the expense involved with cosmetic surgery people are putting money before their health. As a result people are not carrying out any due diligence because they want to save money and surgeons are cutting corners because they want to make money. For example, there have been some recent cases where people are using cheaper surgeons, carrying out a variety of procedures when in fact they are only trained for one. Some people even go abroad for these treatments and it is even possible to go on a package holiday where cosmetic surgery is included.

Going abroad for cosmetic surgery can be very dangerous. As well as usual issues such as language barriers, your travel insurance is unlikely to cover you if things go wrong with your cosmetic surgery and things can very easily go wrong. There have been a number of cases abroad where it has been found that surgeons are either not qualified to do the job, their practices do not have the same health and safety standards as the UK or the surgeons are simply not competent to carry out these procedures. This has resulted in a number of horror stories from utensils being left inside bodies following procedures or unconnected parts of the body being permanently damaged.

Other common blunders by surgeons both in the UK and abroad include: failing to obtain proper consent, not taking down medical history, leaving permanent scars and asymmetrical features. In these cases, if the patient has carried out their due diligence and is not to blame for the procedure then they may be entitled to compensation. The amount of compensation varies depending on the seriousness of the negligence and the long term effects, but it can be substantial. You may be surprised to learn that on average, cosmetic surgery negligence cases are more successful than medical negligence cases, particularly in cases of breast surgery, eyelid operations, facelifts, nose reductions and weight loss.

What is important is that before a patient undergoes cosmetic surgery, their doctor carries out a psychological evaluation to make sure that the patient understands what surgery they are getting and that they do not have unrealistic expectations. Duty of care and health and safety should always be put before profit making otherwise the number of cosmetic surgery negligence cases are going to continue to rise.

If you have had a cosmetic surgery procedure which has gone wrong, there are now some specialist solicitors who may be able to assist you. However, choose carefully, don’t make the same mistake twice.

Clarification of asbestos law

Finally Asbestos Victims Receive Justice

The families of literally thousands of victims who have died due to exposure to asbestos will now be able to put forward successful claims for compensation thanks to a new ruling made by the UK Supreme Court.

There has been much confusion within the courts surrounding the area of asbestos claims and judges in lower courts have been unable to come to an agreement as to when an insurer becomes liable to pay compensation in cases of exposure to asbestos.

In 2008 the High Court ruled that the company’s insurer became immediately liable from the moment the victim inhaled the asbestos but, just two years after this ruling, the Court of Appeal claimed that, in certain cases, it would only be after the symptoms of the asbestos exposure had developed that the insurer’s liability would come into play.

In many cases of asbestos exposure, such as asbestosis, the symptoms of exposure can take up to 30 years or more to make their presence known and, due to this confusion, the Supreme Court was asked to step in and interpret insurance policies to give everyone involved a clearer picture of the insurer’s liabilities and the point at which they begin.

The Supreme Court have done just that and their new ruling states that liability lies with the insurance company providing the employer cover at the time the victim inhaled the asbestos.

This ruling has been seen as a real breakthrough for many victims of asbestos exposure and their families who, before the ruling, would have had to wait possibly decades for symptoms to arise or even death to occur before being able to put in a claim.

Many insurers took the view that it was the insurance company providing cover at the time that the symptoms of asbestos exposure became apparent that were liable, not the insures providing cover during exposure and it is this mindset that has caused so many victims and their families to miss out on what is rightfully theirs.

The other problem that many victims had to face under the old ruling was that, over the period of time it may well have taken for their symptoms to become obvious, the insurance companies who provided those victims with cover at the time may well have ceased to operate.

Sadly, many insurance companies were more than happy to sit back and continue to receive premium payments for extortionate lengths of time, especially in cases of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos which can take up to 60 years to develop, knowing full well that they would sway liability when the victim eventually put in a claim. With the new ruling in place it is hoped that we will see an end to the likes of these insurance charlatans and their underhand dealings.

The ruling has also brought results for the relatives of a victim of asbestos exposure who have spent the last 6 years fighting for justice. The insurance company they were claiming against argued that, because the illness developed outside the period of cover in question, they weren’t liable for the compensation pay out, however, the courts rejected their argument and finally, after their long and arduous ordeal, the family received what was owed to them.

It’s a sad fact that asbestos exposure is still a prolific problem and claims more than 2,000 lives every year, however, it is hoped that, with the new ruling in place, the families of those victims will feel a little more protected and, although it could never make up for the loss of a loved one, compensation payouts will be easier to obtain.