Court Approves Compensation for Hospital Mistakes

A court in Leeds has approved a settlement of compensation for hospital mistakes made during the birth of a young girl who now suffers from athetoid cerebral palsy.

Judge Mark Gosnell at the High Court in Leeds was told of the circumstances preceding the birth of Ruby Curtis from Garforth in West Yorkshire; who was born at St James Hospital in Leeds on 28th August 2005, having suffered from a lack of oxygen in the womb due to the failure of hospital staff to identify that her mother´s uterus had ruptured.

The court heard that Ruby´s mother – Lisa – had been given medication to aid her contractions, but staff were slow to notice Lisa´s injury and subsequently Ruby´s delivery was avoidably delayed. Ruby was born with athetoid cerebral palsy – a form of cerebral palsy which affects her head and body, all four of her limbs, and is responsible for involuntary muscular movements.

Although Ruby has learned to use her eyes to communicate, she needs assistance in all aspects of her daily life, including feeding, personal care and education. Ruby´s mother gave up working after her birth to become her full-time carer and now Ruby attends the specialist Percy Hedley School for children with cerebral palsy in Killingworth.

Ruby´s mother made a claim for compensation for the hospital mistakes after seeking legal advice and, after years of pursuing her claim, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust eventually admitted their “majority” liability for Ruby´s birth injuries and a compensation settlement was negotiated that would see Ruby receive a lump sum payment of £2.95 million in compensation for hospital mistakes with payments made annually to provide for her care thereafter.

At the High Court in Leeds, Judge Mark Gosnell was told that a settlement of compensation for athetoid cerebral palsy had been agreed, which will see Ruby receive £2.95 million as a lump sum payment to pay for her care, education costs and special accommodation near her school, with ongoing annual tax-free payments to provide the care Ruby needs when she reaches adulthood.

Approving the settlement, Judge Mark Gosnell noted that the funds would be managed by the Court of Protection and said to Ruby´s parents that the compensation for hospital mistakes should secure “a better family life for both you and Ruby”. He added that he hoped an apology read out in court on behalf of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust would give them some sense of closure.


Janitor Awarded Compensation for a Slip on Ice at School

A janitor has been awarded compensation for a slip on ice at school – the injuries from which resulted in him losing his job.

In November 2010, Stephen McKeown from Port Glasgow in Inverclyde worked as a janitor at St Stephen´s High School in Port Glasgow. One week, he was asked to cover for the permanent janitor at the nearby  at St Francis´ Primary School, and he arrived on the Monday morning at 7.00am to start clearing ice which had formed overnight from the paths to the classrooms and the playground.

From 9.00am onwards, sixty-one year old Stephen salted by hand the areas of lower priority – such as the school´s parking lot – but, during the first lesson break, two pupils drew his attention to a condom at the top of one of the fire escapes leading to the classrooms. As he climbed the steps of the fire escape, Stephen slipped on the icy stairs and fell against a wall – damaging his back and suffering a leg injury.

Unable to maintain his janitor duties, Stephen´s work contract was terminated by Inverclyde Council – following which, Stephen claimed compensation for a slip on ice at school with the assistance of a lawyer. Inverclyde Council denied their liability for his injuries and the case went to the Outer House of the Court of Session, where it was heard by Lord Burns.

After hearing evidence from both parties, Lord Burns found in Stephen´s favour; for although the council had a system of work in place which could have prevented Stephen from suffering his injuries, it was never implemented – nor was Stephen ever provided with the tools which would have made jobs such as spreading salt on icy days safer and more effective.

Lord Burns awarded Stephen £30,000 compensation for a slip on ice at school, finding that Inverclyde Council had been in breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.


School Injury Compensation Claims Cost a School District more than $1 million

Figures provided for the BBC under a Freedom of Information request have revealed that school injury compensation claims cost Welsh education authorities more than £800,000 (over $1 million) in the five years to 2013.

A range of accidents and injuries were included in the figures which covered 312 school injury compensation claims made by parents on behalf of their children – including trips and falls on school property, slips on icy approaches to classrooms and injuries sustained from faulty school equipment. One claim revolved around the incorrect application of first aid which resulted in a child suffering from painful skin blistering.

The education authority in Cardiff received the highest number of school injury compensation claims between 2008 and 2013, with 74 of these being successful. Newport local council paid out £248,131 over the period in respect of 44 successful compensation claims for injuries at school, while the local authority in Rhondda Cynon Taf had the highest average settlement value of £18,993 per claim.

A spokesperson for the education authorities said that parents were being encouraged to claim compensation for injuries at school by lawyers offering “contingency fee” injury claims, but one mother disagreed – telling the BBC that she only made a claim on behalf of her son who suffered an injury due to a faulty school gate to get the school to acknowledge that the gate was faulty and getting the hazard fixed to prevent other children from suffering an injury.

Owen Hathway – NUT Cymru´s policy officer – also commented on the volume of school injury compensation claims seen in Wales. He commented that if councils failed to invest in making schools safe, and allowed children to be taught in dilapidated buildings, then it was inevitable that children would be injured in avoidable accidents.

Best Injury Claims Footnote: Accidents will happen when groups of young children are together and, if your child is injured in an accident at school, you are only entitled to make school injury compensation claims if it can be established that your child´s injury was avoidable and attributable to negligence.

Any amount of compensation that a claim is settled for has to be approved by a judge before the compensation is paid (even if tour claim is resolved without a court hearing), and the compensation funds are then held in trust by the court your child reaches eighteen years of age.


Man Awarded Compensation for a Cycling Injury after Court Hearing

A cyclist, who now requires full-time care after a collision with a car in 2005, has been awarded £5.3 million in compensation for a cycling injury after an eight-year legal battle.

Toby Phethean-Hubble (24) from Knowle in Shropshire was just sixteen years of age when, in November 2005, he attempted to cycle across the road outside the Whitchurch Leisure Centre, and was hit by a car driven by seventeen year-old Sam Coles.

Coles had passed his driving test just eight days before the accident, and was driving his mother´s automatic for the first time. Even though he later admitted to seeing Toby cycling on the pavement, Coles said that there was nothing he could have done to prevent the accident – in which Toby was thrown over the top of the car before hitting the ground on the other side of the car.

Toby suffered catastrophic brain injuries and was at one point not expected to live. However, a groundbreaking operation in which Toby had a titanium plate inserted to his skull and years of physiotherapy later, Toby is now able to walk with the assistance of a frame, but still needs full-time care at a specialist centre in North Devon.

Through his mother, Toby made a claim for compensation for a cycling injury against Coles´ insurance company; but they denied liability and alleged that Toby himself was to blame for the accident due to his own lack of care and because he was not wearing a cycle helmet or using the lights on his bicycle at 8.00pm in the evening.

However, Coles had admitted to the police after the accident that he had been driving faster than the 30mph speed limit, and Toby´s mother took Toby´s cycling injury compensation claim to court; where in March 2011 Judge Wilcox ruled in Toby´s favour but assigned him one-third liability for his actions in causing the accident.

Coles´ insurers appealed the judgement and, after a hearing at the Appeal Court in 2012, Toby´s liability was increased to one-half, and the cycling injury compensation claim was adjourned for the assessment of damages.

Last week, Mr Justice Stewart at the High Court in London, approved a £5.3 million settlement of compensation for a cycling injury that help pay for Toby´s care and accommodation at the North Devon centre and enable him to afford the medical aids which will allow him to live as independently as possible.


Changes to Personal Injury Claims Procedures will Speed up Compensation

Changes to personal injury claims procedures introduced on 1st August 2013 will speed up compensation settlements in claims with a value of up to £25,000.

The second of two changes to the Civil Procedure Rules took effect on 1st August 2013, and whereas the changes to the personal injury claims procedures in April of this year took away some of the benefits of making “Contingency Fee” compensation claims, the most recent changes should allow claimants to receive their compensation settlements within a shorter time frame.

The new procedures will see the length of time negligent parties and their insurance companies have to acknowledge “Letters of Claim” reduced to one day from twenty-one days, and the number of days available for them to conduct their own investigations into a claim reduced from ninety days to thirty days (forty days in the event of a compensation claim for an accident at work).

The aim of the new procedures is to reduce the costs of pursuing a claim for personal injury compensation when the value of the claim is less than £25,000 and when liability is not disputed. Any negligent party or insurance company who fails to adhere to these guidelines will not be able to take advantage of the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal and will face higher costs in defending the claim.

There are numerous exceptions to the new Civil Procedure Rules and there will be no change to the personal injury claims procedures in the following events:-

  • If an injury has been sustained due to the negligence of a private individual – for example if a homeowner has damaged the pavement outside their house over which you have tripped and fallen
  • If the injury which is being claimed for is an acquired disease either at work (for example COPD due to your working environment) or a place of public access (for example food poisoning in a restaurant)
  • If an injury has been sustained in an accident or scenario involving more than one party – for example a car accident in which more than one person was to blame
  • If an injury was sustained in an accident for which you were partly to blame or if your injury was exacerbated due to your own lack of care (also known as “Contributory Negligence”).
  • If a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition was due to medical negligence – either at a hospital or in private practice such as at the dentist
  • If you have developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos, or if you are claiming on behalf of an individual who has died due to mesothelioma cancer
  • If you have sustained an injury due to the negligence of a party who is uninsured, insolvent or untraceable – such as if you are injured in a hit and run accident.

The changes apply to injuries which have been sustained or diagnosed in England or Wales from 1st August onwards, and do not affect the length of time you have after an injury has been discovered in which to claim personal injury compensation – currently three years in the UK.

Should you require further information about how the changes to the personal injury claims procedures may affect you in your particular circumstances, you are advised to speak with a personal injury lawyer at the earliest opportunity.


£7 Million Settlement of Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim Approved in Court

The £7 million settlement of a motorcycle accident injury claim, made on behalf of a Brazilian woman who suffered brain damage after an accident in London, has been approved in the High Court.

The claim for motorcycle accident injury compensation was made on behalf of Barbara Oliva (26) from Sao Paulo in Brazil by her mother – Edna – after Barbara suffered devastating injuries in an accident on London´s Embankment in 2008.

Barbara had been a pillion passenger on her husband´s Honda motorcycle, when the two – who were on honeymoon at the time – were hit by a car driven by Yusef Mahmoud of Southwark, London. Barbara´s husband and Mahmoud suffered minor injuries in the accident, but Barbara landed awkwardly on her head and suffered brain damage, despite wearing a crash helmet.

After recovering sufficiently to return to Brazil, Barbara – who is unable to walk or talk coherently because of her injuries – made a motorcycle accident injury claim for compensation through her mother. Liability was admitted by Mahmoud´s insurers, as he had been charged with driving offences which led to the accident, and the insurance company started making interim payment of compensation for a motorcycle accident injury.

At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Lewis was told that a final settlement of Barbara´s motorcycle accident injury claim had been agreed amounting to £7 million and, after hearing the circumstances of Barbara´s accident and her terrible injuries, approved the settlement of the claim, saying that it was “just and reasonable“ in the circumstances.


Employee Wins Appeal for Crushed Hand at Work Injury Compensation

A woman, who worked at the Chivas Brothers bottling plant in Kilmalid, is to receive compensation for a crushed hand at work injury after a hearing at the Court of Session.

In October 2009, Carol Kennedy from Dumbarton sustained a hand injury while working for the world-famous whisky manufacturer in their Kilmalid bottling plant, when the swivelling wheels of a trolley she was using to transport 380Kg of bottle caps locked after misaligning.

Carol tried to get the trolley moving again by moving to the front of its cage and attempting to pull it through a narrow gap between two autocol machines; however, as she did so, her hand was crushed between the cage if the trolley and one of the machines.

After seeking legal advice, Carol made a claim for crushed hand at work injury compensation – claiming that her employers had not fulfilled their health and safety obligations under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Carol´s claim was initially dismissed by the Dumbarton Sheriff´s Court in June 2012, but she appealed her claim to the Court of Session and, after a hearing before Lord Drummond Young, Carol was awarded £5,321 in compensation for a crushed hand at work injury.

Lord Drummond found that, as Carol was only 5’ 3” tall and would have had her visibility obscured by the boxes of bottle caps on the trolley, it was “reasonably foreseeable” that there was a risk of injury that the company should have been aware of and acted to prevent.


Injury Claims for NHS Negligence Increase by More Than 18 Percent

Figures released by the Compensation Recovery Unit of the DWP have revealed an 18.4 percent in the number of injury claims for NHS negligence settled in the past year.

According to statistics recently published, the Compensation Recovery Unit recovered state benefits and healthcare costs from 16,006 injury claims for NHS negligence in 2012/2013 – an increase of 18.4 percent on the corresponding figure from the previous year (13,517) and more than 80 percent up on figures from five years ago (2007/2008 – 8,876).

The size of the increase prompted Margaret Hodge – chairperson of the Commons Public Accounts Committee – to describe the figures as “deeply worrying” and stated that the quality of healthcare provided by the NHS was a “major concern”. However, medical and legal experts had their own views on the reason for the increase.

Chief Executive of the Patients Association – Katherine Murphy – commented “I think the public has become far less tolerant about putting up with appalling failings in care, but most people only pursue legal action when every other avenue has failed” and her opinion was mirrored by a leading medical negligence lawyer who said “In the past, victims of medical accidents often had moral reservations about claiming against the NHS, despite having clearly suffered extreme negligence in some cases, but the shocking findings of the Francis report have now made hospitals fair game in the eyes of the public.”

When approached by news agencies for a comment, a spokesperson from the Department of Health said “Whilst we know the vast majority of patients get good, safe care, the best way to reduce compensation claims is to improve patient safety further – and this is a priority.” He added that the National Health Service has sought outside help to encourage “a zero-harm culture in the NHS” which will ultimately reduce the number of injury claims for NHS negligence.


Settlement of Injury Claim for a Powerboat Accident Approved in High Court

A teenage girl, who suffered devastating injuries when an inflatable ring she was riding in crashed into a moored boat, has had a settlement of her injury claim for a powerboat accident approved at the High Court.

Rebecca Coles (now 19) from Langdon Hills near Basildon in Essex sustained her injuries in an accident on the River Orwell in May 2008 when, as she was being towed on an inflatable rubber ring behind a powerboat, the driver of the boat swerved to avoid a yacht. The action of the powerboat driver swung the inflatable rubber ring around and smashed it into the side of another boat, causing Rebecca to sustain severe head injuries.

Rebecca was admitted to Addenbrooke´s Hospital in Cambridge, where she underwent several operations including one to have part of her skull removed and a titanium plate inserted. Doctors told Rebecca that because the part of the brain that controlled her movement was so badly damaged she would never walk again. Rebecca also suffered permanent damage to her peripheral vision and lost 40 percent hearing in her right ear because of her injuries.

Through her father – Steven Coles – Rebecca made an injury claim for a powerboat accident against the insurers of the boat´s driver and, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Teare heard that an agreement had been reached between the Coles´ family and the insurance company to settle the powerboat accident injury compensation claim for £1.37 million.

Mr Justice Teare was also told that, since her accident, Rebecca has undergone intensive physiotherapy and specialist rehabilitation at the Children´s Trust in Tadworth which enabled her to walk a mile in the 2010 London Marathon. Rebecca also achieved sufficiently high GCSE grades to study events management at college. Approving the settlement of the injury claim for a powerboat accident the judge wished Rebecca well for the future – both with her studies and her life after her studies.


Haringey Council Aim to Reduce Injury Claims for Trips on Footpath Potholes

Haringey Council in North London has announced plans to revise the frequency at which potholes on pavements are inspected and repaired in a bid to reduce injury claims for trips on sidewalk potholes.

The decision to invest more resources into maintaining the council´s streets and pavements follows the seven-figure compensation settlement of an injury claim for a trip on a sidewalk pothole paid to Kyle Bullock earlier this year, after the charity worker sustained a brain injury when tripping on a three-inch pothole in the pavement on Lightfoot Road in Hornsey.

An investigation following the settlement of the claim revealed that the Council´s policy of inspecting its pavements and roads every six months – and only filling potholes with a depth of two inches or more – was costing more money in the settlement of injury claims for trips on sidewalk potholes than it was saving.

A spokesperson for Haringey Council said that the pavements and roads within the borough would be inspected more frequently; with repairs being undertaken within six days (rather than the present twenty-eight days) on potholes with a depth of one inch or greater. The improvements to the pavements and roads within Haringey´s boundaries are expected to be completed within six months at a cost of £109 million.


Company Found Liable for a Work Injury due to a Lack of Training

A Derbyshire food company has received a significant fine after it was found negligent and liable for a work injury due to a lack of training.

The injury occurred to a male employee working in the Loscoe Chilled Foods plant in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, in November 2011 when he attempted to remove meat which was stuck between the blades of a mincing machine.

The employee removed the safety guard of the machine even though the blades had not yet stopped turning and severed the top of his left index finger. The man was rushed to hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to connect the tip of his index finger and was absent from work for three weeks because of his injury.

The injury was reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under RIDDOR regulations, and a consequent investigation found that, although the safety guard protecting the blades on the meat mincing machine was in working order, it should only have been removed using a specific method which the employee had not be trained to do.

The HSE found that Loscoe Chilled Foods were responsible for the employee´s accident and work injury due to a lack of training and in breach of Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 11 of the provision and Use of Work Equipment Act 1998.

At South Derbyshire Magistrates Court the company pleaded guilty to being in breach of the regulations, and, after hearing that a previous HSE inspection had identified the risk of a work injury due to a lack of training, Magistrates fined Loscoe Chilled Foods £16,000 for their breach of the law and a further £16,192 in costs.


Butchers Fined for a Work Injury due to the Lack of Protective Equipment

A butcher´s firm in Lewisham, South-East London, has received a fine from Westminster Magistrates after an employee suffered an avoidable work injury due to the lack of protective equipment.

The employee – who did not wish to be named – was deboning a lamb shoulder at Rare Butchers of Distinction in July 2012, when the knife he was using slipped and made a ‘deep and painful cut’ into his left forearm.

The man was rushed to Lewisham General Hospital, where he underwent an emergency operation. He was off work for three months thereafter; during which time he had to undergo intense physiotherapy to recover the strength in his left hand and thumb.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the accident found that the employee had only been provided with a wrist-length chain mail glove for his non-knife hand and, had he been given an elbow-length glove, the injury could have been avoided.

The HSE took Rare Butchers of Distinction to court for failing to conduct a thorough risk assessment and provide their employee with suitable protection from possible injury under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. The company were also charged with failing to report a work injury due to the lack of protective equipment within the legally required 10-day limit.

At Westminster Magistrates Court, the company pleaded guilty to offences against both the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) Act 1995 and were fined £2,750 with costs of £3,690.


Compensation for a Pedestrian Injury on Holiday Approved in Court

A man who was left in a coma after being hit by a car in Rome has had a settlement of compensation for a pedestrian injury on holiday approved in court.

James Kennedy (37) from Gosforth in Newcastle was holidaying in Rome with university friends when, on 14 January 2006, he was hit by a car driven by Father John Cole of Merthyr Tydfil while crossing the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele.

James was taken to the city´s Santo Spirito Hospital, where he lay in a coma for ten months suffering from catastrophic brain damage and fractures to his skull, shoulder, knee and spine. Although now ‘mentally acute’, James is confined to a wheelchair because of his physical injuries and suffers from a lack of concentration and poor memory.

Because of his psychological impairment, James made a compensation claim for a pedestrian injury on holiday through his mother – Elaine – against Father Cole´s car insurers. However, the insurance company contested the claim on the grounds that James had been wearing dark clothing when the accident occurred and had ‘kept no proper lookout’ before stepping out into the street.

A negotiated resolution was reached in October 2009, in which Father Cole´s insurance company accepted 80% liability for James´ injuries and the claim was adjourned for the assessment of damages. An interim payment of compensation for a pedestrian injury on holiday amounting to £885,000 was paid to James earlier this year to enable him to move out of residential care and into a more suitable home.

The full settlement of compensation for a pedestrian injury on holiday is expected to be in excess of £10 million – as James is to receive a further lump sum payment of £3 million on approval of the settlement and index-linked, tax-free payments of £210,000 every year to pay for the cost of the care and support he will need for the rest of his life.

Mr Justice Bean at the High Court in London approved the settlement and commented that James risked having a bigger percentage deducted from the award for his contributory negligence had the claim been resolved by a trial. The judge announced that the funds would be managed by the Court of Protection to ensure that every pound was used to maximum effect for James´ benefit.


Student Receives Pedestrian Compensation for Being Hit by a Car

A business administration student from Birmingham is to receive more than £1 million pedestrian compensation for being hit by a car following a negotiated settlement.

The undisclosed sum will be paid to Lee Edge (21) from the city´s suburb of King´s Heath after an agreement was reached on how much compensation he should be entitled to following an accident in January 2005; when he was run down by a car whose driver was later convicted of driving without due care and attention.

Lee made the claim for pedestrian compensation for being hit by a car through his mother Sandra while he was recovering from the accident – due to which he now suffers from poor memory, fatigue and difficulty in concentrating.

Despite his injuries, Lee managed to achieve sufficiently high grades to attend college and, following an assessment of his future health requirements, Lee will now be the recipient of a seven-figure settlement of pedestrian compensation for being hit by a car.


Campaigners Criticise Government´s Plans for Mesothelioma Compensation Settlements

Victim support groups have criticised the government´s proposals to provide mesothelioma compensation settlements to former employees who contracted an asbestos-related disease in the workplace and who are unable to trace their former employer to claim compensation.

Details of the Mesothelioma Bill were announced last week in the Queen´s Speech and were widely welcomed by government ministers who said that the plans address the scenario in which former employees, who were negligently exposed to asbestos in the workplace, are unable to trace an employer or insurer against whom to claim compensation.

The proposed legislation would establish a £300 million fund – paid for by a levy on insurance companies currently providing employer´s liability insurance – that would provide compensation for mesothelioma sufferers who would otherwise not receive anything. Mesothelioma compensation settlements would be paid out to those who qualified for the scheme at a rate of 70 percent of average industry settlements.

However, while government ministers and the Association of British Insurers welcomed the bill, campaigners were saying that it did not go far enough and highlighted the proposals major failings –

  • The mesothelioma compensation settlements will only be paid to those diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer from 25th July 2012
  • The 70 percent ceiling on ‘average’ settlements prevents each claim for mesothelioma compensation from being settled on its own merits
  • Those suffering from other asbestos-related illnesses – such as asbestosis and pleural thickening will be excluded from the proposed government legislation

Chairman of the Asbestos Victims Support Group – Tony Whitston – said: “What appears to be a great deal brokered by government, and costing the insurance industry a small fortune, is in reality something entirely different. This scheme is not what we expected. It was presented as a fait accompli to asbestos victims and saves the insurance industry a small fortune at huge cost to asbestos victims.”

The British Lung Foundation highlighted that “a shamefully small amount” was spent on research into mesothelioma cancer – only £400,000 in 2011, compared with £11.5 million spent on lung cancer – and said it would also seek to amend the proposed legislation for mesothelioma compensation settlements to ensure a “long-term, sustainable research fund” is set up to find a cure for mesothelioma.


Appeal Court finds Local Government Jointly Negligent in Pothole Crash Injury Claim

The Appeal Court has found Devon Council jointly negligent in a pothole crash injury claim following a car accident on the C-25 which left one passenger brain damaged and a second tetraplegic.

The accident, which happened in November 2006, occurred when a Land Rover driver – identified as “TR” – overtook a slow moving car travelling on the rural road between Honiton and Smeatharpe. As he was doing so, “TR”´s offside wheels dropped into an 8cm pothole alongside the edge of the road. “TR” attempted to steer his vehicle out of the defect in the road but lost control of the Land Rover and swerved across the road and crashed into trees. A Later investigation found that the Land Rover had been travelling at 45mph – well within the speed limit for the road.

“TR”´s two passengers both sustained catastrophic injuries – one suffering permanent brain damage and multiple skeletal injuries, while the second passenger was rendered tetraplegic and suffered traumatic amputation of an arm. Each passenger received compensation for their pothole crash injuries from “TR”´s insurance company, but the “TR” subsequently made a pothole crash injury claim against Devon Council – claiming that he would not have had the accident were it not for the poor condition of the road.

At the High Court in April 2012, Mrs Justice Slade found that Devon Council was 100 percent liable for the accident on the grounds that the safety inspection regime on the stretch of road had been inadequate and its state of repair was “well below a standard a reasonable driver could expect”.

The judge heard evidence that the road was only inspected twice a year contrary to the Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance Management (2005) to adequately inspect and maintain the winding and hilly road. The judge was also told that no risk assessment had been carried out prior to the six-monthly inspection program being adopted despite the council being aware that the road was used by agricultural vehicles and heavy goods lorries.

However, at the Appeal Court in London, Lord Justice Hughes – sitting with Lord Justice Lloyd and Sir Stanley Burnton – found that, although he could find no flaw in Mrs Justice Slade´s interpretation of the law, “TR” bore half the blame for the tragedy and 50 percent liability in the pothole crash injury claim. Lord Hughes said that the pothole in the road was “there to be seen” and there had been plenty of room to manoeuvre. He ruled that “TR”´s inadvertent error in not seeing and avoiding the 8cm pothole contributed to the accident.

He concluded: “Although the error may have been one which many might make, it amounted to a significant failure to keep a proper lookout and to manage the car correctly; it had terrible consequences. In my view, the only proper finding was that there was contributory negligence to the extent of 50 percent”.

Footnote: The two passengers have already settled their claims for pothole crash injury compensation. The passenger with the brain injury received a lump sum of £1.2 million, while the second victim was awarded a lump sum of compensation for pothole crash injuries amounting to £3 million plus annual payments of £275,000. The High Court case in April 2012 and Appeal Court case above were heard to determine liability in the pothole crash injury claim.


Claim for the Misdiagnosis of Terminal Lung Cancer Resolved Out of Court

A family´s claim for the misdiagnosis of terminal lung cancer has been resolved out of court following the death of Frank Golby in February 2012.

Frank, who was aged 65 at the time of his death, had been referred to Coventry University Hospital in May 2010 by his family GP after complaining of a persistent cough and underwent a CT scan. The scan revealed a 1cm-wide nodule in Frank´s left lung; however this was overlooked by his doctors, who diagnosed a chest infection.

The scan was never reviewed, despite Frank returning to the hospital on several more occasions complaining of breathing problems; but, in February 2012, a chest x-ray showed that the lump had grown to five times its original size. Assurances that all was well – and that Frank would be home with his family in Whoberley within a few days – were found to be incorrect, as Frank died the following day.

Frank´s family made a claim for the misdiagnosis of terminal lung cancer after seeking legal advice, alleging that Frank would have lived for a further ten years had the cancer been correctly identified when he underwent the original scan in 2010 when the condition was treatable.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust reviewed Frank´s treatment and acknowledged that a mistake had been made. They hospital authority issued an apology to the family and the claim for the misdiagnosis of terminal lung cancer was resolved out-of-court for an undisclosed five figure sum.


Postman Awarded Compensation for Spine Injuries in a Cycling Accident

A postman is to receive £7,300 compensation for spine injuries in a cycling accident following the negotiated settlement of his injury claim against his employers.

David Thompson (62) made his claim following a cycling accident in December 2011, when he was knocked off of his bicycle by a Royal Mail van while returning home from a night shift at the Leeds Mail Centre.

David was taken to hospital by ambulance, where he was diagnosed with soft tissue injuries to the lumbar region of his spine as well as bruising to his leg, chest and ribs. He remained off from work for two months – during which time he had to sleep downstairs in a chair in his Leeds, West Yorkshire home, as it was the only place he could feel comfortable.

When David returned to work at the Leeds Mail Centre in January 2012, he was assigned light work duties to help him recover from his injuries. However, David had to incur additional travel costs to commute to and from work because he had list his confidence to ride his bicycle.

Following a conversation with his union representative, David made a claim for compensation for spine injuries in a cycling accident against his employer – the Royal Mail – and, in a negotiated settlement, resolved his claim for £7,300 cycling accident compensation.


Employee´s Claim for a Fall Down Stairs at Work Resolved in Court

A former maintenance officer, who was forced to retire from his job after an accident at work, has been awarded £17,000 compensation in settlement of his claim for a fall down stairs at work.

The unnamed 61-year-old from Wakefield in West Yorkshire was employed at the West Yorkshire Police Headquarters in November 2008 when his accident at work happened. Slipping at the top of a flight of stairs leading down to the basement of the building, the civilian employee fell down the complete flight of stairs, hitting his head against a wall and straining his back as he fell.

Due to his injuries, the maintenance officer had to take eight months off from work and, when he returned to his job, was only capable of doing light duties. Eventually his inability to lift without pain made it impossible to maintain his employment and he took early retirement.

After seeking legal advice, it was established that the fall down the flight of stairs could have been prevented had a handrail been affixed to the wall and the former West Yorkshire Police employee made a claim for a fall down stairs at work against the police authority.

West Yorkshire Police denied their responsibility for the accident and the maintenance officer´s back injury and court proceedings were issued for the claim to be heard at Leeds County Court. After hearing about the accident, the judge found the police authority negligent for failing to conduct a risk assessment and install a handrail on the flight of stairs.

The judge also found that, due to the nature of the claimant´s back and head injuries, his working life had been curtailed by six months with the resultant loss of income. The judge awarded the former maintenance office £17,000 compensation plus costs in settlement of his claim for a fall down stairs at work.


Factory Employee Receives Compensation for Fracturing a Foot at Work

A factory worker who injured two metatarsals in his left foot after he was provided with the wrong equipment to move alloy bars is to receive £6,500 compensation for fracturing a foot at work.

Michael Kirby (47) from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, sustained his injury while working as a machine operator for local company Ross & Catherall Limited. Michael had been moving some five feet long alloy bars with a scissor clamp, as he had been trained to do, when one of the bars fell from the clamp and landed on his foot.

Despite wearing steel toe-capped boots with a metatarsal guard, the impact of the alloy bar was so heavy that it fractured two bones in his foot. Michael was taken to hospital immediately, where his foot was fitted with an aircast boot and he was provided with crutches in order that he could still be mobile.

Following his accident, Michael´s employers changed their working practises so that the metal bars were placed closer to the vacuum machine into which Michael had been trying to move them, and a different type of clamp with curved interlocking forks was introduced to improve safety.

After seeking legal advice from his union, Michael made an injury claim for fracturing a foot at work on the grounds that he had been trained to move the alloy bars in an unsafe way, and that no risk assessment had been conducted until after his accident had occurred.

His employers – Ross & Catherall Limited – admitted liability for Michael´s foot injury and settled his claim for compensation for fracturing a foot a work out of court for £6,500.


Record Amount of Work Injury Settlements for Teachers Recorded

Work injury settlements for teachers have increased by almost 24 percent according to figures released for 2012 by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).

The total amount of compensation recovered for teachers who sustained avoidable injuries at school in 2012 is estimated to be in excess of £25 million after the NASUWT revealed the total value of work injury settlements for teachers paid to their members exceeded £15.6 million.

The two smaller teaching unions – Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) – are believed to have each obtained around £5 million for its members in compensation for teachers injured at work in preventable accidents.

The largest individual teachers work injury settlement amounted to £382,930, and was paid to a teacher from the north-east who had to abandon his career after developing complex regional pain syndrome due to a pupil slamming his arm in a filing cabinet drawer.

Other significant work injury settlements for teachers included a special school teacher (£279,381) who suffered a back injury and emotional trauma after falling from a minibus and a technology teacher (£240,000) who developed asthma and sinusitis due to working in a poorly ventilated workshop for ten years.

Commenting on the size of the work injury settlements for teachers awarded in 2012, Chris Keates – NASUWT general secretary – said “Behind every one of these cases is a person who has been damaged physically or mentally. The distress and pressure of the incident to the individual teacher and their family has often been compounded by years of legal action and court proceedings before any award is made. While compensation is important, it can never make up for the fact that many of these teachers suffer permanent physical and mental injury and often cannot continue in their chosen career.”


Settlement of Child Brain Injury Claim Approved in High Court

A settlement of a child brain injury claim for compensation amounting to £7.3 million has been approved at the High Court in London by Mr Justice Tugendhat.

The settlement related to a claim made by Robbie Crane (13) of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, who in October 1999 underwent surgery when only three days old to correct a transposition of the great arteries – a rare birth condition in which the major arteries going into the heart have developed the wrong way round.

Despite the complicated surgery being successful, Robbie suffered brain damage during the 15-hour period after his operation because a ventilator keeping him alive had not been adjusted properly.

Because of the alleged medical negligence, Robbie suffered brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy, learning difficulties, behavioural problems and epilepsy. Robbie has no sense of danger, will never be able to lead an independent life and required constant supervision at all times.

After seeking legal advice, Robbie´s parents – Catherine and Barry – made a child NHS brain injury claim for compensation against the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, claiming that Robbie´s condition was a direct result of medical negligence.

The NHS Trust denied that they were liable for Robbie´s injuries, but in October 2011 agreed to an out-of-court settlement amounting to 70 percent of how much the High Court assessed Robbie would need to provide care for the rest of his life.

Mr Justice Tugendhat at the High Court in London heard that, with Robbie´s anticipated life expectancy, the sum of £7.3 million would enable a lump sum to be paid to the family immediately and provide for index-linked and tax-free payments to be paid annually.

After hearing the details of the case, Mr Justice Tugendhat approved the settlement of the child NHS brain injury claim and paid tribute to Robbie´s parents for devoting the last thirteen years to his well-being.


Compensation for Pupils Injured at School Tops £200,000 in Essex

Figures acquired by the East Anglian Daily Times have revealed that Essex County Council paid £222,137 in compensation for pupils injured at school between 2008 and 2010.

The compensation settlements account for seventeen successful claims for pupils injured at school during the three year period – with several claims for accidents which occurred in 2011 and 2012 still to be agreed.

Among the highest settlements of compensation for pupils injured at school were:
• £30,544 injury compensation for a trip on a school step
• £28,972 for a child who injured his face against a window ledge
• £27,780 compensation for a slip on a wet floor at school
• Two amounts of £24,650 and £23,580 paid in settlement of claims for falls from school climbing equipment

A spokesperson for Essex County Council commented on the figures. “Essex County Council takes its health, safety and wellbeing responsibilities seriously and is committed to complying with its legal, moral and financial obligations”.

However, County Councillor Julie Young said some parents might find the figures disturbing – and insisted more should be done to improve health and safety in schools. In relation to the settlements of compensation for pupils injured at schools in Essex she stated “It is my understanding the council offers training but I question whether there is enough analysis done. I think more needs to be done.”


Compensation for Baggage Handler Injuries Awarded after Claim

A Stansted Airport worker, who suffered a broken back after being hit by a luggage towing vehicle, has resolved his claim for compensation for baggage handler injuries for an undisclosed settlement.

Mick Draper (64) from Braintree, Essex, made his claim for baggage handler injuries after an investigation into his accident at Stansted Airport in March 2009 revealed that the driver of the luggage towing vehicle had worked eleven consecutive seventeen-hour shifts.

Mick broke three bones in his back after being knocked onto a luggage chute by the force of the impact and, despite a series of operations to reconstruct the broken bones, is unable to walk, lift or perform domestic tasks without pain.

It was alleged in Mick´s claim for compensation for baggage handler injuries that his employers – Swissport – had previously been warned by his union Unite that the long hours employees were being allowed to work represented a risk to health and safety

Swissport acknowledged that they had placed their baggage handlers at risk of injury and settled Mick´s claim for baggage handler injuries out of court for an undisclosed amount.


Claim for Being Hit in the Eye by a Golf Ball Heard in Court of Sessions

The Court of Sessions in Edinburgh is currently hearing a claim for being hit in the eye by a golf ball, in which the claimant is alleging he was partially blinded due to the negligence of a golfer.

The claim was made by 70 year-old David McMahon of Leven in Fife, who was acting as a ball watcher during the Scottish Amateur Champion of Champions competition in April 2009 when a golf ball hit by Gavin Dear (28) of Scone in Perthshire struck him in the face. Mr McMahon suffered a traumatic rupture of the right eyeball resulting in blindness to the eye.

Mr McMahon gave evidence to Lord Jones at the Court of Sessions that he had been relocating a couple of spectators who had strayed from the path and was returning to his golf buggy when the accident happened.

Mr McMahon claims that no warning shout had been given and that Mr Dear should have been aware that he was in line between the rough from where the shot was played and the green of the sixth hole on the Leven Links course. It is alleged that, had the gofer taken reasonable care, Mr McMahon would not have been hit in the eye by the golf ball.

Gavin Dear denied the claim for being hit in the eye by a golf ball, stating in evidence that neither he nor the two men who accompanied him on the round of golf saw Mr McMahon or the alleged spectators.

Although he admitted to seeing a golf buggy, he proceeded to play his approach shot due to the absence of any activity in its vicinity. Mr Dear maintained that he acted at all times with reasonable care and that it was only after the ball was struck that Mr McMahon emerged without warning from behind the golf buggy.

The hearing before Lord Jones continues.


Compensation for a Slip on Water in a Hotel Room Awarded to Lanarkshire Woman

Compensation for a slip on water in a hotel room has been awarded to a Lanarkshire woman who sustained head injuries while on holiday in Tenerife.

Sylvia McNicholl (49) from Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire sustained her injuries while on a family holiday in the Fanabe Costa Sur Hotel in Tenerife in May 2008.

On the first night of her holiday, Sylvia got up to help her three-year-old son who wanted to go to the bathroom and slipped on water which had leaked from an air conditioning unit.

As she fell, Sylvia hit her head on the door of a cupboard and was knocked unconscious. When she came round, Sylvia was taken to hospital where she needed stitches for her head wound; from which she still suffers from headaches and dizziness.

When she returned to the UK, Sylvia sought legal advice and discovered she could make a claim compensation for a slip on water in a hotel room as the hotel had not maintained a maintenance schedule for the faulty air conditioning system as required under Spanish law.

The travel agents through who Sylvia had booked the holiday – Thomas Cook – admitted their liability for her injury, and the two parties agreed a settlement of £37,000 in compensation for a slip on water in a hotel room to account for Sylvia´s pain and suffering at the time of the accident, a contribution towards her loss of earnings and the cost of the ruined holiday.


Pensioner Awarded Compensation for Working with Asbestos in a Factory

A former employee of bathroom appliance manufacturer Armitage Shanks has been awarded £160,000 in compensation for working with asbestos in a factory.

76-year-old Eli Richards for Great Wyrley, near Walsall, worked for the Armitage Shanks factory in Bushbury, Wolverhampton as a tool maker from 1979 until his retirement. Eli had been a very fit man throughout his younger years – playing table tennis, five-a-side football into his sixties and swimming regularly until recently.

Part of his responsibilities at Armitage Shanks included cutting boards of asbestos but, throughout his seventeen year employment with the company, Eli was never given any advice about the harmful effects of asbestos or provided with any personal protective equipment to prevent him from breathing in the harmful fibres.

Eli, who had never smoked in his life, was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma – a fatal lung cancer which is caused by exposure to asbestos – and, after seeking legal advice, made a claim for compensation for working with asbestos in a factory against his former employers.

After being presented with the case, Armitage Shanks admitted their liability for Eli´s condition and negotiated a settlement of compensation for working with asbestos in a factory amounting to £160,000.


School Crossing Guard Settles Hit and Run Compensation Claim

A school crossing guard, who was knocked over by a hit and run driver while helping children cross the road, has settled her hit and run compensation claim with the driver´s insurers.

Forty-nine year old Karen Littler from Wigan in Lancashire was hit by the Honda Insight driven by Ceris Lovett while she was helping children cross the road outside their school in Ashton-in-Makerfield in March 2012.

Rather than checking to see if Karen was alright, Lovett drove off and was pursued by a motorist who had witnessed the accident. The motorist was able to record Lovett´s number plate and informed Greater Manchester Police.

Karen was taken by ambulance to Wigan Infirmary, where she received professional medical attention for bruising down the left-hand side of her body. She returned to work as a lollipop lady soon after, but continued to experience confidence issues when walking into the road to stop oncoming traffic.

Lovett was arrested by Greater Manchester Police and convicted of driving without care and attention. However, despite their client´s conviction for the offence, Karen received no joy in pursuing a hit and run compensation claim directly from Lovett´s car insurance company.

Eventually Karen sought professional legal assistance and legal proceedings were issued – at which point Lovett´s car insurance company made an offer of settlement for Karen´s hit and run compensation claim for an undisclosed amount, which was accepted on advice from Karen´s lawyer.


Claim for Assault Course Accident Resolved at the High Court

A claim for an assault course accident, in which a Hampshire scout leader fractured a vertebra in his back, has been resolved in the High Court for £167,514.

Robert Wilson (49) from Bordon in Hampshire made his claim for assault course accident compensation after sustaining an injury while leading his scout troop on the Challenge Valley assault course at the Clyne Farm Centre near Swansea in August 2009.

To get down from the “Burma Bridge” obstacle, Robert was required to descend a fireman´s pole despite voicing concerns for his safety in the wet conditions. His worries were justified, as he landed awkwardly at the base of the pole and fractured a vertebra in the base of his spine.

Robert was taken by helicopter to hospital where he underwent surgery. But, as Mrs Justice Swift heard at the High Court in London, his injury prevented him from driving his taxi or caring for his wheelchair-bound wife and four-year-old son.

After seeking legal advice, Robert made a claim for assault course accident compensation on the grounds that he had not been given proper instruction on how to safely descend the fireman´s pole and that the landing cushion had been compacted by the previous participants on the assault course.

Clyne Farm Centre denied their liability for Robert´s injuries, and alleged that Robert had removed his hand from the pole to “show off” to his scout troop. It was also claimed that a ladder was situated nearby in case a participant did not want to depart the “Burma Bridge” obstacle via the fireman´s pole.

After hearing evidence from both Robert and the instructor who was with him when the accident occurred, Mrs Justice Swift found in Robert´s favour and rejected claims made by the Clyne Farm Centre that “[Robert] was the author of his own misfortune”.

Awarding Robert £167,514 compensation in settlement of his claim for assault course accident, Mrs Justice Swift said she had no doubt that Robert “is a genuine hard-working man” who had devoted himself to the care of his wife and their four-year-old son.


Woman Awarded Compensation for Failed Gastric Band Operation

A woman has been awarded £35,000 in compensation for a failed gastric band operation after doctors negligently failed to close an incision in her stomach which led to complications.

Rachel Benefer (28) – a mother of two from Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire – underwent the operation in 2007 at the Classic Hospital in Hull after her weight had risen above nineteen stones due to polycystic ovary syndrome.

Surgeons at the hospital initially thought that the operation had been a success, but Rachel developed a hernia in her small bowel due to the failure to properly close an incision in her stomach and she developed an inflammation of the abdominal wall and acute peritonitis as a consequence.

Rachel lapsed into a coma and spent five weeks in hospital – during which time she had to undergo an emergency tracheotomy procedure and have further surgery to treat the hernia. As a result of her ordeal, Rachel suffered from mild depression and has permanent scars from surgery on her abdomen.

After seeking legal advice, Rachel made a claim for compensation for a failed gastric band operation against the Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust and, shortly before a hearing into her case was scheduled, the Trust admitted liability for her injuries and a settlement of £35,000 was negotiated.


High Court Upholds Nurse Manual Handling Injury Claim

The High Court in London has upheld a nurse manual handling injury claim for compensation after finding the senior nurse in question not guilty of contributing to her own injuries.

In March 2008, senior nurse Sue Germaine was employed by Epsom Hospital in the Outpatients Department. Arriving early at work one morning to prepare the department for the day´s clinics, she found that contractors had moved the rows of metal seating in the waiting area to lay new flooring but have left them blocking the doors to the consulting rooms.

Sue requested the assistance of porters to move the seating back into its normal position, but was told that none would be available until after lunch. She also requested help from the maintenance department, but was told it was not part of their job description and reported the situation to the project manager who had been in charge of overseeing the contractors.

As the Outpatients Department opened – and patients were arriving who needed somewhere to sit – Sue decided to move the metal rows of seating herself. It was when she moving the last one into place that she injured her back. Sue reported her injury to her line manager and the appropriate incident and injury reports were made.

Sue subsequently had to give up her job due to her injury, and made a nurse manual handling injury claim to recover damages for the pain she had experienced at the time of her injury and compensate for her loss of income. Epsom and St Heller University Hospitals NHS Trust admitted partial liability for Sue´s back injury, but claimed that she had contributed to her injury by not following her manual handling training.

However, at the High Court in London, Judge Simon Brown QC threw out the argument of contributory negligence against Sue´s nurse manual handling injury claim; ruling that the hospital´s training had been specific to a nurse´s role and did not cover the lifting of furniture. Furthermore Judge Brown stated that guidance for nurses of patient handling was that it should be avoided “wherever practicable”. It had not been reasonably practical for Sue to avoid moving the seating in the circumstances of having asked for help and having been denied it.

Sue´s nurse manual handling injury claim will now proceed to be assessed for damages.


Still Time to Claim BT Workers Hearing Injury Compensation

There is still time for many former and current British Telecom employees, who have sustained a loss of hearing due to using faulty testing sets, to claim BT workers hearing injury compensation.

In August 2010 – in the case of Watkins v British Telecommunications – BT admitted that workers involved in the testing, tracing and installation of telephone lines had been provided with equipment which produced loud, high-pitched tones and damaged their hearing.

The case resulted in numerous claims for BT workers hearing injury compensation being made and, as many of the injuries had developed years before, BT announced it would not impose the three-year Statute of Limitations which usually limits an employer´s responsibility for workplace injuries.

However, in June 2012, the company changed its mind about allowing a limitless period in which to claim compensation for BT workers hearing injuries, and announced that – from January 1st 2013 – any BT worker claim for hearing injury compensation would be contested if it was made after the three-year Statute of Limitations had expired.

This means that former and current employees who have been diagnosed with a hearing disorder within the last three years which is attributable to BT´s negligence are still eligible for compensation for BT workers hearing injuries and receive recompense for their damaged hearing.

Former and current BT employees not involved with the installation of lines, but who have sustained damaged hearing due to working within range of excessive noise produced by jack hammers and Kango hammers, and who were not provided with suitable protection for their hearing, are also eligible for compensation – provided that their hearing injury has been diagnosed within the last three years.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has advised any current or former BT worker suffering from tinnitus, damaged hearing or premature deafness which is due to BT´s negligence to speak with a lawyer at the first practical opportunity.


Compensation for Fatal Negligent Hospital Procedure Awarded to Widower

The widower of a woman who died following a “routine” hernia operation is to receive £150,000 compensation for fatal negligent hospital procedure in an out-of-court settlement.

Helen Blyth (79) underwent the hernia operation at Northampton General Hospital on 2nd March 2010 after being diagnosed with a large hiatus hernia which had entered her chest through her diaphragm. At 8.00pm on the evening of her surgery, medical staff recorded a fall in Helen´s blood pressure and, at 1.00am on 3rd March 2010, she was found unresponsive. Despite efforts to revive her, Helen died at 1.55am.

At the inquest into Helen´s death in September 2010, the surgeon who performed the operation – Mr David Cubbon Hunter – testified that Helen died due to a rare complication following surgery; however Helen´s husband – Sydney Blyth – asked lawyers to look more closely into the circumstances surrounding Helen´s cardiac arrest and death.

The lawyers – through their medical expert – found that Mr Hunter had used Pro Tack staples during the surgery despite the manufacturer´s advice that their product should not be used in procedures when the hiatus hernia was in the diaphragm. The lawyers alleged that Mr Hunter either knew of the risks involved, and chose to ignore them, or was unaware of the warning – both scenarios being negligent in his line of work.

Sydney made a claim for compensation for fatal negligent hospital procedure against Mr Hunter and the Northamptonshire General Hospital NHS Trust and, after an internal investigation, the Trust acknowledged liability for Helen´s wrongful death and settled Sydney´s claim for £150,000.


Stately Home Injury Compensation Awarded to Man for Fall on Grounds

A man, who badly fractured his ankle after a fall into a landscaping feature intended to stop animals roaming into the grounds of Hopetoun House, has been awarded £8,750 stately home injury compensation at the Court of Sessions in Edinburgh.

John Cowan from Livingston, West Lothian, had been visiting the historic building with his five-year-old grandson Ross on an organised tour during which visitors look for bats in the grounds of Hopetoun House while armed only with torches. It was as John and his grandson were making their way back to the parking lot that John stepped over the landscaping feature – known as a “ha-ha” – and fell five feet into the trench below, fracturing his ankle.

As John had recently undergone an operation for thyroid cancer, he was unable to shout for help and it was only when his grandson caught the attention of a passer-by that medical assistance was summoned. As a result of his fall on the grounds of Hopetoun House, John had to undergo a series of operations on his ankle; after which he sought legal advice about making a claim for stately home injury compensation.

The Hopetoun House Preservation Trust disputed John´s stately home injury compensation claim, stating that all the visitors to the historic house had been given instructions on how to safely return to their vehicles at the conclusion of the tour. John said he had not heard the ranger issue instructions, as he had taken his grandson to the bathroom at the time.

At the Court of Sessions, Lord Bracadale found in John´s favour, but reduced a proposed settlement of £35,000 by 75 percent to reflect John´s contributory negligence. He said “I find that the pursuer (Mr Cowan) did not hear these directions, no doubt because he was engaged in attending to the needs of Ross, and ended up walking in the dark on a route that would inevitably take him to the ha-ha at a point where there was a drop of about 5ft”.


Hospital Negligence Compensation Liabilities Bankrupting NHS Claims CEO

The Chief Executive of the Medical Defence Union – Dr Christine Tomkins – has claimed that the current level of hospital negligence compensation settlements is bankrupting the National Health Service.

Speaking a guest on the BBC´s ‘Today’ program, Dr Tomkins told presenter Justin Webb that, due to the Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act of 1948, settlements of hospital negligence compensation were being calculated without consideration of the services available on the NHS and therefore based on the cost of private care.

Money which could be retained within the NHS, she claimed, is pouring out of the public purse to set up “one-patient institutions” and, because of this, settlements of hospital negligence compensation were rising faster than society´s ability to pay for them.

Dr Tomkins commented that the NHS Litigation Authority has periodic payment liabilities of £18bn – sufficient to pay the yearly running costs of twelve teaching hospitals – and that if the care available on the NHS was utilised instead of being out-sourced privately, this liability would decrease significantly.

Justin Webb then introduced Clare Scott onto the show. Clare´s son Charlie was only recently awarded a hospital negligence compensation settlement valued at £7.1 million for the avoidable injuries he sustained during his birth at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in 1998.

Clare acknowledged that some of the care and equipment from which her son will now benefit could be provided by the NHS, but said that the compensation settlement will mean Charlie no longer has to wait for assessments by her local social services before being provided with the care he needs.

Clare added that the size and structure of the hospital negligence compensation settlement gives her son the security of 24-hour care when she, or the NHS, would be unable to provide it.


Woman´s Compensation Claim for Shop Sign Injury Heard in Court

A woman, who sustained a blunt closed head injury when a store sign fell from its fascia and struck her, has resolved her compensation claim for a shop sign injury after a court hearing.

The woman – identified as Ms Benham (61) – brought her claim for shop sign injury against the tReds shoe shop in Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, after the fifteen feet metal store sign fell from its fascia and hit her on the head on October 2010.

In her action against the shoe store, Ms Benham claimed that she had suffered a head injury due to the company´s failure to establish or maintain any adequate system of regular inspection or maintenance of the sign, and also allege that she had developed a temporary anxiety disorder as a result of her accident.

The store denied liability for her injuries; claiming that regular inspections of the store sign took place. However, lawyers acting on behalf of Ms Benham discovered that the sign had fallen due to the deterioration of the fascia and that the rot in the wood could not have possibly been discovered by the company´s inspection of the sign, which was conducted from ground level.

tReds continued to contest Ms Benham´s compensation claim for shop sign injury and the claim was resolved only after a hearing at Bournemouth and Poole County Court. At the hearing, Judge Maston concluded that the onus was on tReds to prove that the dangerous condition of the sign could not have been discovered by a suitable inspection.

As tReds were in control of the premises and unable to establish that the accident had happened due to anything other than the sign “owing to want of repair”, the Judge found in favour of Ms Benham and awarded her £18,000 in settlement of her compensation claim for shop sign injury.


Abbey Road Residents Entitled to Claim Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Compensation

Residents of the Abbey Road Estate in Camden will now be able to claim carbon monoxide poisoning compensation after the property services company – whose actions caused seven residents to be hospitalised – were found guilty of negligence at the Central Criminal Court.

The news that those who suffered an injury in the incident will be entitled to claim carbon monoxide poisoning compensation comes following the successful prosecution of Apollo Property Services Group Limited by the Health Service executive in relation to refurbishment work done of the roof of the estate between February and March 2008.

It was found in the case against the company that Apollo Property Services Group Limited did not have a system in place to identify which of the roof-top boiler flues were still operational and continued the refurbishment work without any thought being given to the consequences of their negligence.

The company were also found to be in breach of section 3(1) of the Health and Safety etc. at Work Act 1974 in regards to ensuring that workers engaged in the refurbishment work were made aware of safe working practices when in close proximity to boiler flues and warned of the possible risks. It was also discovered during the Health Service Executive´s investigation into the incident that no supervision was provided as the work commenced.

Judges at the Central Criminal Court in London´s Old Bailey fined Apollo Property Services Group Limited £165,000, ordered the company to pay £19,000 in compensation and £117,582 in costs. Residents of the Abbey Road Estate who suffered an illness related to blocked flues during the refurbishment work will now be entitled to claim carbon monoxide poisoning compensation against the company.


Claim for Slipping on a Pallet at Work Settled Out of Court

A woman who suffered substantial ligament damage in a workplace accident has had her claim for slipping on a pallet at work settled out of court.

Katrin Weiss from Intake, South Yorkshire, worked as the operations manager for Bereco Ltd – a window frame and door manufacturer based in Rotherham – when her accident happened in early 2011.

Katrin had been asked to stay behind after work and assist with the despatch of a delivery, as a colleague was absent due to illness. Many of the packages had been loaded when the 36-year-old arrived at the loading bay, but several bundles of frames and handles remained.

So that she could get to them, Katrin climbed atop a pallet which had been covered with a sheet of plywood which concealed the edges of the pallet and, as she clambered back down, slipped and fell – sustaining ligament damage to one ankle and badly twisting the other.

Katrin was taken to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, where doctors inserted two screws into her ankle to help stabilise the injury. However, the ligaments failed to heal and Katrin had to have two more operations to insert a metal frame into her ankle joint to assist her mobility.

Katrin sought legal advice and, due to the fact that her employers had failed to provide her with any safety training before allowing her to assist with the despatch, it was considered that Katrin had a claim for slipping on a pallet at work which was worth her while to pursue.

In her action, Katrin claimed for the pain and suffering she had experienced at the time of her accident, her loss of amenity throughout her recovery and her loss of income while she was unable to work for fifteen months.

Katrin also included in her injury compensation claim for slipping on a pallet at work compensation for the five-and-a-half-inch scar that will remain on her leg and the fact that she is likely to suffer a degenerative form of arthritis in the future.

After an internal investigation, Bereco Ltd admitted their liability for Katrin´s injuries and agreed an out-of-court settlement of £30,000 in settlement of Katrin´s claim for slipping on a pallet at work.


Woman Receives Gynaecological Negligence Compensation after Inadvertent Termination

A woman, who was found to be fourteen weeks pregnant during a hysterectomy procedure, has successfully made a claim for gynaecological negligence compensation against the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

The unnamed woman underwent the hysterectomy procedure in November 2007, during which it was discovered that she was fourteen weeks pregnant. The procedure had been allowed to continue despite the consultant gynaecologist noticing that the patient´s uterus was “abnormally large” but, by the time the foetus had been discovered, the woman´s cervix had been removed and a continuation of the pregnancy was unviable.

The woman made her claim for gynaecological negligence compensation on the grounds that the avoidable termination of the foetus prevented her and her partner from having the son they longed for and, although she had sustained no physical injury due to the error, both she and her partner had suffered a significant emotional trauma when the consultant´s negligence had been revealed to them. She claimed that, had she known she was pregnant at the time of the hysterectomy operation, she would not have gone ahead with the procedure.

Following an investigation into the tragedy, the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust admitted that an “inadvertent termination” had taken place and acknowledged their liability in the patient´s gynaecological negligence compensation claim. After negotiations with the woman´s lawyers, an out-of-court settlement of £62.000 in gynaecological negligence compensation was agreed upon.


Compensation for Tripping at School Awarded to Teaching Assistant

A mother of two, who developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy after she tripped over a wheelchair strap and dislocated her finger when she fell, has been awarded £800,000 compensation for tripping at school in an out-of-court settlement.

Julie Anne Huddart (49) tripped over the strap as she was trying to move the empty wheelchair at the school in which she worked as a teaching assistant near her home in Chorley, Lancashire. In addition to dislocating her finger, Julie Anne sustained an elbow injury which resulted in a malfunction of the nervous system that causes pain and swelling.

In her claim for compensation for tripping at school, Julie Anne alleged that she had been left in constant pain due to her accident, with severely restricted movement down the left side of her body. Due to her fall at the school, Julie Anne has been unable to work since the accident in 2003 and is now dependent on the care of her husband.

Lancashire County Council – Julie Anne´s employers – initially contested her claim for tripping and falling at school, but eventually admitted liability and worked out a settlement of compensation for tripping at school which will see Julie Anne receive an award of £800,000. Lancashire County Council were also considered liable for Julie Anne´s legal costs, which amounted to a further £140,000.


Hospital Admits Liability in Compensation Claims for Breast Screening Errors

The North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has admitted liability in three compensation claims for breast screening errors which erroneously indicated that the women were not suffering from breast cancer.

The claims for compensation were made following the suspension of the breast screening service at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven in June 2010 after “serious problems” were uncovered by a Quality Assurance team.

After a major investigation into the routine screening service at the two hospitals concluded that insufficient follow-up tests were carried out, more than 1,600 mammograms were reviewed and 180 women were called back for further checks – with 16 of those originally given the all-clear now being treated for cancer.

In cases where the negligent interpretations of the mammograms and lack of follow-up tests had affected the women´s treatment, prognosis or life expectancy, those women were entitled to make compensation claims for breast screening errors and – after more than two years of waiting – the NHS Trust has now admitted liability in three of the cases.

Mike Walker, the Trust’s medical director said: “We are now in a position to accept liability in three cases and have apologised to the women involved. This organisation is committed to providing an excellent service and we recognise the importance of learning from mistakes of this nature. We have taken steps to ensure a similar incident does not occur and apologise unreservedly for shortcomings in their care.”

The two hospitals have now resumed the breast screening service under the supervision of experts from Newcastle.


Court Approves Compensation for being Paralysed in Accident

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for being paralysed in an accident for a 17 year old girl who lost the use of her legs after being involved in a car crash in which her mother died.

Agnes Collier from Naunton in Gloucestershire was just 13 years of age when the car driver by her mother was in a head-on collision with a lorry on the A436. Her mother had taken evasive action to avoid hitting a car emerging from a side road and was killed instantly in the accident.

Agnes lost the use of both her legs due to the severe spinal injuries she sustained in the accident and only has limited use of her arms. Her older brother, who was also a passenger in the car at the time of the accident, suffered a head injury from which he has now recovered.

The driver of the car Agnes´ mother was trying to avoid – Andrew Norton of Andoversford in Gloucestershire – was found responsible for causing the accident and received a suspended sentence for causing death by driving without due care and attention.

Following his conviction, Agnes´ made a claim for compensation for being paralysed in an accident against Norton´s insurance company through her father Dominic. With no need for negligence to be established, the only issue to be resolved was how much compensation for being paralysed in an accident Agnes should receive.

At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Macduff heard that a settlement had been agreed which sees Agnes receiving £7.25 million now as a lump sum and future annual payments of £270,000. Should Agnes reach her anticipated life expectancy, the total value of the claim for being paralysed in an accident would exceed £23 million – a new record for a compensation settlement in the UK.

After hearing the facts of the accident, and how Agnes had coped with her injuries and the death of her mother, Mr Justice Macduff approved the settlement, adding “It never ceases to amaze me how people can deal with this type of adversity. I can’t turn back the clock, but what I can do is to wish you all the very best for your future.”


Claim for Exposure to Chemicals at Work filed by Factory Workers

Eight employees at a factory that make shock absorbers have filed a claim for exposure to chemicals at work after suffering health problems as a result of exposure to hexavalent chromium.

The eight men, from Hartwell in Georgia, have all been diagnosed with nasal injuries and respiratory problems due to working at the Tenneco plant in Hart County where, it is alleged, a faulty ventilation system had been installed.

The claim for exposure to chemicals at work alleges that after the company installed new ventilation hoods and supposedly repaired the air ducts on the ventilation system in 2007, workers were exposed to unsafe levels of hexavalent chromium – a compound known to lead to cancer and other respiratory problems after long-term exposure.

The claim also adds that, in 2010, workers at the manufacturing plant reported a strong odour of hexavalent chromium and found cracked ventilation foods which were not channelling the fumes into the ventilation system. Further investigation revealed a collapsed air-shaft which also prevented the ventilation system from working effectively.

After complaints from employees, inspectors from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) performed air-quality tests in the factory in April 2011and discovered levels of hexavalent chromium well above those permitted in health and safety regulations.

In addition to unsafe exposure to chemicals in the workplace, the OSHA inspectors also found that Tenneco failed to provide their employees with personal protective equipment, did not provide emergency showers or eye-wash stations and failed to send employees who complained of the work-related illnesses to a doctor.

A second inspection in February 2012 discovered that the company had not acted on the health and safety violations identified almost a year earlier and, July 2012, Tenneco was fined $78,000.

The claim for exposure to chemicals at work is being made against Tenneco, Atotech USA of Delaware who designed the ventilation system, HCH Services of North Carolina who installed it at the Hartwell manufacturing plant, and Compass Health and Safety of Illinois – who failed to notice that the company had opened all the windows to the factory when conducting their own air quality test (on behalf of the company) in March 2011.


Compensation for Knee Cartilage Injury Awarded to University Employee

A university employee, who sustained an articular cartilage injury after slipping and falling on a wet floor at the University of East Anglia, has been awarded £50,000 in compensation for a knee cartilage injury.

The employee – identified only as Ms Turnbull (48) – slipped on rain water that had been walked into the corridors of the building in which she worked at the University of East Anglia in December 2008. She was diagnosed with an injury to the articular cartilage over her femoral condyle which prevented her from painlessly descending stairs and from pursuing leisure activities such as swimming and walking her dog.

After undergoing an arthroscopy procedure on the injured knee, Ms Turnbull learned that the cartilage was irreparable, would continue to deteriorate and that a knee replacement operation would be required within the next twenty years. Ms Turnbull consequently sought legal advice and made a claim for knee cartilage injury compensation against her employers.

IN the claim, Ms Turnbull alleged that the University of East Anglia were in breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 for failing to provide and maintain safe access to her place of work, and had also allegedly contravened the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 by failing to identify a risk of slipping and install absorbent mats or a non-slip floor surface in areas prone to becoming slip hazards in wet weather.

The University of East Anglia admitted their negligence and liabilities for Ms Turnbull´s injury and, through their liability insurers, agreed a settlement of compensation for knee cartilage injury amounting to £50,000.


Compensation Claim for Delayed Treatment Resolved in $8 Million Settlement

A family who made a claim for delayed treatment after their son suffered brain damage at birth are to receive a compensation package estimated to be worth six million pounds.

Joseph O´Reggio (11) from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, was delivered at the city´s New Cross Hospital in April 2001 following an alleged failure by the hospital staff to act on monitor readings from his mother – Rachel – which indicated that Joseph´s heart rate had dropped.

A specialist was not summoned to assess Rachel´s condition for nearly twelve hours – during which time Joseph suffered from oxygen starvation in the womb and was born with severe cerebral palsy – unable to speak or feed himself and requiring 24-hour care.

Joseph´s parents made a compensation claim for the delayed treatment against the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, claiming that Joseph´s injuries could have been prevented if maternity staff at the hospital had acted on the readings which were being displayed by the heart rate monitor.

The Trust initially denied its liabilities for Joseph´s injuries but, during a High Court hearing last year, admitted that Joseph should have been born an hour earlier. An agreement was negotiated in which the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust would not have to acknowledge their liability, but would make periodic payments to the family based on 80 percent of what a full settlement of compensation for delayed treatment would amount to.

At the Royal Courts of Justice it was announced that after a full assessment of the claim for delayed treatment compensation and Joseph´s anticipated life expectancy, the family would receive a package which was valued at six million pounds – sufficient for the family to move into a specially adapted home and provide care for Joseph for the remainder of his life.


Compensation for an Accident in a Lift Awarded to Office Worker

An office worker, who sustained serious physical and psychological injuries after the lift she was travelling in fell twenty-three floors, has been awarded more than 13 million dollars in compensation for an accident in a lift.

Janice Beasley (41) from Jacksonville in Florida was alone in the lift when her ordeal began. Travelling down from her office, the lift she was in started to fall – stopping on the eighth floor of the building. An engineer was called to attend to the malfunction, but rather than remove Janice from the lift, he sent it falling all the way to the basement.

Janice suffered multiple bruising in her lift accident which developed into Complex Regional Pain Disorder (CRPS) and partial paralysis of her left leg. Janice was also diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to her experience and chronic depression due to her lack of mobility.

After seeking professional legal advice, Janice made a claim for accident in a lift compensation against the owners of the office block in which she worked – Highwoods Properties Inc – and the Schindler Elevator Company, who had dispatched the engineer to deal with the malfunction.

Schindler Elevator Company denied their liability for Janice´s injuries and delayed the progress of the case trial for several years with complex legal arguments; however after a two-week trial at the Duval County Courthouse, a jury found in Janice´s favour and awarded her 13,188,000 dollars in compensation for her accident in the lift.


Boys Sports Injury Claim for Compensation Resolved Out of Court

A twelve-year-old boy, who suffered life-changing injuries after being struck by a baseball, has had a boys sports injury claim for compensation resolved out of court for 14.5 million dollars.

The boy – Steven Domalewski (now 18) from Wayne in New Jersey – was playing as a pitcher in a Police Athletic League game in 2006, when the ball he had just thrown has hit back at him with such force that it knocked him over. As he lay on the ground, Steven went into cardiac arrest due to the location on his chest where the ball had hit him and it took 15 minutes for emergency services to resuscitate him – during which time he had suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen reaching his brain.

After seeking legal advice, Steven´s family made a boys sports injury claim for compensation against the manufacturers of the metal baseball bat which had been used in the game, the retail company who had sold it and Little League Baseball for sanctioning use of the high-performance bat in children´s games of baseball.

The family claimed that had a wooden bat been used, the ball would not have hit Steven with such force and his injuries would not have been so severe. They supported their claim with figures produced by Little League Baseball which showed an 80 percent decline in serious  injuries to pitchers when the performance of metal baseball bats was limited to that of their wooden equivalents in 2008.

The manufacturers of the baseball bat, the retail company who sold it and Little League Baseball each denied their liability for Steven´s injuries but, as a trial was about to commence at the State Superior Court in Passaic County, it was announced that a settlement of Steven´s boys sports injury claim had been reached and that he was to receive 14.5 million dollars to provide care and support for him during his adult years.


Government Figures Reveal Fewer Claims for Whiplash Injury Compensation

Figures released by the Department for Works and Pensions Compensation Recovery Unit have revealed that claims for whiplash injury compensation have fallen year-on-year by more than 4 percent.

A total of 547,405 claims for whiplash injury compensation were recorded by the Compensation Recovery Unit in 2011/2012, whereas in the previous twelve months 571,111 whiplash injury compensation claims were registered.

The fall in the volume of claims for whiplash injury compensation was noted by president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) – Karl Tonks – when he was giving evidence to a Transport Select Committee ahead of the latest amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill 2012.

Mr Tonks also produced the results of a survey prepared on behalf of APIL by market research company Canadean which showed that 40 percent of people eligible to make claims for whiplash injury compensation declined to do so. The survey also revealed that 1 percent of respondents to the survey had suffered a whiplash injury in the past twelve months, while 20 percent of those had experienced a whiplash injury in the past suffered symptoms of their whiplash injury for more than twelve months.

The Government is expected to announce plans for new specialist medical panels to support improvements in the diagnosis of whiplash and to increase from 1,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds the value up to which claims can be handled by the small claims court, but Mr Tonks warned the Transport Select Committee that the Government could be embarking on a potentially damaging reform agenda.

Acknowledging that a “universal commitment was required to reduce the number of fraudulent claims for whiplash injury compensation, Mr Tonks added “But it’s even more important to stand firm against any move to put barriers in the way of the majority of people who have genuine injuries and who need to make genuine claims.” Mr Tonks presented a ten point plan to the Transport Select Committee which he hoped could be discussed with the Government.

1. Information on fraud to be freely available to all parties to help identify fraudsters

2. Claimants to be subject to a legally binding statement of truth

3. Ban insurers from paying compensation without medical evidence

4. No offers of gifts or cash to potential clients to be made by any party

5. Enforcement of future ban preventing insurers from selling claimants´ details

6. Identities of potential expert witnesses to be shared by both sides

7. New guidance to help medics identify and understand whiplash injury

8. Photo ID to be provided when attending a medical

9. Claimant´s lawyer to organise access to relevant medical records

10. Spam texting to be banned


Bumbo Baby Sitter Recall Could Lead to Claims for Baby Injury Compensation

Following the recall of the popular Bumbo Baby Sitters in the US and Canada, parents in the UK are waiting to see if the recall will be extended to Europe and how that will affect their rights to make claims for baby injury compensation if their child has sustained an injury due to the negligent design of the product.

The recall follows a series of complaints to the American Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and reports of injuries sustained by children falling out of the recalled Bumbo Baby Sitters – several of whom have suffered fractured skulls by toppling backwards out of the seat and hitting their head on a hard floor surface.

Previous concerns about the safety of Bumbo Baby Sitters resulted to the product being withdrawn in 2007 and re-marketed with substantial labels warning parents of the dangers associated with using the baby seats on tables and other elevated positions. However, after the seats were re-launched onto the market, claims of Bumbo Baby Sitter injuries continued – with more than twenty skulls fractures reported out of the scores of complaints concerning the lack of safety of the product.

Of these reports, the CPSC was specifically concerned about 34 injuries which occurred when the Bumbo Baby Sitter had been placed on the floor – two of which were confirmed as fractured skull injuries – and the injuries continued after a November 2011 warning to parents to only use the Bumbo Baby Sitter with caution.

Now the CPSC has issued further advice in light of the Bumbo Baby Sitter recall which is applicable only to residents of the USA and Canada until such time as the Bumbo Baby Sitter recall is extended to Europe.

Consumers should immediately stop using the product until they order and install a free repair kit, which includes: a restraint belt with a warning label, installation instructions, safe use instructions and a new warning sticker. The belt should always be used when a child is placed in the seat. Even with the belt, the seat should never be used on any raised surface. Consumers should also immediately stop using Bumbo seat covers that interfere with the installation and use of the belt.

Parents in the UK concerned about the safety of Bumbo Baby Sitters should contact the retail outlet from which their child seat was purchased and request that the repair kit be sent to them. Those parents whose child has suffered an injury due to the faulty design of the Bumbo Baby Sitter should speak with a lawyer at the first possible opportunity.


Compensation for Injury due to Delayed Caesarean Operation Approved in Court

A woman, who suffered severe brain damage after neither a surgeon nor an anaesthetist were present to perform a C-Section procedure, has been awarded a settlement package of compensation for injury due to a delayed Caesarean operation amounting to 4.2 million pounds.

Susanne Turner (45) from Wittersham, Kent, was born on April 28th 1967 at the Buchanan Street Hospital in St Leonards-on-Sea following the untimely delay which resulted in her being deprived of oxygen in the womb and unable to breathe independently when she was eventually delivered. The lack of oxygen resulted in Susanne sustaining brain damage at birth and she has had suffered from learning difficulties throughout her life.

Without knowing that they were eligible for compensation or support, Susanne´s parents – Christopher and Sandra – raised the little girl without assistance, until Susanne´s father read a magazine article which suggested that he might be able to claim compensation for an injury due to a delayed Caesarean operation on his daughter´s behalf. After seeking legal advice, which confirmed that a claim for compensation was still possible due to Susanne´s lack of mental capacity, Susanne´s parents sued South East Coast Strategic Health Authority – the NHS Trust responsible for the now-closed Buchanan Street Hospital.

The South East Coast Strategic Health Authority admitted liability for Susanne´s injury and, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, issued an apology to Susanne and her parents for the negligence which had occurred 45 years previously. Judge Mrs Justice Nicola Davies heard that a settlement of compensation for injury due to a delayed Caesarean had been agreed between the two parties which consisted of a lump sum and annual payments and, paying tribute to Christopher and Sandra´s “love and devotion” for their daughter, approved the settlement estimated to be worth 4.2 million pounds.


BT Engineer Mesothelioma Claim Made Shortly before Victim´s Death

An inquest into the death of a former BT Building Contract Manager has heard that the deceased made a BT engineer mesothelioma claim for compensation shortly before he died.

At the inquest, Assistant Deputy Coroner Dr Peter Harrowing was told that Derek Butler (74) from Weston in Somerset – a former BT draughtsman and Building Contract Manager – had been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer earlier this year, an industrial disease often caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.

Dr Harrowing heard from Dr Justin Pepperell – Derek´s consultant physician – who confirmed that Derek had died from malignant mesothelioma, and was also read a statement composed by Derek shortly before his death, in which Derek explained the reasons why he believed he had contracted the deadly cancer.

The statement revealed that Derek had worked for British Telecommunications from 1967 as a draughtsman and, from 1980 until his retirement in 1996, as a Building Contract Manger. Although many of Derek´s responsibilities revolved around planning the remodelling of buildings which were converting from mechanical telephone systems to electric telephone networks, he was often called upon to be present at building sites to supervise the work.

It was while at these building sites that Derek was exposed to asbestos coated telephone wires which – as the remodelling was in progress – released a significant amount of asbestos fibres and dust into the atmosphere. According to Derek´s statement the protection supplied by BT against exposure to asbestos consisted of several plastic sheets which failed to protect people working at the site.

Derek had commenced a BT engineer mesothelioma claim for compensation shortly before his death and speaking at the conclusion of the inquest Dr Peter Harrowing said: “Mr Butler did not work directly with asbestos but when working with BT and working with buildings which were remodelled it was likely he was exposed to asbestos during that work. I accept the medical cause of death as being one due to industrial disease.”


Government Announce Diffuse Mesothelioma Cancer Compensation Fund

The Minister for Welfare – Lord Freud – has revealed details of a diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation fund which will be established to assist those diagnosed with work-related mesothelioma cancer who are unable to trace their former employers.

The scheme enables victims of the asbestos-related disease, diagnosed with work-related diffuse mesothelioma cancer from 25th July 2012, who are unable to trace their former employers or their former employer´s insurers to claim against the fund.

The diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation scheme will be funded by the insurance industry and is anticipated to pay up to 300 million pounds in compensation for diffuse mesothelioma cancer over the next ten years.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme, Lord Freud said “We have worked tirelessly together with the insurance industry to agree this package of measures on behalf of those who face this terrible disease. The new scheme will mean that, for the first time, sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma, who cannot trace either a liable employer or employers’ liability insurer, will have access to extra payments.”

Although welcomed as a step in the right direction, campaigners for mesothelioma sufferers and representatives of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have criticised the scheme for not being sufficiently far-reaching.

They claim that it is not fair that those diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer prior to the 25th July will be excluded from claiming diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation if their former employer is untraceable, as will victims of asbestosis, pleural plaques and asbestos-related lung disease.

The introduction of the fund to support former employees unable to claim diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation will not affect the rights of former employees who have contracted the disease while working for companies still in existence such as BT.


Chronic Lower Back Injury Compensation Awarded to Former Pageant Winner

A former beauty pageant winner has been awarded over 18,000 pounds in chronic lower back injury compensation following a hearing at Edinburgh´s Court of Sessions.

Fiona Dickie (24) from East Lothian, made the claim for chronic lower back injury compensation following a road traffic accident on Edinburgh’s South Clerk Street in April 2009. It was alleged in the action that Fiona had been driving home from work when a vehicle driven by her accident with Mohammadreza Khandani attempted to undertake her car – causing the two vehicles to crash and resulting in Fiona suffering an injury to her back.

The Court of Sessions heard that, following her accident with Mr Khandani, Fiona had telephoned NHS24 who had advised her to consult with her family GP – which Fiona did the following morning. Fiona was referred by her family GP for physiotherapy and was later diagnosed with a chronic lower back injury attributable to the accident.

At the hearing, Judge Gordon Reid QC was told that although Mr Khandani had admitted liability for causing the accident, his insurers were disputing the amount that Fiona was claiming in chronic lower back injury compensation. Whereas, the judge was told, Mr Khandari´s insurers were prepared to settle Fiona´s claim for an amount up to 3,000 pounds, Fiona´s lawyers had requested an amount closer to 20,000 pounds.

It was explained to the Court that in spite of her back injury, Fiona had won a Miss Edinburgh 2010 and – in her role as Miss Edinburgh – regularly attended charity functions at which she dressed formally; including wearing high heels. Wearing high heels, the Court heard, resulted in Fiona suffering chronic lower back pain the next day, but she continued to wear them to support the charities as best she could.

Fiona´s lawyers requested that the judge award a figure which took into account the consequences of Fiona´s injury in relation to the charity work she performed and, after stating that Fiona had “displayed a commendable attitude to [her] work” Judge Gordon Reid QC awarded her a total of 18,281 pounds in chronic lower back pain injury compensation.


Child to Receive Tricycle Injury Compensation

An eleven-year-old boy is to receive 100,000 Euros in tricycle injury compensation after his claim for damages was resolved shortly before a hearing was due to commence at Dublin´s High Court.

Bartosz Zakrzewski from Birr in County Offaly, Ireland, sustained traumatic injuries to his head and leg in an accident in July 2010 when, cycling along An Coran Street in Birr, his tricycle was in collision with a car driven by Caitriona Kelly – also a resident of Birr.

Due to the impact from the collision, Bartosz was thrown several metres along the road and suffered head injuries, lacerations across his body and a broken leg. Through his mother – Monika – Bartosz made a claim for tricycle injury compensation against Ms Kelly – claiming that she had been driving negligently and in breach of her duty of care.

Ms Kelly denied the claims and, due to potential value of tricycle injury compensation that Bartosz would be entitled to if his claim were successful, his tricycle injury compensation claim was scheduled to be heard before Ms Justice Mary Irvine at Dublin´s High Court.

However, shortly before the hearing was due to commence, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that the claim for tricycle injury compensation had been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. As the compensation settlement was in favour of a minor, the settlement still had to be approved and, after hearing the circumstances of the accident and the details of the agreement, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the compensation settlement of 100,000 Euros which was agreed without admission of liability by Ms Kelly.


102 Year Old to get Compensation for Premature Hospital Discharge

A 102 year old woman has been awarded compensation for a premature hospital discharge after she was sent home from a hospital accident and emergency department despite having sustained a broken pelvis.

Lydia Eaton from Wigmore in Kent was taken to the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham in March 2007 after experiencing a fall near her home which resulted in a broken pelvis. Medics at the hospital examined Lydia and discharged her after just eight hours, due to which – it was claimed in London´s High Court – Lydia´s condition deteriorated both physically and mentally and caused her to be moved to a specialist care home the following month.

Lydia´s daughter, Elaine Griffin, brought a claim for premature hospital discharge compensation against the Medway NHS Trust, alleging that her mother was only provided with painkillers which made her ill and lose a considerable amount of weight. Elaine also claimed that, as Lydia´s condition deteriorated, she developed sores and ulcers, and neither support nor advice was forthcoming from the hospital on how to deal with the situation.

Judge Sweeney at the High Court heard that, as Lydia lost the ability to walk independently, she was moved to a second care home where she receives constant help and supervision. He agreed with the arguments put forward by lawyers representing Lydia and Elaine that, had it not been for the negligence of medical practitioners at the Medway Maritime Hospital, Lydia would still be able to walk.

Awarding Lydia 35,000 pounds in compensation for premature hospital discharge, Judge Sweeney ordered that the funds be placed in trust to pay for Lydia´s care.


Compensation Fall Moving Walkway Awarded to Pensioner

A pensioner, who fell and broke her shoulder on a shopping centre travelator, has been awarded 30,000 Euros in compensation for fall on the moving walkway by a judge in Dublin.

At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard how Rosaleen Hill (79) of Terenure in Dublin had been returning to the underground parking lot of the Ashleaf Shopping Centre in Dublin, when the shopping trolley she was taking down to her car started to run away from her. As Rosaleen struggled to hold on to the shopping trolley, she fell and was dragged along the moving walkway – severely lacerating her knee and breaking her right shoulder in three places.

After receiving treatment for her injuries, Rosaleen sought legal advice and made a claim for fall on moving walkway compensation against the Ashleaf Shopping Centre, the company responsible for managing the shopping centre – Kessow Limited – and Dunnes Stores, the store in which she had been doing her shopping. Dunnes Stores denied their liability, claiming that the trolley which had been responsible for Rosaleen´s injuries was not one of theirs.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard testimony in court from a forensic engineer that the rogue trolley selected by Rosaleen from a shared shopping trolley area was fitted with smooth wheels and unsuitable for a downhill moving walkway. The forensic engineer explained that the type of shopping trolleys supplied by Dunnes Stores were fitted with corrugated rubber wheels which locked into the surface grooves on the moving walkway.

His evidence was supported by the testimony of the manufacturer which supplies Dunnes Stores with their shopping trolleys who explained to the court that their company had never supplied Dunnes Stores with the type of trolley responsible for Rosaleen´s accident. Judge Jacqueline Linnane determined that the likelihood was that Rosaleen had collected a trolley which had been deposited by shopfitters working at the store and dismissed the case against Dunnes Stores.

However, the judge found Gary Smith, trading as The Ashleaf Shopping Centre and Kessow Limited jointly negligent for failing to provide Rosaleen with a safe environment in which to shop and ordered them to pay Rosaleen 30,000 Euros in compensation for a fall on a moving walkway.


Three New Claims for Shopping Centre Car Park Injury at Highcross

Three new claims for shopping centre parking lot injury at Highcross Shopping Centre in Leicester have been made following a successful claim for an injury sustained on the access bridge from the parking lot late last year and compensation for slipping and breaking an ankle being awarded to another shopper just a few weeks ago.

In December 2011, Gweneth Bowler (64) from Quorn in Leicestershire successfully sued Highcross Shopping Centre after fracturing her hip and shoulder on a shopping trip to the complex with her daughter, and earlier this month an unnamed shopper was awarded 3,700 pounds after slipping and breaking her ankle on the same access bridge from the shopping centre parking lot.

Now three more claims for shopping centre parking lot injury have come to light – the most serious involving a forty-year-old woman who slipped and broke her femur in the parking area and required emergency surgery. Claims for shopping centre parking lot injury can be made up to three years after an accident has occurred and this may not be the end of the claims against the shopping centre despite improvements being made.

A Leicester City Council official had testified in Gweneth Bowler´s claim for compensation against the shopping centre that poor drainage – both on the bridge and in the parking lot – represented a serious slip hazard. He also pointed to a lack of adequate cleaning presenting further risk of injury and, although the council´s recommendations were listened to, anybody visiting the shopping complex in the past three years who has sustained an injury attributable to the previous lack of care by the shopping centre management is still entitled to claim shopping centre parking lot injury compensation.


Hearing Injury Compensation for BT Engineers to Face Challenges

BT has announced that it will be withdrawing its Statute of Limitations amnesty in respect of hearing injury compensation for BT engineers with effect from 1st January 2013.

Following the company´s admission in August 2010 that it exposed engineers who used the green oscillating and amplifying equipment to trace, repair and install BT telephone lines to an excessive level of noise likely to cause injury, claims for BT hearing compensation have been mostly settled out of court for between 5,000 pounds and 20,000 pounds depending on the extent of injury.

Currently, BT engineers and former employees of the company who have been diagnosed with a hearing injury due to using BT´s green and unmodified yellow testing sets are able to settle their claims for BT hearing injury compensation irrespective of when their injury occurred.

However, at the end of this year, BT plans to enforce a strict three-year time limit from the date on which an engineer or former engineer is diagnosed with a hearing problem in which to make a BT engineer hearing injury claim for compensation, after which time the company will be contesting liability.

The same three-year time limit will be imposed on all claims for BT hearing injury compensation made by engineers who suffered an injury due to working in close proximity to kango hammers and jack hammers without hearing protection being provided.

Although the new limit will not affect anybody who has recently been diagnosed with a hearing injury due to the negligence of BT, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has advised any employee or former employee considering a claim for hearing injury compensation for BT engineers to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Please note: Not all BT hearing loss claims are settled out of court. In January 2012, a former BT engineer´s claim for hearing compensation was heard in Cardiff County Court after BT disputed the engineer´s claim for special damages in relation to the cost of a private hearing aid. BT contended that an NHS hearing aid should work perfectly well, however the judge upheld the claim and the former engineer received a total of 19,372 pounds in settlement of his claim for BT hearing injury compensation.


Fall from Scaffolding Tower Injury Compensation Approved in Court

A man who suffered permanent brain injuries after falling from scaffolding while attempting to help his brother repair the roof of his house has been awarded 750,000 Euros after the settlement of his claim for fall from scaffolding tower injury compensation was approved in court.

Patrick Rayner from Mitchelstown in County Cork was helping his brother John replace displaced slates on the roof of his home in Killmallock, County Limerick, when the tragedy occurred in December 2008.

While situated on top of the scaffolding tower which had been erected to gain access to the roof, Patrick fell three metres to the ground while attempting to take hold of a roofing ladder which was being passed to him.

Patrick suffered a fractured skull as a result of the accident and such significant brain damage occurred that he has since lost the senses of taste, smell and hearing.

Patrick made a claim for fall from scaffolding tower injury compensation through his wife Julia, claiming that John had failed to secure the scaffolding tower to a permanent structure, had failed to brace the scaffolding tower and had failed to take adequate precautions to ensure his safety while repairing the roof.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that liability was not in dispute, a 750,000 Euros settlement of fall from scaffolding tower injury compensation had been agreed and the case was before her for approval of damages only.

After hearing an explanation of the accident, the judge approved the settlement, stating that this was a sad story in which the deeds of a Good Samaritan had ended in tragic circumstances.


Slip in Argos Injury Compensation Awarded for Shoulder Damage

A shopper, who slipped on a discarded baby wipe in Argos and damaged his shoulder when he fell, has been awarded 17,500 Euros in slip in Argos injury compensation at Dublin´s Circuit Civil Court.

Declan Conroy from East Wall, Dublin, had been shopping in the Henry Street branch of Argos in May 2008 when the accident occurred. On the way to the counter to order a lawnmower for his mother, he slipped on a baby wipe which had been left on the floor and fell – badly injuring his shoulder.

After receiving medical treatment, Declan made a claim for slip in Argos injury compensation against the store – claiming that their system of checking the store for potential hazards was inadequate and he had suffered an injury as a result.

Argos denied liability; arguing that CCTV footage revealed the presence of the baby wipe just six minutes before Declan´s accident and contending that staff could not be asked to constantly monitor the condition of the floor in a low-risk store.

However, Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court heard a forensic engineer – testifying on behalf of Declan – explain that because of the extra footfall in the queuing area, a higher level of vigilance should be applied. It was also revealed that CCTV footage from five minutes before the baby wipe first appeared showed a woman pushing a baby buggy through the area.

After hearing all the evidence, Judge Jacqueline Linnane ruled that on the balance of probabilities it was the woman with the baby buggy who was responsible for dropping the baby wipe and, as more than ten minutes would have passed between the hazard being present and Declan sustaining his injury, she was attaching liability to Argos. She awarded Declan 17,500 Euros for slip in Argos injury compensation plus costs.


Compensation for Heart Surgery Negligence Awarded in Court

A girl, who suffered oxygen deprivation and physical disabilities for the first thirty years of her life due to a surgical error shortly after she was born, has been awarded 1 million dollars in compensation for heart surgery negligence by a jury in Los Angeles.

The girl, who was not named in court, was born at the Huntingdon Hospital in Pasadena in May 1979, and operated on the day after her birth by Dr Alan Gazzaniga to repair a problem  with the child´s heart. The Los Angeles County Superior Court heard that the septal wall in the girl´s heart which separated the left and right atriums needed rebuilding, however during surgery Dr Gazzaniga had connected the vena cava artery – the artery which returns de-oxygenised blood to the heart – to the wrong side of the septal wall.

As a result of this mistake, blood was directed into the wrong side of the heart and the girl suffered from oxygen deprivation, physical disabilities and other general health problems as she grew up. Despite ongoing medical examinations, the error was not noticed until 2007 and shortly before the woman´s thirtieth birthday in April 2009, she underwent corrective surgery at USC Hospital in Pasadena.

The surgeon who had performed the corrective surgery testified in court that Dr. Gazzaniga´s work had been “baffling” and “incorrect” and, along with two other cardiothoracic surgeons, explained to the court how the negligent heart surgery occurred and what the consequences had been. In their client´s defence, Dr. Gazzaniga´s legal representatives argued that the case was so old it should be thrown out for being brought beyond the Statute of Limitations.

The woman´s counsel disagreed, contending that it was a reasonable assumption at the time of the original operation that Dr. Alan Gazzaniga had met the required standard of care, and the claimant could not have been expected to known that her heart condition was the result of medical negligence by her surgeon prior to the discovery of the error in 2007 – which was within the Statute of Limitations as the claim for heart surgery negligence compensation had been filed shortly after the woman underwent the corrective surgery in 2009.

The judge accepted the argument and, after three weeks of litigation, the jury returned a verdict in favour of the claimant. They determined that Dr Gazzaniga had shown a lack of care during the initial surgery and awarded the woman compensation for heart surgery negligence amounting to one million dollars.


Compensation for Allergic Reaction to Eyebrow Wax Treatment Approved in Court

A 17-year-old girl has had a settlement of compensation for an allergic reaction to eyebrow wax approved in court.

The unnamed teenager suffered the allergic reaction after visiting the Crop Beauty Salon in October 2011 where, after her eyebrow treatment had finished, she continued to experience a burning sensation.

By the time the girl returned home her eyebrows had swollen and reddened and she had developed a headache. She attended the Accident and Emergency Department of her local hospital where she was diagnosed with a severe allergic reaction which continued for three weeks.

After seeking legal advice, the girl made a claim for an allergic reaction to eyebrow wax treatment against the salon, claiming that the salon was negligent in failing to ensure that a safe waxing product was used which would not result in an allergic reaction.

The Crop Beauty Salon admitted liability for the girl´s injuries and an out of court settlement of compensation for an allergic reaction to eyebrow wax treatment of 1,000 pounds was agreed. As the girl was still under the age of eighteen, the settlement had to be approved by a court before the allergic reaction to eyebrow wax treatment could be concluded.


Compensation for Quadriplegic Birth Injury due to Hospital Administration Negligence

A three-year-old boy, who suffered catastrophic brain injuries when his birth was delayed due to an “outdated, insensitive, and poorly maintained” ultrasound machine, has been awarded 78.5 million dollars in compensation for quadriplegic birth injury by a jury in Philadelphia.

The Honourable Mark Bernstein and the jury at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas heard how the Victoria Upsey (36) from Pottstown, Philadelphia, had attended the Pottstown Memorial Medical Centre in August 2008 displaying signs of a placental abruption when 36 weeks pregnant.

A foetal scan conducted on her admission proved inconclusive and, as it was a Sunday and the ultrasound technician was off work, the consultant obstetrician conducted an ultrasound test from which he concluded that the baby had died.

However, when the ultrasound technician was called in from home to check the obstetrician´s finding,  a heartbeat was detected – at which point an emergency Caesarean operation was scheduled and Victoria´s child was delivered.

Due to the delay caused by the obstetrician´s misdiagnosis and the oxygen deprivation suffered while still in the womb, the baby was born with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and will require a life time of care.

After taking legal advice, Victoria made a claim for quadriplegic birth injury compensation against the obstetrician, but in the discovery process prior to the court case, it was the ultrasound machine which was found liable for his error.

When questioned by Victoria´s lawyers, the hospital’s risk manager admitted there was no evidence the ultrasound equipment had been serviced for more than 10 years; whereas the manual indicated that annual maintenance was necessary.

The lawyers argued in court that it was effectively hospital administration negligence which was responsible for the devastating injuries sustained during the child´s birth and, after a period of deliberation, the jury at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas agreed with them.

Finding the hospital guilty of administrative negligence resulting in injury, the jury awarded the Upsey family a total of 78.5 million dollars in compensation for quadriplegic birth injury to account for the suffering of the child, the costs of his future care, prospective loss of earnings and to compensate Victoria for the emotional trauma she had experienced.


Victory for Mesothelioma No Win No Fee Claims for Compensation

Campaigners for changes to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Bill for mesothelioma No Win No Fee claims were delighted this week at the government´s decision to exempt asbestos-related injuries from their reforms.

In the bill, the government planned to remove access to conditional fee agreements for all personal injury claimants to address a perceived “compensation culture” and deter spurious claims. However, campaigners argued that “It is not right to put victims of an extraordinary disease, where no fraud is possible and compensation is certain, into a situation where in their last few months of life they are being forced to shop around for a lawyer in order to pay the least amount of success fees.”

Bowing to pressure from the Lords, the Department of Justice Minister – Jonathan Djanogly – announced that those suffering from mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis and diffuse pleural thickening would now become a special case. In a statement to the Commons, Mr Djanogly announced “careful reflection about the special case of mesothelioma sufferers”, and also said the government was looking at ways of making it easier for sufferers and their lawyers to trace their former employer’s insurers.

The news of the changes to mesothelioma No Win No Fee claims for compensation was also greeted on the opposition benches. Sadiq Khan – shadow justice secretary – told the House “The key question here is should victims of industrial diseases like mesothelioma have to hand over part of their damages to their lawyers and insurer, or should the wrongdoers fund the cost of the successful litigation?”


Claim for Slip Injury on Cruise Ship

A woman, who slipped and fractured her knee cap on a Carnival cruise ship, has been awarded almost €2.3m in a compensation claim for a slip injury on a cruise ship.

Denise Kaba from Florida was journeying on a cruise on the Carnival Pride in August 2009, when she slipped and fell on the pool deck which had been treated with a resin that made it hard and slippery when wet.

As a result of her fall and slip, Denise experienced a fractured patella and had to undergo surgery six times to enable it to heal properly. It was also claimed in her action at the U.S. District Court that she may have to have total knee replacements in the future.

Denise’s legal representatives claimed in court that Carnival were aware of previous injuries associated with slips on the pool deck since it had been treated, yet had done nothing to make the surface safer or warn travellers of the potential dangers.

In concurring with Denise that Carnival were liable for her injuries, U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungara awarded £1.9m in damages, consisting of more than £138,000 in past medical expenses, nearly £235,000 in future medical fees, just over £107,000 in loss of earning capacity, £126,000 for pain and suffering in the past and nearly £1.24m for future non-economic damages.


Bank Accident Injury Compensation Claim Settled out of Court

A woman who sustained head, neck and shoulder injuries when part of the ceiling fell on her at her local bank has settled her bank accident injury compensation claim out of court for 1,500 pounds.

The unnamed 47 year old woman had been standing at the counter of her local Barclays Bank when a brick fell from the ceiling and struck her on the head. As she fell forward, more bricks and a light fitting fell from the ceiling – hitting the woman on the base of her neck and across the shoulders.

The woman suffered a laceration to her scalp, bruising and a minor head injury. Soreness in her shoulders restricted movement in her upper limbs and the woman suffered headaches and frequent nausea attacks over the next two weeks.

After seeking legal advice, the woman made a claim for bank accident injury compensation against Barclays Bank on the grounds that the bank had breached statutory duty in failing to ensure that the premises were adequately maintained and structurally safe.

Barclays admitted liability for the bank accident and a settlement of bank accident injury compensation amounting to 1,500 pounds was negotiated between the woman´s lawyers and Barclays public liability insurers without the need for the claim to be heard in court.


Erb’s Palsy at Birth Injury Settlement approved at £1m

A teenage girl, who suffered an Erb’s Palsy injury due to alleged negligence at her birth, has had a Erb’s Palsy Birth Injury compensation award of £1m approved in the High Court.

Sarah O’Sullivan (14), suffered a shoulder injury during her birth at hospital in 1997 which lead to her being diagnosed with right-sided Erb’s Palsy as she grew older. Claiming that the management of her birth was not handled properly and that the injury could have been avoided with due diligence, Sarah sued the hospital and consultant obstetrician Dr. Patrick Kieran through her father, Kevin.

Both the hospital and Dr. Kieran refuted the claims made against them, but the court heard that they had agreed to a birth injury compensation settlement of £1m without admission of liability.


Teachers Injury Compensation Exceeded 25 Million Pounds in 2011

An increasing number of slips and trips in the classroom, physical assaults on teachers and instances where schools and local authorities have failed to comply with their legal responsibilities relating to health, safety and employment, led to teachers injury compensation exceeding 25 million pounds in 2011.

Exactly how much compensation for teachers injuries was paid out last year is not yet known, as only two of the three largest teaching unions have so far revealed what their members received ahead of their respective Easter conferences.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers accounted for 17.9 million pounds of teachers injury compensation, while the National Union of Teachers annually assists teachers in the UK with compensation claims totalling more than 10 million pounds in value.

Among some of the highlighted teacher injury compensation claims was a case where a former teacher received 220,000 pounds after contracting mesothelioma cancer due to exposure to asbestos in the classroom and a settlement of 222,215 pounds was paid to a teacher who suffered permanent brain damage after being attacked by a special needs student.

Psychological injuries attributable to stress and employment disputes were also a major contributory factor to the total amount paid in teachers injury compensation in 2011, with the majority of teachers injury compensation claims being settled by negotiation via legal channels rather than through the courts or an employment tribunal.

Union leaders admitted that the payments of teachers injury compensation could be perceived as a waste of public money but blamed school heads and the education authorities for failing to protect their staff. Chris Keates – General Secretary of the NASUWT union was quoted as saying “Employers who deliberately flout the law are not only causing distress, ill-health and job losses, they are costing taxpayers millions of pounds”.


Fine Imposed for Unreported Work Accidents in Tesco Supermarket

A fine of 48,000 pounds has been imposed for unreported work accidents in a Tesco grocery store after a health and safety investigation by Bracknell Forest Council.

The council discovered three specific incidences of the company “failing to report an accident to the relevant enforcing authority” between May 2009 and March 2010 and health and safety offences in the Tesco store at Warfield in the area reserved for the loading and unloading of vehicles.

The council claimed that the work accidents at the Tesco grocery store were due to Tesco´s failure to provide adequate training, supervision and information to their staff and also for the grocery store´s failure to eliminate risks posed by using an unsafe practice for unloading delivery vehicles.

Tesco admitted that they had failed in their duty of care towards their employees and that their negligence had caused injuries sustained at work in Tesco. The company was fined 48,000 pounds and ordered to pay 25,000 pounds in costs to Bracknell Forest Council.

Speaking after the work accidents in Tesco grocery store case had been heard, David Steeds, Bracknell Forest’s head of environmental health, said “It’s vital that companies stick to health and safety rules so their employees remain out of danger at work. Unfortunately, Tesco failed to keep to these rules and, as a result, employees were injured – quite seriously in one of the cases – or put in harm´s way.”


Car Accident Death Award of more than £83,500

The family of a mother and child, who were both tragically killed in a road traffic accident which occurred in 2006, have been awarded more than £83,500 in a car accident death award. Both Yvonne Mahoney (24) and her daughter, Bobbi-Ann (2), were killed when an automobile driven by Yvonne’s partner John Maloney (33) was struck by another car as it exited the crossroads junction on July 9 2006. Mr Maloney also lost his life in the accident.

In litigation brought by Yvonne´s widowed mother, Mary (56), it was alleged that local council had failed to maintain clear vision at the junction by not cutting down, pruning or trimming the trees and hedges on the side of the road. It was also alleged that they did not erect yield or stop signs.

Mrs Mahoney also sued John Maloney’s estate, claiming that Mr. Maloney had been negligent on the day of the accident by way of his driving. It was claimed that Mr Maloney had caused Mrs Maloney and her eight other children to suffer mental distress. In the High Court, Judge Mr. Justice Moriarty heard that liability had been withdrawn, and awarded Mrs Mahoney and the family of Yvonne and Bobbi-Ann a compensation settlement of £83,500 plus costs.


Lords Debate Health Risk of para-Phenylenediamine in Hair Dye

The House of Lords recently conducted a debate on the health risks of para-Phenylensiamine in hair dye to raise awareness of the known health issues associated with the chemical, and to ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State what steps were being taken by the Government to warn consumers in the UK of its potential risks.  

The debate on the health risks of para-Phenylensiamine in hair dye was led by Baroness Taylor of Bolton, who brought to the House´s attention research published in the British Medical Journal that indicated the frequency of allergic reactions to para-Phenylensiamine (PPD) was increasing and accounted for at least 8 per cent of all allergic reactions treated in hospitals.

Although not advocating the banning of para-Phenylenediamine in hair dye, the Baroness advised the house that the National Hairdressing Federation had several years ago called a conference of all the main colour houses and those bodies which produce hair dye products containing para-Phenylensiamine in the hope of getting better regulation, better advice and more awareness. However nothing ever came of it.

Advocating that a skin patch test should be conducted every three to six months even if the product being used was not changed, the Baroness called on the Government to introduce measures to improve the labelling on hair products containing para-Phenylensiamine in hair dye to advise people on how to use the product safely and with minimum risk to health. Baroness Taylor was supported by Baroness Randerson who asked if the Government kept their own records of people who had suffered an injury due to para-Phenylenediamine in hair dye.

In response to the questions directed at the Government, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills -Baroness Wilcox – replied that the labelling of para-Phenylensiamine in hair dye was regulated by the European cosmetic products directive, which was implemented into UK law as the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2008. Baroness Wilcox added that “the evidence that we [the British Government] have is that the incidence of allergic reactions from hair colorants is 0.3 to 4.3 in every million products sold”.

Baroness Wilcox also claimed that the UK industry’s trade association, the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association, produced very helpful fact sheets on para-Phenylensiamine in hair dye and that as PPD was not known to accumulate in the human body, consumers could use the same product for many years and still develop an allergic reaction. She concluded “We encourage the use of the patch test but will take away from this debate that maybe we are not looking at the issue hard enough at the moment”.

Para-Phenylensiamine in hair dye is believed to be responsible for the death of Tabatha McCourt in October last year and also the cause of mother-of-two Julia McCabe´s lapse into a coma due to an adverse reaction to hair dye containing para-Phenylensiamine.


Student Receives Traumatic Brain Injury Compensation after School Accident

A student, who was rushed to hospital after collapsing mid-way through a game of high school American football, has been awarded 4.4 million dollars for traumatic brain injury compensation in an out of court settlement.

Scott Eveland was just eighteen years of age when, on 14th September 2007, he collapsed by the side of the field on which he was playing as linebacker for the Mission Hills High School Grizzlies. Scott was rushed to hospital, where he underwent emergency brain surgery to stop internal bleeding around his brain and, due to his injuries, is now confined to a wheelchair – only able to communicate through an adapted iPad.

Scott made a claim for traumatic brain injury compensation through his mother – Diana – alleging that he had been missing practice due to persistent headaches in the weeks leading up to his collapse, and had asked to sit out of the game in which he collapsed only moments before it had started due to him feeling unwell.

His injury compensation claim was supported by a teammate, who confirmed that the head coach of the American football team had ignored signs that Scott was in distress and forced him to play on. His teammate also testified in a deposition that just one week before the game, Scott had reported that he was suffering from frequent headaches to the team´s athletic trainer.

The agreement of traumatic brain injury compensation was made without court action, but also without admission of liability by the San Marcos Unified School District or Mission Hills High School.


Asbestosis Related Cancer Compensation Claim Resolved for Ex-Miner

An ex-miner, who claimed he contracted mesothelioma while working for the National Coal Board, has won his asbestos related cancer compensation claim at London´s High Court.

Dennis Ball (92) from Beeston in Nottinghamshire worked for the National Coal Board at their Sutton and Moorgreen pits between 1967 and 1985. He alleged in his injury compensation claim that it was while he was working in the two collieries that he was exposed to asbestos which caused his mesothelioma cancer.

At London´s High Court, Mrs Justice Swift heard that Dennis had led a largely independent life prior to March 2010, when he was found on the floor of his flat by his step-son struggling to breath. He was moved to a care home where he was diagnosed with mesothelioma – the asbestos related cancer which lines the lungs and is incurable.

 The judge was also told that the Department of Energy and Climate Change – the government body now responsible for handling the affairs of the National Coal Board and British Coal Corporation – admitted liability for Dennis´ illness and the asbestos related cancer compensation claim was now before her for assessment of damages.

After hearing that Dennis was a man with a fierce sense of independence and a fear of hospitals, Mrs Justice Swift awarded Dennis 73,890 pounds in asbestos related cancer compensation to account for his pain and suffering and the loss of his independence. The judge included in the award an amount of 20,000 pounds for “lost years of life”, commenting that “despite his age, his disease has had a devastating effect on his life”.


Compensation for Brain Damage in Car Crash Finalised against Speeding Driver

A young girl, who sustained catastrophic injuries when her parent´s car was involved in a head-on collision with a speeding driver, has had her compensation for brain damage in car crash settlement approved in court.

Cerys Edwards (6) from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands was just eleven months old when, in November 2006, a Range Rover driven at speed by teenager Antonio Singh Boparan was in collision with her parent´s car. Cerys suffered permanent brain damage in the accident and now needs a ventilator to help her breathe and full-time nursing care,

Cerys´ parents – Tracey and Gareth Edwards – made a claim for brain damage in car crash compensation on Cerys´ behalf against the negligent driver, but it was only in 2008 – when Boparan was jailed for reckless driving – that his insurance company admitted liability. Negotiations to provide Cerys with a suitable compensation for brain damage in car crash settlement.

Judge Martin McKenna at Birmingham High Court heard that interim payments of compensation had been made by Boparan´s insurance company while a settlement was being finalised, and now the two sides had reached an agreement whereby the Edwards family was to receive a lump sum payment of 5 million pounds, with annual payments of 450,000 pounds being paid throughout Cerys´ lifetime.

Approving the settlement of the injury compensation claim, Judge Martin McKenna said that it was one of saddest cases he had ever come across.


Death in Hospital caused by Negligence Claim

The family of a woman who died from a heart attack after she was wrongfully discharged from hospital has won their compensation court case for death in a hospital caused by negligence claim and are to receive £278,000 Euros in compensation.

The judge in court heard how Mrs Teresa O’Brien had been admitted to hospital in September 2004 with a heart complaint.

The consultant at the hospital had ordered that an angiogram be carried out and Mrs O’Brien kept in hospital. A senior house officer also performed stress tests and sent the results to a doctor. It was alleged that neither the senior house officer nor the doctor linked results of the stress test with the direction given by the consultant that Mrs O’Brien should not be discharged from hospital until she had been x-rayed. As a result, Mrs O’Brien was sent home and tragically died four days later. Her post-mortem showed evidence of cardiovascular irregularity and it was also discovered later that the results of the stress test had been misread.

The health service conceded liability after Mrs O’Brien’s widower – Paul – sought damages for medical negligence and breach of duty. The judge approved a compensation settlement of £106,000 for Paul O’Brien, with further amounts of £77,000 for her son Daniel and £85,000 Euros for her step-son Daryl. Other Smaller sums are also to be awarded to Mrs O’Brien’s two brothers and sister.