Archive for May, 2015

Victims´ Families Launch Claim for a Fatal Legionnaires Outbreak

Posted on: May 14th, 2015

Legal action has been initiated in Staffordshire over a claim for a fatal Legionnaires outbreak in which three men died and eighteen others were injured.

In August 2012, Richard Griffin (64), William Hammersley (79) and Harry Cadman (71) died within a week of each other due to inhaling legionella bacteria at the JFT Discount Warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent. A further eighteen people were hospitalised from the symptoms of the deadly bacteria.

An investigation into the fatal Legionnaires outbreak found that the bacteria had originated from a poorly maintained hot tub on display in the store, and was inhaled by the victims as the water in the hot tub aerosolized.

The eighteen surviving customers of the store suffered symptoms such as headaches, chills, fevers and coughing; but, for the three victims who died, the bacteria infection manifested as pneumonia and then deteriorated into organ failure.

Fourteen of the surviving customers claimed compensation against JFT Warehouse, and thirteen of the claims have been settled out-of-court. The families of the three men who died have made a claim for a fatal Legionnaires outbreak and are pursuing their claim through the courts.

The daughter of the first victim to die – Richard Griffin – issued a statement explaining why it was felt appropriate to make a claim for a fatal Legionnaires outbreak. In the statement she said: “Nothing can ever bring our dad back but we just want to make sure justice is done and that there is some accountability for his death. I truly hope no one ever has to go through what we have.”

JFT Warehouse has already admitted liability for the fatal Legionnaires outbreak through the company´s public liability insurers. The court hearing will determine how much the claim for a fatal Legionnaires outbreak will be settled for.

The Crown Prosecution Service is considering whether criminal charges should be added to the claim for a fatal Legionnaires outbreak, but will probably reserve their decision until the outcome of inquests into the three men´s deaths is known later this year.

Pensioner´s Son Demands Compensation for Fall in Street Injuries

Posted on: May 1st, 2015

The son of a pensioner, who was hurt when she tripped over a cracked paving stone, has demanded that his mother receive compensation for fall in street injuries.

Seventy-six year old Gwendoline Smith suffered multiple injuries when she tripped over the raised edge of a cracked paving stone shortly after getting off a bus in Southend, where she had travelled from her home in Noak Bridge in Essex.

Gwendoline – who has crutches to help her balance – fell heavily onto her left side and hit her head on the pavement when she tripped. An ambulance was summoned, and Gwendoline was taken to Southend Hospital with a suspected broken knee.

Since her accident, Gwendoline has attended her local Basildon Hospital for treatment to other injuries she sustained in the accident. These include ongoing headaches, lumps on her head, and pains in her left shoulder and leg. Due to injuries to her face, it is also painful for Gwendoline to speak.

In an interview with the local press, Gwendoline´s son – Michael – demanded that the local council pay his mother compensation for fall in street injuries. He said: “The pavement was cracked and raised up – she caught the corner of it and just went over”.

However, claiming compensation for fall in street injuries is not always straightforward. There is often confusion about what constitutes a hazard (a mythical “one-inch-rule” is often quoted in error) and a court would be more concerned about the proximity of a cracked pavement to the bus stop on Bournemouth Park Road.

A court would also take into account that the council does not have an “absolute” duty of care to identify and repair cracked paving stones. Local Authorities are given a “reasonable” amount of time to identify and repair hazards before they are considered liable in personal injury claims. If the crack in the paving stone had only recently appeared, it may be the case that Gwendoline might not be entitled to compensation for fall in street injuries.

A spokesman for the council said: “We regularly inspect all pavements in the borough and repair any dangerous defects as a matter of priority. We have not had any reports of problems in this area, but of course, we take matters like this seriously and a member of our Environmental Care team will visit the site and inspect the area”.