Archive for November, 2015

Widow Awarded £50,000 Compensation for the Death of a Partner in a Road Accident

Posted on: November 20th, 2015

A widow has been awarded £50,000 compensation for the death of a partner in a road accident after a hearing of the Belfast High Court determined liability.

Leslie Browne from County Down in Northern Ireland died in August 2010 from injuries sustained in a car crash the previous month. Leslie and his wife, Elizabeth, had been driving from Newry to Hilltown, when they were involved in a head-on collision along a stretch of the B8 known locally as the Seven Sisters because of its sharp bends.

Elizabeth claimed compensation for the death of a partner in a road accident, alleging that the driver of the car that hit the Browne´s vehicle – Sandra Murray – had been driving without due care and attention. It was also claimed that Murray had lost control of her Toyota Yaris due to travelling too fast for the wet road conditions, and then braking excessively as she approached the crown of a bend.

Murray denied that she had lost control of her vehicle due a lack of attention, and claimed that the loss of control was due to being hit from behind by a Fiat Punto driven by Michal Marczak. Marczak admitted that he had been driving too close to the Toyota Yaris for the road conditions, but denied that there had been any contact.

The claim for compensation for the death of a partner in a road accident went to the Belfast High Court where it was heard by Mr Justice Stephens. The judge was told that a settlement of £50,000 compensation for the death of a partner in a road accident had already been agreed and that the case was before him to determine liability.

After hearing there was no evidence to support Murray´s claims that she had been hit from behind by Marczak´s Fiat Punto, Judge Stephens ruled that Murray was solely responsible for causing the accident that resulted in Leslie´s death. He said that a combination of excessive speed and excessive braking due to inattentiveness had led to her losing control of her car.

The judge commented that Murray´s inattentiveness was reflected in the fact that she “did not and does not know what happened, so she grasped at anything that might exonerate her.” Mr Justice Stephens ordered Murray to pay the settlement of £50,000 compensation for the death of a partner in a road accident, Elizabeth´s legal costs and also those of Michal Marczak.

Settlement of Compensation for a Brain Injured Cyclist Approved in Court

Posted on: November 17th, 2015

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for a brain injured cyclist who suffered severe injuries due to the negligence of a lorry driver.

On November 4th, 2011, thirty-one year old Mary Bowers was cycling to work at the News International building in Wapping, East London, where she was a promising young journalist for The Times. Just ninety metres from her workplace, Mary stopped when she encountered red light on Dock Street.

As she waited for the lights to change, a 33 tonne Lynch Haulage aggregate lorry pulled up behind her. The driver of the lorry was participating in a hands-free phone conversation at the time, and he neglected to fully engage the handbrake. Tragically, the lorry rolled forward and crushed Mary beneath its wheels.

Mary was rushed to hospital by ambulance suffering from a severed artery, two broken legs, a punctured lung, a broken pelvis and a broken arm. She was subsequently diagnosed with a severe brain injury. In November 2013 she was transferred to a residential rehabilitation centre in Brentwood, Essex, but remains in a minimally conscious state.

The driver of the lorry – Petre Beiu – was convicted of careless driving at Snaresbrook Crown Court in December 2012. He was fined £2,700 and disqualified from driving for eight months. Following Beiu´s conviction, Mary´s father – Peter – claimed compensation for a brain injured cyclist from Beiu´s insurance company.

Liability for Mary´s injuries was admitted and an undisclosed settlement of compensation was negotiated. However, as the claim for compensation for a brain injured cyclist had been made on behalf of somebody unable to represent themselves, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in Mary´s best interests.

The approval hearing took place at the High Court in London, where Mr Justice Supperstone heard how, on the day of the accident, Mary had been wearing a cycling helmet and a high-visibility jacket, and that she had remained in a designated cycling lane before moving into the cyclist stopping box at the traffic lights.

The judge was told that the undisclosed settlement of compensation for a brain injured cyclist would be used to provide Mary with a private bungalow at the Brentwood rehabilitation centre and to pay for the care and therapy she will need for the rest of her life. Judge Supperstone had no hesitation in approving the settlement.

Speaking after the approval hearing, Mary´s father told reporters: “The impact of Mary’s injuries has been devastating to her – her career was flourishing and she had her whole life ahead of her. We are relieved that now she will have access to vital funds which will help go toward specialist treatment to help and support her through her ongoing rehabilitation.”

Compensation Claim against Premier Inn made by Family of Scalded Woman

Posted on: November 13th, 2015

The family of a visitor from India, who died from her injuries after being scalded in the shower, has made a compensation claim against Premier Inn.

In August 2012, Kalyani Uthaman (59) was holidaying in Edinburgh, and staying at the Premier Inn in Newcraighall, when she suffered burns to 25% of her body due to being scalded in the shower. She was taken to hospital, where she died six weeks later due to multiple organ failure.

Doctors attributed Kalyani´s death to the level of burns she sustained in the shower accident; and, although Police Scotland and Edinburgh City Council investigated her death, a decision was made by the Crown Office not to hold a fatal accident enquiry.

Disappointed by the lack of information being released to them, the Uthaman family have now made a compensation claim against Premier Inn and the owners of the budget hotel chain, Whitbread PLC, seeking damages in excess of £1 million.

Kalyani´s son – Sundar – told BBC Scotland “It is an irreparable loss, given the love and affection she had for us and we had for her. It was something none of us expected would ever happen in a very safe country like the UK.”

The Court of Session in Edinburgh has scheduled the first hearing of the compensation claim against Premier Inn for November 20th – a hearing described as a “significant milestone” by the family´s solicitor.  The first hearing will set a timetable for future hearings.

Following the news that the family were making a compensation claim against Premier Inn, a spokesperson for the hotel chain said: “This is a very sad incident. Our thoughts are with the family of Ms Uthaman during what must have been, and which must remain, an extremely difficult period for them.”

However, the statement was later criticised by the family´s solicitor for being the first communication regarding the incident from Whitbread PLC for over two years.

Man Awarded Injury Compensation for a Crash with a Ploughshare

Posted on: November 6th, 2015

A man, who suffered a devastating brain injury in a motorbike accident, has been awarded injury compensation for a crash with a ploughshare.

On 20th September 2012, Anthony Royle (48) and his pillion passenger were riding along the A54 in Winsford on Anthony´s motorbike. Anthony was travelling at 60mph as he started overtaking a line of stationary traffic that was waiting for a tractor with a ploughshare attachment to turn into a field.

Unfortunately, as Anthony approached the tractor, he did not see the ploughshare attachment protruding across the road at head height in time to stop his bike. Anthony crashed into the ploughshare – both he and his pillion passenger being knocked unconscious with the force of the impact.

Anthony suffered a devastating brain injury as a result of the accident, which has left him needing a lifetime of care and support. As he is unable to manage his own affairs, a claim for injury compensation for a crash with a ploughshare was made on Anthony´s behalf against the owners of the farm – GA and S Broster and Son.

In the legal action it was alleged that the tractor was being operated by a farm employee who, although he had a license to drive a tractor, did not have the experience to manoeuvre a ploughshare attachment safely. Liability was admitted, but defence lawyers argued that Anthony had contributed to the cause of the accident by failing to give it a wide berth when overtaking.

A compromise settlement package of injury compensation for a crash with a ploughshare was negotiated that will be sufficient to provide Anthony with the care he needs for the rest of his life. However, as he is legally unable to manage his own affairs, the settlement package had to be approved by a judge before the claim could be finally resolved.

Consequently, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Jay was told the circumstances of Anthony´s accident and the settlement of injury compensation for a crash with a ploughshare that had been agreed. Approving the settlement, the judge said “You could have done better, but you could also have done worse bearing in mind all the factors”.

Street Injury Claims for Potholes Mount Up in the Highlands

Posted on: November 3rd, 2015

According to the Inverness Courier, outstanding street injury claims for potholes and uneven pavement surfaces in the Highlands amount to more than £½ million.

Following a Freedom of Information request to the Highlands Council, the Inverness Courier recently reported that – over the past six years – in excess of £600,000 has been claimed in compensation for injuries sustained within the council´s boundaries due to potholes in the street and uneven pavement surfaces.

As only a fraction of the street injury claims for potholes and uneven pavement surfaces has been resolved in this time, the Highland Council has a potential compensation liability of more than £½ million.

The largest outstanding claim has been waiting more than three and a half years to be resolved, and relates to an Inverness resident who suffered a serious back injury when tripping and falling over a pothole in Inverness City Centre in February 2012. The injured victim is claiming £147,591 compensation.

Many of the other street injury claims for potholes and uneven pavement surfaces also date back for several years. A Fortrose resident has been waiting two and a half years for his claim for a leg injury to be resolved, while a woman who suffered a serious facial injury due to tripping and falling on Inverness´s Southside Road has been waiting nearly as long.

According to data scraped from the Freedom of Information request, more than six thousand potholes and pavement maintenance faults were reported to the Highland Council last year – although it is likely that these figures are inflated due to different members of the public reporting the same fault.

Nonetheless, the Inverness Courier also reports that it is not just the state of Inverness´s pavements that give residents cause for concern. Last year the Highland Council scored third-worst of the thirty-two Scottish local authorities in the Scottish Maintenance Road Condition Survey for the poor condition of the area´s roads.

In response to the Inverness Courier´s article about street injury claims for potholes and uneven pavement surfaces, a council spokesperson said: “In 2014/15 the council set aside funding to be used in identifying and testing better ways to achieve a shift towards more potholes being repaired permanently rather than temporarily and also to identify cost effective and sustainable recycling techniques for more substantial repairs to road construction”.