Claims News

Substantial Fine for a Death Caused by Corporate Negligence

Posted on: February 1st, 2016

A leading power company has been fined £1 million and ordered to pay costs of £153,000 by Chelmsford Crown Court for a death caused by corporate negligence.

On 24th July 2012, four runners from the Saffron Striders running club were training for a forthcoming race when they took a route through a cornfield alongside a public footpath in Newport, Essex. As the lead runner – Dr James Kew – entered the field, he ran into an electric cable carrying 11,000 volts that was sagging at a height of 1.5 metres due to the securing porcelain insulator having disintegrated.

James (41) from Ashton in Essex was killed instantly, and several of his colleagues suffered burn injuries when he completed the electrical circuit from the cable to the ground. The inquest into James´ death heard that the sagging cable had been reported to the National Grid and UK Power Networks thirty minutes prior to the fatal accident but, rather than cut the power in the area, UKPN sent an engineer to investigate. Sadly the engineer arrived twenty minutes too late.

An investigation in James´ fatal accident by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that there had been an “underestimation of the risk to human life”. The HSE prosecuted UK Power Networks under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 – effectively charging the company with death caused by corporate negligence.

UK Power Networks pleaded guilty to the charges when the case was heard by Chelmsford Crown Court last week. The company was fined £1 million for a death caused by corporate negligence and order to pay £153,000 towards the cost of the HSE investigation. Speaking after the verdict had been announced, HSE inspector Paul Carter said: “Dr Kew’s family remains completely devastated by their loss and witnesses to this incident have suffered severe trauma and stress-related illness. The incident was entirely preventable”.

Claim for Restaurant Food Poisoning Resolved at Court

Posted on: January 22nd, 2016

A woman´s claim for restaurant food poisoning has been resolved at the Court of Session in Edinburgh with a jury compensation award of £263,534.

In 2009, Tracey Rae (44) from Falkirk visited the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society´s Restaurant in Edinburgh with her husband and two other couples. Tracey described her experience as a “nice meal” but, the following morning, she woke up feeling unwell.

Throughout the day Tracey suffered from stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhoea. After she started to pass blood, Tracey saw a doctor – who diagnosed her with a campylobacter infection from eating undercooked chicken livers that had been served in her salad.

Despite taking medication for the infection, Tracey´s symptoms continued. Six months after her visit to the restaurant she was diagnosed with post-infection IBS and told that the condition would remain with her for the rest of her life.

Tracey now has to follow a strict gluten-free and lactose-free diet. She cannot drink alcohol or caffeine and still suffers from pains in her stomach and bowel problems. Because of her symptoms, Tracey has been unable to return to work as an adult literacy tutor.

After seeking legal advice, Tracey made a claim for restaurant food poisoning against James Freeman – trading as Saffron Private Catering – who was in charge of the food preparation at the time. Liability for Tracey´s injury was admitted, but Freeman´s insurance company declined to settle the restaurant food poisoning claim for an acceptable amount.

The claim for restaurant food poisoning went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh for the assessment of damages. After seven days of evidence, the jury awarded Tracey £263,534 to account for her pain and suffering and loss of earnings. A special consideration of £30,000 was included in the settlement of claim for restaurant food poisoning to account for the additional cost of following a restricted diet.

Passenger takes Legal Action to Recover Airplane Head Injury Compensation

Posted on: January 11th, 2016

A British Airways passenger has taken legal action to recover airplane head injury compensation after receiving an offer which he described as “derisory”.

The passenger – Wayne Herbert (45) from Crouch End in North London – had taken his seat on a British Airways flight from Heathrow to the United States when he was hit on the head by a rucksack as it fell from the overhead luggage compartment above him.

According to Wayne´s version of events, the passengers in the row behind him were trying to store too much hand luggage in the overhead compartment and, as they tried to manipulate the rucksack into a space too small for it, the bag fell on him.

The blow from the rucksack caused Wayne to suffer a whiplash-related injury. He was taken off the plane to be assessed by a paramedic but did not need to attend hospital. Wayne flew to the United States the following day, but claims he was unable to sit at a computer and work while he was there.

When he returned to London in November 2014, Wayne contacted British Airways to discuss airplane head injury compensation. Under the Montreal Convention, an airline is automatically responsible for any injuries sustained by passengers once they have boarded the airplane and liable for injury compensation.

However, Wayne was dissatisfied with the offer of air miles and subsequent offer of £500 airplane head injury compensation. Speaking with the London Evening Standard, Wayne described the offer of airplane head injury compensation as “derisory” and explained that he still suffers anxiety attacks because of the incident. He has now taken legal advice and made an official claim for airplane head injury compensation.

Wayne was also critical of British Airways´ policy of allowing passengers to take large items of hand luggage onto flights, and the lack of help being provided to the passengers who were having difficulty in finding space for the rucksack. “The staff certainly were not checking what people were doing and I’m suffering as a result” Wayne told the London Evening Standard.

A spokesman from British Airways told the newspaper: “Our cabin crew gave every possible help to our customer and we are still in contact with him to resolve this issue.”

Lift Fall Injury Compensation Claim Resolved for Cardiff Care Worker

Posted on: January 4th, 2016

A lift fall injury compensation claim has been resolved for a care worker from Cardiff, who suffered life changing injuries in a workplace accident.

On 6th March 2012, Carol Conway (52) was working at the Pontcanna House Care Home in Cardiff as a care assistant. One of her duties that day involved taking 96-year-old resident May Lewis from her second floor bedroom to the ground floor for her breakfast.

As she had done many times before, Carol wheeled Mrs Lewis to the door of the lift and waited for it to arrive. When the bell rang to signify the arrival of the lift, Carol unlocked the lift door and reversed Mrs Lewis´ wheelchair to back her into the lift.

Unfortunately, due to a known fault, the lift platform had not arrived at the entrance and both Carol and Mrs Lewis fell 6.2 metres to the ground floor. Mrs Lewis died from her injuries, while Carol – who was knocked unconscious in the fall – broke her back, several ribs, and bones in her left foot and suffered a punctured lung.

An inquest into the accident found that the owners of the care home – Shirwan and Nasik Al-Mufti – had be advised that the lift was faulty and was not to be used except in an emergency. Nonetheless, they allowed staff at the care home to use an emergency access key that overrode the safety mechanism and enabled the door to be opened manually.

The owners were fined £75,000 by Cardiff Crown Court in August last year for breaches of health and safety regulations and ordered to pay £25,000 in costs after being prosecuted by the HSE. With liability for the accident proven, Carol made a lift fall injury compensation claim against Shirwan and Nasik Al-Mufti.

The lift fall injury compensation claim was settled by negotiation, with Carol receiving an undisclosed sum in excess of £50,000. “I was awarded compensation” Carol told her local newspaper after her lift fall injury compensation claim had been resolved, “but money will never change that terrible day. I think about it constantly. My heart goes out to May and her family. I am so sorry she died the way she did – it´s tragic”.

Shopper Settles Injury Claim for a Trip Over a Mat in Sainsburys

Posted on: December 8th, 2015

A woman has settled her injury claim for a trip over a mat in Sainsburys after the supermarket giant acknowledged its liability for her injuries.

Jean Annis (79) from Alsager in Cheshire was shopping at her local Sainsburys towards the end of year, when she tripped on a loose mat by the entrance to the supermarket and fell to the floor. As a result of her trip and fall accident in Sainsburys, Jean fractured her right arm and sustained several facial injuries.

Although she received prompt first aid at the supermarket and was quickly treated in hospital, Jean suffered permanent nerve damage to her dominant right arm. Furthermore, Jean experienced another fall five months later and fractured her arm again – a fracture doctors said would not have occurred had it not been for her arm being weakened as a result of the fall in Sainsburys.

Since the second accident, Jean has not been able to use her right hand, leaving her unable to drive. Doctors have advised her to undergo an operation to pin the bones in her right arm to give it more strength, but Jean is worried that her husband Norman (89) – who suffers with dementia – will have to be put into a home while she undergoes and recovers from the surgery.

After speaking with a solicitor, Jean made an injury claim for a trip over a mat in Sainsburys – alleging that the supermarket was negligent in allowing the mat to get loose and, had it not been for its negligence, she would have suffered an injury. Sainsburys was quick to acknowledge liability for Jean´s injuries, and a settlement of her injury claim for a trip over a mat in Sainsburys was negotiated.

Although the exact amount of the settlement has not been revealed, it is believed to be in five figures. A spokesperson for the supermarket said: “Mrs Annis is a valued customer and we are pleased that her injury claim for a trip over a mat in Sainsburys has been settled”.

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”.