“Life Saving” stickers to prevent children’s road accidents?

The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) has recently launched a well received and inexpensive scheme to prevent road accidents involving children using stickers. The simplistic campaign allows people to purchase stickers for a nominal fee and stick them to bins.
Stickers aimed to stop road traffic accidents involving children in Australia

Cheap & efficient

The campaign by the ARSF has encouraged many Australian parents to purchase life sized stickers of children for $10 and then place them on bins in front of their home. A very inexpensive option, the stickers portray children running or playing. With bins usually placed near the roadside (particularly when a collection is due) the scheme aims to remind drivers to take care in residential areas after spotting the easily visible deterrents.

The scheme was organised following a rise in road accidents involving children in 2015, resulting in the deaths of 242 children on Australian roads. This figure is  up from 223 the year before. The chief executive of the ARSF, Russell White, explained that no matter what side of the bin, which side of the road or which direction the stickers were facing, the visual impact would still be there. He said:

“When we look at road safety generally, we look at figures and numbers, but what we often overlook is the human face behind that.”

“The stickers put the human element to the potential situations we can find on the roads we travel each day. It’s the streets around our suburban areas which we are the most familiar with and often the most complacent with.”

road traffic accidents involving children took 242 children in 2015

English rollout?

The stickers on the bins which are rolled out once a week, not only display the pictures of children, but also the speed limit for the area (Australia being 50kph in many streets). The question raised during this test phase over here is “would this work here?” The idea is simple and cost effective. While the scheme itself would not prevent all accidents in residential areas (here or in Australia), it could serve as a quick reminder to those driving to watch their speed and watch for children.

Sincere Law’s Head of Catastrophic Injury, Chris Walker, believes a campaign like this would be beneficial for children’s safety in the UK. He told us “Any effort to stop deaths on roads, particularly young children who have their whole life ahead of them, is a good thing. Stickers are inexpensive and don’t require a lot of input from a user, but they get the message across simply. It would be good to see this brought to the UK.”

Sincere Law has dealt previously with injuries occurred on roads to children, both fatal and non fatal. Regardless of fatalities, it can hold very adverse effects on the family involved and those in the driver’s seat who caused it.

Could the UK borrow this sticker scheme to prevent road accidents?

Help is available

If you have experienced an accident on the road whether it involves your child, a family member’s child or a friend’s child, you can contact Sincere Law for expert advice. We deal with serious and catastrophic injuries which often require extra input and care in order to help alleviate the problems caused by serious incidents.

If you’d like hassle free advice please call one of our expert team on 0800 092 2896 or get in touch via our contact page. Alternatively, you can arrange for us to call you back at a time that suits you by using our callback form.

At Sincere Law, we strive to look after all of our clients and their families with caring, conscientious legal assistance from start to finish. We look to provide the best possible quality of life for all serious injury victims under our legal care, so please call today and see what we can do for you.

 

Optometrist Found Guilty of Manslaughter

Optometrist, Miss Honey Rose, was found guilty this week following a lengthy trial over her handling of young boy Vincent Barker. Vincent suffered from a fatal swelling of the optic nerve back in 2012. The boy fell ill and died following the eye test leaving the family facing the anguish of losing a child.

 

Papilledemma

In 2012, Vincent Barker attended an eye exam at his local Boots performed by then optometrist Miss Rose. During the exam she should feasibly have spotted a problem with Vincent’s eye as he had a build up of fluid due to swelling of the optic nerve; a problem known as Papilledemma. This swelling went undetected during the exam and eventually cost Vincent his life around 5 months later.

Miss Rose was charged with manslaughter through gross negligence in September 2015, with the trial beginning in January of this year. Miss Rose denied the allegations after pleading that she did not believe it to be beyond reasonable doubt that she could have missed the problem during the check-up. The allegations were eventually upheld however, and she was charged due to the build-up of fluid being deemed “obvious” and is due to be sentenced in August.

The family, while pleased that the outcome brings them justice for their son, are still carrying the pain of loss with them. They issued astatement following the ruling, saying:

“The outcome of this case does not change our life sentence; we will never be able to fully accept that our special little boy is never coming home.”

“The void left in our lives will never heal and the ripple effect to those around us is immense. As parents the distress of witnessing your child’s life from start to end in just eight short years is excruciatingly hard and nonsensical.”

“The decision of a jury or judge cannot bring Vinnie back or undo the devastation of his death. A guilty verdict would never make us winners, our loss is simply too great.”
The gross negligence manslaughter case over optometrist has finished

Lasting Impacts

The impact of a fatal injury is usually worth much more to a family than a guilty verdict or a lump sum of cash from a serious injury claim. Incidents of serious injury often require a qualified team to help those left behind deal with the emotional stress attached to losing a family member. To lose somebody so young adds further pressure to the situation.

In fatality cases, the solicitor’s job is to provide those left behind with adequate care and assistance should they need it, including counselling. This is the job of a team employed by the solicitor and is part of the settlement when a fatality claim is made. The settlement itself will never replace the family member they have lost, but the assistance of their support team is priceless in such a sensitive situation.

With over 25 years of experience dealing with victims of serious injuries of this nature, Sincere Law has developed strong working relationships with a host of trained medical professionals. From counsellors, to medical experts and therapists, the need for sensitive, professional advise is vital to help victims and their loved ones move forward with their lives Sincere Law prides itself of its ability to ensure that each of their clients receive the very best standard of care.

For more information on how Sincere Law can help someone who has been the victim of  a serious injury, call one of our advisers today for a free, no hassle conversation, without obligation on 0800 092 2896.

Alternatively you can visit our contact page and fill in the contact us form and one of our advisers will arrange to contact you.

 

“Injury claims should not affect care assessments by councils” says ombudsman

St Helens council has recently been wrapped by the legal ombudsman for refusing to fund care because a local man had already received a payout from a personal injury claim. Why is it important that councils still provide care even when a citizen has been paid out in a personal injury claim? Sincere Law investigates.

Personal Injury Payouts

Any personal injury case is a battle of two sides, the client and the defendant. Often (even in simple cases) a defendant’s insurer or solicitor would look to pay as little as possible to settle a claim to minimize their losses. This means that even when a client has a strong case, we would have to still prove that the compensation being asked is enough to cover the cost of damages. Should a matter go to court, it then requires proving to a judge who can assess the situation and assign damages based on their judgement of the facts.

In the St Helens case, the client had suffered brain injuries which would impact the rest of his life. The injuries impacted his cognitive abilities and was required to rent out a flat and pay for specialist care using his compensation for 35 hours a week. The council during this period assessed him and despite being told there was a “critical risk” if care wasn’t provided for him, they ordered that the man pay for this essential care with his own money.

St Helens council wrapped by legal ombudsman

Council Failings

After being awarded the compensation, St Helens council failed to produce a care plan or assess how much towards his own care he should pay with a financial assessment.

An investigation into the matter from the legal ombudsman declared that the man may have suffered increased financial difficulty in the 2 years following his injury up to the point of the investigation. While the financial compensation was a considerably large amount, further financial complications, personal circumstances, price of care and extent of care are all subject to change following a serious injury.

When dealing with serious injury claims, a solicitor will consult a selection of professionals to assess care needs and provide a plan of action. This may often require adaption or further care should the future hold any complications. When a person needs ongoing care, the local authorities often assess that person and will provide care either for free or at a reduced cost dependant on circumstances. Sincere Law’s Head of Catastrophic Injury, Chris Walker added his thoughts based on personal experiences:

“It seems currently there is a bias by local authorities against those that have personal injury compensation. Should the man in question have not been awarded his money, would he have been forced to pay for his care himself? We feel no. Circumstances can change dramatically, especially when dealing with catastrophic injury as complications are always a risk. On this basis, we wholeheartedly agree with the ombudsman’s recommendations that no personal injury compensation should ever be taken into account when determining care costs for an individual.”

M&D’s Pays Over £100,000 In Compensation Over 5 Years

M&D’s, otherwise known as Scotland’s Theme Park,  saw a particularly serious incident this past week, as seven children and two adults were injured on one of the rollercoasters. It has since arisen that the safety of the park may be called into question, as it has been revealed that the park has paid more than £100,000 in compensation in the last 5 years following safety breeches.

 

Latest in a long line

The latest incident (which took place on the 26th July) involved one of the rollercoasters coming loose and derailing while in motion. In total 10 people were taking to hospital; one woman was discharged after being assessed, while six children were taken to hospital. Of the children hospitalised, three were kept in for observation while three were in a serious condition. The remaining passengers were adults who were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for further observation.

When questioned, the park’s Director, Mr Douglas Taylor, insisted the park and its rides were safe for use. He said that rides were “safety checked on a daily basis” and underwent “a thorough independent inspection every 12 months”.

On ride footage of the tsunami rollercoaster

£100,000 over 5 years

Unfortunately for the park, this incident is not isolated, as a series of safety breaches over the last 5 years has forced the park to pay out over £100,000 in compensation to various victims of similar accidents.

Past incidents include the two rescues. Back in March eight people required rescuing when firefighters were called, after a rollercoaster came to a standstill. A second rescue back in 2011 involved the same rollercoaster affected this past week (the tsunami); when it broke down and left 11 passengers stranded for over 2 hours.

Staff at the park have also spoken of past incidents of injury, including rides behaving “erratically” and coming to a quick halt, injuring those on board. One such incident involved the log flume, where a passenger was thrown into a barricade wall. All incidents have resulted in large compensation payouts to victims totaling just over £100,000.

 

“Public Liability Nightmare”

Rollercoasters are expected to be built to operate safely. They work day in day out when in season and expect to run hundreds of times continually every day. Situations such as those where ride passengers have been thrown or carriages have disconnected can cause huge liability problems for park owners.

The nightmare for M&D’s in this incident involves the fact that the majority of those injured were children. In the UK, the majority of visitors to parks are aged under 18 with families and groups of young adults being the most common customers. Damage to a child’s body can be much more severe than the same injury to a developed adult.

Sincere Law’s Head of Catastrophic Injury, Chris Walker, spoke to us about the risks involved when a theme park ride fails:

“Theme parks require most stringent safely guidelines of any public premises. The risks involved, should safety standards not be kept, can be life changing if not fatal as we saw last summer with the crash at Alton Towers, where a group of young people required amputations.

Bearing in mind the  fact so many young people without fully developed bodies attend parks each year, safety should be held in the highest regard, no questions asked. Not keeping patrons safe can create a public liability minefield as M&D’s may be about to find out following the aftermath of this latest incident.”

M&Ds facing srious injury nightmare after crash

While the victims in the latest incident are still recovering and the relevant authorities are investigating, we cannot determine the extent of damage to the park and those involved this incident has caused. Should injuries to the children in hospital prove serious, we could see heavy implications for M&D. Regardless of the outcome; the incident has proven to be another to add to the increasingly common occurrences at Scotland’s Theme Park.

 

Can Apps Replace Face To Face Consulation?

The NHS has recently been developing a selection of new technology for use at home and in GP practices including wearable technology and static machines designed to identify illness without visiting a doctor personally. However is this money saving strategy the way forward or a step away from the personalised service we all want from the NHS? Sincere Law investigates.

 

Fast track plans

NHS England’s Chief Exec, Simon Stevens, is imminently set to announce a fast track plan aimed at saving the NHS money. The plans attempt to reduce the amount of patients coming in to GP surgeries in the UK daily.

A selection of gadgets will be given out to patients personally whereas more advanced, expensive equipment is planned to be placed in GP surgeries. Of the new technology, Stevens said “they could save tens of thousands of lives a year”. The gadgets will be a selection of wearable technology similar to the popular fitbits as well as larger machines able to identify a selection of illnesses without requiring an appointment with a doctor.

NHS apps attempt to save money

Source

 

Impersonal Service?

The opposition to the announcements is concerns that the new gadgets are a shallow tool designed to simply save money and reduce time spent by medical professionals liaising with patients. Computer technology has come a long way since its introduction but when it comes to healthcare, experts believe that human diagnosis and interaction with a trained, qualified, experienced doctors is far better than an interaction with wearable technology or an app.

Sincere Law’s Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker believes it’s a step in the wrong direction for the NHS, saying:

“It would be a missed opportunity if the NHS didn’t attempt to find platforms to help patients identify illnesses earlier; however this new technology seems a very thinly veiled attempt to stop patients from physically seeing their local GP. There is no substitute for a face to face consultation where a doctor can make a qualified diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment as opposed to a gadget using predetermined sets of answers only capable of acting within the parameters of its programming.”

 

What Could The NHS Do With technology?

While handing out gadgets to patients may not be ideal from a face to face consultation perceptive, the use of new innovation in the NHS can creative some positive ideas. The “NHS innovation accelerator programme” was launched in 2015 to move the NHS forward by creating new innovations. Currently 68 NHS organisations use one or more of 17 innovations aimed to improve care across the board.

The project works from funding gathered by 17 research fellows tasked with the R&D of new innovations. Following an initial £1 million fronted by the NHS, the researchers found further funding from outside sources, totaling more than £8 million to complete their work.

Important developments as a result of the programme include:

 

  • Join Dementia Research – a service to match those interested in participating in dementia research
  • Nervecentre – A platform to allow doctors and nurses to easily hand over patient information and share details including assessments and observations
  • MYCOPD – a 24 hour self management platform for patients suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)
  • HealthUnlocked – A social media platform for patients to connect with others suffering similar experiences

 

One of the innovations is HealthUnlocked, a social media platform

The NHS was involved with much press in the last year from the doctor’s strike to the budget and now as part of the referendum. With some positive news required, the NHS could be better off promoting the good work carried out in the innovation fund projects as opposed to launching new ways to avoid contact. Will the roll-out be a success or a failure? Only time will tell.