What Do The Injury Proposals Mean To You?

The Ministry of Justice this week announced (as part of the Autumn Statement) their intention to press on with their whiplash reforms with some changes to their key measures. The announcement has generated a lot of talking points and reaction from both the insurance sector and the legal sector over how to move foreword. Sincere Law has compiled a short summary of the changes and how they may affect you as a claimant.

Sincere Law looks at the whiplash reforms

The measures

  • The intention to either reduce OR scrap soft tissue injuries (i.e. whiplash)
  • Injuries which last longer than 6 – 9 months will be classified according to their length of recovery
  • Minor injuries (which are classed as 6 – 9 months) will have a £400 damages limit and £25 for the physical impact whereas injuries that last between 19 – 24 months will be worth £3,600
  • The small claims limit will be at least £5,000 and could rise higher
  • Offers being made before a claimant has a medical will be banned

Other measures are also being debated and will be considered following a further consultation within the department. Some of the measures above and the further measures (listed below) will be put to representatives from the insurance and legal industries to decide what is in the best interest of the country, its citizens and the economy. The further measures considered include:

  • A requirement for referral sources to be included on claim forms
  • Requiring earlier notifications of claiming (much likes Sweden’s model which requires anybody injured in accident to go and seek medical treatment within 72 hours or be ineligible to claim)
  • Reducing rehab costs via vouchers and defendants arranging their own rehabilitation

Whiplash injury claims

What it means for me?

So what do all the above points mean to you? Well in terms of serious injury covered by Sincere Law, thankfully not too much. Whenever you suffer a serious injury either at work, on the road or out and about you will likely need medical attention right away and will also have damages far exceeding £5,000. As a result serious injuries will most probably see no difference apart from the requirement to claim earlier rather than biding your time.

The main issues will affect those with “minor” injuries and will force all claimants to act quicker from accident to legal action. The insurance industry is predictably satisfied with the reforms although the reported savings in premiums to consumers resulting from these proposals would be a paltry £40 (not a lifesaving amount).

The legal industry has since pushed for insurers to pledge that this amount of savings will be passed on to consumers but uptake on the pledge has been slow to uptake currently. The legal industry has been looking to prevent the reforms for some time and continues to fight against them with the “Access to Justice” campaign.

Seeking legal help

If you have suffered an injury and need legal help yourself please call one of Sincere Law’s experts on 0800 092 2896 for free, impartial, conscientious advice. We specialise in serious injuries and know that the recovery time and aftercare needed to get through a serious injury case is far greater than normal personal injuries. With that in mind we ensure we have a network of qualified specialists across the country to deal with medical, psychological, financial and emotional needs following serious injury for the sufferer and their family.

To get advice on how to proceed with a serious injury claim for you or a family member, either call today or fill in our contact form to let us know about the injury. From there we can call you when convenient to discuss your best course of action.

“Family First” Campaign Launched To Fight Brain Injuries

The National Lottery has begun funding a brand new campaign, designed to help families living with children suffering from acquired brain injuries. Championed in Northern Ireland to support 50 families and even more children, the scheme could benefit the rest of the UK in the future,  if and when it is rolled out further.

Brain Injury campaign funded by national lottery

Five Year Plan

Family First is one of five projects launched at once, with an overall fund of £3.3 million going towards good causes. Living with acquired brain injury can be a full time job for families when the injury involved one of their children. Charities, along with existing government funding, can help alleviate some of the pressure on those families, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.

The £700,000 scheme, which is set to run over five  years, is initially being launched in Northern Ireland. It is hoped that the scheme will help around 50 families to provide a good level of care and a happy life for their affected children, as well as assist the families also.

As the Family First scheme is lottery funded, it is hoped that the scheme may be rolled out further, across the UK in the future, especially if the pilot and initial £700,000 investment, proves to be a useful injection into the care of those in need.

What lottery funding does for us

1,000 Potential Beneficiaries

Up to 1,000 children are set to be helped in some way, as part of the funding, as they receive valuable support wtih care costs, advice, counselling and medical assistance.

The mother of one child involved was full of praise for the scheme and funding, stating “Family First has been so fantastic. You feel they really understand what it’s like for you and they’ll go the extra mile to provide support. It’s made such a difference. I can’t thank them enough.”

The Chief Executive of prominent brain injury charity “Brain Injury Matters” Fiona McCabe, commented on the toll that an acquired brain injury can take on affected families, saying:

Families need the right support as without it they can fall apart. Parents may feel guilt and blame themselves for their child’s brain injury. Because there is understandably focus on the child with the acquired brain injury, their brother and sisters may feel confused and excluded. All this puts pressure on the family unit and can make the child’s rehabilitation all the more difficult.”

The new scheme will help alleviate a lot of that pressure on connected family members and help keep the lives of all affected as positive as possible. For more on acquired brain injuries and their effects, take a look at what we can do for acquired brain injury victims when they are caused by serious negligence.

Sincere Law specialises in brain injury assistance from acquired to traumatic, axial to diffuse. These injuries often require extensive assistance over a long time (something we are experienced in providing). For more news on developments for brain injury suffers and the serious injury sector, visit our blog.

 

Brain Injuries Cost UK £15 Billion Per Year

Research by the Centre for Mental Health recently revealed that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) will cost the UK up to £15 billion per year (not including other brain injury types). With that figure so high, is it worth placing more research into dealing with traumatic brain injury in the short term?

Serious brain injury claims

TBI & the Justice System

One of the biggest dangers facing those with traumatic brain injury is the possibility of coming into contact with the justice system. Up to 60% of offenders have suffered TBI before they were arrested. This statistic strengthens the link between brain injuries and criminal activity. While this link is more prominent in children with traumatic injuries heading into adulthood, it can still affect an adult mind.

Of course, not all traumatic brain injuries would cause a person to commit crime, but the impairment one causes to somebody can often affect judgement and emotions. When this happens and a sufferer finds their judgement affected, the cost of taking care of them can spiral. This is because they could require assistance from a designated carer, or may suffer cognitive problems, meaning that they can no longer work. For anybody who suffers a traumatic brain injury and commits a criminal offence, it can be a difficult task to educate them on why their behaviour is not appropriate.

Regardless of whether a traumatic injury sufferer offends as a result of impaired judgement or not, the effect of a “mild” or “severe” traumatic brain injury can lead to challenging consequences on their family when it comes to taking care of them in the future. These tend to be even worse if the person suffers the injury early on in life.

 

 

Lifetime Care

Research has suggested that a traumatic brain injury can have several very negative effects on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. These may all require some form of aid to adapt to and live with.

Statistics show a traumatic brain injury can:

  • Double risk of mental illness development
  • Increase risk of earlier death
  • Increase risk of future offending

The cost of care in the UK for traumatic brain injuries is staggering. Each year around 160,000 people are admitted to hospital with traumatic brain injuries. 1.3 million people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries, live with disabilities as a result. Overall these cost £15 billion to help assist and treat the victim. A large proportion of those affected are children, whose bodies are not fully developed and so run a much higher risk of severe damage when struck in the skull. Should a child suffer a traumatic brain injury, the chances are they will require some level of care or assistance throughout life.

 

Strong Support

Numerous charities are available to help deal with the deficit in funding by the government. Some of the front runners for this include Headway, BASIC and the National Brain Appeal. Charity work forms a large base of support and care for victims and families. However, when an injury does occur, a family may often need support further than what is available through charity funding or via national services. This is where the victim of a traumatic brain injury whose injury was caused by somebody else’ negligence, can seek the help of a solicitor such as ourselves.

When we take on cases for serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, we prioritise the victim’s care. To do this we form what is known as a “crisis team”, which is made up of people who specialise in the treatment of the injury suffered.

Once our crisis team is formed, we are able to plan and carry out a course of treatment and support for as long as required, with the prime focus being to provide them with the best quality of life possible within their circumstances. This includes providing them with the opportunity to get an education, enjoy leisure time and, where possible, to develop skills that will help them into employment..

If somebody close to you has experienced a traumatic brain injury or a head injury of any kind then you can talk to one of our team in confidentiality to find out more about what help and support is available to you.

We are contactable on 0800 092 2896 every week day or if you prefer we have a contact form you can fill in here.

 

New Portable Ultrasound Scanners Could Save Lives

Undiagnosed bleeding from brain injuries can prove fatal. This is particularly noteworthy in warzones as bleeding internally in the head isn’t easily identifiable. Thanks to new developments in ultra sound technology however, there could be a path to early diagnosis.

Conventional Scanning

The problem with existing ultrasound scanners is that they produce a 2D model. This is most commonly used for baby scan images. Ultrasound works by projecting sound onto the human body and reading the bounce back, putting an image to the sound waves.

Other alternatives for better picture quality include CT or MRI scanners. In cases of emergency, where treatment needs to be quick, including as before, on a battlefield, then these devices become unfeasible. CT and MRI scanners are normally bulky and in some cases are so big they require a dedicated transport to house them.

How conventional ultrasound works

 

The new ultrasound scanners are a portable version the size of a laptop, able to create a 3D image of the brain and instantly send the data via the internet to a specialist. It allows remote diagnosis and a quick way of identifying bleeding. It also means that if an expert is not present at the scene, there is always one available online to look at the scans.

 

Long Term Gain

With the ability to quickly diagnose bleeding in the brain, there is the possibility to prevent haemorrhages. In remote locations without an expert who can spot the bleeding on scans this can be the difference between receiving the correct treatment fast and long term brain damage.

This is also beneficial for patients coming into A&E after suffering a stroke. If bleeding is not spotted early and is left untreated it can lead to further damage when the patient would preferably require rushing to A&E. Bleeding in the brain is not always recognizable without due training and experience; in the past patients may not have been identified as suffering this and risked long term damage or even death if untreated.

new portable ultrasound designed to assist with finding brain bleeding injuries being tested

Sincere Law Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker saw the potential in the scanners and was very pleased to see the ongoing development reach testing. Of the scanners he said:

“Undiagnosed bleeding inside a brain can devastate a person in the long term and so having the ability to clearly identify this in a patient, even when a specialist doctor isn’t on hand at the scene, is a big step towards reducing catastrophic brain injuries. We hope to see continual testing and eventual rollout of these devices in our armed forces and A&E too”.

 

Saving Lives

There is no doubt that the ability to quickly scan a brain for internal bleeding and send the results remotely can save lives going forward. The biggest question is how quickly can the portable scanners be thoroughly tested and rolled out for general use? Unfortunately at this point there is no set timeline but the testing is a large step towards that goal.

In the majority of brain injury cases taken by Sincere Law relating to internal bleeding, the longer a patient is left to be diagnosed; whether that is simply waiting at a hospital or waiting for a specialist to identify the symptoms; the more damaging the long term effects. A brain injury also affects the family of a victim just as much. They often involve complications including affected motor functions, restricted learning capacity or general brain functionality problems.

Steps towards reducing the amount prolonged brain bleeding sufferers are being made every day. In time we hope that those operating in our armed forces and those in need of quick assistance in our hospitals have access to the new ultrasound scanners.

 

New technology to tackle head injuries in sport

A brand new device labelled the “Q-Collar” has been designed and tested using two studies in the United States. The device, which is placed inside a sports helmet, aims to reduce concussion injuries by manipulating blood flow to the brain.

 

Energy absorption

The Q-Collar works very simply by being placed inside a helmet allowing it to gently press on the jugular vein of an athlete. The pressure on the vein then allows a slow outflow of blood, keeping blood volume in the brain. When involved in a contact sport, your brain can be at risk to aggravated injuries from knocks to the head. The collar is designed so the higher blood volume in the brain can pad out and protect it during sport.

The tests carried out in America involved two heavy contact sports that required helmets (American football and hockey). The studies, which took place in Cincinnati, measured the flow of blood and activity of both athletes that wore the collar (half), and athletes that didn’t. The results indicated that those athletes who took part without the collar suffered a “disruption of their microstructure and functional performance of the brain”.

Serious Injury prevention in sports with new v collar

English Applications

The Q collar may well have future applications in more than the sports tested if further research shows the device to greatly assist with the prevention of injury. While American football and hockey are considered niche sports in the UK, other more popular sports that require a helmet may benefit from widespread use. Other applications which could see the Q collar used include:

  • Cricket
  • Cycling
  • Motorsports
  • Bobsledding
  • Equestrian Sports
  • Baseball
  • Extreme Sports
  • Skiing

Sincere Law’s Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker has praised the research as an “exciting development” in the protection of athletes. “There have been positive advances in dealing with sports related head injuries in the past few years. It’s vitally important we protect everyone from brain injury as the long term effects can be devastating; particularly so for those who aren’t backed by guaranteed contracts and access to the best therapy.”

v collar designed to prevent serious injury in sport

As solicitors who specialise in serious and catastrophic injury, Sincere Law has helped victims of severe head injury in sport in the past and know that the road to recovery can be a hard one, not just for the victim themselves, but for their families as well.

Given the limited access to therapy that amateur sportsmen and sportswomen have, when compared to the professionals, the introduction of technology, such as the Q Collar, could go a long way to help prevent serious head injuries to competitors.

 

Agriculture – Britain’s riskiest profession?

Farming has always been a staple of the British economy. The land holds promise for rearing animals and crops and seemingly will always have a place in British life. It does however often go unreported that this historic job does hold a place as the UK’s most dangerous profession statistically.

Brits and farming

The agriculture industry in the UK has always been a popular source of economic prosperity. With 75% of the UK’s landmass used for farming, it helps supply over two thirds of the nation’s food, from meat and poultry, to fruit and veg. Being an island nation, farming has been a failsafe industry since the dawn of civilisation, allowing us to stay supplied during both World Wars and giving the UK a strong trade out into the world.

From the early days of horse drawn ploughs and farm hands sowing crops; cultivating the land by hand, there has always been plenty of labour available in farming.

Revolution & change

With the industrial revolution adding new machinery and methods of farming, came greater risk of serious injury in the daily life of a farm worker. Farming has always seen incidents of serious injury, including workers becoming entrapped in machinery, being mauled by animals or falling from height working on the buildings.

According to current statistics, farming is still at the top of the tree for injuries and fatalities in the UK workplace. With heavy machinery including a variety of tractors, industrial size machines for collecting and processing crops and the fact that the overall amount of livestock kept rising, it is no surprise that farming does still carry risks of serious injury (and even fatalities).

Farming has the highest rate of serious injury incidents in the UK

Farming safely & what next?

With so many risks of injury, it is imperative anybody involved in farming not only has adequate protection in the form of PPE and working tested equipment, but also to be properly educated on having a safe working environment. This is exactly what one company in Oxfordshire has done by offering training and education for all areas of farm work. It is often overlooked by those that work in the more labour intensive side of farming, but proper education is one step to avoiding unnecessary incidents.

Sincere Law has experienced a myriad of farming related injuries arising from the provision of poor education and inadequate PPE. The cost of an accident working on a farm can far outweigh that of being injured in many other professions, construction and manufacturing included.

With life changing injuries seen including amputations, loss of hearing, loss of sight, 3rd degree burns and broken bones, Sincere Law Partner, Lucie Illingworth, actively welcomes the new resources and challenges other companies to provide the same. Lucie said of the new courses:

“It often goes unnoticed just how badly an injury caused working in agriculture can change a person’s life. Any claims we deal with in this sector go far beyond simply providing a means of compensation. The rebuilding process can take months and years to come close to making a recovery (if at all). The more protection provided for farmers, the fewer lives we are likely to see affected by injuries at work. I’d like to see many more of these initiatives launched to protect UK agricultural workers”.

Will the enhanced education have an effect on the rate of serious injury and fatalities in UK farming? Only time will tell. Until we know for sure, farming is likely to retain its place as one of the UK’s most dangerous jobs.

Sign Your Life Away – Do Waivers Stop You From Claiming?

When you take part in any activity that could pose a physical risk, like a sporting competition or events such as the newly popular extreme assault courses, you will most probably sign a waiver. These waivers record that you accept that there is a risk of you being injured while taking part. But does that absolve all blame from the organiser?

Spartan races are fast becoming one of the mot popular extreme race events in the world

Event Insurance

All event organisers, including sports and team building obstacle race holders, will be required to have insurance and be expected to have made precautions for any accidents that could happen. This usually includes arranging for first aiders to be present and ensuring that there is suitable access for emergency services, as well as ensuring the venue is appropriate and that participants are prepared and aware of any risks. This insurance is necessary as,, although participants suffering minor scrapes, bruises or even minor breaks are covered under the waiver; negligence of any form is not and should it occur, it would leave the event organiser liable.

The now worldwide giant, Tough Mudder, has come under criticism for injuries caused since it’s inception in 2010. With runners electrocuted by 10,000 volt cables and sustaining some brutal punishment over the courses, some have suggested that a lack of care has been taken with the obstacle design. With some events seeing deaths, paralysis and major injuries in recent years, the question of negligence has lingered for some time.

The same idea of waivers not covering negligent actions applies to sports too. Many sports have governing bodies which issue insurance to members covering injury during training sessions and competition; with additional insurance available for instructors. However, liability waivers do not cover acts of negligence on behalf of coaches, referees or other participants. Should another competitor intentionally injure you or a referee fails to act within their duty of care to all participants, then those actions fall outside of a waiver and give a person the right to claim compensation.

Serious injury during sports or tough mudders

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Waiver Legality

A waiver is designed to fulfil the legal requirement that the participant in an activity is aware of the potential risk and is still willing to participate. Although some waivers may mention complete absolution from liability, this isn’t actually a true statement.

Legally if a company, organiser or governing body of an event have done all within their power to oversee the safety of participants, then injury cannot bring forth a personal injury claim. However, if those same authorities have in fact been negligent in their preparation and allowed for slips in safety procedures, then a claim can be made.

Sincere Law has represented both athletes and race participants in the past for these situations. The challenge for the solicitor of an injured individual is to prove the accident was the fault of negligence.

 

Proving Fault

While not an easy process, it can be determined,  with some investigation by a solicitor, as to whether the waiver signed covers the accident or not. Looking into previous injuries using the apparatus, the health and wellbeing of the person involved and the situation surrounding the incident all come into play.

While we would never discourage anybody from participating in a sport that has injury risks or completing an obstacle race with risky sections, Sincere Law would always advise being in the best possible condition to safely compete/complete a course and also be aware of the proper rules and procedures for participation.

With some research suggesting an average of 1.72 people being taken to hospital per 1,000 entrants for extreme obstacle races, you need to be sure you can safely complete them as well as having fun doing so.

tough mudder serious injury claims

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

If you have been involved in a sporting event or an obstacle race and have suffered a serious injury, then do not hesitate to get in touch with Sincere Law. We operate on a No Win No Fee basis and, after an initial no hassle call, we can ascertain whether you have a potential claim. We also offer a £250 recommend a friend scheme in which you can earn £250 for recommending Sincere Law to a friend. Our lines are open from 9am until 8pm daily so get in touch today!

Serious Injury In Sport – Not Always From foul Play

You’ll have seen in the news recently, plenty of stories regarding professional athletes suffering particularly bad injuries, affecting their careers. Stories making the most headlines include Luke Shaw’s leg break playing in the Champions League for Manchester United, Leinster’s Kevin McLaughlin being forced to retire from rugby union as a result of a concussion and potential changes to the rules for the Rugby World Cup to lower the risk of concussions. While all these instances happened at the top level of sports, they are quite relevant to non professionals who suffer injuries during a sporting event in their own lives.

Luke Shaw suffered a serious injury in a recent game, potentially affecting the rest of his career

Governing bodies in sports

Injuries in sports can come as a result of more than just foul play or an accident like tackling. Everything about a competitive sports environment must be regulated to ensure that all who are taking part are as safe as they can be. This goes for any level.

Each sport and country has governing bodies, all insured and all with rules to keep serious injuries to a minimum. Even sports involving heavy contact, such as fighting sports like boxing, kickboxing and MMA, all have governing bodies to regulate participation.

Rules set out by these organisations will always state how a game must be played, the environment to be played in and the facilities required to meet the standards necessary for players, officials and any spectators. This is fundamental for any sport to reduce accidents on or off the playing surface. Failing to meet these standards can result in liability if an accident does occur. This applies down to the lowest tiers of sporting activity, including playing for teams on a local park.

Sporting Injuries to the non pro

Using the example of a Sunday league football team, the playing surface is most likely to be either a public recreational area, such as a local park, which is kept by a council, or a rented private playing field owned by a landlord. The state of the pitch is in the hands of the owners. Should it be improperly cared for or poorly maintained, it could result in injury, for which the pitch owner is liable.

Cases of serious injury in these settings have previously included players falling on glass that had been discarded and even in one case (one of our own) a player committing to a tackle and hitting a stump of a former goalpost, which seriously damaged his leg.

In all levels of any sport, contact or none, there will always be guidelines to follow, whether you are part of a team, alone, officiating or a spectator. If these guidelines are breached and have caused you a serious injury, you would be within your right to seek justice for what could have been prevented.

Am I protected?

What many sporting bodies can provide, as a minimum, is insurance when you register with them. There are usually insurance guarantees by becoming a member of an organisation. If you were to be injured performing in that sport, you would able to receive some form of compensation. However, there are usually caveats to every policy and you may find your injury falls outside the realms of what the organisation will provide should you get injured. They also often do not provide the same insurance benefits for officials and spectators.

With injuries in sport, as with any other serious injury, if you are unfortunate and sustain a preventable injury during participation, down to another player, unsafe practices, the condition of the surface, facilities or other as a result of a negligent action, you are protected.

A claim for negligence can be brought against any person responsible for a preventable injury within a sporting activity. Sincere Law have experienced many cases involving faulty equipment, poor surfaces and dangerous actions during a game, which has resulted in somebody suffering a serious injury.

sincere law, sports injury specialists

Sporting injuries aren’t always as the result of foul play, whatever injury occurs, if somebody is negligent then you can take action!

Aftermath of sporting injuries

Dependent on the severity, a sporting injury can have life changing effects. At the top levels of sport athletes have better access to physiotherapy and guaranteed contracts, which assist their recovery when injured. At the grass roots levels of sport this is not as easily accessible.

When a person is injured participating in sport at grass roots level, they can suffer the same common injuries as those at the top levels including:

  • Broken limbs
  • Torn muscles
  • Strained muscles
  • Concussions
  • Dislocations
  • Eye injuries

Unfortunately, for most of us, we don’t have the time or resources to commit our lives to rehabbing an injury as sports professionals have. We have jobs, families and lives to lead, so the resulting injuries may take longer to heal or even completely affect our future, as our bodies are not adapted to recover as a top sportsman would be.

Using an example of a broken leg in football, it is a common saying on the terraces that a player is usually “never the same player” after recovering from a broken leg. While a player may return and play regularly after their recovery, it is often found that players will struggle to compete at exactly the same level and begin to drop down divisions much quicker than a normal aging professional would do. Even with the advantages of dedicated physiotherapy, time to train or gaining match time in reserve games, a player will likely still not perform the same and could even be mentally affected when they rejoin the sport full time.

Compare the above example with a member of the public, not trained specifically for that sport to play professionally, with a job, a household to maintain and a regular income. The same situation can easily transform into a more long term, costly situation. Not having access to as an extensive a physiotherapy regime, an average person’s injury may not fully recover and could even hamper their movements in future life, possibly halting involvement in their favourite sports.

A serious sporting injury can also require time off work if the injury renders them housebound, in some cases needing care or assistance around the house. These are costs which the average person may not be able to foot. If their injuries are as a result of negligence while playing sports, they are able to get help in the form of compensation.

 

serious injury claims - sport

Athletes have the ability to utilise top physiotherapy for an extended time unlike the general public

My next steps

If you have experienced an injury during a sporting event as a result of a negligent action (and remember, it isn’t always about tackling or even being a participant), then you have the ability to claim for your losses, including time away from work, lifestyle adaptations, medical bills and other associated costs.

Sincere Law are specialists in serious injury claims and we know sporting injuries can often be life changing. We have a team of dedicated solicitors waiting to talk to you, offering free, impartial advice and we are able to walk you through the claims process.

Your first step following a sports injury is to get in touch and see what we can do for you. You can talk to us either by calling 0800 092 2896, texting us on 89298 or by filling in our contact form here. We pride ourselves on being open and honest about what we can do for you with no pressure. We also offer a ‘no win no fee’ service removing your risk from starting a claim.

 

Safety on the school run – Part 2

Last week we gave you part 1 of “safety on the school run”. That article focused on how to best stay safe as a pedestrian walking to school with an emphasis on being aware of vehicles and your child at all times. The second of our two part blog offers the top tips for when you are actually on the road and behind the wheel.

Sincere Law - School run safety

500m danger zone

Back in 2013, research facility “Road Safety Analysis” and AXA insurance helped spearhead a report that pointed to the danger of road accidents within 500m of the school gates. Statistics coming from the report indicate that in 37% of UK school boroughs, an average of 1 child per year was involved in a road traffic accident within the 500m radius around a school.

The study was conducted between 2006 and 2011 with the total number of accidents within 500m to be 85,814, averaging 1,190 per month. Alongside injuries the inquest also dealt with the number of vehicle collisions totalling 557,200 in the same time period, equating to an average of 6 collisions per school per year!

School run etiquette

In the UK there are multiple organisations supporting road safety, all of which offer tips and reminders to drive responsibly around your local schools (such as the National Safety Council). We have however compiled our own top 6 tips to help keep yourself, your child and everybody else’s children safe during the daily drive to school.

 

1. Make it leisurely

Your time in a morning is precious. Running a household is no easy task, making sure the pets are fed, the youngsters are well nourished, clothed and packed; securing the house before leaving and making sure you have all of your own materials alongside the kids’ is quite an achievement once completed. It can be very easy to be dragged into a race to the gates by unforeseen problems cropping up in a morning. With that in mind, as easy to say but hard to implement as it is, doing everything 5 minutes earlier and leaving the house a little sooner than usual to could make all the difference to your journey. A relaxed driver is a vigilant driver; rushing increases risk of reduced attention span and in turn increases the risk of not spotting a stray child or the car in front breaking suddenly. Turn the race against time into a leisurely, pleasant drive.

 

2. No cruise control

You know the route, you know where the shortcuts are, and exactly how long to the millisecond the morning run takes. However, letting that knowledge pilot you from home to school heightens the risk of cruise control setting in and could lower awareness of your immediate surroundings. Driver error causes on average 67.5% of road traffic accidents, accounting for 65% of all fatal road traffic accidents and 61% of serious traffic accidents. Driver error includes the following instances:

  • Failing to look properly
  • Failing to judge other people’s path or speed
  • Being careless, reckless or in a hurry
  • Loss of control
  • Poor turning or manoeuvring
  • Travelling too fast for the conditions
  • Not accounting for a slippery road due to weather
  • Sudden braking
  • Tailgating

With so many factors contributing to driver error, it’s important you are aware at all times. Hazard perception is an integral part of safe driving, not just spotting oncoming pedestrians but judging speeds and distances, making note of how the weather affects the journey and driving smoothly all add to a safe, comfortable drive.

 

3. Speed kills

A sentiment heavily pushed with the assistance of public service films on our television screens and on posters over the years (See “its 30mph for a reason” video below). It is without question that speeding is dangerous regardless of where you do it, but add that to a school environment; parked cars, public transport, pedestrians and unpredictable children added to the mix, there is potential for serious harm with a collision of any kind. It’s tempting to sneak extra speed into a drive if you are worried about timing, but the risk of a life against turning up 1 or 2 minutes later than normal is a trade off not worth making.

4. Every child is your child

The best selling book in the world states a simple line within it that a famous man once said. He told us “do unto others as you would have them do to you”. Very philosophical words for a blog about taking the children to school; but one which is very appropriate. As the quote suggests, you should treat every child, every parent walking hand in hand with their little one, as you and your own. If you were in their position and they were driving in your vicinity, you would very much hope they were careful, courteous drivers; and with that in mind you should be the same back to them.

5. Make eye contact

When establishing a relationship we are advised to make lots of eye contact. It builds trust, creates a rapport and lets us make lots of nonverbal communication. Simply connecting eye to eye allows two people to acknowledge they are both aware of a situation, be it two people looking across a dinner table on a date, friends exchanging an “in joke” via a quick glance at each other, or, importantly in this case, a pedestrian and driver acknowledging they are there and want to use the road safely. It can be a quick, efficient way of determining another road user’s intention. For the ability to judge when to slow down and stop, a simple glance towards one another can be a life saver.

6. Park safe

When it finally comes time to pulling up and either letting your child jump out or stopping and walking the final few steps with them, remember to park in a spot that will not cause problems for other road users. Nobody likes poor parking, but the feeling is even worse should a parked car obstruct traffic in any way, make it difficult to manoeuvre around or obstruct the view of pedestrians looking to cross the road. As with point 4, you would likely not appreciate a bad example of parking, so make sure you are not that example. Good parking etiquette includes:

  • Using designated bays
  • Parking on roadsides that do not contain double yellow lines
  • Giving enough room on both the road and pavement
  • Only opening doors when it is safe
  • Indicating to pull over and park in good time

Follow the simple steps and your final drop off will be stress free, safe and carry the least risk for all involved.

Be the shining example

Using this two part article, allow yourself to be the example setter. It’s very easy to slip into routines and into autopilot during tasks you do every single day. With the school run, as a pedestrian or driver, consider not only your child’s safety, but that of your fellow parent’s. If you show them the extended courtesy of being a mindful pedestrian, or a careful driver, it can spread to others and keep our schools, and our children, safe. Sincere Law has come across many cases relating to accidents around schools in the past, we would definitely like to see the number of children’s cases drop.

If your family has however suffered on the school run in an accident that wasn’t your fault, see what we can do for you. We offer free, impartial advice and expert guidance on how to deal with injuries to children. To get a free, confidential call from one of our solicitors, contact us here or call us on 0800 092 2896. All of our solicitors works on a no win, no fee basis, giving you no risk to starting your claim today.

 

What is a “Duty of Care”?

The Dalai Lama was once quoted saying:

“If you shift your focus from yourself to others, extend your concern to others, and cultivate the thought of caring for the well being of others, then this will have the immediate effect of opening up your life and helping you to reach out”.

When we speak of what a duty of care is, it is surprisingly similar to what the revered Dalai Lama was trying to put across here that we should make sure to show care and attention for everyone around us. It may not be the dictionary definition for duty of care, but it definitely puts us on the right track.

duty of care - serious injury claims

Your duty defined

A duty of care is what we owe to anyone we interact with, in any guise of life. We owe a duty of care to our fellow drivers, our fellow employees, our fellow human beings. Before we go into any detail, let’s take a look at some definitions on a duty of care:

A “duty of care” is:

“a legal obligation which is imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could cause foreseeable harm to others” – Wikipedia

“the legal obligation to safeguard others from harm while they are in your care, using your services, or exposed to your activities” – Collins dictionary

“a requirement that a person act towards others and the public with watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would” – Legal dictionary

From the above we can see that a duty of care is owed by any and all people who have some relationship to another person in any form. This includes professional working relationships and special relationships, like using roads, being in the same room or walking on the same pavement.

Relationships in a duty of care do not just extend to a traditional relationship, as soon as you come into contact with somebody else, you will owe them a duty of care. In the simplest sense, for example, we would owe everybody we walk past a duty of care not to flail our arms while walking, as it could cause injury. The same applies while driving to not break the law and drive dangerously, as that could also cause serious injury.

Breaching your duty

How do you breach your duty and what happens following one? Simple, you are in breach if you do not uphold the behaviour, care and attention that would be expected in any given situation; situations such as:

• Being hit by somebody driving erratically, causing a collision
• Your employer having you perform a task, risking injury due to improper PPE, prior training or an unsafe working environment
• Being injured and trusting your health to a medical practitioner, your condition then worsens due to their misjudgement


Doctors owe a professional duty of care to take care of their patients

You are owed a duty to be treated in a safe manner in all aspects of life. Failing to do so could allow you to claim on a serious injury if the actions caused by another are seen to be negligent. You can see many examples of this by viewing our case studies to see the result of a duty breached.

Aftermath of a breach

An incident caused by negligence can result in severe injuries. Back in 2013, 69% of fatal road traffic accidents were the result of negligent driver errors; alongside that 66% of serious incidents also involved that same contributory factor. Our duties are not restricted to the road however; they also count at work and during our everyday lives.

Having dealt with serious injury cases for over 20 years we understand the devastating effect that negligent behaviour can have on a person and their family. Rehabilitation, physiotherapy and psychotherapy from the most serious incidents can take many months or years to recover from.

Sincere Law will always strive to help you or your loved one not only recover, but to get back to as normal a life as possible, following serious injury.

If you or a family member have been affected by someone else’s negligent actions, please get in touch on 0800 092 2896 to speak to one of our friendly advisers or contact us at www.sincerelaw.co.uk. All of our solicitors work on a no win, no fee basis, meaning you get free impartial advice with no commitment and no payments to make if we aren’t successful.