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.

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.

 

Cycling safety – Helmet cameras assisting with serious injury claims

The view of a beautiful decline down a luscious part of the country is now regularly filmed via helmet mounted cameras on cyclists across the UK. The number of people using them has grown rapidly since their inception at the turn of the century. However, these cameras are also being used to record video evidence against negligent and poor drivers during everyday commutes; which begs the question, are helmet mounted cameras good for evidence in serious injury cases?

serious injury claims from cycling accidents

Using helmet mounted cameras

The technology around helmet mounted cameras began to become popular when leading sports camera company GoPro started their journey back in 2002 with the idea of capturing surfers performing directly from the athlete themselves. This quickly developed into cameras designed to capture a multitude of sports including skiing, cycling and many other extreme activities; it has even stretched into the realms of filming non sport related videos, capturing some truly amazing moments, such as the worlds highest freefall, to a fire-fighter saving a kitten from a burned down building.

As time passes, like with all areas of technology, the ability for higher resolution videos, smaller cameras, longer battery life and larger storage capacity enables us to capture any aspect of daily life in high detail. This has been the case for many cyclists in the UK and the rest of the world, recording great journeys and daily commutes alike. However, the use of these cameras is currently just as much for personal protection reasons as capturing stunning scenery.

Video evidence

Search on YouTube for anything related to bad driving and cyclists and you will find hundreds of incidents involving road users displaying road rage and poor driving caught using mounted cameras. Previously, serious injuries from road traffic accidents involving cyclists would involve testimonials from those present, including witnesses. While this is reliable if more than one testimonial matches up to create the full story, the advent of cyclists using helmet mounted cameras has enabled an extra dimension of evidence to support their claims. Video evidence can often be very useful in determining who was at fault in a serious injury case. There are however, limitations with using video as evidence in a claim you are making.


Video courtesy of the Telegraph – http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Legal Considerations

Although video evidence often depicts what happened during an incident without prejudice and from an unbiased view, having footage does not automatically mean police or a court will accept recordings. Common considerations for using footage when reporting a serious injury claim from cycling include:

Showing entirety of the incident: Usually 2 minutes before and 2 minutes after the incident so that a clear understanding of how the incident began and the aftermath can be drawn.

If possible, show the date and time: Some cameras automatically have a timestamp, clarifying the incident as the one in question. This helps legitimise the video as being not only of the incident, but driver (if the face is shown) and victim.

Footage must be raw and unedited: As video editing is very accessible now, it is important to submit any footage in its raw form, clearly displaying no signs of doctoring.

Handing footage to authorities quickly: Similarly to the above point, footage should be handed in to the relevant authorities (often the police) quickly (within 48 hours of the incident) to ensure there is no time to doctor the video and so action can be taken asap.

Video quality must be acceptable: There are hundreds of camera brands for helmets and most will be of suitable quality for recording. It is important to have a high enough resolution that there can be no doubt about the vehicle involved in the incident, its registration and if possible the driver (should we see their face).

Be aware of your own behaviour: While we may be able to see the original incident wasn’t your fault, if you were to retaliate in an unacceptable manner (physically or verbally) or are seen to be antagonising and making the situation worse, this could go against you when considering the evidence.

Can we use it?

Having video evidence; while not 100% certain to be used within a claim; is, in short, a useful tool to ensure any denial on liability can be challenged when claiming from a cycling accident. If you are going to be cycling a lot and are considering having a camera mounted on your helmet or bike, as an insurance option it can easily help legitimise any claim. Video evidence, if accepted, can go a long way to speeding up the claim process.

Our advice when using mounted cameras is to stay courteous, even after any incident, as your own behaviour is on show. Also, make sure you act quickly if you are on the receiving end of negligent driving while riding. When on a bike you are much more vulnerable to serious injury from negligent driving than in a car, as there is less protection available. You can’t always guarantee those around you will be vigilant, so you must be, to lower the amount of risk.

serious injury claims, cycling accidents

What to do if you have been injured?

The first step after an injury is to get in touch with us and let us know all the details of your claim. From there we can confidently let you know if you have a solid claim and what to do to proceed. At Sincere Law our team has 20+ years of serious injury knowledge at each of our solicitors work on a no win no fee basis, giving you peace of mind to start your claim, knowing you won’t be charged if unsuccessful. We understand serious injuries like no other and we strive to look after you immediately following injury for as long as it takes for your to recover. We will also ensure that you receive the best aftercare following your return home.

If you or a loved one have been unfortunate and suffered a serious injury while cycling, video evidence or not, please call us for free impartial advice on 0800 092 2896 or fill on our contact form for one of our friendly advisers to get in touch with you.

“Think Bike” & Avoid Serious Injury

It’s a campaign that aims to remind all road users to be alert for hazards while driving. Particularly, motorbikes. The “Think Bike” campaign serves to keep us vigilant to the risks on both sides of not keeping eyes on the road and surroundings while travelling. Recently, articles on collisions that have caused serious injuries and luckily some that have avoided serious injuries have spurred us at Sincere Law to help remind everyone of the importance of safe driving.

Sincere Law, Road traffic accidents

 

 

Junction Safety

Both of the accidents in the articles we read (above) were from collisions that happened at junctions, one being a T junction and the other merging onto a motorway. These areas are the hotspots for motorbike collisions, on average “30 motorcyclists are killed or injured every day at junctions”. Our top tip, as simple as it sounds, is to take plenty of time, look both ways; don’t accelerate out of a junction too quickly. Sometimes waiting at a junction can be incredibly frustrating if traffic is busy, but waiting those few seconds is worth the trade off from potentially causing a serious road traffic accident or in the extreme, costing somebody’s life.

 

Road Etiquette

Of the top 5 most common causes of motorcycle accidents, 2 of them involve manoeuvring. Filtering and changing lanes are moments when not checking mirrors and keeping track of other drivers could result in serious collisions. Both driver and biker need to be sensible when filtering and changing lanes to keep themselves and others safe.

Filtering is perfectly legal and good for traffic. For bikers, it’s important in slow traffic to move at a steady pace to give drivers time to notice and react. Equally, when a driver is changing lanes, they must check mirrors, give plenty of indication time, and move steadily rather than suddenly; this way, even if a biker is not seen and approaches, they have ample time to slow down and avoid any possible collision.

 

Rural Riding

Blind bends and tight roads make country driving difficult to navigate, having to adapt to the road around you. With the national speed limit in place for most of these roads, the chances of collisions while driving at these speeds are increased greatly. Road traffic accidents with serious injury and deaths sadly occur often, sometimes on the same stretch of road.

When travelling on country roads, it would be highly advisable not to allow the speed limit to govern your driving. Instead, let the inclines/declines, bends and compactness of the road make the decisions. If the road is winding and hard to judge, slow down to a comfortable pace. With so much unpredictability and difficulty predicting what could be round the next bend, it is always advisable to be safe and take a country road with a smooth, controlled journey.

sincere law, serious injury claims

 

 

 

With motorcyclists 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than a car (UK Government Statistics) and over 4,800 serious injuries occurring each year involving them, it’s important on all sides to look after each other and observe good driving etiquette. Serious and fatal injuries can have lasting effects on not only those involved but the families too. We often have to help our clients remain financially secure when making claims for serious injury as the effects can last a lifetime. Common injuries found in road traffic accidents include:

  • Spinal compression
  • Broken & dislocated vertebrae
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Diffuse axonal injury
  • Burns

Our advice, given the latest news articles, is simply to look after one another, motorcyclist or driver; stay safe on the road and look out for fellow road users.

If you or a loved one have been unfortunate and suffered a road traffic accident in a car or on a motorcycle, get in touch with us on 0800 092 2896 or fill in our contact form. One of our advisors will be on hand to help give advice on how to move forward with a claim.

Road Traffic Accidents & Children – Stay Safe This Summer

With the summer holidays arriving (and already here for some) it is getting to a time of year where the School runs are over and it’s time to take your loved ones out for walks, day trips and lots of exiting activities. With so much outdoor fun available, it is important to stop for a moment and ensure you remember to keep yourself and your family safe over the summer.

As serious injury solicitors, we receive high volumes of road traffic accident claims every day. We receive just as many claims from people injured at the roadside as a pedestrian as we do people injured while at the wheel or as a passenger. With many more children out and about as passengers in cars and as pedestrians this summer, make sure both you and your children avoid any unwanted incidents and have a long, hot, happy summer.

Sincere Law

Summer Safety, top tips

  1. 1. Follow the Green Cross Code – to the letter!

The easiest and possibly the best way of avoiding any injuries as a pedestrian, especially when walking with children, is to obey the green cross code. Crossing at zebra or pelican crossings and using the stop, look and listen technique can reduce any risks to an absolute minimum.

 

  1. 2. Keep yourself on the road side

It may seem like common sense, but many road traffic accidents we deal with include cars coming onto the curb. When walking with your child it is in their best interests to make sure they walk away from the road. Children seem to enjoy balancing on the edge of the pavement. It’s important to teach the dangers of this as falling into the road from doing this could end catastrophically!

 

  1. 3. Playing in the street

You won’t always be with your child during the summer. Sometimes they may be just outside enjoying some playtime with friends. If you live on a road with cars coming through, be it a quiet cul-de-sac or a main road, make sure your loved one knows not to play in the road and stick to the pavement. When playing ball games, make sure they know not to chase after a ball that ventures into the road and to retrieve it by using their green cross code.

 

Stay safe, and enjoy

Ensuring the knowledge that the road isn’t a playground is the best way to make sure your loved ones are secure during the holidays. Unfortunately many claims from road traffic accidents include pedestrians and a percentage of those include serious injury claims involving children.

Serious injury cases we’ve dealt with previously involving parents and children during summer include:

  • Spinal injuries
    • Spinal compressions
    • Dislocated vertebrae
    • Spinal penetration
    • Hyperextension & Hyperflexion
  • Brain injuries
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Frontal lobe damage
    • Diffuse axonal
  • Fatalities as a result of reckless driving
    • Head on collisions
    • Rear end collisions
    • Failing to pay attention

Prevention of these types of injuries does work two ways. It requires vigilance from both driver and pedestrian or driver and fellow driver. You may not be able to change the behaviour of another person but by taking your own safeguarding steps you can limit any potential problems while enjoying a packed summer schedule.

While we do provide the very best help for making a claim and ensuring all medical costs at the time and in future will keep you safe and secure, we’re sure you’d much prefer a relaxing, stress free summer enjoying some quality time with your little ones.

Sincere Law Claims

If you or a family member have suffered from a serious injury, be it a road traffic accident or other, make sure you do get in touch with us on 0800 092 2896 or use our contact form here.