The Emotional Strain of Cancer

Cancer is the biggest killer of all known diseases worldwide. The effects of a battle with cancer can leave family and loved ones scarred as much as the victim, as it can tear away a loved one from our lives. Over the last few years, a number of public figures have unfortunately slipped away from us, as a  result of the disease in it’s various guises; names including British actor Pete Postlethwhaite,  rock frontman Lemmy Kilmister from the band Motorhead, to the recent passing of music icon David Bowie and film icon Alan Rickman.

Sincere Law - Cancer Statistics

 

Lasting Impact

The impact on the public from losing those they have looked up to and, who at times, have almost seemed ‘immortal’ can take a heavy toll.. It causes us to look at our own lives and helps us think about our future. It can be a very sobering experience. If a public figure dying from such a disease causes us to feel this way, what happens to a close family unit when a prominent member suffers?

Understandably there are a number of strains placed on a family or relationship when one member is diagnosed with cancer. There are questions to be asked about role adjustment and responsibilities within a household, personal needs, plans for the future, social activity, children and many factors behind a successful relationship/family unit.

While the public do get a painful shock whenever somebody they look up to is diagnosed with, and on occasion, succumbs to cancer, the reality of living with it day-to-day can be an incredible test for any family, no-matter the relationship with the affected victim.

 

Our Experiences

As serious injury specialists, we have had first hand experience at seeing the changes a family has to make with a member who has suffered from cancer. A cause that is often overlooked is the development of cancer from airborne sources during a person’s working life. Industrial based diseases and cancers are a common case in the injury law industry; lung based diseases especially so.

We are often required to help provide intermittent funding and ongoing assistance to the sufferer and their family. Not just physically however; but emotionally also.. This is never a cheap experience and so we would urge anybody whose loved one  has or is battling cancer as a result of poor conditions or negligence within their former workplace, to get in touch and get the necessary help.

 

Help Is At Hand

Sometimes when a family member is suffering from cancer (of any kind), all they need is support from those closest to them. For the physical treatment of the disease, this country thankfully has a number of cancer units (with new ones opening regularly), and for the justice for those suffering as a result of outside factors, there is Sincere Law.

Cancer is a difficult subject to approach from any side, be it the medical practitioners, you telling loved ones and friends you have developed it or hearing it yourself from a friend or relative who has been diagnosed. There are numerous cancer charities based in the UK trying to fight the disease every day. Until there comes a time that this debilitating disease is beaten, we, and the other members of the community are here for you, your family, friends and anybody else affected.

Cancer affects families in different ways, hear some stories directly from those involved

Storms Hit UK Legal System as 3 Courts Remain Closed

With winds reaching 81mph and days of consistent, heavy rainfall; Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank rendered many areas of northern England devastated this Christmas period. Cumbria and Northumberland received the highest warnings during this time and suffered substantial damage to the local area.

Many local communities were affected, with homes being flooded, businesses affected and other local amenities getting hit hard; including Carlisle United’s football ground being washed out (requiring games to be played at neighbouring grounds for a period of time). Also on the list of damages is a selection of courts, forced to close while the after effects are being dealt with.

Storms

Access to Justice

The three courts affected during this period of horrific weather are Carlisle Magistrates Court, York Magistrates Court and Kendal Courthouse. Many ongoing cases are currently being hurriedly moved to nearby venues including Carlisle Combined Court, York Crown & County Courts and Harrogate Justice Centre.

While spreading the load between local alternatives is a proactive way to deal with the problems, it has caused a strain on local case management to keep the schedule moving smoothly. No word has come yet from the Ministry of Justice as to when we can expect normal service to be resumed, but with work well underway on the clean up, authorities are hoping it is sooner rather than later.

 

UK Flooding: Your Experiences

The floods have affected many of us and provided some striking scenes as towns lay devastated at the hands of nature. Here is a selection of tweets from some of those affected.

Tougher Fines for Corporate Manslaughter Offenders

Companies guilty of committing corporate manslaughter are set to face tougher fines in an attempt to make the workplace a much safer and better regulated environment.

The Cost of Corporate Manslaughter

The Sentencing Council revealed recently that judges are being advised to impose heavier fines (in relation to size) on organisations guilty of committing corporate manslaughter.

Previous legislation, the “Corporate Manslaughter & Homicide Act 2007” doesn’t establish an upper limit to penalties. The new guidelines, however, push to take a very tough stance on guilty parties; suggesting companies with £50 million or more turnover should be fined £20 million and up to £10 million for fatal Health & Safety offences.

Corporate Manslaughter Law Blog

The 2007 act establishes what duty of care an employer owes to its employees. Legally every employee has the right to expect their employer to have taken all necessary steps and followed all necessary processes to ensure their safety. This counts not only for higher risk industries, like construction and manufacturing, but to any working environment.

 

What Is Corporate Manslaughter?

The act of failing to keep an employee safe, resulting in an accident at work, causing a fatality is the literal definition of corporate manslaughter. When one employee is instructed by another in a higher position to carry out a task that results in a fatality, the company is held responsible if that person’s instructions are in a working capacity. All that is required is that the grossly negligent party is in control of the company affairs relating to the incident; for example a foreman on a construction site, is the company representative portioning out tasks to the other employees.

Unfortunately, cases of corporate manslaughter have increased in recent years, including a spike of 40% between 2012 and 2013. Cases can take years to resolve but usually receive stringent fines as a harsh warning to ensure the same incidents are never repeated. This year saw the 11th prosecution for Corporate Manslaughter since the introduction of the legislation.

 

One recycling company convicted of corporate manslaughter

 

What The Changes Mean?

What do the new guidelines mean for companies and employees? Coming into force on the 1st February 2016, the new guidelines aim to serve as a larger deterrent than previously, to companies allowing Health & Safety processes to be neglected during their day to day activity.

Given the recent upturn in convictions for corporate manslaughter, the new fines will hopefully go some way to bringing about a downturn, ensuring companies take as much care and attention to employee wellbeing as is expected.

A matrix of costs has been developed to set a starting point based on the size of the company committing the offence. Starting points are:

  • Micro – Turnover less than £2 million
  • Small – Between £2 million & £10 million turnover
  • Medium – Between £10 million & £50 million turnover
  • Large – Turnover greater than £50 million

The costs provided by the matrix are not exhaustive of company size and not definitive totals, as companies with much larger turnovers than £50 million will require individual consideration. The hope for employees and the industry is that the fines will make enough of a financial impact that corporate manslaughter will become a thing of the past.

Corporate Manslaughter - Serious Injury Claims

Does This Affect Fatal Injury Claims?

For families of anybody affected by corporate manslaughter, the injury claims process hasn’t been affected negatively. The new guidelines are designed to be separate from private litigation and are a more official form of punishment alongside what a family can claim for the loss of their relative due to negligence.

Fatal injury claims as a result of an accident at work will remain the same taking into account what a grieving family is owed as a result of a fatality. Sincere Law have been involved in cases involving fatalities at work in the past that have also seen hearings regarding corporate manslaughter. Sincere Law Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker agrees that the new fines are a good way of reducing the amount of fatal injuries at work, stating “while the claims process isn’t affected by the guidelines, it is a step in the right direction to attempt to reduce and eradicate the amount of fatalities coming from corporate negligence. Given the extreme emotional pressure it puts on the immediate family of the deceased (which Sincere Law has experienced first-hand in the past) we welcome any legislative changes that make the workplace a safer environment.”

 

Making a Fatal Injury Claim

Should one of your family or friends suffer a fatal injury at work or otherwise as the result of a negligent action by another party, we would encourage you to claim as an injury claim is one of the best ways to ensure the guilty party comes to justice. We understand a fatal injury claim is a very delicate process, and we advise you take as much time as you need before starting a claim (bearing in mind the 2 year limit to making a claim following the incident).

Making a claim is a very simple process which we can guide you through as well as giving you the opportunity to see specialists if required. We have dedicated, experienced Solicitors able to explain any aspect of a case whenever required. If you do want to get in contact about a fatal injury claim (or any catastrophic injury) you can contact us every day from 8am to 9pm on 0800 092 2896 or use our contact page here. One of our friendly operatives will be waiting to give you honest, impartial advice.

We sincerely hope the new guidelines will reduce corporate manslaughter cases to zero. Only time will tell, but the new tough stance is the first step in fully securing those in a hazardous workplace.