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UK Public Liability Claims

In the UK, public liability claims are made against shops, restaurants and other places of public access when you have sustained an injury due to the negligence of the business or organisation which owed you a duty of care. Typical accidents which lead to public liability claims in the UK are trip, slips and falls, but injuries such as food poisoning in a restaurant and injuries to children in a playground also qualify as UK public liability claims.

Establishing negligence in UK public liability claims is not always straightforward and, due to insurance companies keen to minimise their losses, pressure is often put upon victims to accept inappropriate compensation settlements. At a time when your injuries may incapacitate you from collecting the evidence you need in order to make public liability claims in the UK, or your accident has happened abroad while you were on holiday and you are unable to return, it is in your best interests to speak directly to a solicitor on our freephone injury claims advice service to receive impartial and practical advice about UK public liability claims.

Our solicitors will advise you whether you have UK public liability claims for compensation which are worth your while to pursue, build the strongest possible claim for public liability injury compensation on your behalf and negotiate the maximum possible settlement of public liability injury compensation in the shortest possible time. Many public liability claims in the UK qualify for “No Win, No Fee” legal representation which means that you do not have to pay for our solicitor´s time should you lose your public liability claim, whereas you will keep 100 percent of your public liability injury compensation settlement should your claim be successful.

Girl Settles Claim for an Injury at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

A girl, who is likely to suffer gynaecological problems due to being hit by a water jet when she was fourteen years of age, has settled her claim for an injury at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Shelby Clarke from Manchester was just fourteen years of age when, in October 2009, she visited the attractions at Blackpool Pleasure Beach with her mother, step-father and a friend – Sarah.

Soon after the party arrived, Shelby and Sarah spotted the park’s newest attraction – The Spectacular Dancing Water Fountain – which featured water jets that would shoot up in sequence from the ground.

In the centre of the attraction was the most powerful water jet, which reached heights of 200 feet, and – after asking her mother´s permission – Shelby and Sarah joined in with other children running in and out of the water jets.

However, as Shelby started to run over the centre jet, it started to operate – the power of the water jet causing dreadful injuries to the area around Shelby´s vagina. Shelby´s mother called an ambulance, and Shelby was rushed to hospital where she received 250 stitches.

On her daughter´s behalf, Shelby´s mother made a claim for an injury at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, claiming that the Water Fountain attraction was unsafe and presented a hazard to the children playing around it.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach Limited acknowledged their liability for Shelby´s injuries and agreed to a five-figure out-of-court settlement to include the cost of future treatment if Shelby suffers gyneacological issues in the future.

A spokesperson for Blackpool Pleasure Beach issued an apology to the family and told reporters that since Shelby´s claim for an injury at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, new safety measures have been taken to ensure that children to not run between the water jets while they are in operation.

These include clear announcements made just before the water jets are about to start, and staff protecting the perimeter of the attraction to make sure that an accident similar to Shelby´s does not occur again.

Compensation Claims for Teachers Exceed £26 Million

Figures released by the teaching unions have revealed that more than £26 million was paid out in settlements of compensation claims for teachers in 2014.

The figures released by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) apply to all compensation claims for teachers – including personal injury claims, assault claims and employment claims – and reveal a wide range of injuries that can be sustained by teachers in the course of their work.

Among the settlements of compensation claims for teachers included in the figures were:

A 25-year-old PE teacher in the south-east received £41,000 after suffering soft tissue injuries and a dislocated knee while demonstrating long jump techniques to his students. The local authority admitted liability after the long jump pit was found to be in an unsafe condition.

Another teacher from the south-east was paid £17,250 compensation after damp and mouldy conditions at her school – brought about by an unrepaired leaking roof – caused her to develop breathing problems and anxiety which prevented her from teaching.

Another female teacher received £70,000 in injury compensation after slipping on a wet floor with no warning signs. Her fall resulted in the premature onset of arthritis in her hip, and the teacher had to resign from teaching due to the consequences of her injury.

One of the largest settlements of compensation claims for teachers was paid to a 53-year-old teacher, who tripped on an unsecured carpet and suffered a serious head injury – which resulted in memory loss – when she hit her head on a shelf as she fell.

Commenting on the settlements of compensation claims for teachers, Chris Keates – the General Secretary of the NASUWT – said: “The tragedy is that in most cases compensation would be unnecessary if employers followed good employment practices and appropriate health and safety procedures.”

He continued: “The distress and displeasure of the incident to the individual teacher and their family has often been compounded by years of legal action and court proceedings before any award is made.” The largest settlement of a compensation claim reported by the NASUWT was £210,000 for a retired teacher, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in 2013 following exposure to asbestos in a classroom.

Man Settles Claim for a Personal Training Injury

A man who sustained a serious eye injury when he was hit in the face by a faulty piece of gym equipment has settled his claim for a personal training injury.

On 7th June 2013, Mauro Carneiro (46) from Eaglescliffe in County Durham was working out at the David Lloyd Leisure Centre in nearby Stockton-on-Tees, when nylon webbing supporting a D-ring attached to a fitness resistance band gave way. The fitness resistance band recoiled; causing the D-ring and carabineer clips that were attached to it hit Mauro in the face.

Due to the force of the impact, Mauro has been left permanently blind in his left eye and has only partial vision in his right eye. After seeking legal advice, Mauro made a compensation claim for a personal training injury against David Lloyd Leisure Limited – who was also investigated by safety officials from Stockton Borough Council.

The council prosecuted the leisure centre for a breach in its duty of care contrary to Section 30 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and also for failing to carry out a suitable risk assessment. David Lloyd Leisure Centre pleaded guilty to both charges last week at Teeside Crown Court, where it was also revealed that Mauro had settled his claim for a personal training injury for £1.3 million.

Although David Lloyd Leisure Limited admitted its liability for Mauro´s injuries when the claim for a personal training injury was presented to it, a dispute exists – which will affect the sentence the leisure centre receives – about its culpability for the accident. The case was adjourned for sentencing until May 15th.

Stockton Borough Councillor and the Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety – Steve Nelson – said: “This is a tragic case and one that I hope is never repeated again. Most people attend gyms to improve their health not to suffer life changing injuries. Everyone in this industry has a responsibility to ensure their equipment is maintained and used correctly.”

Claim for Accident at Adventure Park Settled Out of Court

A man has agreed to an undisclosed five-figure settlement of his injury claim for an accident at an adventure park in which he suffered physical and psychological injuries.

In March 2010, Jason Francis (43) from Alwoodley in Leeds had spent the day with his young family at the Tree Top Adventure Park in Betws-y-Coed, Wales, when – just as the family were preparing to depart – he decided to conquer his fear of heights by jumping from the Powerfan Plummet attraction – a parachute simulator.

Jason was given a harness that was clipped onto a safety cable after he completed his ascent up the side of the 103 foot tower, and when he leapt from the platform accelerated quickly towards the ground before the grab rope started to reduce his speed.

It was just as he was reaching the end of his descent that Jason´s neck caught the top cable surrounding the children´s adventure area, which catapulted him backwards thirty feet onto the landing area, where he crashed onto the floor and lost consciousness.

When Jason came around, he insisted he was well enough to drive home; but on arrival back in Leeds he started to feel nauseous and suffered hot flushes. He attended St James Hospital in Leeds, where he was diagnosed with a whiplash-style soft tissue injury and a broken thumb.

However, Jason also started to develop flashbacks to the accident and have nightmares and, in January 2012, he was diagnosed with depression. Jason underwent months of therapy to come to terms with his ordeal, after which he sought legal advice and made an injury claim for the accident at the adventure park.

Liability for Jason´s injuries was eventually acknowledged by the company responsible for running the adventure park and the company who had built the Powerfan Plummet ride and positioned the cables, and an undisclosed five-figure settlement of compensation was negotiated in resolution of Jason´s claim for an accident in an adventure park.

Groups Claim Compensation for Food Poisoning at Butlins

Two groups of holidaymakers, who contracted the norovirus stomach bug at a holiday camp in West Sussex, have started a claim for compensation for food poisoning at Butlins.

Members of the Ealing Handicapped Irish Dancers and Mencap Hillingdon North were among 219 visitors to the Butlins Holiday Camp in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, between May and July 2011 who were subsequently diagnosed with the norovirus stomach bug – a highly contagious illness which manifests in vomiting and diarrhoea.

The two parties, and many of the other individuals who are pursuing compensation for food poisoning at Butlins, claim that they were served undercooked food, had seen flies on and around uncovered food, and pigeons on tables which were later used to serve food on. Also alleged in their action is that the resort the swimming pool was cloudy “with slime around the edges” and that raw sewerage could be smelled in several areas of the resort.

A spokesperson for the groups confirmed that papers had been filed with Birmingham County Court after liability for the food poisoning injuries was denied by Butlins´ parent company – Bourne Leisure. In a statement, the spokesperson said that the groups were claiming compensation for food poisoning at Butlins as they had been left with no other option but to seek justice for their ruined holidays.

Butlins´ responded by announcing the company would “robustly defend the speculative action”. The company issued a statement in which it claimed to operate the resorts to the highest health and safety standards and liaise closely with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to prioritise the safety of guests.

No date has yet been set for a hearing by the Birmingham County Court.

Woman Settles Claim Against Hairdresser for Allergic Reaction

A woman, who had to receive medical attention for an irritable rash after a hair colouring treatment, has settled her claim against the hairdresser for an allergic reaction.

Grainne Moynihan (33), of Castleknock Park in Dublin, made a claim against her hairdresser – Coiffeur Salons Ltd, trading as Dylan Bradshaw, located in William Street South, Dublin – following a haircut and colouring treatment she underwent on 11th November 2010.

Grainne alleged in her action against the company that, following the treatment, she had developed an allergic reaction which had manifested as an itchy and irritable rash on her ears, neck and scalp. She claimed that she had sought medical attention when the rash developed, and had been prescribed oral steroids and antihistamine medication.

Coiffeur Salons Ltd denied that they had been negligent or responsible for Grainne´s injury, and entered a full defence against Grainne´s claim before the case was due to be heard by Judge Matthew Deery this week at the Circuit Civil Court.

However, before the scheduled hearing was due to commence, Judge Deery was told that a settlement of Grainne´s claim against the hairdresser for an allergic reaction had been agreed for an undisclosed amount and that the case could be struck from the records.

Tesco Fined for Foot Injury to Supermarket Worker

Supermarket chain Tesco have been fined £115,000 by Southwark Crown Court for their part in a foot injury to a supermarket worker employed at the Tesco Metro store in Victoria, Central London.

Mohammed Ferdous (31) was working in the basement of the Victoria Tesco Metro store on 7th August 2009, when he was asked to help with a delivery of fresh food. His task involved waiting at the lift entrance in the basement, removing cages of food sent down from the street level and replacing the empty cages back into the lift.

When the second lift containing cages had descended, Mohammed stepped forward to take them out of the lift and used his right foot as leverage as the cages were heavy. Unbeknown to Mohammed, he had placed his foot into a gap between the base of the lift car and the lift shaft and, when the lift car suddenly shifted downwards, his foot was crushed.

Colleagues freed Mohammed´s foot after ten minutes of agony, but his toes were irreparably damaged and had to be amputated. Mohammed was unable to work for more than a year after the accident and will never be able to walk normally again.

Mohammed made a compensation claim for a foot injury to a supermarket worker in 2013 and settled his claim for an undisclosed amount. However Tesco – along with lift maintenance company Otis – was prosecuted after it became apparent during an investigation into the accident that no maintenance inspections had been performed on the lift in the nine-month period preceding the accident.

Both Tesco and Otis pleaded guilty to charges brought under Section 33 (1) (c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and magistrates at Southwark Crown Court fined the two companies £115,000 and £110,000 respectively for their negligence which led to the foot injury to the supermarket worker.

Speaking after the fines had been announced, Westminster City Council’s food, health and safety manager – James Armitage – said that the foot injury to the supermarket worker would have been avoided if the Tesco and Otis had “collectively ensured that the lift was properly maintained” and that it had been “entirely preventable”.

Child´s Holiday Injury Claim for Compensation Heard in Court

A child´s holiday injury claim for compensation – in which a boy´s sight was damaged when he was hit in the eye by a dart – has been resolved after a hearing at the High Court in London.  

Toby Corps from Ashford in Kent was on holiday with his family at the Dar Khayam Hotel in Tunisia when, in April 2008, he took part in an activity organised by the hotel´s “animation team” which involved throwing darts at a dartboard in the gardens of the hotel.

Toby – who was only five years of age at the time – was among a group of twelve children participating in the activity; and, when he was summoned forward to take his throw, the child who had preceded him removed his darts from the dartboard and threw one at Toby.

The dart pierced Toby´s left eye and caused him to suffer a detached retina in the accident. Toby received medical attention at the hotel, but on his return to the UK had to have eye surgery to remove a cataract that had formed as a result of the accident.

After speaking with a solicitor, Toby´s father – Paul Corps – made a child´s holiday injury claim for compensation on behalf of his son against the travel companies through which the holiday had been booked – Future Travel and youtravel.com.

In the child´s holiday injury claim for compensation it was alleged that the hotel´s “animation team” had failed to instruct the children on how to play with darts safely or to inform them that darts could cause injuries, and had consequently failed in their duty of care to protect Toby from injury.

Future Travel – through whom the travel to the hotel had been arranged – contested the claim for child´s holiday injury compensation on the grounds that the travel arrangements had not been booked as a package, and therefore the company was excluded from liability under the Package Travel Regulations.

However, in front of Mr Justice Bean at the High Court in London, representatives of youtravel.com – through whom the hotel accommodation had been organised – acknowledged that the hotel´s “animation team” had failed in their duty of care towards Toby.

In order to allow for an assessment of how Toby´s eye injury might affect his future education and career opportunities, Mr Justice Bean adjourned the case. Early court reports would suggest that the settlement of Toby´s holiday injury claim for compensation could be in excess of £50,000.

Claim against Ryanair for Head Injury Resolved in Court

A young girl´s claim against Ryanair for a head injury sustained during a flight from Poland to East Midlands airport has been resolved in Dublin without admission of liability by the airline company.

Klaudia Adamczyk from Wroclaw in Poland was just eight years of age when, on 24th September 2010, she was travelling on a Ryanair flight from Wroclaw to East Midlands airport with her family. As the plane landed, and passengers began to retrieve their luggage from the overhead lockers, a heavy item of luggage fell from the overhead locker above Klaudia and struck her on the back of the head.

Klaudia was upset at the time, but with no apparent evidence of injury, the family continued on their trip. It was only ten days later – when Klaudia´s mother noticed blood in her daughter´s ear – that a medical examination was sought and an x-ray of Klaudia´s skull revealed a fracture. Klaudia received hospital treatment for her injury, but was not allowed to participate in any physical activities for six months and still suffers occasional headaches.

Through her mother – Betya – Klaudia made a claim against Ryanair for a head injury; alleging that the item of luggage which had hit her had been forced into the overhead locker prior to takeoff, and that Ryanair had been negligent by failing to exercise due diligence with the distribution of cabin luggage. Ryanair denied liability for Klaudia´s head injury, and the case was brought before Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court in Dublin, as Ryanair has its principal place of business in the Republic of Ireland.

However, before the case could be heard, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was informed that the airline had made an offer of compensation in settlement of Klaudia´s claim against Ryanair for a head injury, and that the offer of €50,000 without admission of liability had been accepted by the family. After hearing the circumstances of the injury, the judge approved the settlement, saying that it must have been a distressing experience for the young girl.

Guests Compensated for Food Poisoning at Wedding Reception

A newly-wed bride and groom – and twenty-eight of their guests – have been compensated for food poisoning at their wedding reception after the venue admitted two charges of poor food hygiene practise.

Alex and Nicola Hamill from Luton in Bedfordshire were married at the Letchworth Hall Hotel in Hertfordshire in September 2011 and, together with 118 of their guests, sat down after the ceremony to enjoy a carefully planned wedding reception.

However, soon after they left the reception for their honeymoon in Las Vegas, Alex (33) was taken ill on the plane with nausea and ­diarrhoea. Nicola (31) was taken ill two days later at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, and the couple spent the first five days of their honeymoon crippled with what hospital tests later revealed to be campylobacter bacteria food poisoning.

On their return to the UK, Alex and Nicola discovered that twenty-eight of their guests had also suffered from food poisoning after the wedding reception, and the source of the infection was identified as the chicken liver pate which had been served as a starter at the reception, and which Nicola had complained about at the time.

Hertfordshire environmental health officers investigated the significant number of food poisoning cases and discovered that the chef at Letchworth Hall Hotel had cooked the chicken livers for the pate at 60ºC – breaching Food Standards Agency guidance which recommends heating the livers to 75ºC to prevent the possibility of campylobacter bacteria food poisoning.

The Letchworth Hall Hotel was prosecuted by Hertfordshire County Council and was fined £12,000 by magistrates after pleading guilty to two charges of poor food hygiene practise.

The couple and their affected guests each made a claim for food poisoning at the wedding reception to recover compensation for the injuries they received and loss of earnings. Alex and Nicola received £31,190 which also included the cost of their ruined honeymoon, while other settlements of food poisoning injury compensation for their guests ranged between £875 and £16,095.

Changes in Procedures for Personal Injury Claims Introduced

Further changes to the procedures for personal injury claims were introduced on 1st August which should result in the quicker settlement of lower value claims when liability is not in dispute.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 introduced a number of changes to the procedures for personal injury claims in April 2013 – most significantly the way in which “No Win, No Fee” injury claims are handled.

Since April, claimants have been personally liable for solicitor´s “Success Fees” and “After the Event” insurance premiums but have received an uplift in the value of General Damages awarded in personal injury compensation settlements to account for this.

On August 1st, the Civil Procedure Rules (CPRs) governing court action in England and Wales were also amended to assist in reducing the time it takes to settle personal injury claims with a value of up to £25,000 when a single party is responsible for an injury occurring and liability is admitted by that party.

The new procedures for personal injury claims in England and Wales will see negligent parties and their insurance companies allowed just one day (from 21 days) from receiving a “Letter of Claim” to acknowledge its receipt, and thirty days (from 90 days*) to inform a solicitor whether or not liability is accepted or the claim is going to be contested.

Any negligent party or insurance company who fails to adhere to these guidelines will not be able to take advantage of the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal and will face higher costs in defending the claim.

Exceptions to the Procedures for Personal Injury Claims

These measures should significant reduce how long it takes to resolve a claim for personal injury compensation where  the total value of the claim is more than £1,000 and less than £25,000; however there are a number of exceptions to the new procedures for personal injury claims:-

  • Public liability claims against an individual – for example if you have been injured in an accident in a neighbour´s home due to their negligence.
  • Any public liability claim in which you or a member of your family has contracted a disease – for example if you suffer food poisoning after eating in a restaurant
  • Any claim in which either the defendant or the claimant is bankrupt or has died, or where a claim is made against more than one party
  • Where an injury is sustained in an accident outside of England or Wales – for example while on holiday
  • Claims in which the defendant is uninsured or untraceable – for example hit and run accidents
  • Any claims for medical negligence or clinical malpractice
  • Mesothelioma claims for compensation

The changes to the Civil Procedure Rules do not affect the Statute of Limitations relating to how long you have to make a claim for personal injury compensation after the date of knowledge that an injury has been sustained, and only apply to injuries diagnosed on or after 1st August 2013.

If you have any questions regarding how the changes in procedures for personal injury claims may affect you, it is recommended that you speak with a personal injury claims solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

 (*) Employers and insurance companies providing Employer Liability Insurance will have forty days to conduct an investigation into your work injury claim and advise your solicitor whether or not liability is accepted.

Injury Compensation for a Boat Accident Approved in Court

A young woman, who was told she would never walk again after an accident on the River Orwell, has had a settlement of injury compensation for a boat accident approved in the High Court.

Rebecca Coles from Basildon in Essex sustained devastating injuries in a powerboat accident in May 2008 when she was just 14 years of age. Rebecca was being towed on an inflatable rubber ring behind a powerboat on the River Orwell, when the driver of the boat swerved to avoid a yacht. The action of the powerboat driver caused the inflatable rubber ring to swing round and smash into the bow of another boat, causing Rebecca to sustain life-threatening injuries.

Rebecca was taken to Addenbrooke´s Hospital in Cambridge, where she underwent emergency surgery to have part of her skull removed and a titanium plate fitted. Despite her operation, the part of Rebecca´s brain that controlled her movement was so badly damaged that doctors advised her she would never walk again. The brain damage was also responsible for Rebecca suffering permanent damage to her peripheral vision, losing 40 percent hearing in her right ear and experiencing dexterity issues with her left arm.

Through her father – Steve – Rebecca made a claim for injury compensation for a boat accident against the driver of the powerboat and, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Teare heard that an agreement had been reached between the Coles´ legal representatives and the company who had insured the powerboat driver to settle the claim for £1.37 million.

Mr Justice Teare also heard that since her accident Rebecca underwent intensive physiotherapy and specialist rehabilitation at the Children´s Trust in Tadworth, enabling her to walk a mile in the 2010 London Marathon and achieve sufficiently high GCSE grades to study events management at college. Approving the settlement of injury compensation for a boat accident he said, “I wish the claimant well for the future, both with her studies and with her life after studies”.

Court Hears Claim for Being Blinded by a Golf Ball

The Court of Sessions in Edinburgh is currently hearing a claim for being blinded by a golf ball, in which the claimant suffered a traumatic rupture of the right eye after being hit in the face on the Leven Links golf course.

David McMahon (70) from Leven in Fife was acting as a ball watcher during the Scottish Amateur Champion of Champions competition in April 2009 when he was hit in the face by a golf ball which had been struck by 28-year-old Gavin Dear of Scone in Perthshire.

Mr McMahon alleged in his claim for being blinded by a golf ball that Mr Dear had not shown reasonable care prior to playing his approach shot to the sixth green and should have been aware that he was in the path of the shot, having just moved two spectators who had strayed onto the perimeter of the sixth fairway from the path.

Mr McMahon, giving evidence to Lord Jones at the Court of Sessions, said that there had been no warning shout of “fore” or he would have gone to ground to prevent his injury from occurring.

In his defence, Gavin Dear stated that neither he nor the two players who were accompanying him saw Mr McMahon or the two spectators and, although he noticed a golf buggy by the side of the course, proceeded to take his shot due to the lack of any activity in its vicinity.

Solicitors representing Mr Dear argued that he acted at all time with reasonable care and denied the claim for being blinded by a golf ball. They alleged that it was only after the ball was struck that Mr McMahon emerged without warning from behind the golf buggy.

The case continues in the Court of Sessions.

Compensation for Assault Course Injury Awarded to Scoutmaster

A scout leader, who broke a vertebra in his back while descending a fireman´s pole, has been awarded £167,514 in compensation for assault course injury.

Robert Wilson (49) from Bordon in Hampshire sustained his injury while leading his scout troop on the Challenge Valley assault course at Clyne Farm Centre near Swansea in August 2009. As part of the “Burma Bridge” obstacle, Robert had to slide down a fireman´s pole despite his concerns for his safety in the wet conditions.

Encouraged by a “highly confident” young instructor, Robert grasped the pole with both hands as he had been instructed, but landed badly and had to be taken to hospital by helicopter suffering from a fractured vertebra at the bottom of his spine. As Mrs Justice Swift at the High Court heard, Robert´s injury prevented him from carrying on his work as a taxi driver or providing care for his disabled wife.

Robert made a claim for assault course injury compensation, alleging that he had not been given proper instruction on how to safely descend the pole and that the landing cushion had been compacted by previous participants and was not suitable for the prevention of an injury.

Solicitors representing the Clyne Farm Centre denied liability for Robert´s injuries and defended the claim for assault course injury compensation by alleging that Robert had released his grip on the pole to “show off” to his scout troop. It was also claimed that a ladder was positioned nearby in the event that a participant did not want to descend the “Burma Bridge” obstacle via the fireman´s pole.

However, at the High Court in London, Mrs Justice Swift found in Robert´s favour; describing him as a “thoroughly genuine and honest individual” and rejected the defence claims that “[Robert] was the author of his own misfortune”.

Awarding Robert £167,514 compensation for assault course injury for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity, his lost earnings and the extra assistance he will need due to his permanent injury, Mrs Justice Swift said she had no doubt that Robert “is a genuine hard-working man” who had devoted himself to the care of his wife and their four-year-old son.

Man Awarded Compensation for a Fall at a Stately Home

A man who tripped and fell into a trench at Hopetoun House, sustaining a fractured right ankle, has been awarded £8,750 compensation for a fall at a stately home after a hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The court heard how John Cowan (65) from Livingston in West Lothian had visited Hopetoun House in Edinburgh with his grandson in September 2008 to take part in an organised “bat walk” – a tour of the historic home in which visitors armed with torches search for bats.

When the tour was finished, John and his grandson started to make their way back to the car park. John mistakenly stepped over the edge of an unlit “ha-ha” in the dark – a landscaping feature used to keep livestock away from the main property – and fractured his ankle when he fell into the five foot deep trench on the other side.

After receiving legal advice, John made a claim for a fall at a stately home against the Hopetoun House Preservation Trust. The Trust disputed John´s claim, stating that instructions were given by the tour guide on how to return to the car park at the end of the tour; however John said he had not heard the guide issue instructions, as he had taken his grandson to the toilet at the time.

Before Lord Bracadale at the Court of Sessions, Countryside Ranger Peter Stevens gave evidence that he had gathered the entire group inside the Ranger Centre at the end of the tour and gave directions on returning to the car park. He testified that, had he known John and his grandson were absent from the group, he would have given them individual instructions when they returned from the toilet.

However, Lord Bracadale found in John´s favour; stating that he considered Ranger Stevens to be mistaken. The judge acknowledged that, as John was carrying a torch at the time, there was an issue of contributory negligence involved and he reduced the proposed settlement of compensation for a fall in a stately home from £35,000 to £8,750.

Shop Sign Injury Claim Resolved in Court

A woman, who suffered a head injury when a shoe shop store sign fell loose from its fascia, has had her shop sign injury claim for compensation resolved in court.

Bournemouth and Poole County Court heard how the claimant, Ms Benham, was walking past the tReds shoe store in Old Christchurch Street, Bournemouth, in October 2010, when the metal 15 feet long shop sign fell from the fascia and hit her on the head.

The sixty-one year-old woman was initially treated at the scene of her accident by paramedics after a witness to her accident phoned 999, and was then taken to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital where she was diagnosed with a blunt closed head injury.

After Ms Benham had recovered from her initial trauma, she sought legal advice and made a compensation claim for a shop sign injury against tReds – citing that not only had she suffered a head injury due to their alleged failure to establish or maintain any adequate system of periodical maintenance or inspection of the sign, but had also suffered from anxiety throughout the following year.

The owners of the shoe store – Treds LLP – contested the shop sign injury claim and denied their liability for Ms Benham´s injuries, stating that they regularly carried out visual inspections of the store sign. As no resolution of Ms Benham´s shop sign injury claim was possible by negotiation, court proceedings were issued against Treds LLP.

At Bournemouth and Poole County Court, Ms Benham´s solicitors provided evidence to show that the shop sign had fallen because the wooden fascia to which it was attached had become rotten and tReds conducted a limited system of inspection from the ground which was insufficient to discover the rot was present in the wooden fascia board. Finding in favour of the claimant, Judge Maston awarded Ms Benham £1,800 compensation for her shop sign injury.

Firm Pays Compensation for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A London property service company has been fined £165,000 and ordered to pay £19,000 in compensation for carbon monoxide poisoning after a successful prosecution by the Health Service Executive.

Apollo Property Services Group Limited was found guilty at the Old Bailey of breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety etc. at Work Act 1974 following an investigation into work carried out on the Abbey Road Estate in Camden, London, during which seven residents were hospitalised with carbon monoxide poisoning.

The company carried out the renovation work on the roof of the estate in February and March 2008; however it was found that they did not have an adequate system in place to identify which of the boiler flues were still in operation and the work continued without any checks being made.

The company were also found to be negligent in ensuring that the renovation work was adequately supervised, making certain that workers were made aware of the risks of working in close proximity to boiler flues or training them in safe working practices.

Judges at the Central Criminal Court fined Apollo Property Services Group Limited £165,000, ordered the company to pay £117,582 in costs and £19,000 in compensation. Residents who suffered an illness because of the company´s negligence will now be entitled to claim compensation for carbon monoxide poisoning in private civil claims.

Injury Claim for Falling in Morrisons Appeal Upheld

A woman, who made an injury claim for falling in Morrisons, has successfully appealed a judge´s verdict on the level of contributory negligence attributed to her claim.

Jean Palfrey had been shopping in her local Morrisons supermarket when she had tripped over a shelf-stacking trolley, which had been left unattended in the middle of an aisle by the assistant manager of the store while he had been helping other customers.

In her original injury claim for falling in Morrisons, the judge had found Jean and Morrisons equally liable for her injuries – ruling that the trolley “had no business being there”, but was safe in design and did not present a risk of injury.

Morrison contested the decision on the grounds that if the trolley did not present a risk of injury then they should not be held at all liable for Jean´s injuries, while Jean´s counsel appealed the verdict on the grounds that the trolley did indeed represent a trip hazard and the original ruling was wrong.

In the appeal hearing, Jean´s counsel argued that due to the low-lying horizontal platform, the trolley did indeed present a trip hazard at any time that it was not fully laden and that it was dangerous to leave it unattended in a place where the focus of customers would have been drawn to goods on the shelves.

The judge at the appeal hearing agreed with the argument that “in these circumstances” the shelf-stacking trolley constituted a hazard, but ruled that Jean must accept some of the responsibility for her injuries as she had seen the trolley before her trip and fall accident in Morrisons, but misjudged its configuration.

The appeal judge found Jean 20 percent liable in her claim for falling in Morrisons – thus dismissing Morrisons´ appeal – and now Jean solicitors will meet with Morrisons public liability insurers to negotiate a settlement of injury compensation for falling in Morrisons based on the appeal judge´s decision.

New Court Planned for Personal Injury Claims in Scotland

A new court is to be established in Edinburgh which will deal exclusively with personal injury claims in Scotland in line which recommendations made in Lord Gill´s review of the Scottish court system.

The 2009 review found that personal injury claims in Scotland – which can currently be heard in the Court of Sessions if their anticipated value is in excess of 5,000 pounds – were taking too long to process and the system was becoming too expensive to maintain.

The news was greeted with general approval by trade union organisations and solicitors, who believe the new system will result in fairer and more consistent levels of personal injury compensation in Scotland when claimants have been injured in accidents at work, on the roads and in places of public access through no fault of their own.

Despite statistics showing no real increase in the number of personal injury claims in Scotland, one leading solicitor was quick to refute suggestions that the new court was needed because of a growing “compensation culture” in Scotland.

“‘Compensation culture’ is just a phrase that has been created to put people off making claims and save the insurance industry money” he said. “You don’t stop claims by preventing people who are injured seeking just redress. You stop claims by preventing accidents in the first place.”

Legislation next autumn is expected to confirm the establishment of the new court and it is anticipated that its venue will announced as Edinburgh´s Parliament House – where personal injury claims in Scotland are already heard by Court of Session judges, but who in future will be replaced with experienced Sheriffs.

Injury Claim against Ryanair Resolved Out of Court

An injury claim made against Ryanair has been resolved out of court shortly before a hearing was due to commence in Dublin.

The Circuit Civil Court heard that Malgorzata Jeneralczyk (57), from Poznan, Poland, had settled her claim for injury compensation against Ryanair for an undisclosed amount following a slip on wet steps as she disembarked a Ryanair airplane in Dublin.

Despite holding onto a safety rail as she left the airplane, Malgorzata slipped on the mobile steps and fell to the tarmac below, where she was assisted by Ryanair air crew and attended by an airport paramedic. After seeking legal advice, Malgorzata filed an injury claim against Ryanair.

In the court documents, Malgorzata had claimed 38,000 Euros in injury compensation after her fall resulted in a laceration to her left eyebrow and bruising to her left shoulder, knee, ribs and her right hand and fingers. Ryanair had disputed her claim and had filed a full defence.

However, shortly before court proceedings were due to commence, the Circuit Civil Court was told that the claim had been resolved with legal costs to be borne by Ryanair.