writing a will

Three Major Reasons Why You Should Write a Will

A will, simply put, is a straightforward transfer of wealth from one generation to the next. It provides the opportunity to give to those you care about, send a message to loved ones, or help alleviate the stressful financial aftermath of dealing with loss.

Your will not only ensures that your affairs are in order but also makes provisions for your family, friends, and loved ones. We collaborated the three most overlooked but vital reasons you should consider writing a will.

Avoid Family Fights

Chances are, you would love to avoid causing unnecessary tension between relatives squabbling over objects that hold sentimental value. Typically, personal belongings with no real market value, such as family heirlooms or photographs are the most sought after and can cause painful, lasting squabbles between siblings. Instead, by clearly bequeathing your belongings to the nominee of your choice, these rifts can be avoided.

Fairly Share Your Wealth Your Way

Without a will, your estate is organised and distributed by the courts. The danger of this can be your wealth being passed on to individuals you do not approve of or your capital being disproportionately distributed. By writing a will that clearly states how you would like your assets divided, you can ensure that your estranged Aunt Mildred does not accidentally get her hands on the trust fund you intended to leave to your favourite niece for her university degree.

Avoiding difficulty for Unmarried Spouses

As the number of unmarried cohabitants increases year on year, as does the number of issues that arise with unexpected passings and unmarried partners. Without a valid will, your beneficiary may encounter problems retaining the money or property you may have otherwise intended to leave to them. Unmarried partners or couples who are not registered as a civil partnership cannot inherit from their partner without a will. This also extends to any children you have. A will would give you the peace of mind that should you pass, your children are kept safe with the guardian of your choice.

If you do not write a will, the government will dish out your estate and money as they please. For most people, this is not a desirable outcome and can cause a lot of stress and pain for your loved ones. For expert advice and to speak to one of our wills and probate solicitors in our offices situated in Warrington, Runcorn, Liverpool, or Leigh, please call us on 0800 002 9577 for immediate assistance. Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form by clicking here to go through to our contact page.

clinical negligence facts

Five Facts about Clinical Negligence

It’s generally accepted that the UK health system is one of the best around. Thousands of people are successfully treated every day for all kinds of ailments, and accidents are mercifully rare. However, there are still hundreds of avoidable mistakes made each year. So what do you need to know about making a claim?

  1. Know What Negligence Means

Negligence can be defined broadly as a mistake made by a professional that should not have occurred within the scope of the individual’s experience and specialism. In other words, the clinician has been negligent if a patient suffers injury or death due to them doing something they shouldn’t have done, or not doing something they should’ve done. If this occurs, the patient may be due compensation. However, remember that not all mistakes are considered negligent, and bad results are not always due to mistakes.

  1. Understand the Concept of Clinical Negligence

Clinical negligence is one of the most complex areas of UK personal injury law. It’s called clinical negligence because it covers a range of areas that go beyond the health service environment. So while it applies to work done by doctors and nurses, it also applies to psychologists, dentists, and more besides. It can cover mistakes as diverse as misdiagnosis, failure to refer to a specialist, or failure to treat a patient quickly enough. Such claims are highly technical involving extensive investigative processes, which can take a considerable time to accomplish.

  1. Be Able to Prove Your Claim

In the case of clinical negligence, it’s the duty of the claimant to prove that clinical negligence has occurred. You need to establish liability by proving that the clinician concerned acted in a way that a competent practitioner should not have done. You will also have to show that this breach of duty by your clinician was wholly responsible for the injury you suffered. Of course, this requires you to have expert medical witnesses who are they practitioners operating in a similar area. These will need to be found and persuaded to give evidence against a colleague.

  1. There Are Different Categories of Claim

General damages can be claimed under clinical negligence for pain or suffering sustained by the claimant, but beyond that any losses would be considered specialist damages. These can include such things as loss of earnings, medical costs, specialist care provision, or mobility adaptations. The process of making a claim can be long drawn out and emotionally draining, so specialist legal advice is a necessity to secure the compensation you need to support you in the future.

  1. You Need a Professional

Needless to say a clinical negligence claim is a far from straightforward business. The solicitor involved will themselves need to have considerable specialist knowledge, and will usually practise exclusively in this area.

At Mark Reynolds Solicitors we have extensive experience of handling clinical negligence claims. We are accredited by the UK Charity, Action against Medical Accidents, so you can be safe in the knowledge that our solicitors have the highest standard of training to undertake such claims. Contact us for advice or assistance in your clinical negligence claim.

safety shoes

Personal Injury Claim: Are you entitled?

Before you make a personal injury claim it is important you understand what is involved and under what circumstance you are entitled to make such a claim. There are a few questions that are very important that are answered before you go ahead with filing a claim.

The first and most important question people tend to ask is whether or not they are entitled to making a personal injury compensation claim. If you have been injured in any way or have contracted a disease or illness because of another person’s negligent behaviour then yes, you are entitled.

Once you are aware of this, the next question is how long will you have to make your claim? Currently UK laws give you a time frame of 3 years from the date the accident occurred or if you have contracted a disease, the day from which it was realised that this was affecting your life. There are however circumstances where you can have longer such as being a child at the time of the accident.

After figuring out if you are now eligible and within the correct time frame you my start to wonder how much compensation you are likely to receive. Most people like to know in order to work out if it will cost them more time, money and effort than it is actually worth. However, it is unfortunately extremely difficult to predict how much compensation you will receive until all the facts surrounding the accident have be collected. Each case is unique and compensation is rewarded on an individual basis. If you want to have a ball park figure of what you would be looking at, you should sit down with your solicitor and assess the claim in more depth so that they could perhaps provide a figure.

Most people also want to know whether or not they will have to attend court in order to make their claim. In most situations this is not necessary as it just adds further stress and legal costs to those involved (although these costs are always payable to the one responsible for the injury). Often you will find that insurance companies who have to pay out would rather settle outside of court to avoid all the extra costs. In extreme situations where the dispute cannot be settled, you may have to go into court but your solicitor will talk you through everything so it is as stress free as possible.

personal injury

Personal Injury Claims Explained

Nobody ever thinks they will be involved in an accident until it happens. Not knowing what to do after it happens can make an already stressful and upsetting time even worse. With this in mind, it is important that you are aware of the steps to take if you need to proceed with making a personal injury claim.

Firstly you must be aware that a claim can only be filed if the accident was not your fault. This may sound obvious but often people may fail to realise when they have been at fault for their own injury so it is important to make this initial distinction.

If you do wish to file a claim you must be aware that the sooner you make the claim, the more successful you are likely to be. Some evidence that will be used in cases is time sensitive such as memories and eye witness accounts. The sooner these are compiled by yourself and your solicitor, the stronger your case will be.

It is also important to know that a claim can only be filed if an injury has been sustained as a result of the accident. The injury would have needed to require medical attention and subsequently would have been recorded by medical professionals. These medical documents will be one of the pillars of your case so it is an important step.

As with any claim, personal injury claims must be filed within three years of the date the accident occurred or three years from the date where it was realised that your health had been affected as a result. This rule applies in all cases except from when it is in the case of a child or some industrial cases.

Most people are often reluctant to even think about approaching a law firm and filing a claim because of the money that could be involved. However, it is likely that you have heard the phrase ‘no win, no fee’ which means that your claim will be financed solely by this agreement. If your claim is lost you won’t need to pay a penny and if you win then the fee is settled via of a percentage of that money.

It is difficult to initially have an idea of the amount of compensation you will receive. The majority of people think that you could look at someone who sustained the same injury and filed a claim but it is not that simple. These cases and the compensation are based on the individuals circumstances so can vary greatly. One person may have recovered in weeks and was able to go back to work whereas another may never fully heal and be unable to continue working as a result. It is only once your solicitor has compiled all of the evidence and details of the case that they could give you an estimation from their professional opinion.

Now that you have the relevant information surrounding personal injury claims you can decide whether or not you feel it is within your best interest to file a claim.

psychological personal injury

Psychological Personal Injury Claims

Many personal injuries can result in psychological damage that can sometimes last longer than physical injury.

When making a personal injury claim, you may also be eligible to claim compensation for emotional stress and mental anguish directly caused by the negligence or maliciously wilful act of others.  Psychological damage can include post-traumatic stress, neurological problems, epilepsy and psychiatric damage.

However, psychological personal injury claims can be more difficult to prove than a physical injury claim.

Here’s a look at the types of psychological personal injuries and what you need to know before pursuing a claim.

Factors

In a personal injury claim process, the following factors will be considered:

  • The impact on your ability to cope in your day-to-day life, both at home and work
  • How your relationships with friends, family and colleagues have been affected
  • Treatment you’re receiving for your condition
  • Medical prognosis
  • What medical advice has been sought.

Evidence

Hard evidence is needed to pursue a psychological damages claim. These can include:

  • Doctors’ reports
  • Personal journals on the progression of your condition
  • Medication you are taking for the condition
  • Supporting testimonies from friends and family.

If your case is successful, the amount of compensation granted will depend on the severity of the damage.

Examples

The most common examples of psychological damage claims are:

  • Road traffic accidents – resulting in post-traumatic stress, chronic pain that can lead to depression, neurological problems.
  • Child abuse – adults who suffered abuse as a child can claim compensation from abusers and also local authorities that failed in their duty of care.
  • Workplace – clinical depression as the direct result of work-related stress ranging from overwhelming workloads and poor working conditions to bullying and harassment, and negligence of the employer to provide a duty of care.

For more information on personal injury claims, contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors today.

psychological claims

Personal Injury – Psychological Claims

Many personal injuries can result in psychological damage that can sometimes last longer than physical injury.

When making a personal injury claim, you may also be eligible to claim compensation for emotional stress and mental anguish directly caused by the negligence or maliciously wilful act of others.  Psychological damage can include post-traumatic stress, neurological problems, epilepsy and psychiatric damage.

However, psychological personal injury claims can be more difficult to prove than a physical injury claim.

Here’s a look at the types of psychological personal injuries and what you need to know before pursuing a claim.

Factors

In a personal injury claim process, the following factors will be considered:

  • The impact on your ability to cope in your day-to-day life, both at home and work
  • How your relationships with friends, family and colleagues have been affected
  • Treatment you’re receiving for your condition
  • Medical prognosis
  • What medical advice has been sought.

Evidence

Hard evidence is needed to pursue a psychological damages claim. These can include:

  • Doctors’ reports
  • Personal journals on the progression of your condition
  • Medication you are taking for the condition
  • Supporting testimonies from friends and family.

If your case is successful, the amount of compensation granted will depend on the severity of the damage.

Examples

The most common examples of psychological damage claims are:

  • Road traffic accidents – resulting in post-traumatic stress, chronic pain that can lead to depression, neurological problems.
  • Child abuse – adults who suffered abuse as a child can claim compensation from abusers and also local authorities that failed in their duty of care.
  • Workplace – clinical depression as the direct result of work-related stress ranging from overwhelming workloads and poor working conditions to bullying and harassment, and negligence of the employer to provide a duty of care.

For more information on personal injury claims, contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors today.

family

The Lowdown on Family Law Solicitors

Family law is an area of the legal profession that deals with disputes within relationships. It differs from many other areas of law due to the high level of emotional turmoil that can be involved, and it requires a more empathetic skill set from its practitioners.

The obvious area for family lawyers to operate is in the divorce courts, but their role includes dealing with adoption, child abuse and abduction, custody, paternity testing and property settlements, as well as marriage and divorce.

What Do Family Law Solicitors Do?

It’s easy to suppose that people can painlessly resolve difficulties within their own families. However, there’s a fine line between love and hate, and, once that line has been crossed, any form of negotiation can be extremely difficult.

Often, it’s not solely mediation that’s required. Sometimes the law has an input, particularly in the case of childcare. If parents are of different nationalities and one wishes to take the children elsewhere, this can become even more fraught.

Obviously, it’s cheaper and more practicable to resolve problems between yourselves, but if talks break down, a good family solicitor can be vital. A family solicitor will do everything they can to assist the parties to reconcile their differences outside of court. They’ll use tactful discussion and negotiation in order to minimise stress to all concerned and bring about a settlement, but it’s not always possible.

Divorce and Separation

The most common area in which family lawyers act is when a relationship turns sour. The process of mediation can only go so far, and sometimes breakdown is irrevocable. In these instances, it’s important to involve skilled family lawyers to fight your case.

After a long marriage, shared possessions need to be accounted for. Often this includes the family home and who should have rights to it, as well as the distribution of joint financial assets. If one partner has all the earning potential and the other has sacrificed their career to support their partner, an equitable distribution of wealth is required.

More distressing is the negotiation of custody and access to children. Where this looks straightforward initially, complications can arise over time. This is particularly so when new partners appear on the scene.

Family law is not all bad and painful things though. It can also be needed when bringing new people into the family, particularly through adoption. Adoption can transform the lives of children, but it’s also a complicated legal process, as parenting rights are transferred from birth parents to adoptive parents through the courts.

Who We Are

If you’ve got family or relationship problems, here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors we’ve got all the experience necessary to operate as impartial mediators. We’re accredited members of Resolution, and are committed to resolving family disputes in a constructive and sensitive manner. We aim to provide high quality legal advice in order to ensure disputes are sorted out as quickly and painlessly as possible.

To find out more or book an appointment, contact our offices today.

disabled worker

Rights for Disabled Workers

Disabled workers, with the right skills and qualifications, not only have the right to work, but are protected under the Equality Act of 2010. It’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of their disability.

As a disabled employee, you need to be aware of employment law and your rights in the workplace. Here’s a brief guide to help you understand the duty of care that your employer is obliged to comply with.

Treatment

You have the right to be treated as favourably as able-bodied colleagues. Your disability cannot be used as an excuse to impede you from carrying out the same duties or applying for promotions.

If your employer makes a decision regarding your employment that you consider is unfavourable, then they must reasonably justify it.

If you are the carer of a disabled person such as a child or partner, you must not be treated unfavourably or discriminated against because of this.

An employer may not treat you unfavourably because they assume you may have a particular disability. For example: an HIV-positive employee should not be treated differently because their employer no longer thinks they are capable of doing their job.

Reasonable Adjustments

The Equality Act also states that an employer must make reasonable adjustments within the workplace so that a disabled employee can work without impediment. An employer will receive financial support so a disabled employee should never be asked to pay for necessary adjustments.

Physical adjustments may consist of ramps, stairlifts, wider doorways and adequate toilet facilities. Other adjustments may include flexible working hours, modification of equipment, extra training and extra breaks.

If provisions aren’t made, an employer can be found negligent in their duty of care, and also face unlawful discrimination charges.

For more information on employment law and disability rights, contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors today.

The Role of Personal Injury Solicitors

Personal injury claims have gained something of a bad reputation in recent years. It’s probably true to say the practice has been abused, but that doesn’t mean claims aren’t, for the most part, genuine and necessary.

A personal injury is defined as an injury to an individual’s body, mind or emotions, as opposed to injury to property. In a world where mental health problems are better understood and taken more seriously than once they were, it follows that there’s a greater variety of traumatic events that can lead to allegations of personal injury.

How Do Personal Injury Claims Arise?

Usually personal injury claims are made in the aftermath of an accident in which the plaintiff was not personally at fault. They typically claim that their injury happened as a result of an error or negligence perpetrated by others. For example, if somebody is injured in a road traffic accident where the other driver is at fault, there may be a claim for personal injury.

It’s also common to see personal injury claimed when somebody is suing for defamation. This would be related to damage to the individual’s mental wellbeing or confidence that arose as a result of false claims made against them.

What Are the Results of a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim, if successful, usually yields financial damages. This is the reason the practice has been open to attempted abuse on occasions. Typically, damages awarded by the courts are sufficient to cover the injured party’s medical or care bills, as well as compensate for any pain and suffering inflicted together with any reduced life quality as a result of the incident.

Is It Just Accidental Injury Claims?

Accidental injury is the biggest part of personal injury claim work, but the range of situations that lead to a claim is getting wider all the time.

Most often, personal injury claims come about after road accidents, work accidents, or any other accident that leads to injury such as tripping on uneven or badly maintained surfaces. It can also be used for injury claims after an assault or for injury caused by faulty products. A growing area is from defective medical work.

Immediate physical injury is obvious, but conditions that develop over time are also areas that may merit a claim. This includes industrial diseases such as asbestosis, emphysema and mesothelioma, as well as deafness, stress and repetitive strain injury.

Is the Role of Personal Injury Solicitors Controversial?

Whilst most of those situations elicit sympathy and personal injury lawyers can benefit the claimant greatly, there have also been claims that are verging on the fraudulent. This has given personal injury lawyers a bad reputation as ‘ambulance chasers’. The most notorious cases involve whiplash following relatively minor road accidents. Whiplash is difficult to prove but also difficult to disprove, meaning there’s potential for dishonest claimants to make money from doubt.

For more information about personal injury or to find out whether you’ve got a claim, contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors. We’ll advise you on your potential claim and assist you as you return to peak health.

family law

Keep It in the Family

The one area of our lives where it sometimes seems the rule of law can never prevail is in the family. Any kind of sharing of chores or access to the bathroom can seem beyond reason. Just insert a teenager and watch as all your rules and routines are cast asunder. But then, sadly for many, that’s not what family law is all about.

Love and Hate

It hardly needs saying that family disputes can be a fraught area where passions run high. This is the case at the best of times, but we often turn to family law only at the worst. Sometimes it takes the best expertise and a fair dose of compassion to deal with family problems. And even then it can only go so far in resolving a desperate situation. Nothing can ever entirely sweeten the bitter taste when family life turns sour.

The End of the Affair

It’s usually most associated with relationship breakdowns. You need help with a divorce and childcare, parental access, and grandparents’ rights too. It’s usually best to try and resolve differences outside court, where a family lawyer can lead caring and tactful mediation session. But if reasoned negotiation has long gone by the board they can help speed that process too.

You Can Choose Your Friends…

It’s not just relationships that can end up in court. Good legal advice can be used in other difficult and emotional areas including domestic violence and abuse cases, but can be applied in more positive ways as well. This might include sorting out financial matters such as securing Aunty Ethel’s surprisingly large inheritance, adopting a child to turn your life upside down, or increasingly, negotiating a pre-nuptial agreement to save all that arguing over who gets custody of the cactus and the goldfish later on.

Whatever the problem, it always serves to consult the best expertise, so be sure to find a professional and reliable family law solicitor before trying to resolve these complex problems.

For help or advice with all aspects of family law, contact Mark Reynolds today.