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.

Laying Down the Law

Too often, employment laws are thought of as an ongoing battle between slippery managers and intransigent union stewards, but this is far from the truth. In actual fact they protect both employers and employees from bad practice every day.

Banging the Table

Employment law applies to every worker from first interview right through to dismissal and beyond. Cutting corners can leave a company very vulnerable to legal action at a later date.

Of course, employment law can cover highly contentious areas such as tribunals and strikes, but it can also cover non-contentious things such as contact drafting. If the law is applied correctly it’ll be more of the latter and less of the former. But it’s worth remembering that serious legal problems can still arise and it’s not always the fault of the company board.

Spanish Practises

Every employee has a contract and this applies whether or not it’s been written down. A verbal contract is just as valid, which can leave room for interpretation. Employers should give written terms and conditions to all employees, but to change these without consultation may be seen as a breach of contract. This is an area where proper legal drafting can save big problems later on.

I Know My Rights

Employers are bound by statutory law and contract law. Statutory law covers areas set by legislation such as minimum pay, maternity leave, holiday and sick pay. Contract law enforces what’s written in the contract. This can offer improved terms over and above the statutory limits, but can never undercut them.

Employee rights are rarely more crucial than when it comes to health and safety. Contrary to popular belief, trade unions can be very beneficial in this area as they can flag issues before they become a serious problem.

Protection against discrimination is also vital for even the best employer. After all, discrimination can be committed by any member of staff against any other. The employer is always liable, meaning good advice on employment law is a must for any business.

For advice on employment law, contact Mark Reynolds today.

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.

All You Need To Know About Accident Claims

When you or a loved one is involved in an accident it can be a very confusing and upsetting time. Often accidents can cause people to be unable to work or to even care for themselves properly. In these instances you may want to look at filing an accident claim in order to help get your life back to the way it was.

It is important to know that regardless of whether you were in the car or simply a pedestrian involved in the accident, you are within your rights to be compensated for any damages. Whether it be medical expenses, loss of income- present and future or any other expenses that have been as a result of the accident. It is impossible to say how much compensation you will receive until your circumstances have been fully analysed by a solicitor and all evidence for your claim has been compiled.

What to do after that accident

In order to have a strong case and receive the compensation you deserve, it is important you have as much documentation as possible. The following is a comprehensive list of all the documentation you will need to collect in the time following the accident.

  • Copy of the police report as this may contain records of who in the police officers opinion was to blame for the accident.
  • Photographs or Video footage of the vehicle and accident scene.
  • Photographs or Video footage of any injuries you have sustained as a result of the accident.
  • Any records of visiting your GP, emergency rooms, physical therapists after the accident and copies of any prescriptions. These will all need to be signed and dated to prove that the treatment received was in fact post-accident.
  • An official letter from your employer that notes down and verifies any hours of work that you have lost as a result and the exact amount of income you have lost.
  • Keep any records and receipts of services and costs that you have incurred as a result of the accident. This could include taxi services if you are unable to now drive, any cancellations and costs as a result, any child care services etc.
  • You should also keep a diary of every day since the accident, this should detail your day and what has been difficult mentally, physically and emotionally as a result of your injuries. You should also write about any procedures or treatments you have had to go through and how they made your feel/any discomfort experienced.

Once you have collated all of the evidence it should be handed over to your solicitor who will work to compile it all into a case that will hopefully win your compensation. Once this is done, your solicitor will be able to give you a figure of what they feel you will receive in their professional opinion.

Domestic Abuse: What the new laws regarding psychological abuse mean

Towards the end of 2015 new laws were put in place to protect those who fall victim to psychological or emotional abuse. This newly passed legislation will mean that if found guilty, psychological abusers will face either a large fine, up to five years in jail or both.

Before this change in legislation, there were no specific offences regarding domestic abuse, particularly regarding the criminalisation of controlling or coercive behaviours. Most domestic abuse cases are prosecuted under a number of offences ranging from common assault, to harassment, to threatening behaviour. The only issue is that victims would have to report any abuse within six months of it occurring. With the new legislation, victims now have up to two years to report the crime.

What is classed as ‘controlling and psychologically abusive’ behaviour?

  • Financially abusing the individual
  • Threatening to reveal or publish private information of the individual
  • Isolating the individual from their friends or family
  • Controlling their lives e.g. where they go, what they do, who they can see
  • Regularly putting them down and making them feel worthless
  • Enforcing rules which degrade and dehumanise the individual

When does this offence apply?

When these behaviours are repeated on an ongoing basis and the victim is suffering from them the offence will apply. Each case is considered on an individual basis but generally the courts will look for evidence of behavioural patterns rather than isolated incidents. There is also no set number of incidents of controlling or coercive behaviour that had to have occurred for a case to be proved.

This behaviour must have also had a serious effect on the victim. This ‘serious effect’ refers to the victim either fearing that violence will be used against them on at least two occasions or that they have been caused serious alarm or distress. It must also be calculated behaviour in that the abuser knows or should know that what they are doing will have a serious effect on the victim. Finally, the abuser and victim must have been personally connected during the incidents whether that be in a relationship or are family who live together.

All You Need To Know About Accident Claims

When you or a loved one is involved in an accident it can be a very confusing and upsetting time. Often accidents can cause people to be unable to work or to even care for themselves properly. In these instances you may want to look at filing an accident claim in order to help get your life back to the way it was.Car Accident

It is important to know that regardless of whether you were in the car or simply a pedestrian involved in the accident, you are within your rights to be compensated for any damages. Whether it be medical expenses, loss of income- present and future or any other expenses that have been as a result of the accident. It is impossible to say how much compensation you will receive until your circumstances have been fully analysed by a solicitor and all evidence for your claim has been compiled.

What to do after that accident

In order to have a strong case and receive the compensation you deserve, it is important you have as much documentation as possible. The following is a comprehensive list of all the documentation you will need to collect in the time following the accident.

  • Copy of the police report as this may contain records of who in the police officers opinion was to blame for the accident.
  • Photographs or Video footage of the vehicle and accident scene.
  • Photographs or Video footage of any injuries you have sustained as a result of the accident.
  • Any records of visiting your GP, emergency rooms, physical therapists after the accident and copies of any prescriptions. These will all need to be signed and dated to prove that the treatment received was in fact post-accident.
  • An official letter from your employer that notes down and verifies any hours of work that you have lost as a result and the exact amount of income you have lost.
  • Keep any records and receipts of services and costs that you have incurred as a result of the accident. This could include taxi services if you are unable to now drive, any cancellations and costs as a result, any child care services etc.
  • You should also keep a diary of every day since the accident, this should detail your day and what has been difficult mentally, physically and emotionally as a result of your injuries. You should also write about any procedures or treatments you have had to go through and how they made your feel/any discomfort experienced.

Once you have collated all of the evidence it should be handed over to your solicitor who will work to compile it all into a case that will hopefully win your compensation. Once this is done, your solicitor will be able to give you a figure of what they feel you will receive in their professional opinion.

5 Things You Should Know About Personal Injury

When an individual falls victim of a personal injury it can often be a worrying and uncertain time clouded by doubt of how to proceed with contacting a law firm to start the process of seeking compensation. If you or someone you know is currently in this position the following five key points will help you understand the steps that can now be taken to form a personal injury claim.Personal Injury

The first and most important step to take is to contact a law firm to seek advice as early on as possible. If you have suffered a personal injury as a result of medical malpractice, an accident that occurred at work or elsewhere, slipping and falling or even as a result of a product, it is important not to wait. The longer you decide to wait the less evidence you will be able to collect and the weaker your case becomes. It is also important that your first call is to a solicitor as taking matters into your own hands can often make things worse and isolate you in the matter. By seeking the years of experience and professionalism of a solicitor you will be able to decide how best to proceed in the situation.

It is also extremely important that you are completely honest with your solicitor when describing not only the details of what happened, but your medical past, any injuries you have sustained prior to the accident and any criminal history. Without all of this information your solicitor will be unable to make an accurate and fair judgement on where you would stand with your case. If you decide to not disclose everything to your solicitor, when it comes to later on in the proceedings whether it be in or out of court, the truth will surface and it can severely damage your case.

One of the key aspects of a personal injury case that often gets forgotten is being able to properly look after yourself. As soon as the accident occurs you should see a medical professional and from that moment follow all medical advice that is given to you. If there are any medications, check-ups, appointments, lab works, therapy or referrals of any type given you must follow through on all of them. Failing to adequately care for yourself can equally harm your claim as you may look as if you are trying to claim for a condition that has developed as a result of your own lack of care.

Depending on your situation, in some cases individuals will find that they are unknowingly being monitored by the defence. It isn’t uncommon for the defence to hire a professional private eye to watch, track and even record you if they have reason to believe you are lying about your injuries. If within your case you have stated that you are unable to carry out an activity such as walking or carrying any weight then you should not be doing/attempting any of these activities until advised to by your medical professional.

As with any case, privacy is key and whilst these days individuals have a tendency to post about their lives online for friends and family to know, it is not advisable. If the defence is able to get access to any of this information it could very easily harm your claim in numerous ways. Additionally, as with the last point, if they have hired someone to monitor you they are likely to be looking at your social media too so try to be as private as possible during this time.

 

Medical Negligence Claims Explained

Medical Negligence claims are based around two separate things; firstly that there was fault on the end of the healthcare professional in that they did not carry out their responsibilities correctly and secondly that there was avoidable harm in that as a result of this failure you are now in a position where you have been harmed. The ‘Fault’ refers to the idea that their duty as a medical professional has not been carried out and that you have not been treated or cared for in a way you expected. ‘Avoidable Harm’ which is often referred to as causation means that as opposed to any ailments of your own, the failed care has been the factor which has caused you harm.

Medical Negligence

As with most legal cases, there is a time constraint and with medical and clinical negligence cases you are allowed to file a claim within three years from the date of your injury or from the date where it became known that your injury/harm was as a result of the medical or clinical negligence. The earlier you begin taking steps to start a claim and contact a solicitor, the easier it will be for them to collect all the necessary evidence and investigate your case in its entirety. Some of the evidence such as memory is somewhat time sensitive as the longer you leave it without recording the details, the less reliable it becomes and the harder it become to present in a case.

In terms of preparing to make a claim, your appointed solicitor will want to understand every aspect of what has happened to you and the affect it has subsequently had on your life. If you have had to take time off work, have been unable to return to work, have been unable to have full mobility or even look after yourself, your solicitor will want to know. Once this is understood then they will be able to make sure that you are receiving all of the compensation you will need for the future. At this point they will then look to collect statements of the event, medical records as well as a wide range of evidential materials to aid your case.

Most of these cases are settled outside of court as in terms of medical negligence generally the medical company will want to keep it as quiet as possible. If however you find that you do have to go to court, we will be with you every step of the way to ensure that you are completely mentally prepared.

How to Deal With an Unfair Dismissal in Work

If you believe that you have been unfairly dismissed from your place of work it can be a very confusing and upsetting time. It is often very hard to know what to do in this situation but there are steps that you can take in order to make a complaint against your former employer for unfair dismissal.

Unfair Dismissal

There are many grounds within employment law on which you can build a case for unfair dismissal, the following list names just a few of the common reasons:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Age
  • Joining a trade union
  • Trying to maintain your rights as an employee
  • Asking for flexible working hours
  • Needing time off for jury service
  • Asking for maternity/paternity/adoption leave
  • Whistleblowing
  • Being forced to retire

If your reason for dismissal has not been listed here and you are unsure as to whether you have grounds on which to build a case, it is advisable that you contact a law firm or citizens advice for further information on employment law.

Once you are sure that you wish to go ahead with forming a complaint, the first step is to lodge an unfair dismissal appeal with your former employer. If you are part of any trade union you will be able to ask your work place representative for advice on the matter and ask them to be present in any meetings you might have with your employer, but doing this isn’t always necessary. Although in these cases it can be hard not to be angry and upset it is imperative that you calmly state the facts and remain professional throughout this time. It may often feel very awkward, especially if your place of work is a small business but it is best to try to resolve these complaints before any legal proceedings take place.

If this first step has been so far unsuccessful and you feel that it isn’t going anywhere you may want to consider mediation. Mediation is a step that is taken before any legal action and is still an informal discussion with the involved parties. In this situation a completely neutral third party is brought in to help observe and aid in discussing the dismissal dispute. If you are unable to find a suitable third party candidate, there are plenty of organisations in place to help with these kinds of disputes.

Finally, if the first two steps have failed and all communication has broken down between you and your employer it may be time to contact a solicitor to help with proceedings. In doing so you will have access to professional legal advice and the steps that can now be taken if you wish to take your former employer to court in an employment tribunal. Tribunals have the power to provide both compensation and reinstatement at your job if they find your employer to be guilty. If your employer is also guilty of more serious discriminatory dismissal your solicitor will advise you on additional claims that can be made.

As with any legal case, there is a time restriction and if you wish to file for unfair dismissal it must be done within three months from being dismissed.

What to do when you need to make a Personal Injury Claim

What to do if you need to make a personal injury claim

Being injured can cause you not only physical but emotional stress. It is a very confusing time where you aren’t quite sure what to do and if you are entitled to anything.

Whilst looking after yourself during this time is important, it is equally as important to begin thinking about pursuing a personal injury claim.

Your first step is to collect as much evidence as possible which suggest who was to blame for the accident as well as any damage caused.

Photographs and written accounts of everything that has happened since the accident are good examples of evidence. These may include things such as medical bills, any visits of doctors/hospitals, time off work, lost wages etc. If anyone was there to witness the accident it is imperative that you get their details in case they are needed for future reference. Any conversations that are had with people who were involved or witnessed the accident should also be written down.

It is also important that you inform the person that you intend the file a lawsuit against that you are going to do so. This does not necessarily mean you are now legally obligated to do so. It does however mean that by giving sufficient notice, you are preserving your legal right against the other parties defence arguing that you waited too long to inform them you were injured.

There is no set time limit on when you can file a personal injury claim unless they are a government agency. Because of this, people often put it off and wait until a substantial amount of time has passed before doing anything. This is one of the worst things you can do in this situation as the quicker you are about dealing with it, the faster it will be resolved. If too much time passes certain evidence can also be doubted such as the memories of witnesses and of yourself.

Whilst there is no time limit on filing a claim, there is however a time limit for be compensated for your injuries.

For different types of claims this amount of time will vary which is why it is advisable to look this up yourself or seek legal advice to help you understand your options.