What is the process for suing my GP?

No one chooses to take legal action against their GP or hospital doctor without a lot of consideration. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, but in some instances, it is an appropriate one if we feel we have been a victim of medical negligence.

GPs and hospital doctors are highly trained individuals on whom we depend to make important decisions about our health. Most of the time, the treatment we receive is at least satisfactory, but occasionally things can and do go wrong.

Because most of us have high levels of trust in medical professionals, it can sometimes feel bewildering when medical negligence has occurred. Many people are subsequently put off pursuing compensation believing the process is particularly difficult, or that the odds are stacked against them.

Some people are reluctant to instigate a claim against a GP out of a feeling of loyalty, particularly if that GP has looked after their family for a number of years without any previous negligence. They may be concerned about the consequences for their future treatment, or of having to find a new GP.

Issues around GP negligence can be as damaging to an individual’s long-term health and wellbeing as hospital negligence. When the treatment you receive is less than adequate or actively harmful to your future health and wellbeing, there are means to try and gain proper redress.

Understanding GP negligence

The standard of care provided by GPs can vary widely. As a result, the types of possible medical negligence incidents that can occur are numerous.

Some of mistakes that can be made by a GP include:

  • A failure to adequately examine a patient
  • A failure to perform certain tests and examinations
  • A failure to properly review and then act upon an examination or test results
  • The issuing of an incorrect prescription
  • A failure to consult an appropriate specialist or refer the patient to a consultant.
  • A failure to diagnose a serious disease
  • A medical procedure being carried out incorrectly

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is helpful to think about the kind of practices and GP tasks that can lead to possible negligence.

What consequences can GP negligence have?

It’s often presumed that medical negligence is mostly an issue for hospitals, and that there’s little that can happen during a GP consultation that could have severely damaging consequences for the patient. That’s far from the case, with medical negligence in the GP practice there are a variety of incidents that can have a significant impact. For example, failure to refer a patient for cancer investigations can result in the cancer progressing, and the illness becoming much harder to treat.

Prescribing the wrong medication to patients can lead to possible side effects, some of these can be serious with long term debilitating effects. As too can a failure to properly assess how someone was responding to certain treatments, with serious issues such as liver or kidney damage as a possible result.

Serious conditions such as meningitis are sometimes missed. If unstable angina isn’t spotted it can lead to a cardiac arrest, and a failure to correctly diagnose or manage diabetes can result in serious life-limiting consequences for the patient.

Our GPs are usually our first point of contact when we are ill. It’s vital that they properly diagnose any conditions we may have, prescribe the right medication and if necessary, refer us to specialists for further treatment. The failure to do any of those things correctly can result in conditions getting progressively worse.

If you believe your GP failed to properly carry out their duties and you suffered harm as a result, then you might be able to make a successful medical negligence claim.

Make a complaint

The first step many people who believe they have been a victim of medical negligence take is to make a complaint to their GP practice. If your first concern is to receive an apology, or a full explanation of what happened, this should always be your first step. It can be useful not only in helping to provide closure for the individual concerned, but also in ensuring that lessons are learnt and similar mistakes are not made again.

When you are making a complaint, you should try and include the following information:

  • The time and date of your treatment, and where it took place
  • The names of all the individuals involved
  • A description of exactly what happened
  • The reason why you are making your complaint
  • The questions you want answering

You don’t have to make a complaint through the NHS complaints procedure before launching legal action. It can be useful, however, as it may give you more information on which to base your decision about further action. It could also provide valuable information in any medical negligence claim you decide to pursue.

Taking things further

Even if you’ve received an explanation or apology from the individual GP, healthcare practice or provider, it’s still possible to pursue a claim for medical negligence against your doctor.

Medical negligence is a complex area of law and every case is different. Therefore, it’s important to contact a solicitor with experience in the field who will be able to advise you about the likelihood of your claim being successful.

The procedure can feel daunting but our experienced team of medical negligence specialists can provide you with considered advice and support in making your claim.

Will making a claim affect how my GP treats me?

If you’re still under the care of the GP about whom you’re making the claim, or are still registered at the same practice, you may be concerned that the treatment you receive will be influenced by making a claim. GPs are not allowed to treat you any differently just because you’re taking legal action. If you suspect they are, this in itself could be a legal matter.

Is your claim valid?

The first question we will consider is the validity of your medical negligence claim.

For your claim to qualify as medical negligence, it will need to be proven that the medical practitioner was at fault, and that fault caused you harm. In addition to this, medical negligence compensations claims must be filed with the court within 3 years of the incident that caused harm or injury taking place.

There are some exceptions to this time limit, if for example you discovered the harm done to you months or even years after the initial incident. Your specialist medical negligence solicitor will be able to provide you with advice based on the details of your individual case.

You claim will only proceed further if you are able to satisfy two conditions:

  • Liability – it can be shown that your GP was performing at a lower standard than similar professionals in the same field.
  • Causation – you will need to be able to prove that the harm done to you was as a direct result of the negligent action, and otherwise would not have occurred. The balance of probabilities applies, so there will need to be at least a 50% chance that the harm was caused by the initial incident.

Medicine is a constantly evolving science with competing schools of thought. If other doctors are willing to vouch that they too would have undertaken the same course of action as the GP about whom you’re making a case, then your claim is unlikely to go any further.

These questions need to be explored as quickly as possible to ensure that you can make a claim within the time limit. Contacting a specialist solicitor to discuss your case should therefore be a priority.

The time limit

The Time Limitation Act 1980 set out a time limit of 3 years for medical negligence claims to be made. This is known in legal terms as “the date of knowledge”. This could be the date when the negligence occurred, or much later when the harm was discovered. You may be unsure about the exact date when the three years started.

The limit is for formally lodging the claim with the court, not just for contacting a solicitor, so it’s important to act as quickly as you can.

There are some exceptions to the three-year time limit:

  • Under 18s – anyone under the age of 18 when the incident occurred, has three years from the date of their 18th birthday to make a claim in their own right.
  • Mental illness – if the claimant was suffering from a diagnosed mental illness at the time of the incident, the three-year period doesn’t start until they are considered fully recovered.
  • Brain damage – if the injury caused to the claimant was brain damage that resulted in them not being able to conduct their own affairs, then there is no time limit for making a claim.
  • Death – if the claimant dies, either as a result of the negligence or any other cause, the limitation for their family to bring forward a claim is three years from the date of death. If they die while making a claim, then the family have three years from the date of death to decide to continue with the claim.

Assessing your losses

When assessing the claimant’s losses, they will need to be presented in terms of pain and suffering, mental anguish, impact on quality of life, and the loss of earnings, past, present and future. It will need to be demonstrated that these losses are a result of the negligence, not underlying medical conditions. These losses will be calculated by your solicitor, who will consult similar cases in the past and estimate an average pay-out. Any final calculation will of course take inflation into account.

The investigation

This is the lengthiest part of the claim process. Your solicitor will ask for your medical records, including any notes or details that were recorded at the time of the negligence. The solicitor will then put together a written statement containing the details of your claim, which you need to sign. It will then be forwarded to independent medical experts to assess the standard of care you received from your GP.

Once the best course of action has been settled on by all the parties, a formal Letter of Claim will be sent to the practice or doctor in question. The defendant then has four months to respond, either in form of an admittance that the details in the claim are correct, or a refusal of the case.

If they admit the claim, your solicitor can immediately begin negotiating a reasonable settlement. A settlement can be reached any time prior to the case going to court. If the value of your claim cannot be agreed in a timely fashion, then court proceedings may be necessary.

Get in touch for expert medical negligence advice

The process of making a medical negligence claim can feel long and convoluted, but the level of pay-outs can make it worth persevering. If you believe you’ve been a victim of GP negligence our team of experienced medical negligence experts want to hear from you. Get in touch today for confidential advice about your case.

Prostate Cancer Awareness

Prostate Cancer is predicted to be the most common cancer in the UK by 2030 yet so many people have no idea that it is so prominent. Often a silent killer, it is a fact that Prostate Cancer claims the lives of over 11,000 men year by year and the bleak reality of this is that amounts to the death of one man every 45 minutes of each day. 

Prostate Cancer UK conducted a survey which found that only 46% of the UK could identify where the Prostate is in the body and only a mere 12% of the UK population actually know what the prostate does, yet 1 in 8 men will get Prostate Cancer in their lifetime.

The Prostate is a small gland located between the bladder and the penis and it has a dual purpose to produce fluid that protects and forms part of semen.

Prostate cancer in the early stages may not cause any symptoms however as the cancer grows, unpleasant and painful symptoms that become present may include difficulty passing urine, a need to pass urine suddenly, blood in the urine, pain when passing urine and even erectile dysfunction.

To receive a medical diagnosis for Prostate Cancer, some of the tests that are carried out would normally include a physical examination of the prostate, a blood test and a biopsy

However, it is disturbing to discover that some men who present to their medical professionals with even classic symptoms are never referred for the appropriate tests or their treatment is not appropriately managed. It can be in these situations that death from the cancer then follows.

Prostate cancer and Medical Negligence

Patients may become subject to medical negligence both before and following their diagnosis of Prostate Cancer.

A delay in diagnosis could be negligent and may occur when the symptoms are mistaken for lesser conditions, blood tests are misread or blood tests show raised levels of prostate but this is mistaken for non-cancerous growth or a Urinary Tract Infection

It is also the case that medical professionals fail to perform a digital rectal examination.

As if it is not concerning enough that medical negligence can occur in failing to identify the cancer, it is also possible that negligence can occur after the diagnosis has been made.

This can happen in the following ways;  

  • Through incorrect management of treatment as some forms of Prostate Cancer do not require treatment until or if the condition becomes worse however, this must be managed effectively or it may lead to a fatal outcome.
  • Insufficient or inappropriate treatment if the advancement of the Prostate Cancer is not identified
  • Surgical errors and mistakes
  • Excessive doses of radiotherapy and ultrasound treatment or treatment to unaffected areas

Most recently Angela Richardson of our Medical Negligence Team has been supporting the family of a patient who was never referred for the appropriate testing following repeatedly presenting to his medical practitioner with symptoms of Prostate Cancer. Unfortunately, the cancer spread out of the Prostate to the bones of the body and this was then only discovered at an advanced stage which was then too late. The patient sadly passed away. 

Our team of Medical Negligence Experts at Mark Reynolds Solicitors identify when mistakes have been made and do our upmost to ensure that these mistakes are recognised by the negligent party.

Playing our Part in Raising Awareness

Prostate Cancer UK – March the Month

Here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors it is vital to us that we play a role in raising awareness for medical conditions as well as fundraising to support the research into better and quicker systems for their diagnosis.

For the whole of September 2020, our colleagues are taking part in the March the Month challenge, organised by Prostate Cancer UK.

The challenge involves hitting 11,000 steps per day, for the entire month, to represent the 11,000 brothers, fathers, sons and friends we lose each year to this awful disease.

Look out for updates on our website and Facebook page as to how we get on!

If you would like to discuss a possible medical negligence claim relating to Prostate Cancer or any other medical failure, please contact one of our medical negligence solicitors on 01925 418 004 or email info@markreynoldssolicitors.co.uk

Sepsis also known as blood poisoning

Sepsis Awareness Month

13 September 2020 – World Sepsis Day

What is sepsis?

For good reason labelled The Indiscriminate Killer, Sepsis is a potentially life threatening condition caused by the body’s response to infection that many of us believe to be something so tragic and so distant to never be likely to affect us.

The Royal College of Nursing have acknowledged that the number of people developing Sepsis per year is on the rise, with around 123,000 cases per year in England alone and sadly 37,000 deaths associated with the condition. It is even more chilling to learn of research that reveals that approximately 10,000 of these deaths could have been prevented each year.

Due to the prominence of this increase and the lethal nature of the condition, awareness of the types of symptoms to look out for is vitally important, especially following surgery, injury or infection. 

Sepsis happens when the immune system overreacts to an infection or injury and begins to attack the body’s tissues and organs. We have all too often heard of Sepsis being referred to by its trading name of ‘blood poisoning’.

The Sepsis Trust provide a detailed account of the kind of situations in which Sepsis manifest and reveal itself as the body’s response and such situations include chest infections causing pneumonia, urine infections in the bladder, problems in the bowel such as when an ulcer has burst, an apparently simple and innocent cut to the finger, a bite and many more occurrences where skin or body tissue has been broken, ruptured or affected.

The initial symptoms of Sepsis are commonly similar to those of Flu or Gastroenteritis. The symptoms also mimic those of a chest infection. In adults, these symptoms and signs may develop into confusion, slurred speech, blue, blotchy or pale skin, pale and or discoloured lips and tongue, a simple rash or difficult or abnormal breathing.

Sepsis and Medical Negligence

Time and experience has told us that Sepsis can be difficult for any person to identify due to the wide range of possible symptoms, and so it is of crucial importance that those we rely on for our medical care do investigate and diagnose Sepsis promptly to ensure that there is no delay in treatment and such treatment can then be properly monitored and managed.  

Our Medical Negligence Solicitors can recognise when a patient has been failed by a medical professional when Sepsis becomes apparent and present. The ways in which such failures might occur include;

  • Failure and or delay of recognising symptoms of Sepsis
  • Failure to provide treatment in a timely manner
  • A medical mistake during surgery causing the patient to develop Sepsis
  • Failure to monitor appropriately

It is the job of our team to support the patient and their families through these very difficult times and to do our upmost to see that these failures are recognised.

Most recently, Laura Bauress who is one of our very experienced Medical Negligence Solicitors, advised and gave legal assistance to a patient whose bowel was injured by mistake during surgery resulting in a leakage into the abdomen and subsequently causing Peritonitis and Sepsis. This then led to multi organ failure and the patient was left in critical condition.  Laura is now supporting the patient with their claim against the negligent hospital.

If you would like to discuss a possible medical negligence claim relating to Sepsis or any other medical failure, please contact one of our medical negligence solicitors on 01925418004 or email info@markreynoldssolicitors.co.uk

How to make sense of a loss of earnings claim

One area of law that always seems to lead to confusion is that of loss of earnings.  The process can at first look complicated and off-putting. It’s actually more straightforward than it first appears but there are some key points to consider.

What is a loss of earnings claim?

Loss of Earnings

After injuries, loss of earnings can be one of the most critical effects of an accident. In an instant, lives can be transformed. As well as coming to terms with what can be life changing injuries and the emotional consequences, victims are also faced with worries about how to support themselves and their family.  It’s not just life changing injuries either.  Lots of injuries from which you will ultimately recover can force you to stay off work for months.  As a result, loss of earnings is a common component of a personal injury claim.

Most claims are relatively small, but some can be sizeable. In these more sizeable claims, it’s not just losses already incurred that are covered, they also take into account losses which are ongoing.

Working out your lost earnings

If you want to make a claim for loss of earnings it’s important to fully work out how much income you’ve lost and how that can be proven. It’s not just about the total on your payslip or tax return.

A claim for lost earnings will be based on your ‘take-home pay’. This is the amount you would normally receive after deductions for tax and national insurance. This is known as your ‘net earnings’.  Your income before deductions is known as your ‘gross earnings’.  Loss of earnings claims are based on net earnings rather than gross because if you were to receive compensation based on the latter you would in effect be making a profit from your injury.  It becomes more complicated where other deductions such as pension contributions are concerned but a legal professional will be able to advise on individual circumstances.

Sick Pay

Most people forced off work due to injury will receive some form of sick pay. This means that working out loss of earnings is rarely about calculating your daily rate and then multiplying it by how many days you had to be absent.

As an absolute minimum you should expect to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Your employer may also pay an additional sum on top of this as part of your terms and conditions of employment. Any money you receive will be deducted from your net earnings amount as part of a claim.  If for instance you received SSP of £95.85 per week and your employer topped this up by another £100 a week a weekly amount of £195.85 would be deducted from your net earnings.

Other lost income

Lost income is rarely just about your monthly net earnings, however. There may be bonuses, commission or regular overtime to consider. These can usually be recovered as part of any claim.

Self-employed claims

If you’re self-employed, a contractor or freelance, piecing together a loss of earnings claim can be more difficult. Variable hours, working for a number of employers and erratic working history means that a claim will usually involve a more complicated procedure.  Good record keeping is key for self-employed workers particularly those who work in industries where workplace industries are more common. The more financial evidence you have in terms of tax and bank statements, the more likely you are to succeed.

The evidence you’ll need to make a claim

It’s important to start gathering evidence to support your claim as soon as possible after the accident took place.  Most cases are straightforward and require little more than providing payslips that cover 3 months or 13 weeks before the accident. This will be used to illustrate what you were earning before and after the accident. For overtime and other bonuses, it can be useful to look at the ongoing payslips of colleagues on the same pay grade. These can be used as evidence to support your claim.

Future loss of earnings

If you’re unlikely to return to work before your claim is concluded, a consideration will have to be made for future loss of earnings. This will be based on the medical evidence and the overall prognosis for recovery.  If your injuries are severe it will be necessary to work out when you were likely to retire and then make a calculation for all the months and years of income you have lost. If this is a considerable amount of time, then factors like possible promotion will be taken into account.

Things you can do to help your claim

By taking a few steps at the beginning of your claim you can help to make the process easier.

  • Keep any payslips during your period of absence. This helps with working out what your earnings were while you were off.
  • Find the payslips that illustrate what you were earning for the 13 weeks before your accident.
  • Keep a record of your life during your absence. Did you attempt to return to work? Were you forced to miss planned holidays?
  • Keep a record of any payments you receive during your absence such as a pension or state benefits. The former is unlikely to be taken into consideration, the latter might be.
  • If your absence is prolonged, write down how you expected your career to progress. Was promotion likely? Were you working towards any courses that would facilitate this? Is there a pay scale at work that you were moving up to?
  • If you have been able to return to work, how have your duties been affected? Can you still work overtime? Is promotion now less likely? These factors can all influence the size of any payout.

Making a personal injury claim needn’t be a complex or confusing process. Mark Reynolds Solicitors can help you gather evidence, build a case and make a successful claim. Why not call us or fill in the contact form for free impartial advice today?

Personal Injury and Clinical / Medical Negligence Lawyer

The Myths About Personal Injury Claims

If you believe the headlines you might be forgiven for believing that we’re a nation that’s quick to claim compensation if we suffer a personal injury. In fact, all those adverts for companies encouraging people to make a claim are actually telling a different story. The personal injury market in the UK is fairly small and companies are chasing the same people.

The data provided by the government illustrates that claims have been falling over the previous few years. In 2017 the number of settlements recorded by the Government Compensation Recovery Unit was 1,013,490. In 2018 this fell to 894,563. It fell again in 2019 to 853,259 . This figure is believed to represent just a fraction of the number of people who are entitled to make a claim and could do so successfully.

Brits don’t like to make a fuss

British people are slow to make claims even when they’ve suffered serious injury. Data gathered over a number of years all points to the same key trends. While a quarter of Brits say they would be likely to make a claim, over eighty per cent believe other people are right to do so. While the ending of legal aid for personal injury claims some years ago reduced the number of claims, other factors also play a part in public attitudes.

So why is there such a mismatch?

There is no ‘compensation culture’

Media coverage of personal injury claims tend to focus on non-representative cases. It rarely touches upon the daily hard work of securing adequate compensation for people who have suffered life changing injuries. These people are now having to deal with the emotional, financial and employment consequences of their injuries. This mismatch between reality and the media story can serve to make claimants look greedy or somehow deceitful. This is an unjust characterisation based on distortions of the data. Compensation is simply about ensuring that people who have had an accident are able to rebuild their lives.

Fear of going to court

There’s a widespread belief that personal injury claims mean you will have to go to court. This provokes an understandable fear that puts people off making a claim. In fact, the overwhelming majority of cases are settled without going anywhere near a courtroom. On those rare occasions when a claimant has to visit court, they will have a specialist solicitor on hand to guide them. Your solicitor will be upfront about the likelihood of this being needed from the very beginning, meaning you have the chance to make an informed choice.

Making a claim is costly

Many people fear hefty upfront costs for launching a claim and the removal of legal aid support for personal injury claimants only served to reinforce that belief. They also fear that if their case is unsuccessful, they’ll have to pay solicitor fees that they cannot afford. With no-win, no-fee claims the process is risk free for the claimant. If the personal injury solicitor does not think your claim is likely to succeed, they’ll discourage you from making a claim. Only if you win do you pay a percentage of the final settlement to the solicitor who acted on your behalf. The level of this will be discussed and agreed upon before the claim is made.

Personal injury claims are complicated

Any kind of legal matter is often believed to be complex. This is particularly so in relation to personal injury claims. The process is in fact reasonably straightforward and you will not be left to make sense of it on your own. Your solicitor will take you through the procedure step by step, explaining in a completely jargon-free way how a claim works. If we can’t take on your case, we’ll make sure you understand why in clear language.

You can lose your job if you make a personal injury claim

This is one of the biggest fears of people who could be in a position to make a personal injury claim. They worry that an employer might look to get rid of an employee who makes a claim following an accident in the workplace. This would in fact be illegal. There are strict rules governing dismissal and it’s illegal for an employee to be either dismissed or treated unfairly as a result of a personal injury claim. Any employer who acted in such a manner would be liable for further legal action. In reality however, many employers express remorse for workplace accidents that involve valued members of staff and can be keen to ensure a just and fair settlement. A personal injury claim should find a fair outcome that both employee and employer can accept.

A big company will always win against the little guy

There’s a widespread belief that somehow large companies have the law in their pockets and are always likely to win when it comes to personal injury claims. In fact, some of the biggest companies in the UK have settled personal injury claims and are treated no differently to a local corner shop or window cleaning business in the eyes of the law. England and Wales has some of the most detailed and comprehensive laws in the world covering any number of different scenarios. It doesn’t matter if your employer is a FTSE 100 listed company, the local authority or a small business, the laws are there to provide us all with adequate protection. 

Personal injury payouts are taxable so it isn’t worth it

Another myth we often hear is that personal injury payouts are subject to income tax. This is not the case. Compensation is completely exempt from income tax.

Talk to a professional

Unfortunately, widespread myths prevent many people from even making an initial phone call or from sending an email. A legal professional well versed in personal injury claims will be able to advise you how best to proceed. It’s important to put the myths to one side to ensure that you’re not missing out on compensation to which you are legally entitled.

We offer free, impartial advice about personal injury claims. Why not call us or fill in our contact form today?

How do I make an accident claim?

Types of accident you can claim compensation for

Accidents happen in a variety of different settings and circumstances. You may have a case to claim compensation if someone else caused the accident or it occurred in a setting where someone failed in their duty of care to look after your health and wellbeing.

Some of the commonest types of accident claim that we deal with here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors are:

Why claim compensation for an accident?

While claiming compensation cannot undo what has happened, it can relieve financial strain and help put a distressing incident behind you.

As well as acknowledging disruption to your life as well as pain and suffering you have endured, financial compensation can also assist with:

  • Recouping financial loss from time taken off work
  • Compensating future loss of income due to not being able to work
  • Personal help or care you’ve received or are receiving while you recover
  • Medical care costs
  • The cost of ongoing rehabilitation treatment
  • Other expenses incurred as a result of the injury

Am I eligible to claim compensation for an accident?

If you have suffered an illness or injury because of someone else’s negligence, you may have a case to claim compensation.

Most successful accident claims meet the following criteria:

  • The accident occurred within the past 3 years.
  • The accident occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence
  • You suffered both physically and financially as a result of the accident

Every accident claim is unique, so if you’re not sure if you’re eligible, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team to discuss your case in more detail.

How do I make an accident claim?

To begin your claim, give our team of specialist solicitors here at Mark Reynolds a call on 0800 002 9577 to arrange a free consultation.

We will listen to the details of your accident and advise whether we believe you have a case to claim compensation.

Rest assured we understand that taking a first step towards claiming compensation can be daunting and we will always handle your case with the discretion, confidentiality and sensitivity it deserves.

If our team are satisfied you have a case, they will begin building one on your behalf, providing you with support and guidance throughout the whole process.

Can I claim for conditions and illnesses at work?

While the most common types of accident that happen in the workplace are slips, trips and falls, many of our clients successfully claim compensation for conditions or illnesses they have developed or suffered due to their line of work.

No one should suffer illness due to their employment, and if you do develop a medical condition or illness due to unsafe working conditions or exposure to hazardous materials then you have the right to claim.

Some of the occupational illness that we regularly claim compensation for include:

  • Mental illnesses like stress, anxiety or depression
  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome and hand/arm vibration syndrome
  • Lung disease and lung cancer
  • Occupational dermatitis caused by exposure to hazardous substances
  • Asbestos-related diseases

How do I claim for an accident at work?

If an accident happened while you were at work, the prospect of claiming compensation can be particularly daunting.

It’s important to remember you are entitled to compensation for an accident that wasn’t your fault, and that any awarded will be claimed from your employer’s insurer rather than their own pocket.

To arrange a free consultation with our team of expert solicitors, give us a call today on 0800 002 9577.

How do no-win, no-fee accident claims work?

Here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we operate a no-win, no-fee service, allowing you to pursue your claim without financial risk.

Our no-win, no-fee arrangements don’t require you to pay upfront.

Simply speak to a member of our team to find out if you have a case to claim. If we believe you do, then we will begin work straightaway.

If we win, you will be required to pay for our services once you have received the compensation sum.

You owe us nothing if we don’t.

What evidence do I require to make an accident claim?

To make a successful accident claim, your solicitor must prove the following:

  1. There was a legal duty of care owed to you
  2. That the duty of care was breached
  3. That you suffered injury or illness
  4. That the other party’s negligence caused your illness or injury

The more evidence you have that clearly shows your injury or illness was caused by the negligence of another party, the stronger your claim will be.

Our solicitors will help build a compelling case, advising you on how and where you can gather the evidence you need to make sure your claim secures the maximum amount of compensation you are eligible to.

It is helpful to keep clear and accurate records about any specific incidents that led to your injury or illness.

Just some of the details that you should keep a record of include:

  • The names and contact details of any people, businesses or organisations involved
  • The names and contact details of any witnesses
  • The time, date and location of the accident if you suffered one
  • Names and contact details of any medical staff that treated you
  • The time, date and location of any medical treatment you received
  • The registration number of any vehicles involved
  • Details and evidence of all expenses you incurred due to the accident

Witness statements and medical records also play a key part in building a compelling case.

How long do accident claims usually take?

The timescale from beginning to build your case to receiving compensation can vary greatly depending on several factors including:

  • How complex your case is
  • How serious the illness or injury you sustained was
  • How long it takes to gather evidence for your case

While compensation for straightforward cases may be gained in just a few months, complex cases can take years to resolve.

Your solicitor will be able to give you a rough idea of how long you can expect a case to go on for.

How much compensation could I receive?

The amount of compensation that can be won for an accident claim varies depending on the circumstances surrounding it as well as the severity of the impact it has had on your life.

Some of the factors that will be considered when calculating how much compensation you are due are:

  • The physical pain and suffering caused
  • Psychological suffering caused
  • The seriousness of the injury
  • Any ongoing disability caused
  • Expenses incurred due to the injury or illness
  • Any ongoing loss of earnings

Your solicitor will be able to advise you on the average amount of compensation awarded for cases like yours.

Time limits for claiming for an accident

The general time limit for making a compensation claim for an accident is usually three years from when the injury was sustained or the illness was first diagnosed.

The only exceptions to this rule are for cases where a brain injury was sustained or where the claimant was under 18 years of age.

If you’re unsure if you have a case, get in touch with the team at Mark Reynolds Solicitors to receive free advice.

Claiming compensation for an accident with Mark Reynolds Solicitors

Here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors, our experienced team of specialist solicitors have many years’ experience helping individuals claim the maximum amount of compensation due to them following an accident or illness that wasn’t their fault.

We will provide you with support, guidance, and a discrete and sensitive service that makes compiling a compelling case for compensation, simple and stress-free.

Our no-win, no-fee policy also means you can pursue a case with no financial risk.

For more information about making an accident claim, or to request a free initial consultation, get in touch by giving us a call on 0800 002 9577.

 

possible respiratory problems for which one could claim

What Kinds of Industrial Disease Can I Claim For?

Industrial diseases are an unfortunately common occurrence in the workplace. At Mark Reynolds, our lawyers know that this shouldn’t be the case.

We are here to help you and to fight your claims for compensation from negligent employers. Industrial diseases can take years to appear, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t claim for the injury that’s been done to you over time. Our experts have the necessary skills and experience to know when and how to fight cases.

There are many different types of industrial disease that you can claim for, so we’ve put together this rundown of the most common occupational illnesses.

What is an Industrial Disease?

Industrial diseases are chronic, debilitating and potentially life-threatening illnesses that are caused over time due to inhospitable or unhealthy working environments.

Industrial diseases range from dangerous respiratory diseases to disabling forms of tinnitus. There is a range of different illnesses and diseases that can occur depending on where you work, how long you have worked there for, and what the safety standards and precautions in place have been like.

Industrial diseases form over time and can be caused by exposure to deadly substances such as asbestos or due to not having been issued correct or adequate safety equipment in industrial jobs.

Types of Industrial Disease

It’s important to know which industrial diseases you may be susceptible to and which you can claim compensation for if your employer is at fault. Here’s an incomplete rundown of common forms of industrial diseases that our clients have contracted due to bad health and safety practices in the workplace.

Occupational Cancer

One of the most dangerous industrial diseases that we fight claims of compensation relating to is occupational cancer.

Occupational cancers form due to poor health and safety standards in the workplace, and over time have led to employees being subject to carcinogens or radiation while on the job. This is one of the worst and most unpredictable industrial illnesses, as cancers can form variously in the body and can be caused by a variety of exposures.

The type of job you’ve worked can influence the type of cancer you could potentially contract. Construction workers can end up with lung cancer related to asbestos exposure, while even simply working too long in direct sunlight with inadequate protection can result in skin cancer.

Occupational cancers can, in some circumstances, be difficult to directly prove as being directly caused by the workplace environment. However at Mark Reynolds, we have the experience to know when you need to press for a claim.

Respiratory Diseases

Another unfortunately all too common type of industrial disease that we fight cases for are respiratory diseases.

These are diseases that affect the respiratory system, namely diseases that affect the lungs and your ability to breathe. There are many different types of respiratory disease, but common types include emphysema, bronchitis and asthma.

While some of these can occur naturally, these diseases can be fiercely exaggerated by inadequate safety standards in workplaces, in particular in construction work, factory jobs or scientific research roles. Even office job workers can contract respiratory diseases due to inadequate ventilation systems or out-dated, asbestos-lined workplaces.

Asbestos-Related Diseases

One of the most infamous forms of industrial disease that our lawyers at Mark Reynolds deal with on a regular basis is disease related to asbestos.

It’s unfortunately common for us to deal with clients suffering from exposure to asbestos, particularly as this deadly material was used so prevalently in construction in the past. These diseases can take years to appear after exposure, but asbestos is known to cause lung cancer and many other respiratory illnesses.

Many construction workers in past decades didn’t know the dangers of asbestos and suffered dire consequences because of this lack of knowledge. Today, while the dangers are very much well known, there’s still a danger of exposure to asbestos in certain industries.

Skin Diseases

In some industries, skin diseases can commonly occur in workers. In fact, skin diseases are amongst the most common type of industrial disease that we fight compensation claims for.

Skin diseases are generally caused by handling carcinogenic substances, chemicals or irritants. There is a wide range of substances that can cause skin diseases, and you can contract cancer or eczema from mishandling products and chemicals while at work.

Hazardous chemicals that are handled with inadequate safety precautions in place can cause long-term damage to your skin, while simply working in the sun can lead to forms of skin cancer too.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a common occurrence in workers operating for long periods of time in loud environments, be it using heavy machinery consistently or working in noisy industries such as the aviation world and at airports. It is a persistent ringing or humming in the ears that can last for the rest of one’s life.

Tinnitus occurs in a large percentage of the population, and it can be exacerbated due to poor working conditions and in situations where employers fail to provide adequate safety equipment, especially noise-cancelling headphones or ear protectors. Tinnitus can lead to hearing disruption and loss, especially as you age, and it’s an industrial disease that you can definitely claim compensation for.

You can find out more about what counts as a claim for industrial disease in a previous blog post.

A Duty of Care to Employees

All employers have a duty of care to their employers, and it’s for this reason that we at Mark Reynolds know that you can fight for compensation and win if inadequate working conditions have been provided for you during your career.

The Government has passed several Acts of Parliament in its history, deliberately targeting malpractice of employers and lax safety standards, so if you have a case, then you have the force of the law behind you. Workplace health and safety standards are incredibly important. If your employer has breached those standards and broken their duty of care to you, then you deserve compensation.

Get in Touch Today

If you believe that you might be entitled to claim for an industrial disease related to your working environment, then don’t hesitate to contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors today. We work on a no-win, no-fee basis, so you have nothing to lose by discussing your case with our dedicated lawyers.

 

Accident at work

How to avoid accidents at work: A basic guide for employers

Any Health and Safety officer will tell you that the best way to reduce accidents in the workplace is to take a proactive stance of prevention. Accidents at work can be easily prevented, but it is mandatory that you consistently communicate your expectations to your employees on a regular basis to help implement these prevention methods.

Each industry has its own individual safety requirements and guidelines which employers must adhere to. Often, however, within these rules and regulation, the element of human error can be overlooked which is why most workplace accidents occur. It is therefore your responsibility as an employer to ensure the most basic safety needs of employees are met. Here we will guide you through some of the basic and preventative ways in which employers can avoid accidents within the workplace.

Policies

The first step to prevention to put formal health and safety policies and procedures in place that clearly states to everyone on the premises steps that must be taken in order to prevent accidents. The next step is to put someone in charge of these safety measures and regularly meet with them to discuss how to coordinate these plans. This person must be fully aware of the responsibilities that come with this position and be willing to cooperate in discussing safety concerns and how they can be addressed to prevent further accidents.

Once these plans have been discussed it is your job as an employer to voice any concerns with employees, letting them know the importance of safety on the premises. This can be done verbally through your safety manager or voiced through the information shown throughout the premises.

Training

The correct training not only ensures that your employees are able and qualified to carry out their work, it also ensures that they understand the importance of the safety surrounding each task. You will often find that most accidents occur as a direct result of shortcuts being taken- something that is less likely to occur with regular training. The knowledge that trying to complete a task in a hurry or becoming over-familiar with the job can lead to injuries is key to avoiding accidents.

Cleaning

The cleanliness of a workplace is more than simply aesthetics. Unbeknown to most, a clean space whether it be in an office, an industrial space or otherwise can act as a deterrent to work accidents. Unclean and cluttered workspaces are increasingly prone to hazards and therefore ensuring employees maintain a strict level of hygiene and organisation is key. Whether it be within an office environment or an industrial space, keeping the spaces clear and clean apply across all industries.

Protective Equipment

Protection equipment for each employee is essential and employees should be reminded of this upon hiring, at meetings and at random intervals to fully express the potential consequences of not doing so. Ensure that each employee is fully aware of how to use equipment particularly when working in an industrial environment where there are many hazardous machines and tools.

Educate & Communicate

Regardless of how much time and effort you put into ensuring your workplace is safe, human error is often the cause of the majority of accidents. It is therefore important that you take it upon yourself to effectively communicate with your employees what it expected of them and what is required to maintain safety standards for themselves and others. The more employees understand the gravity and importance of doing so, the less likely it is that accidents will occur.

However, it is not only good enough to verbalise your concerns for safety, but you must also be willing to act if necessary. If a safety hazard is identified it is paramount to address this situation immediately in order to correct it. You cannot simply assume that your regular verbalising of the importance of safety will prompt someone to rectify this safety hazard, you must act yourself as otherwise it’s an accident just waiting to happen.

Signage

As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure any area with potential hazards is clearly marked with the appropriate signage. Many industries, most commonly industrial and commercial require these signs by law to inform employees of potential risks and how to avoid accidents. However, even small businesses can benefit from these invaluable counter measures to protect the business and your employees.

Finally you can further involve your employees by asking them whether they have any suggestions about improving workplace safety or any concerns about current safety hazards. As much as having one safety coordinator is helpful in maintaining safety standards, utilising a handful of eyes and ears will always be the better option.

Undoubtedly, the most effective way to reduce accidents in the workplace is to take a clear and proactive position on prevention. Accidents can often be prevented with common sense, but it ultimately falls to you as an employer to ensure that these ‘common sense’ measures are adhered to whether that be in regard to training, cleaning communication etc.

Inheritance

The Future of Inheritance Tax

Inheritance tax is set to change, now that the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has conducted a wide-ranging review into what is often seen as an unpopular tax.

In theory, inheritance tax is charged at 40% on the value of an estate, once it is over the £325,000 inheritance tax allowance.

In practice, however, many of the country’s wealthier people do not pay inheritance tax, due to careful financial planning.

On the other hand, the exponential rise in UK property prices has meant more people are finding they have to pay inheritance tax.

People who are often already dealing with the difficulties of bereavement are having to navigate their way through a complex set of rules and regulations, even if, ultimately, it may mean they do not need to pay the tax.

It is no wonder then, that the so-called death tax is so unpopular.

The OTS review into inheritance tax makes recommendations for reforming the rules around inheritance tax. The Government will have to respond to them.

If you need to pay inheritance tax in the future, or if you are planning for your own legacy, you will need to know how these proposed changes might affect you.

Here, we look at these recommendations, and what their implications are for the future of inheritance tax.

A Shorter Time Limit for Taxable Gifts

Currently, if you decide to give away your money to your relatives while you are still living, there is a seven year limit.

What this means is that if you die within seven years of giving the gift, then the person receiving it may still have to pay some inheritance tax, depending on the circumstances.

Under the present rules, this form of potentially exempt transfer, or PET, is an effective way of reducing your inheritance tax bill, but it comes with the “potential” caveat – if the giver dies within the seven year period, there could be a chargeable amount of inheritance tax.

The OTS has recommended shortening the seven year period down to five years.

There is still a possible downside. Under the current regulations, the amount the gift recipient might have to pay goes down based on the number of years since receiving the gift, known as taper relief. The review recommends abolishing this.

This means that if the giver dies within the allowed period, any tax payable would be at the same rate, with no tapered reduction.

Inheritance Tax on Gifts: Who Pays?

The inheritance tax allowance is allocated to gifts first. Currently it stands at £325,000. This means most people would not normally have to pay tax on a gift, even within seven years of the giver’s death.

If the total value of gifts is higher than the allowance, then the recipient must pay the inheritance tax bill.

The OTS is recommending that instead of the recipient being liable for tax on gifts, the estate should be liable instead.

A further recommendation is that the nil-rate band is allocated across all gifts proportionately, rather than under the current rules, where oldest gifts benefit from the nil rate first.

Changing the Single Gift Allowance

Lifetime gifts are where you can give up to £3,000 a year from your estate without this counting towards tax.

Under the current regulations, you can also give up to £5,000 if a child is getting married; and make smaller gifts of up to £250, providing these are all to different individuals.

In its report, the OTS says that the current arrangements are confusing and could lead to misunderstandings, especially as the different gift limits are calculated in different ways.

One example is the £3,000 limit, which is a cumulative figure, whereas the £250 gift exemptions per person do not come under an overall total, but cannot be combined.

Most of these gift allowances are at levels frozen since the 1980s. The OTS has not recommended a new limit, but it has highlighted the fact that if the £3,000 limit had risen with inflation, it would currently stand at £11,900.

What the OTS does recommend is that there should just simply be a single, personal gift allowance per person.

Some wealthier families might lose out, if they routinely expected to give individual £250 gifts, which would exceed the new annual allowance.

Other Proposed Gifting Changes

At present, an individual can give away unlimited gifts of money from their income which are not then subject to inheritance tax, provided they are made on a regular basis, and do not affect the standard of living of the giver.

For cash-rich individuals, this has meant they can reduce their inheritance tax liability by passing down wealth to their loved ones over time, during their lifetime.

The OTS has looked at the difficulties surrounding this exemption, where claiming it has depended on detailed record-keeping, and where in some cases it has been used to exempt gifts exceeding £1m a year.

Currently there is no legally binding definition of what normal expenditure or expenditure out of income would be.

The proposed solution for gifts out of existing income is either to introduce a fixed percentage of it that individuals are allowed to give; or to get rid of the exemption rule completely and instead provide a higher annual gift allowance.

Removal of the Capital Gains Uplift

The capital gains uplift works like this: when someone inherits assets, under current regulations, they can acquire it under the market value at the time of death, rather than the amount originally paid for it.

It is like resetting the clock, which then means the recipient can sell the asset without incurring capital gains tax (CGT).

However, because CGT is not charged at death, in some situations where there have also been an inheritance tax exemption, this could mean someone paying no tax at all.

Consequently, the OTS has recommended changing the capital gains rules to close this loophole.

It proposes that assets are instead valued at their original price to simplify the system.

This could mean someone inheriting assets will have to pay CGT, but it could also encourage more people to make transfers of assets during their lifetime. The view is that the current system acts as an incentive for people to hold onto assets until death, even if they would really prefer to sell them.

Of course, any CGT liability that has existed at the time of death will still be liable for payment to HMRC.

Businesses and Farms

The OTS has looked at the treatment of businesses and farms under the present rules.

At things currently stand, businesses and farms can come under several exemptions, which allow them to be passed on as inheritance without being sold or broken up.

These exemptions come in the form of business property relief and agricultural property relief.

The OTS recommends certain changes. It questions whether business trading activity should continue to be set at a lower threshold than other business tax reliefs to qualify for property relief.

It also  wants to review the treatment of indirect, non-controlling holdings in trading companies and of limited liability partnerships.

It is considering whether to align the inheritance tax rule for furnished holiday lets with those for income tax and capital gains tax.

The OTS is also looking at the approach to agricultural property relief in circumstances where a farmer must leave their farmhouse due to medical treatment or other care.

What Will Happen in the Future?

First, the Treasury must respond to the OTS recommendations. Next, should it accept any of the proposals, these will then be subject to a consultation period, before becoming law.

There may, therefore, be an announcement about proposed reforms in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

In the longer term, a Labour Party-commissioned report has proposed a more radical overhaul to inheritance tax. The Land for the Many report suggests replacing it with a lifetime gift tax, which would be levied on recipients of assets over £125,000.

There are other, less drastic views about changing inheritance tax, including replacing it with capital gains tax charged on estates.

As things stand, inheritance tax is an imperfect, uneven system, and therefore there will be changes to it to some degree in the near future.

What Should You Do About Inheritance Tax?

Regardless of what changes are coming and when, you should be planning for your estate and looking at how best to manage your wealth.

There are various strategies you may consider for reducing your inheritance tax bill.

These include: reducing your assets through gifts; freezing them through a loan; converting them into assets which will, currently, qualify for some sort of relief; and taking out life assurance to help your dependents meet any inheritance tax liability.

With the current complexities of the system, and with changes likely at some point, the first thing to do is seek professional advice about writing your will, or dealing with the affairs of someone who has died.

Please call us on 0800 002 9577, or complete our online contact form.

 

How long do you have to claim after an accident at work?

Talk to Mark Reynolds Solicitors today if you have suffered following an accident at work that was not your fault. If the blame for the accident can be linked to someone else’s actions or negligence, there’s a sizeable chance we will be able to help you get compensation. In most cases, you will need to take legal action within three years of the date of the accident if your quest for justice is to be successful.

A duty of care

Whilst you are at work, your employer has a duty of care to you. Your working environment should be safe to work in. Those that are concerned about their safety at work often get in touch with The Health and Safety Executive. This is an industry regulatory who ensures standards are being upheld and takes action when they are not.

Keep hold of evidence

You can strengthen the chances of your case being successful by keeping hold of evidence related to your accident. If you have been forced to pay out for medical care as a result of your accident, make sure you keep the receipts and other documents associated with your treatment. You should also gather together as much other evidence related to your accident and injuries as possible to help us make your case watertight.

Common workplace accidents and injuries

People can become injured in the workplace for many reasons. Falls, slips and trips commonly occur in the workplaces of the UK. You may have been hit by an unstable object, or you could have been instructed to lift unreasonably heavy items. Faulty equipment and machinery are other big causes of workplace accidents and injuries. Accidents often occur because staff have not received adequate training to carry out their roles. An employer may have failed to provide you with the equipment you need to do your job safely, or they could have failed to carry out a health and safety risk assessment before certain work takes place.

Physical and psychological symptoms

An accident at work can result in various physical injuries, but you may also experience psychological problems such as anxiety and depression if the event was particularly traumatic. You may have also been forced to take time off work following your injury, which can be very expensive for those with bills to pay. Whatever the case, we can help you get the maximum amount of compensation for your accident and injuries.

Strengthening your case

Remember, your employer is duty-bound to report your injuries. If they have failed to do so, they have broken the law. Eye-witness accounts, statements and even video footage can be used to strengthen your case. We can help you collect as much evidence as you need to support your claim. If you came to harm in the workplace no longer than three years ago but have only recently experienced symptoms that could be connected to the incident, we may still be able to help.

Getting in touch

To find out more about how we can help with a workplace accident or injury claim, contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors today. We can help you get the outcome you deserve.