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.

x-ray showing cancer diagnosis

The impact of a delayed cancer diagnosis

At Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we can provide the legal representation you are looking for if you have been affected by a delayed cancer diagnosis. If an opportunity for diagnosis has been missed and the cancer has developed further than it perhaps otherwise would have, it’s only right that you should decide to take legal action.

Why would a diagnosis be delayed?

A cancer diagnosis can be delayed for many reasons. Tissue samples and smears are sometimes misinterpreted by specialists, as are scans and x-rays. The diagnosis may also be delayed because a detailed investigation was not carried out. Cancers that are sometimes diagnosed later than they could have been include skin, lung, cervical, breast and bowel cancer, as well as lymphoma, carcinoma and others.

You may also wish to take action if you have been diagnosed as having cancer when you didn’t. You may have undergone procedures that were not necessary because of your misdiagnosis or may have experienced great psychological suffering.

What are the risks of late diagnosis?

When cancer is diagnosed too late, the disease can spread throughout the body and make the illness less treatable. This can reduce your chances of survival. It’s vital that medical specialists diagnose cancer as quick as they possibly can, to give you the best chance of making a recovery. An early diagnosis also means your treatment is more likely to be successful. A report carried out by Incisive Health and Cancer Research UK found that around 52,000 cases of colon, rectal, lung and ovarian cancer may have been diagnosed too late each year. Delayed diagnosis can also raise treatment costs, resulting in the NHS paying more to provide care.

Is there always someone to blame?

Delayed diagnosis can happen for many reasons, and it is not always the fault of medical specialists. Some illnesses are diagnosed too late because patients remain unaware of the systems for some time before they seek help. It’s not uncommon for diagnosis to occur too late because patients are too fearful to visit their GP. However, if you do suspect your diagnosis occurred too late because a healthcare provider failed in their duty of care to you, we may be able to help you source compensation and justice.

Why choose Mark Reynolds?

We have a great deal of experience when it comes to handling a wide range of clinical and medical negligence claims. We always aim to get the best possible outcome for our clients, taking our time to understand the nature and impact of the negligence on you and your family. We are accredited by Action Against Medical Accidents, and all of our solicitors have received the highest standard of training needed to handle medical negligence claims competently and professionally. For many of our clients, compensation is not the only reason for taking legal action. Equally, it’s about highlighting the issues and ensuring that their case is heard and ultimately acted upon.

Get in touch today

We can help you get closer to the truth and find out why something unpleasant has happened to you when receiving medical care and can reduce the chances of the same thing happening to others in future. To find out more about taking legal action following a delayed cancer diagnosis or misdiagnosis, contact us today.

No Win No Fee Explained

With no win no fee, you only need to pay for the legal services you have received if your claim is successful. No win no fee was first launched in the 1990s to encourage people with limited funds to make claims and get the compensation and justice they deserved. If you have been in an accident or sustained an injury that wasn’t your fault and someone else was to blame, no win no fee legal services can help you achieve the outcome you require.

Covering the costs of claiming

In the past, many people were put off making legitimate claims due to substantial upfront legal fees. No win no fee was also introduced to support people who were not covered by insurance but wished to make claims.  If you do lose a claim, you may need to pay court fees and the other sides costs, but you won’t normally be required to pay solicitor fees. If you do win your case, you can pay solicitor fees with part of the compensation you have received.

After the event insurance

No win no fee services are also called confidential fee agreements. If you do want to make a claim but are worried about what will happen if you lose, you may be able to take out something called after the event insurance to cover you and protect you from costs. No win no fee legal services are most commonly used following instances of medical negligence, workplace accidents, road accidents and slips, trips and falls.

How we can help with no win no fee claims

At Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we are eager to hear from you if you have been in an accident or sustained injuries that were not your fault. We have many years of no win no fee legal experience behind us and are confident we can provide the first-class service and representation that you are looking for. Over the years, we have won a robust reputation for quality. We can offer specialist advice and representation in several legal fields and can provide a bespoke service tailored to your specific requirements.

The clarity you require

Our no win no fee legal specialists are noted for their friendly and approachable manner and always explain legal information to you in a jargon-free fashion to deliver the clarity that you require. Your best interests are prioritised from the outset, and we can help you collect all the vital information you need to strengthen your case and optimise the chances of it being a success. We have offices in Liverpool, Leigh, Runcorn and Warrington and specialise in fields like serious injury, employment law, wills and probate and medical negligence.

Contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors today

Don’t be put off by the costs of making a claim. It’s important to get the justice and compensation that you deserve if you have come to physical or psychological harm as a result of someone else’s actions or inaction. Get in touch with us today for further information on making a no win no fee claim.

Mark Reynolds Solicitors wins industry recognition

Mark Reynolds Solicitors, one of the North West’s most trusted law firms, has been awarded Top Personal Injury Lawyers and Top Medical Negligence Lawyers in Warrington by Threebestrated. In addition, they have been awarded Top Medical Lawyers and Top Employment Lawyers in Liverpool. This news comes just as the company celebrates its 10-year anniversary.

Mark Reynolds Solicitors was established a decade ago by Mark Reynolds and Peter McCourt and these awards reaffirm its position as one of the North West’s most trusted law firms, most particularly in the fields of Personal Injury and Medical Negligence.

Mark said: “When we started our company in 2009, it was our main intention to serve the community and this is what we have done. This set of four awards is testament to how hard our team consistently works and will give total reassurance to our new clients. This extra validation of our reputation is made all the sweeter as we mark our tenth anniversary this year.

“From the start, our reputation for quality, excellence and outstanding results has been at the heart of our business and this is recognition that we are upholding the highest of standards. For the last ten years our team has worked tirelessly to deliver quality face-to-face services to clients we serve not only in the North West, but now throughout the country.”

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About Mark Reynolds Solicitors

Mark Reynolds Solicitors was established in 2009 in Liverpool.  The firm now has five offices across Liverpool, Runcorn, Warrington and Leigh, with 6 specialist divisions covering serious injury, RTA and Personal Injury, Medical Negligence, Actions Against Police, Employment Law as well as Wills, Probate, The Administration of Estates and Elderly Client Services.

Older couple overlooking beach

How Can I Reduce My Inheritance Tax Bill?

The children born to the ‘baby boomer’ population will inherit the highest amount of wealth any generation has ever seen, and perhaps for several generations into the future. They’re the wealthiest generation in history, collecting around £250,000, consisting mostly of property. This means the children of this generation are likely to inherit approximately £100,000 each. Even then, although it might raise their standard of living, it still won’t be enough to mitigate the impact of the housing crisis on younger generations.

What is inheritance tax?

Inheritance tax is a tax imposed on the property, money, and possessions of a person who has died. How much tax you should pay when you inherit these things depends on a variety of factors.

You don’t have to pay inheritance tax if:

  • The value of your estate is below £325,000
  • The deceased leaves anything above £325,000 to a spouse, civil partner, charity, or a community/amateur sports club

This threshold of £325,000 usually stands. However, if the deceased gives away their home to their child or grandchild, the threshold can increase to £475,000. If you pass it to a spouse or civil partner, there is no inheritance tax to pay on the home. Also, if you’re married or in a civil partnership and your estate is worth less than the threshold, you can add any unused threshold to your partner’s. This means your partners threshold before inheritance tax could be as high as £950,000.

Even if you inherit below the £325,000 threshold, you must still report your inheritance to HMRC. If you are due to pay inheritance tax, the standard rate is 40% of the value above £325,000. So, how can you keep this value to a minimum?

Keeping your inheritance tax bill low

We already mentioned in passing how you can lower your bill. Here’s how you can do it in more detail:

Gifting homes

You can pass on a home to your spouse or civil partner when you die and there will be no inheritance tax to pay for this. However, leaving it to another person in the will ensures it counts towards the value of the estate.

There is usually no tax to pay if the deceased gifted a home to someone, moved out, and lived for at least another seven years. If they wanted to continue living in the home, they would have to show a history of rent payments to the new owner.

Main residence allowance

The main residence tax allowance came into place in 2017. The rules state if you’re passing your home to a direct descendant you can benefit from an extra £150,000 of tax-free inheritance. Direct descendants include:

  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Great Grandchildren
  • Step-children
  • Adopted children
  • Foster children
  • Children under the guardianship of those passing on their estate

The tax-free amount is likely to increase to £175,000 by the 2020/21 tax year. This takes the threshold up to £500,000 tax-free income. This is only available if the home is worth under £2 million.

There are plenty of rules around paying inheritance tax. It’s hard to give blanket advice because the amount you’ll have to pay largely depends on the size of the estate, the assets involved, and individual family circumstances. So it’s always useful to get in touch with experienced solicitors who know the details of the inheritance tax process in enough depth to help you get the best outcome for your family.

 Mark Reynolds Solicitors specialise in helping our clients create and manage wills, manage lasting powers of attorney, get a seamless probate service, and manage joint tenancies to give your family peace of mind. Get in touch with us today by calling 0800 002 9577 to get started.

Man and young daughter holding hands

The Problem With DIY Wills

DIY wills are cheaper than going to a professional, but ‘you get what you pay for’ has never rung truer. DIY wills offer a cheap alternative, costing around £20, with some less than £10. In fact, for £19.99 you can purchase a ‘last will & testament DIY kit’ from WHSmith. You’re likely to find more of the same on Amazon and other online sites. But what might seem like a great deal on the surface could come with an unprecedented risk to your family and loved ones after you pass.

The risks

Just one mistake can render your will invalid. Your estate could end up in the hands of someone you never intended. It could leave your loved ones in an emotional mess with huge legal fees shrouding them. According to the Co-operative Legal Service (CLS), ineffective and poorly written DIY wills cause of around 38,000 probate ordeals per year.

The lack of professional guidance when choosing to use a DIY will allows ambiguities to arise leading to many becoming invalid in the UK. Where DIY wills have an unclear meaning, the Court is often the deciding voice determining the outcome for the beneficiaries. This doesn’t always go to plan.

Little mistakes, big consequences

In 2015, the case of Tinuola Aregbesola made the news. She was seeking hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation from Barclays Bank. She claimed their £90 will-writing service resulted in her losing a stake in a valuable London home. The court documents detail how her father instructed half of the home go to Ms Aregbesola on his death.

However, her father’s wife, Ms Aregbesola’s step-mother, also partly owned the home. Because of this joint ownership, the home passed fully to his wife and Ms Aregbesola received nothing, contrary to the wishes written in the will. This all happened because Barclays didn’t sever the joint tenancy agreement to allow half of the property to pass to his daughter.

If you want your will to be unquestionable, there must be no mistakes and no oversights. As a legal document, while it isn’t impossible to create a DIY will, it’s hard for those who haven’t trained in law to do this successfully. There is more to writing a will than stating where you would like your estate to go, as highlighted by the Aregbesola case. Existing agreements such as joint tenancy agreements and partnerships might need dissolution if you want everything to run smoothly.

Staying up-to-date

It’s common for someone to write a DIY will and forget about it. It might seem like your work is done, but as you age, and your estate changes, so should your will and any other accompanying documents.

For example, in 1993, Princess Diana created a ‘letter of wishes’. In this letter, she requested her estate be divided differently to what she laid out in her will. She wanted her 17 godchildren to receive a proportion of her estate and, after her divorce, the value of her estate grew immensely. However, Princess Diana never updated the will to match her letter of wishes so there was no legal responsibility to carry out the requests in the letter.

Your will is a legal document. If it is correct, containing no mistakes, and overlooking no facts, it will stand in a court of law. If you set out the terms of your will in another document or verbally without updating your will, it’s unlikely these will hold up when disputes occur. Using a reliable, professional solicitor who specialises in will-writing will help you ensure your will sets out the correct terms. There will be no arguments after you’re gone.

The complexities of families

The structure of families is constantly evolving. The nuclear family isn’t the norm anymore. Families today comprise second, third, and fourth spouses, step-children, single parents, separated families, and hundreds of variations of all these things. The complexities of families are often what causes disputes when the will is invalid or unclear.

For example, if you get married, any will you’ve written beforehand will be invalid. It can only stay legally valid if you overtly express that you wrote the will in contemplation of the marriage. If you don’t update your will, you could leave your family confused, receiving nothing laid out in your previous will. If you’re separated from your spouse but aren’t legally divorced, they still count as your spouse. If you pass, they might be the one who receives your estate whether you planned for that to be the case or not.

For those who aren’t married, having an explicit, valid, and accurate will is essential to ensuring your partner can receive what you decide in your will. If you don’t, you could see it pass straight to your children or parents, leaving your partner to cope with emotional disputes.

What are the other options?

It’s understandable that many people choose DIY wills because they believe they can’t afford to pay for a professional service. It’s worth pointing out the money you spend on a professional will-writing service will be a fraction of the cost to your family if your will doesn’t hold up in court.

However, if a professional will is a little out of your price range, there are steps you can take to minimise the chances of inaccuracies and it becoming invalid. Check, check, and check your will again. There should be no spelling mistakes and you and two witnesses should sign it correctly.

Other things to take care of include:

  • Ensuring you set up trusts properly – If you want to gift money in a trust you must be explicit in this desire and say so. If you want the beneficiary to receive the money after a certain age, you must say so, otherwise, they may get a lump sum when you die.
  • Make provisions for when a gift fails – You might leave money to someone who died before you. Unless you updated your will, you must include a gift over clause. This details where the gift should go if the first choice is no longer available or cannot accept the gift.
  • Choose the right trustee – Choosing the wrong person to administer your estate can cause chaos. Your trustee needs to be competent and able to deal with the position.
  • Check what is legal – If you’re choosing to gift something like a house, ensure you check you can legally pass the house on to your chosen beneficiary. For example, make sure joint ownership doesn’t stand in the way.

The best thing you can do to make sure your will does what you intend is to seek help from professional solicitors. The cost of a will can vary depending on the complexity of your affairs. A simple will might cost between £144 and £240 pounds, while a specialist will can reach up to £600. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay for security and peace of mind for all your loved ones who could end up losing hundreds of thousands if things don’t go to your plan.

The experts at Mark Reynolds Solicitors specialise in will writing, dealing with lasting powers of attorney, probate, and severance of joint tenancy. We have extensive experience in making sure our clients experience no ambiguity with their will, giving your family peace of mind. For more information about our services, get in touch on 0800 002 9577 today.