What benefits can I claim after leg amputation?

Leg injuries are one of the most common workplace injuries and all too often they can lead to amputation. If a workplace injury leads to leg amputation then it may be possible to make a compensation claim.

The consequences of amputation cannot be overstated. It can result in a considerable loss of earnings, pension rights and difficulties with mobility and day to day living.

While some state benefits are available to help people who undergo a leg amputation, these will not cover most of the associated costs and loss of earnings. As a result, it can sometimes be necessary to make a claim for compensation to enable the amputee to enjoy as full and as comfortable a life as possible.

What benefits can I claim after leg amputation?

A compensation claim for leg amputation will usually include a range of benefits depending on the individual circumstances of the claimant.

General expenses

These provide compensation for the direct effects of the accident, such as the pain and suffering that you went through due to your accident. It also includes any mental trauma, anxiety and stress that was caused by your injury. It might also include a component for a reduced quality of life and any employment issues that might arise.

Special expenses

These can reimburse you for any out of pocket expenses that you experienced because of your amputation. This might include travel costs for treatment and the cost of modifications needed for a vehicle. These are generally a more straightforward calculation than general expenses.

These might include:

Short term medical costs

As a result of your injury you may incur medical expenses. These can be recovered when making an accident at work claim. Commonly, these might include the cost of private treatment, medication, diagnostic tests and hospital stay.

Long term medical costs

You may require medical follow-ups alongside other medical treatments over the long term.

Transportation costs

Travel for hospital treatment and rehabilitation can soon mount up, particularly if your travel options are now more limited. You may require a taxi and will have to bear certain expenses. These costs can be recouped through a compensation claim.

Loss of income

If you can no longer work in your current occupation then you may suffer a loss of earnings. You may lose salary, bonuses and other types of work-related income. Income and associated benefits may be reimbursed if you are making a compensation claim for leg amputation.

Loss of earning capacity

This aspect of a compensation claim takes into account the reduction in income you may suffer going forward. If your earning capacity has been reduced because of leg amputation you may be able to gain compensation.

Replacement and repair of damaged property

If any property, such as a phone, was damaged during the accident you may receive compensation to cover that damage. It’s also possible to claim compensation for any modifications that are made to your home.

If you would like to discuss a potential compensation claim for amputation or limb loss call 0800 002 9577 or use our online contact form.

Types of industrial diseases

Anyone working in an industrial or commercial setting may be at risk from an industrial disease. Over the years, health and safety procedures have been implemented to radically reduce the risk of developing some of the more serious conditions. Despite this, many people are suffering from legacy conditions that were acquired while working in unsafe environments many years, often decades, earlier.

Others are still developing industrial related diseases despite more stringent regulations. In both cases, the impact industrial diseases can have on an individual’s life can be dramatic. When they do develop it may be possible to claim compensation.

What is an industrial disease?

Industrial diseases are those diseases that can be contracted while carrying out your employment. They will usually arise as a result of inadequate health and safety procedures or due to exposure to dangerous substances. Often workers who suffer from existing conditions find that their symptoms are made worse by the conditions within which they’re expected to work.

Some of the UK’s most common industrial diseases are carpal tunnel syndrome and other vibration related injuries, lung and respiratory diseases, industrial dermatitis and other skin diseases as well as occupational cancers. There is a legacy of asbestos related illnesses acquired by workers in a range of industries where the substance was routinely used.

Is COPD an industrial disease?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. By far the most common cause of COPD is smoking, but they can be caused by unsafe working environments. Exposure to a wide variety of dust and fumes such as silica dust, cadmium dust and welding fumes has been linked to workplace COPD. Should your COPD have a work-related cause then you may be able to claim compensation.

What types of industrial disease can you claim for?

The list of diseases and injuries that people sustain in the workplace is vast. However, some of the most common conditions that lead to successful claims include:

  • Lung conditions such as pneumoconiosis, mesothelioma and asbestosis. These frequently arise as a result of having been exposed to fibres or asbestos dust.
  • Hearing loss and industrial deafness as a result of being exposed to a noisy environment.
  • Vibration white finger/ hand arm vibration (HAVS) is a painful condition that can affect people who have to work with powerful vibrating equipment such as road drills.
  • Repetitive strain injury (RSI), a painful inflammation of the tendons in the hand and arms.
  • Dermatitis, an uncomfortable inflamed skin condition as a result of being exposed to dangerous chemicals.
  • Lung disease and asthma, which can have a variety of causes including exposure to dust and fumes.
  • Occupational cancers triggered by an exposure to working carcinogens.
  • Osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, both of which can be developed as a result of certain kinds of manual labour.

This list is by no means exhaustive and a specialist industrial disease lawyer will be able to advise about your condition. Whether these conditions occur when someone is employed or undertaking training they can still be eligible for compensation.

Mark Reynolds Solicitors offer a comprehensive industrial disease service. We can assess the strength of your claim and then pursue an effective compensation claim if appropriate. Call 0800 002 9577 or contact us online to find out more.

How does the motor insurance bureau work?

The existence of the Motor Insurance Bureau often comes as a surprise to car owners. Most people haven’t heard of it, even fewer have much of an idea about what they do. They do, in fact, provide help and assistance to any driver who is involved in a road traffic accident with an uninsured or untraced driver across the UK.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation and you’re wondering if it’s still possible to claim compensation then the MIB may be able to help.

What exactly is the MIB?

The Motor Insurance Bureau was created in 1946 with the intention of ‘reducing the level and impact of uninsured driving in the UK’ and ‘compensating victims of uninsured and untraced drivers fairly and promptly’.

Any company that is licensed to offer insurance in the UK is required by law to be a member of the MIB and contribute towards its funding. A proportion of the cost of car insurance goes towards the MIB.  This translates as somewhere between £15-£30 in every policy.

Why is the MIB needed?

Despite insurance being mandatory in the UK, it’s estimated that there are over a million uninsured vehicles out on the country’s roads. This means that you are always at risk of being hit by an uninsured vehicle. Similarly, despite drivers being obliged to stop at the scene of an accident, a significant minority of drivers fail to do so in an attempt to skip responsibility. If someone is driving without insurance they’re more likely to try and evade responsibility for what they have done.

In an average year, the MIB will settle around 25,000 claims, and roughly 120 of these will be incidents that involved the death of someone who died at the hands of a driver who had no insurance, or who left the scene of the accident. The chances of ending up in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance, or who chooses not to stop at the scene of the accident are perhaps higher than many people realise.

What happens if you’re involved in an incident with an uninsured driver?

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being hit by an uninsured driver then you may be able to make a claim to the Motor Insurance Bureau under the “uninsured drivers scheme”. Your own insurer will be unlikely to help so the MIB provides the most realistic route to compensation for many drivers.

Through the Uninsured Drivers Scheme”, your claim will be assessed to find who is liable. If liability can be proven, then your claim could include the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. It may also include any hire charges while your vehicle is out of action, loss of use, property damage to any items damaged in the incident, as well as any rehabilitation treatment such as physiotherapy.

A proportion of your legal costs for bringing the claim could also be paid by the MIB. You may still be required to make a contribution to your solicitor’s fees from any compensation you are offered.

What about incidents with untraced drivers?

If you are involved in an incident and the driver leaves the scene you may be able to make a claim to the MIB under the “Untraced Drivers Scheme”.

Up until 2017, eligibility for compensation under the scheme depended on the accident being reported to the police within 14 days of it happening. Although this is no longer necessary it is still advisable to report any incident to the police and your own insurance company as soon as possible following the accident. This should be done before a compensation claim is submitted to the MIB.

Under the Untraced Drivers Scheme the MIB will consider claims for compensation for personal injury and any costs associated with it. It will, however, only consider payments for property damage in certain circumstances meaning that you will in all likelihood have to make a claim through your own insurance to cover damage to your vehicle.

What if you have an accident overseas?

The MIB also operates a Green Card Scheme that handles accidents abroad that involve foreign registered vehicles. Compensation claims can be made, but only in countries that operate the Green Card Scheme, and the process can be complex. As with untraced and uninsured drivers, liability will need to be proven. The procedure for claiming for an accident overseas needs careful attention and should only be undertaken with specialist legal advice and assistance.

Beware of scammers

The MIB is an established and respected part of the motor insurance industry. They are members of the Council of Bureaux and have access to the Motor Insurance Database (MID). This contains information from every motor insurance policy taken out in the UK.  As a result of this, scammers and hackers find the MIB attractive and there have been attempts to coerce victims of road traffic accidents to make a claim. The MIB regularly issues warnings about these scams, telling the public to be extremely careful when receiving cold calls or letters.

Mark Reynolds Solicitors can help if you’re hit by an uninsured or untraced vehicle

The experienced and professional team at Mark Reynolds Solicitors can offer advice if you find yourself in an incident with an uninsured or untraced vehicle. We can assess your claim, help establish its circumstances and then advise how to proceed with a claim if appropriate.

Contact our team today for confidential advice.

How to make a stress at work claim

All kinds of occupations can place a heavy stress burden on an employee. Many of these jobs are inherently stressful but all kinds of jobs can become stressful due to office dynamics, commercial pressures or a combination of other factors.  Stress is still sometimes viewed as a lesser or non-existent illness that is perhaps used as an excuse for poor performance. In reality, stress is a complex condition that can impact on the general health and wellbeing of an individual.

Severe stress can be behind other health problems such as heart problems, anxiety, fatigue, severe depression, sleep issues, weight loss and nausea. It can impact on personal relationships, impinge on career progression and ultimately damage someone’s earning potential.

Employers have a responsibility to reduce stress

Every employer has a duty of care towards their employees. This means that their health and wellbeing should be a priority and that the workplace shouldn’t be a place where threats to health and welfare are allowed to develop. They have a duty to ensure that adequate amounts of support, assistance and training are in place to reduce the risk of stress.

Informing an employer about a stressful situation

If you have experienced stress in the workplace you first have to inform your employer about the situation. This, in itself, can be a worrying or anxiety producing task, particularly if you don’t feel that your employer is supportive. Often, however, what can feel like a lack of support is in fact ignorance of the true extent of the situation. A responsible employer at this point will look at what adjustments they can make to individual work-patterns or to the overall working environment to help improve the situation.

If you are finding it difficult to approach your employer, talk to a colleague and ask if they would be willing to accompany you in raising the issue. This can also be helpful later on if your employer fails to take necessary action.

If your employer has been made aware of the situation but then does nothing to reduce the risks to the health of their employees, you may then be able to pursue a claim for compensation. Awareness combined with inaction can mean employer liability for stress-related illnesses developing in their workforce.

How do you make a compensation claim?

Although stress and mental illness can sometimes seem like a less tangible and more complicated form of personal injury than physical injury, they are treated very similarly in terms of the law.

It’s possible to successfully claim compensation for stress at work, but you can only do so if a medical diagnosis has been made. The illness will need to be regarded as severe enough to warrant a claim. If you’ve been diagnosed with a stress-related illness that has been caused by the conditions under which an employer has made you work, and it can be described as a personal injury, then there’s a good chance of receiving compensation.

So, if you’ve been experiencing severe stress at work it’s important that you seek medical advice as soon as possible. This is not only to ensure you receive the correct treatment, but also that you have a diagnosis that can support any compensation claim.

As well as showing the seriousness of your condition you will need to prove that it was caused by the workplace environment. You will need to illustrate that the work you were required to do carried obvious risks that the employer was aware of but chose to do nothing about. You will need to illustrate that your employer breached their duty of care.

How to take action

If you are experiencing stress at work then it’s vital that you seek medical advice as quickly as possible for your own wellbeing. Then, if possible, you should try to resolve the issues that are causing stress by raising them with HR or a colleague, before talking to your employer in person.  If that fails to produce any changes then contact a personal injury claims specialist to discuss your situation.

Mark Reynolds Solicitors Ltd is a law firm with an exceptional reputation for achieving success and in providing quality of service in Personal Injury cases. Contact our experienced team for confidential and impartial advice today.

All you need to know about an employment tribunal

Issues at work can be extremely distressing and difficult to deal with. Our employment gives us an income, personal fulfilment and a degree of sociability. When something goes wrong at work the problems can sometimes feel intractable. When a problem develops it’s important to seek professional, impartial advice as quickly as possible. Problems in the workplace can, and all too frequently, do occur but it’s important to remain calm and think before you act.

While many disputes in the workplace can be resolved with discussion and compromise, some may reach an employment tribunal. While the prospect of attending an employment tribunal may be daunting, it’s important to remember that these are designed to help find an agreeable resolution.

Here we’ll take a look at what an employment tribunal is, how they work and what you can expect if you have to attend one.

What is an employment tribunal?

When an employment dispute arises and cannot be resolved without recourse to legal means, then it will usually be referred to an employment tribunal. They arbitrate in workplaces disputes and the kind of issues they deal with include redundancy, discrimination and dismissal. There are also a variety of other sorts of claims that can be brought.

When might an employment tribunal occur?

Employment tribunals will only occur if a dispute hasn’t been resolved satisfactorily and the claimant then seeks legal redress. Whether or not a claim can be made will depend on the details of the dispute and whether certain conditions can be met. One of these conditions is a time limit of three months less one day from when the event happened to make a claim to the tribunal.

Some of the common reasons which people make a claim for unfair dismissal

Include discrimination on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, race, age, religious belief or politics, or disability. They can also be brought for issues around breach of contract, working hours, unauthorised deductions from salary, written statements of terms and conditions and failure to properly consult in redundancy.

Professional legal help will offer impartial advice about the strength of your claim and how likely it is to succeed at an employment tribunal. Parties are encouraged to settle before the employment tribunal and even on the day, resolution without the need for the hearing can be reached via a Consent Order from the judge or a COT3 agreement with the assistance of ACAS.

What happens in an employment tribunal?

In most cases, employment tribunals will be held in large rooms rather than courtrooms. Tribunal hearings are usually open to the public unless a specific request has been made to hold them in private. This will only usually happen when the case is regarded as particularly sensitive, such as in instances of sexual harassment.

In complex cases, the tribunal panel will consist of three people. This will include a legally-qualified employment judge. The rest of the panel will be made up of two lay members without legal qualifications. One will come from an employer focused background, the other from an employee or trade union background. This kind of panel is sometimes called the ‘industrial jury’. More straightforward cases can be heard by an experienced employment judge sitting alone.

Open statements will be made, then the tribunal will invite the parties to call their respective witnesses to give their evidence. Each side will then be able to cross-examine the parties. Usually, the claimant will be the only person giving evidence in their claim. The employer may call other witnesses such as employees involved in the decision-making process, such as someone from HR or a line-manager.  If the claimant isn’t represented then they will question the employer’s witnesses themselves. The tribunal will also ask its own questions. Witness statements therefore need to be truthful as they will be questioned closely.

The tribunal will also pay close attention to any documentation. Closing statements by both parties summarising the significance of the evidence and the relevant cases relied upon, will be made. Tribunal judges tend to be strict in making sure that witnesses remain within their allotted time, so attention needs to be given to just how relevant any information is. At any time during the hearing the tribunal can adjourn. At the end of the hearing the panel will decide whether you have won the case. If so, they will then consider the level of compensation you should receive.

How long does an employment tribunal take?

The average length of time it takes from starting a claim to receiving a decision at an employment tribunal is 27 weeks. This can vary considerably depending on a number of different factors, such as the number of witnesses being called, the type of claim, the location of the tribunal and how busy that particular tribunal currently is. In some cases, it can even take as long as a year from start to finish.

What happens if you lose an employment tribunal?

Unlike in civil cases, employment tribunals rarely order the losing party to pay the other party’s costs. Both parties will generally cover their own costs. If an employee loses a tribunal they will usually only be expected to pay costs if they are deemed to have acted “vexatiously, abusively, disruptively or otherwise unreasonably,” or if the claim they brought is ‘misconceived’.

If you suspect you may be at risk of having to pay your employer’s costs you should seek legal advice immediately.

Either can appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal if they suspect that a mistake was made. An appeal can only be made on a clear point of law, not just because you’re unhappy with the decision. If you want to appeal, you will need to obtain the full written reasons for the Tribunal’s Judgement. You must ask for these to be sent to you within 14 days of the judgement being received. Any appeal needs to be submitted within 42 days of the written reasons for judgement being dispatched.

How do I take my employer to a tribunal?

In most cases, you will be required to contact the conciliation service, ACAS, to start early conciliation before you’re able to make a claim to an employment tribunal. If you have notified ACAS, and conciliation has failed or you don’t wish to take part in it, then you may be able to make a claim.

You will need to meet certain conditions and it’s helpful to have some idea about the strength of your claim before moving towards an employment tribunal. Your legal advisor will decide whether or not you have a possible claim, whether you meet the conditions and the strength of your evidence. They will then assess the strength of your claim, as well as the evidence your employer may provide. This can take some time for them to properly weigh up the strength of your claim and how likely it is to succeed.

If a decision has been made to proceed you will then submit an ET1 Form which can be filled in online. Your legal advisor can help you fill in the form. Particular attention needs to be given to the statement about your claim. This will include a sequence of events as they happened and the key factors in your claim.

Do you have to pay for an employment tribunal?

You don’t have to pay to make an Employment Tribunal Claim, although there is a small chance you may be held liable for your employer’s costs of going to court should you lose your claim.

How much can an employment tribunal award?

Limits are set on what a tribunal can award, particularly if you’re claiming for a relatively low sum such as unpaid notice pay or holiday pay. In discrimination claims, the amount awarded can be more substantial.

A tribunal can award a fixed sum for unfair dismissal as well as a compensatory payment for the financial loss you’ve suffered. Your legal advisor will be able to give you an estimated figure for any compensation you could receive should your claim be successful.

If you are involved in a dispute with your employer it’s important to receive professional legal advice as soon as possible. Before you begin an employment tribunal claim you should explore all possible options for conciliation and fully assess the strength of your claim. At Mark Reynolds Solicitors we are experienced at dealing with employment disputes. We can offer impartial professional advice and, if appropriate, provide legal support for your claim.

Call 0800 002 9577 or get in touch via our contact form.

How Much Is A Head Injury Claim Worth?

How much is a head injury claim worth?

Head and brain injuries as a category covers a wide variety of different injuries that range in severity from minor concussion to severe brain injuries. They may last a few hours or be completely life-changing. With that in mind, the amount of compensation someone may receive for a head injury can vary significantly.

All cases will be judged on their specific circumstances and payments may also include any expenses that have been incurred as a result of the accident. This could include medical costs or the cost of adapting your home if required. Loss of earnings will also be considered.

Here are some of the most common head injuries and the compensation levels that they might receive.

Minor head injury

Concussion and shallow skull fractures are classified as minor head injuries. You may experience headaches, nauseas, double vision and amnesia. These are most commonly caused by road traffic accidents and work accidents. The payout for these kinds of injuries is between £1,600 – £9,700.

Damage to your hair

Hair damage such as that caused by burns or trauma head injuries can result in compensation being paid. The level of compensation awarded will depend on the length of time it takes to regrow. If psychological issues result in permanent hair loss or if surgery is required, this will all be taken into consideration. Payments can range from £3,000 – £8,300.

 Loss of taste

If a brain injury results in a complete and permanent loss of taste then the compensation payment can be substantial. Payments can range from £14,600 – £29,800.

Loss of smell

As with loss of taste, complete loss of smell can be caused by an impact injury to the head or the brain. The loss of smell and taste are often closely linked and may occur together. If you lose both taste and smell you may receive an amount towards the upper end of the compensation claim. Payments can range from £19,000 – £29,800.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a brain condition that causes seizures. It can be caused by trauma injury and the compensation payment range reflects the seriousness of the condition. In cases of trauma caused epilepsy you may be awarded anything between £1,600 – £114,100.

Brain damage

If physical head trauma or medical negligence results in brain damage the compensation payments can be substantial. Brain damage can result in impairment of intellect, reduced life expectancy, poor concentration, memory loss or paralysis. Payments can range from £32,000 to £307,000

At Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we’re experts on recovering maximum personal injury compensation for our clients in cases of head and brain injury. Our team will not only assess the strength of your claim but also help to provide you with immediate and long-term assistance to maintain the highest quality of life.

Call 0800 002 9577 or get in touch via our contact form.

Is there a time limit for medical negligence claims?

If you want to make a successful medical negligence claim then you need to do so in a timely manner. It’s important to act quickly, allowing enough time to gather the necessary supporting information and evidence. Time limits are in place for making claims and it’s crucial that you’re aware of them.

What is the time limit for a medical negligence claim?

Generally speaking, there is a three year time limit for starting a medical negligence claim. This three year period will generally run from the date that the negligence occurred. Because health issues relating to medical negligence are not always immediately apparent but can present themselves over time, this three year period can also run from the point at which you became aware that the treatment you received was negligent.

Are there any exceptions?

Two exceptions apply to the three year time period. These relate to the medical negligence claims that concern children or adults without mental capacity.

Children

If a child is under 18 years of age when the medical negligence happens then the three year time limit does not apply. It will, however, come into effect when they turn 18, and expire when they turn 21 in the case of medical negligence that happened before their 18th birthday. 

Adults

No time limits apply for making medical negligence claims in the case of adults who lack mental capacity. If they regain mental capacity, for instance if their mental incapacity was a health problem from which they recovered, then the three year limit will be reapplied.

Are there any other time limits?

It’s important to remember that the 3 year medical negligence claims time limit applies prior to the claim being made. Once the process has begun there is no time limit for it being concluded.

If you are making a claim on behalf of a deceased loved one then the 3 year limit will continue to apply. It’s therefore important that you seek legal advice about any potential claim as quickly as possible if you believe death was caused by medical negligence.

Are there any benefits to claiming early?

It’s always advisable to make a claim for medical negligence compensation as early as possible to give yourself the best chance of that claim being successful. As part of the claims process it may be possible to access rehabilitation and other support services while your claim is ongoing. You could also receive payments at this stage as well which could help you pay for any home improvements or modifications that are required. Should you need to travel to and from hospital for any treatment then you could receive financial support.

Beginning your claim gives you access to a range of support and advice which can be extremely helpful at a time of increased stress and new challenges.

Free initial advice

If you believe you may have a medical negligence claim then it’s important to act as quickly as possible. We will be happy to provide confidential and impartial initial advice about your claim. Call 0800 002 9577 or get in touch via our contact page.

Which spinal injuries can I claim for?

Serious accidents that result in a spinal injury can have a devastating impact on an individual’s life. To help them regain a decent quality of life it’s important that support as well as specialist rehabilitation can be put in place as quickly as possible. A spinal injury compensation claim can help in these circumstances, securing the funds necessary to put in place all of the necessary support.

What is a spinal injury and what type of spinal injuries can you claim for?

What is a spinal injury?

The spinal cord connects to the brain and is protected by the vertebrae column. This cord is protected by a cerebral spinal fluid which protects nerve tissues and provides cushioning.

Generally speaking, there are two types of spinal injury. One is a complete injury where the effects of that injury when experienced at the same level will be similar across the board. With an incomplete injury two individuals may suffer quite different levels of incapacity and paralysis as a consequence.

What are the most common types of spinal injury?

The most common type of partial spinal injury is anterior cord syndrome. This type of injury involves damage done to the sensory pathways within the spinal cord. As a result, coordination and movement difficulties can arise.

The most common type of complete spinal injury that you could suffer from is quadriplegia. This serious condition will result in varying degrees of paralysis of your body from the neck down. It will typically affect your bowels and legs, and as one of the most severe spinal injuries you could suffer it will typically result in the maximum compensation should a spinal injury cord claim be made.

What are the effects of a spinal injury?

Damage to the spinal cord means that it’s unable to act as a communication channel between the body and the brain. Messages cannot get sent nor received from the body which can result in a loss of sensation and movement.

In the early weeks following a spinal cord injury, the individual will likely experience bruising and swelling around the spinal cord. This is known as ‘spinal shock’ and in itself can cause further damage to the spinal cord. Once this swelling has subsided then the full extent of any injury can be assessed.

What causes a spinal injury?

Every year in the UK there are an estimated 10,000 victims of some form of spinal injury. They have many causes but the most common are:

  • Work accidents
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Cycle accidents
  • Physical assault
  • Medical negligence.

All of these can result in spinal injuries of varying degrees of severity that may require support and rehabilitation.

Assessing a spinal injury claim

When you make a compensation claim for a spinal injury the most keenly considered aspect of that claim will be the overall severity of your injury. This will determine the amount of compensation that you’re likely to receive for your accident. As such, it needs to be judged carefully by a medical professional.

Minor spinal injuries will usually be judged to only cause minor trauma. These may well be recoverable with time and non-invasive medical treatments, but injuries can differ widely. Minor spinal injuries are likely to receive the lowest amount of compensation even if they are successful.

Moderate spinal injuries will cause significant trauma, but this trauma may well be treatable through long-term rehabilitative therapy or invasive surgery.  These types of injury will often receive significant sums of compensation if they are successful in court.

Severe spinal injuries will be life-changing and perhaps permanent. They will typically be untreatable except through a tailored and extensive programme of long-term therapy and pain management to alleviate their worst symptoms. As a result of the profound and extensive impact they can have on your life they will typically receive the highest levels of compensation.

What can you claim for after a spinal injury?

There are various factors that will be taken into consideration when the amount of compensation you receive is determined.

You may be able to claim compensation for medical expenses and direct loss of earnings. You may also be able to claim for care at home costs, rehabilitation, adapting or buying a new home, and access to treatment not currently available on the NHS.

An experienced personal injury claim specialist will be able to advise what you might be able to claim for.

How much compensation could I receive?

Each case is unique with a number of different factors that can impact on the amount of compensation you might receive. It can range from around £2500 for a minor back injury to as high as £5 million if you experience serious spinal injuries that result in long-term care and complete loss of earnings.

Professional help and advice

The experienced and professional team of personal injury solicitors at Mark Reynolds Solicitors can provide confidential advice and support should you suffer a spinal injury. We can advise about the strength of your claim, what evidence you need to provide and the amount you may be able to claim. We have a strong record of securing the funds people need to rebuild their lives following a spinal injury.

To find out more about how we can help you make a successful personal injury claim for a spinal injury call 0800 002 9577 or contact us via our website.

What happens when a probate is contested?

When a deceased person leaves a valid will, in most instances probate will be granted without any challenge. In some cases, however, there may be cause to contest the contents of the will. Contesting a will can be an emotional challenge and not one that anyone should enter into lightly. Contested probate can be a stressful, protracted and pressured process so it’s vital to understand what it is, why it’s sometimes a correct course of action and what the process is.

What is a contested probate?

In simple terms, it’s a dispute between parties with an interest in the estate of a deceased person about how that estate is distributed. There are a number of reasons why someone may wish to contest a will, but only some of these reasons are legally valid and have a chance of success.

How is a will valid?

The validity or otherwise of a will is determined by the Wills Act of 1837. There are several requirements within this act which determines whether or not a will can be regarded as valid. A will disposes of the deceased person’s entire assets so Section 9 of The Wills Act makes provision to ensure that a will is valid

The basic requirements for a will to be valid are:

  • The person making the will needs to be at least 18 years of age.
  • It must have been signed by the person making the will with the express intention of creating a valid will.
  • Two people need to be present when the will is signed. They can either be present as the signature is added or they can be told by the person making the will that it is their signature.
  • The witnesses then sign the will, knowing that it is the genuine signature of the person making the will and that the will was signed with the express intention of creating a valid will.

If any of these requirements are missing then the will not be valid.

On what grounds can you contest a will?

A will cannot be contested merely because someone feels it to be unfair.  Possible grounds for contesting a will include.

An invalid will

If someone believes that a will is invalid because it wasn’t signed or witnessed correctly then that may be grounds on which to challenge its validity.

Testamentary capacity

If you believe that the deceased person lacked the mental or physical capacity to fully understand, produce or sign their will, then you may be able to contest it. This might be because they suffered from dementia and no Court of Protection deputyship was put in place beforehand.

Claim for Financial Provision

If someone was financially dependent on the deceased party but provision was not made for them in the will then this may be grounds to contest that will. Contesting probate in such circumstances would be about securing adequate provision for them going forward.

Fraud or forgery

If you believe the will has been forged or is otherwise fraudulent then you can contest its contents.

Undue influence

If you suspect that the person making the will was placed under undue pressure from another party then this can be grounds to contest the contents of the will.

It’s very important that the correct grounds are selected for contesting the will, as this will have an impact on who is able to contest it. If there are grounds to believe that the will is not valid then anyone can contest it.

If the will is being contested for any other reason there are restrictions on who can contest its contents. The people who can contest a will if it’s being contested for any other reason than its overall validity are:

  • A spouse, regardless of whether or not they were separated from the deceased at the time of their death.
  • A beneficiary of the will.
  • A direct family member such as a child or a grandchild.
  • Someone who was owed money by the deceased.
  • A financial dependent of the deceased.
  • Someone who was promised an item by the deceased, which was then not included within the will.

How do you contest a will?

If you believe you have legal grounds to contest a will you should seek legal advice immediately. A legal specialist will be able to advise if they think you have a valid case.  You will need to provide a copy of the will along with any evidence you can provide to support your claim. Your solicitor will be able to advise about what might be suitable evidence depending on the grounds on which your claim is based.

Can you contest a will after probate?

It’s advisable to contest a will as soon as you believe you have grounds to do so. If you’re contesting the validity of the will then there are no time limits, for other grounds there is a time limit of 6 months.

In all cases your solicitor will be able to advise. As a rule, it’s much easier to challenge a will before probate has been settled and the assets have been distributed. Your chances of success will ultimately depend on the grounds on which you’re contesting a will and the strength of your evidence.

What is a caveat?

A caveat is a temporary restriction that can be placed on a will preventing assets, be that money, property or possessions, being obtained from a will when someone dies. It’s most commonly used when there are any doubts about the validity of the will and will remain in place for 6 months.  It will then need to be renewed to prevent it automatically expiring. If, however, the person who asked for the caveat wants it to be removed then this can be done via a letter to the probate registry.

How can we help?

At Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we have extensive experience of successfully contesting wills. If you believe you may have a claim then we will be happy to provide confidential and impartial advice. Call 0800 002 9577 or get in touch via our contact page.

Are e-scooters Legal in the UK?

Are e-scooters legal in the UK?

E-scooters are becoming more common on the UK’s roads. Seen as a sustainable alternative to car travel they are being backed by governments across the world as a means to tackle congestion and reduce carbon emissions in towns and cities.

As a relatively new means of transport and with some public concern about the possibility of accidents, there is still confusion about their legality.

What exactly is their current legal status and where can they be used?

What is an e-scooter

E-scooter is an abbreviation of ‘electric scooter’. As with manual scooters they generally have two wheels (some swap the single back wheel for a pair of smaller wheels), but unlike manual scooters they are propelled along by a motor. They have grown in popularity over recent years, particularly in many continental European cities. They are portable, straightforward to use and can be an efficient means of transport, particularly when travelling relatively short distances in urban areas.

E-scooters are increasingly being sponsored by national and local governments as an environmentally-friendly means of transport. It’s hoped that more widespread adoption could help tackle congestion and reduce carbon emissions. The UK government is currently trialing a number of scooter-sharing schemes. These work like bicycle rental schemes and are popular in Europe, allowing those who want to ride to hire the e-scooter for their chosen time period.

Are personal e-scooters legal?

More people in the UK are purchasing privately owned e-scooters. These are still illegal to use on roads, pavements and cycle lanes, a fact many owners are unaware of until they are challenged by the police. Currently, e-scooters are classified as “powered transporters”. This means they are covered by the same legislation as motor vehicles.

For them to be allowed out in public they would need to meet the same standards under the Road Traffic Act 1988 as other vehicles. This would include being registered with the DVLA and taxed. It is possible that this categorisation could change over time, putting them in the same category as e-bikes, which currently have the same legal status as regular pedal cycles.

A privately owned e-scooter in the UK can currently only legally be ridden on private land with the landowner’s permission. In order to be able to do this you don’t need to have any kind of license or insurance. This essentially means that if you purchase an e-scooter the only place you can use it legally is on your own property, or on the property of a friend or associate who allows you access.

Are city centre rental scooters insured?

The Department of Transport (DFT) is working with city mayors and local authorities to launch shared-scooter trials in a number of towns and cities across the UK. This programme has been expanding considerably over recent months and looks to be gathering momentum. Although there has been some pushback due to safety concerns, the government looks invested in the trials as a means by which to change the rules around e-scooter use.

The proposed changes to electric scooter road rules are part of a Future Transport initiative. The Department of Transport is proposing that both privately owned and rental e-scooters are legalised for use on public roads.

During these trials it is compulsory for all e-scooters to have motor insurance and for their users to have a full driving license. An electric scooter speed limit has been set at 15.5mph. This insurance is currently arranged by the rental operator.

Operating companies and sustainable transport campaigners argue that e-scooters are actually closer to cycles rather than motorised vehicles, and that compulsory insurance could make them less accessible and appealing.

Currently, cyclists do not have to have any form of insurance but many opt for third party Public Liability Insurance. This gives them peace of mind against any claims made by other parties in the event of accidents or injury caused by the cyclist or their bike. A similar insurance model could develop as e-scooters become more widely available.

Can you ride e-scooters on the road?

Presently, you cannot use a privately owned e-scooter legally on UK roads. You can, however, use an e-scooter on the road if you rent it via one of the trial rental schemes that are currently running in UK towns and cities. To do so you will need to be at least 16 years of age and be in possession of a full driving licence. The speed limit for use on the road is 15.5mph.

There is a strong possibility that the laws surrounding e-scooter use will be liberalised following on from successful trials.

Are there concerns around misuse?

There are a number of concerns regarding the misuse of the e-scooters. Most of these concern the safety of other road users and pedestrians. In 2019 the UK recorded its first e-scooter related death, 35-year television presenter and YouTube personality Emily Hartridge, who died in a collision with a lorry.

In areas where rental trials are taking place the police will be willing to use fines and penalty points for e-scooter misuse. Because they’re classified as powered transporters and fall under the Road Traffic Act 1988, the range of possible offences are the same as when driving a motor vehicle. These include riding on the pavement, using a mobile phone, going over the speed limit or jumping a red light.

If you’re caught using a privately owned e-scooter on public roads, pavements or cycle path, you could be liable for a £300 fine and 6 points on your licence. It could also mean that you have your scooter confiscated.

If you have any questions in relation to the use of an e scooter, particularly relating to a claim you wish to make or has been made against you, the team at Mark Reynolds Solicitors can help. Call 0800 002 9577 or use our contact form for confidential advice.