GP Negligence: What can you claim for?

Medical negligence can occur at any stage when receiving medical attention, from consulting the GP to surgery and follow-up care. Medical professionals have a duty of care towards their patients and if that duty of care is breached the medical body should be held responsible.

It can happen in a number of different ways and here we’ll explore some of the most common in more detail.

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis

Medical misdiagnosis, either by a wrong diagnosis or no diagnosis whatsoever, can lead to potential delays in treatment. This can lead to serious long-term injury, or in some cases a worsening medical condition. Misdiagnosis in cases of cancer can lead to the chances of recovery being seriously reduced.  As a result, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is a serious area of medical negligence and levels of compensation will usually reflect this.

Negligent cosmetic procedures

Despite being a huge and growing market, cosmetic surgery is not as strictly regulated as other areas of healthcare. This means that patients can be at greater risk of negligent surgical procedures. When it occurs the results can be devastating, emotionally, physically and financially. Often money will have to be spent putting right the damage caused by negligence, and levels of compensation will usually reflect any costs incurred.

Mistakes during dental work

Dental negligence can be painful, traumatic and costly to rectify. In some cases it may require extensive dental work to put right the damage. It may include misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, as well as nerve injury and botched cosmetic dentistry.

Incorrect surgery

Errors during surgery can be intensely traumatic, painful and life-limiting. It occurs when a surgeon makes mistakes that leave you with further problems or injuries. Your surgery and aftercare should always meet certain professional standards. If it doesn’t you may be able to make a medical negligence claim.

Care home injuries

Care homes should be places of safety but sometimes accidents do occur. Sometimes errors can occur in the administration of medication, or injuries can be sustained through inappropriate lifting, avoidable falls or neglect.

Pressure sores

Prolonged pressure on certain parts of the body can result in ulcers developing, typically in areas where the bone is close to the skin such as the lower back, elbows and shoulders. Pressure sores are graded from 1 to 4, with 1 one being the least serious and consisting of skin discoloration, up to 4 which can be a very deep wound that may reach the bone or the muscle.  They occur when a patient isn’t moved and is incapable of doing so themselves due to injury, they aren’t provided with a pressure-relieving mattress and their condition isn’t adequately monitored.

Birth injuries

If a woman giving birth isn’t given the appropriate care and attention, injury can be sustained both to herself and her baby. In both cases, this may constitute medical negligence and the consequences can range from temporary pain and discomfort to severe psychological trauma and life-changing injury.

These represent a snapshot of some of the medical negligence claims that can be made. At Mark Reynolds Solicitors. our specialist medical negligence services can provide confidential advice, assess the strength of your claim and help you achieve the maximum compensation for your injuries.

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

How much compensation can you get from a housing disrepair claim?

If your rental property has deteriorated in terms of repair from what it was at the time your tenancy began and you’ve notified your landlord in writing, you may be able to make a housing disrepair compensation claim.

After receiving notification, your landlord will need to be given reasonable time to correct the situation. If they still fail to carry out the necessary repairs, you can then claim compensation.

How does housing disrepair compensation work?

The amount of compensation a tenant may receive is based on a number of different factors. The length and the severity of the housing disrepair issue will be considered, and how it impacted on you and your household on a day-to-day basis.

The compensation will take into account the cost of the required household repairs, as well as any legal costs associated with making the housing disrepair claim. A crucial component of the calculation will be the ‘pain, suffering and loss of amenity’ caused by being resident in a property with a disrepair issue or being forced to vacate it.

What is ‘pain, suffering, and loss of amenity’?

If the housing disrepair has led to a tenant suffering physically then the landlord has failed to provide them with adequate levels of living conditions which they expect in return for the rent they agree to pay.

Any issues that you faced as a result of the housing disrepair, causing pain, distress, and inconvenience, then this is defined by ‘pain, suffering and loss amenity’ including having to find alternative accommodation.

How is housing disrepair compensation calculated?

The rent of the property will be used as the basis to help calculate the value of any housing disrepair compensation. The compensation awarded will be a percentage of the rent that has been paid while the tenant resided in the property with disrepair issues. Even if rent is covered by Housing Benefits paid by the local authority, the tenant may still be able to claim compensation.

The severity of the disrepair will determine the percentage of compensation that’s received. If the property is completely uninhabitable, the compensation will be 100%. In reality, this level of payout is incredibly rare with the normal compensation range falling between 25%-50% of the rent of the property.

How might this work in practice?

If, for example, the property had a severe damp problem for a year and the rent per month was 1000pcm, the rent for the entire period would be £12000. If the claimant was awarded 40% compensation, the tenant would receive £4800.

Does your rented property have a housing disrepair problem?

If the property you’re renting has a housing disrepair issue and the landlord isn’t responding to requests for it to be dealt with, then it’s important to seek professional legal advice as soon as possible.

At Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we’ve helped tenants make successful housing disrepair compensation claims on a no-win, no-fee basis. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Housing Disrepair Protocol

A growing proportion of the UK population rents their home from private landlords. The standard of these properties varies, with the level of maintenance and repair offered by their landlord equally variable. In some cases, properties are allowed to fall into a state of disrepair and requests for repairs to take place from tenants to landlords go ignored. When this happens, tenants may feel powerless and wonder what they can do to address the issue.

Not all tenants are aware of their rights when it comes to housing disrepair claims. Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants, and they’re required by law to keep accommodation in an adequate state of repair. In most leases, the landlord will be obliged to repair, insure and maintain the exterior, the structure, and the common parts of a building that has been divided into flats.

The leaseholder will also have a range of responsibilities for the property, usually internally, and the lease agreement should clarify how those obligations and responsibilities are divided between the parties.

If a landlord hasn’t met their obligations to carry out repairs under the terms of the lease, it may be possible for the leaseholder to make a claim for a court order along with damages.

What is housing disrepair?

Housing disrepair refers to rented property that is in clear need of repair in order to make it suitable and safe for tenants to live in. Landlords are required by law to ensure that:

  • The property is in a good state of structural repair.
  • The property is free from mould and damp.
  • The gutters and drains are clear and working as they should.
  • The property is fitted with a working heating system.
  • The property provides safe access to electricity, water, and gas.
  • The property includes working sanitation facilities such as toilets, sinks, and basins.
  • The property is free from insect and vermin infestation.

If these conditions are not met, and the landlord fails to carry out any remedial work within a reasonable amount of time, then this could be considered housing disrepair.

Housing disrepair may include damp, mould, leaks, condensation, drainage, internal or external flooding, brickwork repointing, loose or missing tiles, structural cracks, vermin infestation, problems with boilers, poor ventilation, lack of heating, and no running hot water.

When housing disrepair occurs the responsibility for rectifying the problem falls to the landlord, whether they are a private landlord, housing association, or the local authority.

What is the housing disrepair protocol?

The Housing Disrepair Protocol sets the stages that tenants need to follow in order to make a compensation claim against their landlord in the event of housing disrepair issues at the property which are left unaddressed.

The Housing Disrepair Protocol is most commonly applied to tenants who are letting their property, either from a private landlord or social housing authority, but it can also apply to English and Welsh leaseholders.

The Protocol details the conduct that courts will expect the various parties to follow in a housing disrepair claim, in order for legal proceedings to begin. The aim of the protocol is to ensure that information is exchanged in a timely manner and to increase the chances of a quick resolution.

Before the Housing Disrepair Protocol can start, the landlord must receive notification about the disrepair, and then be given enough time to deal with it. The courts expect legal action to be the last resort and will expect parties to have considered mediation and arbitration in an attempt to resolve the dispute before it reaches the claim.

If alternative dispute resolution has been tried and the landlord has still failed to deal with the disrepair, then the leasehold may proceed to the Protocol. This will usually be done with the assistance of a solicitor.

How to make a housing disrepair claim

The Housing Disrepair Protocol steps that a tenant needs to follow are:

1. Early Notification Letter/Letter of Claim

This notifies the landlord of the claim when the full details of the claim haven’t been established. If the details have already been established, then this stage can be skipped. The letter should contain the name of the leaseholder, the address of the property, and details of the issues.

The letter should also include:

Details of any notifications that have previously been issued to the landlord, the effects of the defects on the leaseholder including any injury claim.

The name of a proposed expert who understands the issues, along with any instruction to them.

Details of special damages to bring the claimant back to the financial situation they would have been in if the issues hadn’t developed.

The leaseholder will also need to disclose if there are any relevant documents that are available. Requests should also be made for the landlord to disclose any relevant documentation they have in their possession.

2. The Landlord’s Response

Upon receipt of the Early Notification Letter or Letter of Claim, the landlord will have twenty days in which to reply. This reply should include relevant records or documents, as well as a response to the proposals set out by the expert. If the landlord does not respond, then the legal proceeding can be issued as soon as the leaseholder has adequate information.

3. Appointing an expert

The parties should attempt to agree upon the appointment of a single expert. If an agreement can’t be reached, then joint inspection will need to take place by experts representing each party.

4. Denial or admission of liability

The landlord has twenty days from the receipt of the expert’s report, the landlord is required to confirm whether liability is admitted or disputed. They may bring up any points about the lack of notice, or difficulty with access, send a full schedule of intended works, and make any offer of compensation.

If you’re renting a property with housing disrepair issues you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Whether your landlord is being cooperative or not, professional legal advice can help you negotiate the entire process.

At Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we regularly represent tenants making claims for housing disrepair compensation.  For confidential advice about housing disrepair contact us today.

How long does probate take?

Probate can seem like a complicated and at times confusing process, particularly if it’s the first time you’ve encountered it. It is in most cases a relatively straightforward process that will be concluded within a year. However, there are a number of different factors that can alter the equation.

Here we’ll take a look at probate, how long it takes on average, what’s involved and how delays might occur.

How long does probate take on average?

In most instances, probate will take between six to twelve months. However, there are a range of factors that can impact on how long this process takes. This means that without detailed knowledge of a particular case it’s very difficult to ascribe a time scale. In most cases, probate will be resolved within a year, but be prepared for it to take longer in cases that are not straightforward.

What are the processes involved in probate?

Probate begins by registering the death. You will need the deceased’s death certificate for each of the deceased’s assets. This needs to take place within 5 days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and within 8 days in Scotland.

You should then find out if there’s a will. The executor of the will need to apply for a document known as a grant. This gives them the right to access funds, sort out finances and distribute any remaining equity. They will also be responsible for paying any inheritance tax.

The next stage is to submit an application for probate. This can be done online or via a paper form. A probate fee, which currently stands at £215, is payable at this stage. If you complete the online application you will need to forward the will and any supporting documents independently.

Next, accounts for the deceased will need to be closed, memberships and subscriptions cancelled. Any debts will need to be paid off, outstanding debts settled before any remaining assets can be divided. If there isn’t a will, assets will be divided under what’s known as the ‘rules of intestacy’.

What might delay the probate process?

After someone dies, a probate application can sometimes be made in days if the deceased kept clear and tidy records of all their financial affairs. This is particularly the case where those affairs were relatively simple and the deceased only held assets with a small number of different institutions and the overall value of the estate was below the inheritance tax threshold.

If the deceased had a range of assets with numerous institutions or their financial affairs were disorganised, it can take considerably longer to gather all the information required to complete the application.

Any applications for estates where Inheritance Tax needs to be paid will take longer to prepare. It may be necessary to obtain professional valuations for any assets to help calculate the amount of inheritance tax that will need to be paid. This process can take a number of weeks to complete.

The speed at which an executor applies can also be a factor in the length of time. If an executor is unsure about the process, overwhelmed or is reluctant to apply for some other reason, this can lead to delays which on occasion can be significant.

Complications can and do arise, such as liabilities against the estate, locating previously unknown assets or the all too common disagreements and disputes about the content of a will. Often wills are inadequate, unclear or confusing. Homemade and DIY wills are a case in point, with many of them commonly causing these types of issues.

If there is a property to sell this can take time, with time on the market and delays through conveyancing all adding time to the overall probate process. Sales can fall through, or other hold ups in the process can all add up to significant delays.

In some instances, the executor may fall seriously ill or die during the probate process, particularly if the executor is an elderly partner of the deceased. Someone else will then need to be appointed to replace them. If an executor dies, then usually their own executor will fulfill that role.

Sometimes finding beneficiaries isn’t straightforward. If they can’t be easily located and informed, then investigations may need to be made. In some cases it can take a considerable amount of time to find any beneficiary.

Another consideration is the impact that third parties can have on the whole process. The larger the estate with more institutions and assets involved, the greater the potential for delay. If for instance, the estate contained foreign assets it may take some time to gain authorisation for their sale or transfer. If any of the deceased’s assets are held in a trust then the administration of these trusts will add time to the probate process.

Wills and probate services from Mark Reynold Solicitors

Mark Reynolds Solicitors can help you draw up a will to aid the probate process when you die. We can also provide confidential support and advice regarding the probate process.

To speak to one of our Wills & Probate solicitors in our offices situated in Warrington, Runcorn, Liverpool or Leigh, please call us on 0800 002 9577 for immediate assistance. Alternatively, contact us here.

Employment Law for Small Businesses

Small businesses are the engine room of the economy. They employ over 14 million people across the UK, and whether they have a single employee or fifty people, owners need to consider employment law.  As soon as you begin taking on employees, you will at the same time take on legal responsibilities. Before any employment begins within your business, you should have a comprehensive understanding of your obligations as an employer. If you fail to comply with employment law, it’s quite possible that you might find yourself before an employment tribunal.

There is also a range of sector specific information that you need to consider if you’re to ensure your business is fully legally compliant. While some of these obligations will be highly particular, here are some of the basic considerations that business owners will need to bear in mind.

The workplace environment

A key basic legal consideration for small business owners, and one that’s all too often overlooked, is the workplace environment itself. It needs to be safe, suitable for the job intended with appropriate facilities provided for all your employees. This includes any members of staff with disabilities, with any adjustments that are necessary made and accessibility issues addressed.

These facilities will need to include toilets, washing facilities, somewhere for employees to take a break, a place for staff belongings, and freely available drinking water. You need to ensure that there’s adequate ventilation, a fire escape, and a comfortable temperature. The premises need to be well maintained.

Employment rights

As well as contractual rights and obligations that employees have, there are also a range of statutory rights that employers need to comply with. This includes several core rights:

  • They must be paid at least the minimum wage.
  • They must not be discriminated against at work or harassed.
  • They should receive paid sick leave and paid holiday leave.
  • They have the right to claim any parental entitlements such as paid parental leave.
  • They should receive rest breaks
  • They have a right to request flexible working arrangements
  • Their contract cannot be altered unilaterally

These are the basic legal rights that all employees have but in reality most employers will offer a more comprehensive package of rights and entitlements for their employees. If you’re running a small business that is beginning to move towards employing people, you will need to have a firm understanding of what you’re required to provide and comply with.

Employment contracts

An initial duty for any new employer is to make sure that you comply with employment contract law. This sets out a range of legal obligations that the employer must abide by, and what the employee can expect in return.

A legal contract exists at the moment that someone accepts a job offer, whether or not they’ve received a written contract. It’s advisable to issue a written contract as soon as possible, so that both parties are aware of rights and obligations on both sides.

As of 6th April 2020, the right to receive a written contract is applicable from day one. This right has also been extended to anyone with working status, including both zero-hours and casual workers.

This means that either on or before starting work, an employee will be entitled to receive a range of basic information. This includes:

  • The names of both employer and employee
  • The date when employment began
  • The date on which the employee’s period of continuous employment began
  • The rate of pay and how it’s calculated
  • The intervals at which they’re to be paid, such as weekly or monthly.
  • Any terms and conditions that relate to the hours of work
  • Sick pay and holiday entitlement
  • Notice periods
  • Job title or a short description of the role
  • Is the job permanent or temporary
  • Details of any probationary period
  • Details of any training entitlement

Within two months of the employee starting work the employer also has to apply details of the following:

  • Disciplinary procedures
  • Any pension entitlements
  • Any collective agreements that impact on terms and conditions

If an employer doesn’t comply with this requirement, employees are entitled to make a referral to an Employment Tribunal for a declaration of what their terms and conditions are. They can also apply for damages of two to four week’s pay as a result.

What differs from small businesses to large businesses?

While there are rights and responsibilities that are common to all businesses regardless of their size, larger businesses who employ over 50 members of staff have a range of other obligations, including pensions.

If your small or medium sized business is growing to a point where it may begin employing more than fifty people, then it’s important to obtain professional legal advice to ensure you’re fully compliant with the more significant set of obligations. Failure to do so for larger companies can have serious consequences.

Small businesses who employ people have less legal obligations than larger businesses, but these need to be taken very seriously. Failure to do so can have very important consequences for large companies, so if your business is growing beyond the point of being a SME then legal advice and guidance is essential.

Whether your business has a single employee or over fifty, the employment law team at Mark Reynolds Solicitors can help ensure you remain legally compliant.

For advice, information and guidance contact us today.

How long does a medical negligence claim take?

Medical negligence claims can be long, involved and complex processes. They can take considerable time from making the decision to pursue a claim and the claim ultimately being settled. There are numerous factors that come into play when making a claim. Medical negligence can range widely from minor issues to life-changing injuries with complex outcomes and a need for continued support.

That said, medical negligence claims are settled every day and the length of time it can take shouldn’t be a discouragement from pursuing a valid claim.

How long does a medical negligence claim take on average?

While there can be significant differences in timescale as a consequence of the details of the claim, the average medical negligence claim can take anywhere between 12 to 18 months to reach a resolution.

If the other counterparty admits to the negligence, then it can be resolved in much less than a year. At other times, if the other party refuses to accept any responsibility then it can take much longer.

Add in lots of complex information, evidence gathering and disputes, and it can easily take more than two years.

What are the processes involved in a medical negligence claim?

After someone has decided to pursue a claim, and funding options have been explored, records then need to be obtained. Your claim will need to be properly investigated, with sufficient evidence gathered in order to support your claim.

Your medical records will need to be obtained by your solicitor and then examined by medical experts. This on its own can take anywhere between six and twelve months.

Independent experts will need to be instructed to prepare reports. These will explore whether harm was caused as a result of medical negligence and whether the treatment provided constituted a breach of duty.

Experts are only able to comment on areas that fall directly under their specialism. For instance, a GP or a psychiatrist can only comment on the actions of other GPs or psychiatrists. They may need to carry out examinations and will then comment on your likelihood of making a full recovery. This is the kind of information that will be crucial to how your claim is valued. It’s possible that further examinations might be required.

The next stage is to put a value on your claim. The level of pain and suffering will be taken into account as part of your general damages, with out of pocket expenses classified as special damages.

General damages will take into account any relevant court guidelines and will refer to settlements that other people with similar cases have received.

Special damages will involve a range of calculations, taking into account any past or predicted losses that you have suffered. This might be travel costs and other associated costs as well as a loss of earnings. In some higher value cases. independent experts might be required to provide information about adaptations to your home or other aids that are required.

After the supporting evidence has been collected a letter of claim will be presented to the defendant. This will summarise the details of the allegations giving the defendant information in order to value the claim. They will then have four months to investigate the claim, gather their own evidence and decide whether or not to contest the claim.

Following this, they will issue a letter of response that details their decision. The letter of response will then be considered. It might include an admission, or an offer might be made in writing.

A meeting between the parties may be arranged in an attempt to agree on a level of compensation. If the defendant disputes your claim, the details of the letter will be shared with the medical experts for their considered opinion of its contents. They may decide that they no longer wish to support your claim.

If no settlement has been reached, then it may be necessary to move to court proceedings. If your solicitor remains confident of the strength of the evidence, then court proceedings will begin.

The vast majority of claims do not reach trial. The court will set a timetable with the aim of encouraging resolution. Statements from the people involved in any treatment and the recovery process will be gathered, and the experts representing each side will meet to try and narrow any issues of disagreement. If a settlement can still not be reached, then a judge will determine the strength of the claim, and then assign a value to the claim if appropriate.

Which parts are likely to be delayed?

There are a variety of points during the process when a claim could be delayed. It may take some time for experts to compile a report. They may need further information, to undertake more examinations and extensive research. Should a defendant choose to contest a claim, and conduct their own research, this will then add delays to finding a resolution.

As a general rule, the greater the degree of contestation that takes place, the longer the process will take. It’s one reason why everything is done by legal professionals and the courts to try and find resolution and a just settlement as early in the process as possible.

Does it depend on the type of claim?

The more complex your case, with the greater range of evidence and information involved, the longer the entire compensation process can take. Expert legal advice and support can help to minimise delays, find solutions and negotiate the process in an efficient way.

The experienced medical negligence team at Mark Reynolds Solicitors can evaluate the strength of your claim and help you negotiate your way through the process.

For expert confidential advice contact us today.

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.