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How to Find the Right Personal Injury Solicitors for Your Individual Case

In what I hope to become a monthly feature, I am allowing legal and law firms from around the World submit their own content to the BNBWG blog – as long as it’s of a high quality and is something that I personally believe my readers would be interested in.

Today I am honoured to have James Barnett of Personal Injury Solicitors Leicester (visit their website) giving us his views on how UK citizens can make sure that they are choosing the right personal injury lawyer for them.

Choosing the Right Personal Injury Solicitor For You

Many people find themselves facing the idea of filing a personal injury claim at least once in their life. Personal injury claims can be the result of many different accidents which result from a third party’s actions or negligence; the most common types of personal injury claims are caused by car accidents (such as this on our Leicester Claims Website), negligence in places of business, and defective products.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

When someone files a personal injury claim against a person, an insurance company, a business or another third party, they are attempting to seek monetary compensation for their injury.

Most personal injury claims are filed due to medical bills caused by injuries or for lost wages – and even lost jobs – due to injuries making it impossible to work. Although there are many people who are perfectly within reason to file a claim, businesses, insurances and other parties will almost always fight the claim or try to minimize the compensation by tricking the person who needs compensation.

Don’t Be Tricked Into Compensation Promises

One of the best ways to avoid being tricked and to actually receive the compensation you are owed is to seek the help of an experienced personal injury solicitor. Personal injury solicitors are experienced and knowledgable in the area of personal injury claims, and will have all of the skills necessary to help you win your case.

Seek Out Experience

If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer, one of the most key aspects you should look for is experience. Experience doesn’t always mean that someone will be good at something—but in the case of personal injury claims, experience is infinitely helpful because of how complex these types of claims really are.

yelplogoSomeone with experience may have already handled a similar case, or knows someone who did, or knows where to find the right information that will help them get on the right track.  Just because a solicitor is listed on Yelp or the Yellow Pages it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good.

Most lawyers who have a good reputation should be listed in the Legal 500, or alternatively the Law Society.

This is especially true if your claim is complicated or requires more extensive knowledge that a new personal injury solicitor might not necessarily have handled before, such as needing to know what state to file your claim in.

For example, if you slipped on a wet floor in a business, your claim would be filed in that business’s district. But let’s say your injury was caused by a faulty or defective product purchased from the store. Your first instinct might be to file a claim against that store—but the more legal route would be to file a claim in the home state where the item was manufactured, since they were directly responsible for the defect.

Employ Those With an Excellent Reputation

Another key factor to look for when choosing a personal injury solicitor is reputation or, to put it more plainly, reviews of their services. Ask around town to see if anyone has used the lawyer before, or research them online to see if any past clients have anything positive—or negative—to say. It is sometimes better to go right to the source—in this case, former clients—and ask about how professional, experienced and knowledgably the solicitor was than to simply pick a lawyer and hope for the best.

About the Author: James Barnett is the owner and operator behind the Personal Injury Solicitors Leicester website and has over a decade of experience in helping people in Leicestershire claim for personal injury compensation.

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Practical Police Training (Duty of Care) – Unsuccessful Personal Injury Claim

A Court of Session case from February 2015 demonstrates the importance of listening to all guidelines given during a training exercise, particularly if it is physically demanding. It is also a good example of the fine line between success and failure in a personal injury claim.

Debbie Stevenson raised an action for damages against the Chief Constable for Police, Sir Stephen House, following an Officer Safety Training (OST) course.

chokeholdOne of the exercises involved a simulated attack by an attacker to an officer on the ground. The attacker straddles the officer and puts their hands round the officer’s throat in what is known as a “choke hold”.  Officers are taught the “ground defence strangle technique” to escape the “choke hold”.

This involves the officer on the ground hooking their hand onto the attacker’s wrist. This allows the officer to breathe. At the same time, this gives the officer time to throw the attacker off.

They do this by bringing their feet up to their behind, thrusting their hips and throwing their free arm in the direction of the hook which they have placed on the attacker’s wrist. This should, as the court report puts it, “have the effect of displacing the aggressor”.[1]

When the accident occurred, Ms Stevenson was playing the part of attacker. In her action for damages, she alleged that the trainers had not mentioned that the officer on the ground should hook their hand or try to throw the attacker off. Because the officer on the ground allegedly did not have this control, Ms Stevenson, as attacker, was at greater risk of injury to her shoulder. As they had not been instructed properly, Ms Stevenson’s legal team argued that Police Scotland had breached their duty of care.

The judge, Lord Boyd of Ducansby, considered two issues in this case.

  1. Did the instructors fail to tell the policemen and policewomen playing the role of officers on the ground to hook the attacker’s arm?
  2. If they were at fault, did their failure to tell materially contribute to the accident?

On the first issue, Ms Stevenson said that they were shown what to do “in slow time and in real time”.[2] She also said that there was no safety briefing, and at no time were they shown how to hook the wrist. DC Park, acting as an officer on the ground, “followed the technique exactly as demonstrated”[3]. The pursuer said that if DC Park had hooked her wrist, then she would have known “which way [she] was going and be prepared for it”.[4]

However, given that DC Park had said there was a safety briefing, and that the instructors, PC Brolly and Sergeant Gray had years of experience and impressive testimony, Lord Boyd found it hard to believe that the instructors had failed to mention or demonstrate the hooking technique.

policeThere were also doubts over Ms Stevenson’s credibility, with Lord Boyd being very forthright in his opinion. He said that the policewoman “had little interest in the course or its techniques and paid insufficient attention to what she was being taught”.[5]

Lord Boyd accordingly granted a decree of absolvitor, meaning that the Chief Constable was absolved of any responsibility towards the accident.

This case shows how important it is to pay attention in a training exercise, especially if it is physically demanding.

It also demonstrates the importance of establishing the failure of an employer’s duty of care and whether this failure materially contributes to the accident involved in a PI action. These criteria must be fulfilled in order to be successful in your case.

References & Citations Used: 

[1] DEBBIE STEVENSON AGAINST SIR STEPHEN HOUSE,CHIEF CONSTABLE OF POLICE SCOTLAND, Opinion of Lord Boyd of Ducansby, [2015] CSOH 16, at para 4.

[2] DEBBIE STEVENSON AGAINST SIR STEPHEN HOUSE,CHIEF CONSTABLE OF POLICE SCOTLAND, Opinion of Lord Boyd of Ducansby, [2015] CSOH 16, at para 10.

[3] Op. cit., at para 11.

[4] Op. cit., at para 11.

[5] DEBBIE STEVENSON AGAINST SIR STEPHEN HOUSE,CHIEF CONSTABLE OF POLICE SCOTLAND, Opinion of Lord Boyd of Ducansby, [2015] CSOH 16, at para 40.

Want to know what makes a successful personal injury claim? Try this blog post.

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How UK Now Win No Fee Solicitors Work Including the Legal Terminology

The No Win No Fee process was introduced in the UK in 1995 to allow for access to justice for people who could not afford legal representation in court. Essentially a replacement to legal aid, it transfers risk from yourself to your solicitor.

This is because a no win on fee solicitor will only charge you a fee for representing you if your case is successful. The process can be broken down into four simple steps.

Step 1: Appoint a No Win No Fee Solicitor

Appointing a solicitor can be daunting, and it is important that you find someone who you can get on with. You can guarantee a solicitor will work their hardest to make sure you win your claim because this will mean they get paid!

Make sure you do your homework on the firms out there. Ideally focus on a firm which has good feedback on third party sites (e.g. Chambers, Legal 500) as well as its own website.

A good starting point would be the Law Society website for your UK region. One of the UK partners that we recommend are these no win no fee solicitors Bristol. Despite being in Bristol they can help and support clients all through out the United Kingdom.

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There are separate law societies for the three separate legal jurisdictions in the UK: The Law Society of England and Wales, The Law Society of Scotland, and The Law Society of Northern Ireland.

On these websites, you can narrow your search to firms based in your area that have a Personal Injury (PI) department or PI accreditation. Once you have whittled down your list of firms, make appointments with a few to explain your case.

Step 2: The Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA)

This is the crucial part of the “No Win No Fee” process. Once you have instructed a solicitor you’re happy with, and they’ve agreed to take on your case, you will have to sign a conditional fee arrangement or CFA.

The law changed in April 2013, meaning that if you do win a case, a firm will take their fee from a portion of your compensation. This is known as a “success fee” and will be no more than 25% of your compensation.  (Prior to April 2013, the “success fee” was claimed from the defendant in a case.)

Step 3: Preparing for Court

Once the CFA has been signed, your solicitor will run through questions that you will expect to be asked in court. Any documentation you made at the time of your injury and any other evidence (such as photos) will help in preparing you for your court case. Typical questions you can expect include:

  • What kind of injuries did you sustain?
  • Did your injuries stop you from doing day to day tasks?
  • How much time off work did you need to take?
  • Have your injuries had a long-term effect on your health?

Step 4: The Court Case

Your case finally comes to court! If you win your case, you will have to pay a “success fee” to your solicitor as outlined in Step 3. If you do have the misfortune to lose, you will not get your compensation. It’s important to bear in mind that a solicitor will only take your case if they think they will succeed, and there are high success rates in PI cases. You could consider taking out insurance to cover costs in the event that you do lose your case.

Differences to PI Claims in Scotland

If you are based in Scotland, the process is much the same as outlined above, including the “success fee” that you would pay if your case is successful. If you are based in Scotland, you may have heard about legal aid, and you may wonder if it is part of the “No Win No Fee” process. It is important to distinguish the two.

Legal aid is not really beneficial to civil cases, and if proposed reform goes through, it may even be removed altogether from this element of Scots law. “No Win, No Fee” is used UK wide and you will have essentially the same rights in a CFA with a Scottish firm as you would had you sustained your accident elsewhere.

One particular injury claims field which often provides complex cases are those involving car accidents. Being able to apportion blame isn’t always easy, and due to a rise in fraudulent claims, some cases like this have been pushed back and been hard to compensate for. As before, our recommended partner in Bristol are able to advise on all forms of UK car accident claims – read their website for more information on car accident claims Bristol.

No Win No Fee Solicitors in a Nutshell

Since its introduction in 1995, the “No Win No Fee” process has indeed improved access to justice. It could be argued that recent reforms have made the process more straightforward, although you may lose a small percentage of your compensation. This breakdown of what to expect will hopefully help you come to an informed decision if you have suffered a personal injury through no fault of your own.

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Crash Compensation – Who is Entitled to Make Personal Injury Claims

Motor accidents account for over half of personal injury claims processed per year. It is a huge part of the personal injury law market. There can be many ways you are effected by a personal injury when being involved in a road traffic accident. Some examples are below:

Car and Bus Passengers

Over my many years of following this niche of the law industry I have seen successful claims be processed for passengers of the car involved in the crash. This can even be if it was deemed as their drivers fault. Passengers can be badly effected in a road traffic accident you should speak to a personal injury solicitor.

bashedcarfront

If you were involved as a passenger in a car crash and as a result where unable to work. Then you should contact a Personal Injury Solicitor who would be able to help you and start your claim.

Car Drivers

If you have been a driver of a car involved in crash or any form of road traffic accident that was not your fault. You may be entitled to compensation. After many road traffic accident there is a lot of financial and medical implications that can occur. You could have a loss of earnings due to being unable to work or not being able to travel to work. If your car has been written off their maybe medical bills involved if you need to go for physiotherapy Prescription costs and so forth.

There are many personal injury solicitors that have worked in this field. You can find them through searching the web or personal recommendations. It would be worthwhile talking to one to see if you have claim that could compensate you for the injury you were involved in that was not your fault.

Pedestrians

As a pedestrian being involved in a road traffic accident can be massive ordeal and you will more than likely be not at fault. Pedestrians are very vulnerable and normally are one of the worst parties effected medically in road traffic accident. This is just because of the vulnerable situation of having no protection as if you were a passenger in the car involved with airbags and so forth.

If you are a pedestrian that has been involved in a road traffic accident you should get in touch with your local personal injury solicitor to ensure that you are being compensated and there is a professional looking after you in this time.

I hope you have found the post informative. You should now be aware that if you are in the unfortunate situation of being involved in a road traffic accident. You should contact your local personal injury solicitor to see how they can help.

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An Interview with Bob Wilson: No Win No Fee Solicitors of Bristol

Bob Wilson manages the marketing for Personal Injury Bristol, a website specialising in no win no fee claims for people in Bristol, Avon, and Somerset in the UK.  On the BNBWG blog we are starting up a new series whereby we interview people in the legal industry, in particular the personal injury niche.  If you work in personal injury, or the no win no fee market, then we would love to get your views on the current market.  To get that arranged email us.

Hey Bob we really appreciate you taking the time out, so thanks for getting in touch with us.  First up can you tell us what your roles and responsibilities are at Personal Injury Bristol?

Sure, and thanks to you two for accepting my interview request! It’s all part of the marketing drive to be honest.  As a business we are trying to increase our reach in the Bristol area, and in particular our services as no win no fee solicitors.

Online marketing is a huge part of what we do, and accounts for nearly 50% of our business once you take customer referrals out of the mix.  As no win no fee solicitors in Bristol we know that injuries and accidents aren’t a common occurrence so people tend to use your services once and once only – that’s why it’s so important that new clients can find our pages on the web, such as the No Win No Fee Solicitors Bristol one on www.personalinjurybristol.co.uk/no-win-no-fee (I hope you can include my link?).

Their Website for No Win No Fee Claims in Bristol

How has the recent UK government legislation on no win no fee agreements affected your business in Bristol?  Have you had to adapt at all?

I assume you guys mean the Justice Reforms to how no win no fee agreements can be handled and marketed?  Actually we have had to make some changes.  There are now very strict rules in place when it comes to generating business, in particular from third party referrals.  That’s why I am putting so much emphasis at the moment on building up our own brand and increasing the success rates on our in-bound marketing efforts.

No win no fee solicitors in the UK undoubtedly have been affected by the new laws, but the strong survive and that’s what I believe we are at Personal Injury Bristol.  The results speak for themselves and it’s something I will continue to push forward in 2015.

It’s a tough market in the UK, so only the best no win no fee solicitors, with the best customer service, and an ethical approach to how they do business will end up surviving.  I’ve already seen some accident claims companies go to the wall this year and am sure that will only continue as a trend.

OK, so what is a typical day for you like working for Personal Injury Bristol?

I don’t just work for the Bristol team, but actually provide legal marketing services to many different lawyers and solicitors around the UK.  A typical day will involve responding to customer requests, coming up with content marketing strategies, adding new content to the existing websites, and generally pushing all our online marketing channels to get the maximum results.

Social media is becoming more important to the Bristol no win no fee team as we are finding that some people like to ask a few informal questions of a solicitors before properly engaging with them. I think this probably stems from people thinking that solicitors and lawyers are an unapproachable bunch, which with the Bristol guys couldn’t be further from the truth.

Make sense! So what are your plan for the Bristol website over the coming months and year?

Well, for me 2015 is all about the content.  I’ve identified a group of new accident claim types that are probably going to become more common in the future due to industry changes.  For example, an aging population is probably going to see a rise in care home claims – make sense doesn’t it?

With care homes costing so much already, it makes sense that claimants would probably be seeking the services of a no win no fee solicitor.  There’s an aging population in Bristol so that’s just one new niche we are going to enter via the new content on the website.  There have been a lot of press cases recently highlighting the types – for example here on the Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail Website

Not just that though, there are literally hundreds of different searches in the UK relating to accident claims that no win no fee solicitors of Bristol can take advantage of – it’s just a case of making sure that the website is engineered to do so.

What advice to you have for other legal firms or no win no fee solicitors who want to get ahead online and get more business generated via the Internet?

Great question! In my view, it’s about trust.  You need to make your website look legitimate and trustworthy, because without that the telephone simply won’t ring.  I see so many personal injury websites that are so obviously built just for lead generation purposes and you just think to yourself would someone honestly call them if it looks so bad?

I don’t think so, so it’s all about presenting a professional looking website which properly targets your local market.  In Bristol we know what people are searching for online with regards to personal injury and accident claims advice so it’s actually very easy to make sure that we develop our website to satisfy those searches, and then convert them into a call once they hit the webpage.

Hopefully that comes across when you look at our website and in particular the no win no fee solicitors of Bristol page that I referenced earlier in the interview.

Thanks very much Bob.  We have really enjoyed interviewing you.  Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers before signing off?

Thanks guys, only to check out our YouTube Channel, our Facebook page and other assets all of which are accessible from the Personal Injury Bristol website which I showed you earlier or which you can access via www.personalinjurybristol.co.uk (Injury Claims Bristol).

If you would like to be interviewed on the blog please contact us for more information and what the criteria is for successful interview opportunities.

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How No Win No Fee Solicitors Make Their Money

Ever wondered how no win no fee solicitors make their money? I saw this cool graphic on the Internet which goes some way to putting things in easy to understand terms… see it below.

The No Win No Fee Process

If your UK solicitor agrees to represent your personal injury claim, they will put together what’s called a conditional fee agreement (CFA) which includes details on any payments.

In many cases you might still get charged for some costs so always look very closely at what you are signing up to.  Typically you will probably have to pay a success fee out of any compensation that you receive on a no win no fee basis.  This can sometimes be up to a quarter of your compensation so think carefully before employing the services of a no win no fee solicitor or lawyer.

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FA Launch New Grassroots Concussion Rules

The Football Association (FA) are set to launch new rules regarding concussions in amateur football following a campaign by Jeff Astle’s family.

Jeff Astle, who played for numerous professional teams, died of a brain condition most commonly seen in boxing, leading to his family urging the FA to improve the safety of players who suffered head injuries. Although the Premier League has rules in place due to a number of high-profile incidents, there was still a lack of protection in the lower leagues, according to critics.

Following the death of Astle, it was ruled that he had died as a result of illness caused by his headers of heavy leather footballs throughout his playing career.

Correct to Implement

Dave Reddin, head of performance services at the FA, stated that the organisation had been slow to act to such a dangerous injury. He led a panel aiming to improve the conditions for former and current amateur players. Despite the best efforts of the panel, he admitted that one of the major stumbling blocks was due to the difficulties of ensuring that the new rules were followed.

Former players at a grassroots level, many of whom are now coaching, praised the decision by the FA. Many stated that regardless of the official rules taking a long time to come into effect, the fact that there was some attempt to deal with concussion was an improvement. Many of the coaches stated that when they were injured or suffered a concussion, they had to work out what to do themselves.

Concussions in Sport

There has been a number of high-profile head injuries in football and the world of sport. Goalkeeper Petr Cech was the victim of a horrific stamp that saw him suffer a fractured skull. Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris suffered a concussion when he was dealt a blow to the head by an opposition striker’s knee. Despite this, the keeper played on, leading to the passing of new rules to protect players.

The Six Nations campaign this year saw George North knocked out while playing against England. Despite a slow motion replay in front of 82,000 fans and the coaching staff, North was not taken off leading to much criticism, and claims of negligence regarding the Welsh coaching and medical staff.

Although there have been rules put in place to ensure the protection of players, what are the dangers of a concussion, and how much do legal rules truly protect the players?

Suffering A Concussion

Concussions are most common following a blow to the head and can often occur when playing sports. Although some concussions can be mild, it is important that if you suffer from concussion, or any head knock, that you seek medical treatment. Suffering a head injury can lead to serious problems later in life and by having a medical examination, you are ensuring that your potential injury is monitored and given the all clear.

Concussions can have numerous effects and symptoms such as:

  • General dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Feel unbalanced or dazed
  • Memory loss

Failure to treat a concussion can lead to losing consciousness, brain damage, memory loss, long term illnesses or even death.

Making A Claim

If you have been the victim of a head knock and suffered a concussion or head injury, you may be able to claim for compensation. If you have suffered an injury playing a non-contact sport, you may be able to take legal action if there was malice or recklessness in the build up to the injury. If you are the victim of a failure in duty of care, then you will be able to make a claim. If your club, team or coach knows you are injured but makes you play, they could be accountable for your injury. If you have suffered from a long term injury as a result of negligence, then you could also be entitled to compensation.

In order to make a claim, it is important that you are open and honest with our solicitors. If you are directly responsible for your head injury when playing a sport, e.g. insinuating a fight, you will not be able to make a claim. Our solicitors will require as many details as possible about the injury and the accident. In order to do so, they may need the details of eyewitnesses and a medical report assessing your injury

Related Post: An accident claim at BT.

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British Telecom Responsible For Man’s Life Changing Injuries

BT_LogoCommunications giants, British Telecom, have been found responsible for life-changing injuries sustained by a former employer.

Ex-BT worker Ian Andrew Milroy suffered cardiac arrest, severe burns and brain damage when his cherry picker came into contact with overhead power lines when carrying out a standard repair. Through his wife, the former employer of the company launched a personal injury claim with a top judge finding BT responsible for the injuries as a result of lack of training and negligence.

Vast Majority of The Blame

A High Court judge in London ruled that BT had to accept responsibility for the injuries sustained by their former employee of 20 years. The judge ruled that the company were two thirds responsible and blamed BT for the lack of training that Mr Miloy had received, thus failing in their duty of care.

The judge heard that Mr Miloy had been on the cherry picker but had moved in order to allow a woman on a horse to safely pass. As he moved however he came into contact with a high voltage wire causing his heart to stop and other serious injuries.

Following the injury, Mr Miloy was dismissed along with his co-workers at the scene for breaching BT’s work and safety procedures, with the communications company insisting that their former employee was responsible for his own injuries.

Despite this claim, the court also heard that BT’s suggestion to a use cherry picker was negligent, with the repair that was required being carried out the next day using only a ladder.

Due to the extent of the injuries and the way the case was handled by BT, Mr Miloy is expected to receive a six figure sum. Following the accident Mr Miloy, suffered from depression and anxiety as a result of the injuries.

Accidents In the Workplace

Your employer has a duty of care for you and your colleagues, and must ensure their health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace. Employers must abide by health and safety rules and regulations. In order to do this an employer must ensure that there is adequate safety equipment and the office or area of work is fit and proper for employees. Under their duty of care, employers must also ensure that staff do not overwork, are given proper and adequate breaks and rest areas, and that staff are properly trained.

An employer can be guilty of breaching their duty of care if they fail to protect their employee.

Making an Accident Claim

If you suffer from an injury in the workplace, it is your right to hold those responsible to account. If you are fired due to making a claim, you will be able to take your employer to court for unfair dismissal. If you believe there are dangers in the workplace you should call a health and safety officer in order to prevent any accident.

If you do suffer from an accident, our team of solicitors can help. In order to build the strongest case possible they will require certain information regarding your injury. We will require the details of the accident such as when and how the incident occurred. If there is any written proof of the accident, perhaps in the accident report book, then we may need to have a copy. If there are any eyewitnesses to the event, contact details should be provided in order to verify your story and any negligence on the behalf of the employer. Depending on the extent of your injuries, a medical report or examination may also be required. Having such a document can back up your claim and show the extent of the injuries you received as a result of your employer’s breach of their duty of care.

A medical report or examination from a medical professional can also offer clear details on how long it may take you to recover from your injuries. As it may be possible to claim for recovery expenses, having a rough estimate of the care needed post injury can aid our solicitors in estimating how much your claim is worth.