Highway code changes in 2022 - think about a dash cam

Changes in the highway code - Why now might be a good time to fit cameras to your car, if you don’t have them already.

The start of 2022 saw some significant changes in the highway code, in particular how priority to road users is assigned. However, over the years there have been numerous scams that have befallen motorists. Criminals get more brazen in their methods to extort, steal or defraud the average motorist every year. What starts out as a simple run to the shops or a drive out with the family for some, turns into anything but what they expected. Could these changes present new opportunities for criminals?

Cash for crash and roadside scams have evolved

When there was a surge in ‘cash for crash’ scams, whereby a vehicle infant of you deliberately hits the brakes to cause you to crash into them and then make claims against you, automobile associations, the police and insurance companies recommended the installation of dash cams. These can provide valuable evidence in the event of an ‘accident’ like this.

Since then, these scams have become more elaborate and can be difficult to spot. Also, a host of new tactics are being applied by criminals to entrap motorists going about their business, including flagging down motorists pretending to have broken down and then claiming they have no money.

Video evidence, essential to proving your story and acting as a deterrent.

Most dash cams on the market today will be able to record many of these incidents and make a wise addition to your family car or work vehicle. They also act as a deterrent too, as it’s likely a scammer will first check you out before trying their luck. Rather like a burglar spotting an alarm system and deciding to move on to a house without one, a clearly visible dash cam can have a similar impact on a road scammer or even thief.

Changes to the Highway Code

However, there’s now another reason for fitting these devices if you haven’t been tempted so far, and this is to do with the changes to the Highway Code recently announced by the Government and that came into force on January 29th 2022.

Why the concern for motorists? Simply because the burden on them has just increased yet again. The changes made in January provide a clear view of road user priorities based on vulnerability i.e. in the event of an accident the road users most likely to be injured. These include: pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists. The changes do make it clear that all parties have a responsibility for due care and attention – a pedestrian stepping into the road or cyclist ignoring a pedestrian crossing the road.

This of course all makes perfect sense and should already be common sense. There are some more subtle changes to the code that may catch many motorists unaware. The main one being the need to give-away to a pedestrian crossing the road at a junction.

In the past as you drove along and looked to turn left into a side road, if there were pedestrians waiting to cross – perhaps at a dropped curb that facilitated disabled users the ability to cross, most would ignore them and continue to turn. The new changes now require you to stop and give way, allowing the pedestrians to cross.

Similarly, where cyclists are concerned, a motorist should wait for cyclists on the inside of them to pass before turning.

Concern has already been raised by some organisations and motorist action groups, over the potential for the new rules to increase road accidents.

New rules, new distractions

Driving in most cities and major towns already requires a driver to have ‘eyes in the back of their heads’. Ever watchful, drivers have to take care when turning left so as not to cut across a cyclist or motor cyclist. Other road users suddenly stop or turn out of congested junctions. Similarly, in busy areas, pedestrians regularly walk across a street between traffic, without using pedestrian crossings and motorcyclists tend to weave through busy traffic moving slowly or at a standstill. Meanwhile the erstwhile driver still has to watch out for traffic light changes, pedestrian crossings, road signage, the yellow congestion boxes, cycle lanes and speed limits.

While some action groups may be concerned over accidents caused by drivers forgetting to give way and pedestrians assuming they will, more may be concerned by those caused by motorists following a turning driver and suddenly finding the road blocked because the car in front hasn’t yet turned because they are giving way.

Criminal exploitation potential

There’s huge potential for the new rules to be exploited by scammers. For instance, simply by turning and stopping and causing the following vehicle to collide with them, the would-be scammer can easily claim that he was giving way to what they thought was a pedestrian wanting to cross, who may have miraculously disappeared. Indeed, scammers may even use a pedestrian as part of their plot.

Cyclists now have a clear priority over the vehicles, although they themselves have to take express care around pedestrians and other vulnerable road users, such as horse riders. Cyclists have been advised to adopt a number of practices to help them appear more visible to other road users, including using the middle of the road in some circumstances, and continuing to allow them to cycle two abreast to help protection. Some incidents have been reported whereby cyclists have flouted this guideline by deliberately riding in a manner so as to cause frustration for following motorists. This type of behaviour can easily lead to angry confrontations, all of which is difficult to prove unless you have video evidence.

If you don’t have a dash cam, you might like to think again.

Dash cameras are not the answer to all these problems, but they can help when situations turn ugly or you need help backing up your side of events. Consider those systems that also include a rear facing camera too. Using these you can track a potential scammer close in on you, pass you and stop needlessly. The same is true for having to give way to a pedestrian while turning and ending up with a vehicle colliding with the rear of your vehicle.

Let’s also not forget that currently it is estimated that there are over one million uninsured vehicles on the road today. A good rear view dash cam system can easily capture the face of the driver colliding with you, if they decide to drive off, as so often happens.

The new highway code changes may put a priority on certain road users to make them safer, but they also increase the due care and attention burden on the motorist and the opportunity for scammers to target them. Think about protecting yourself first.

Contact Foys Solicitors for assistance with personal injury or motor accident claims

For a free initial consultation or more information on our how we can help, give us a call on 01909 500511. You can also email us at enquiries@foys.co.uk or complete our Contact Form.

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whip lash injury law changes

What new whiplash regulations could mean for your claim

What new whiplash regulations could mean for your claim

One inevitability in life always seems to ring true: change. Laws change and 2021 was the turn of whiplash regulations to be updated. With hundreds of thousands of whiplash claims made every year in the UK, it’s important for us to know how these changes to the law will affect our own claims.

That number is no exaggeration either as approximately 1,500 whiplash claims are made every single day in the UK. This costs our insurers over £2 billion per year – and that may be about to increase. That’s because the new rules are changing how much money can be claimed from a whiplash injury. However, there’s also a little bit of controversy too.

While the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 were introduced on 31st May 2021 to make the whole claimant system run more smoothly, there are still concerns that the system is going to cause problems for law firms and claimants alike. In this post, we’re going to give you the up-to-date details you need to know about making a whiplash claim.

Whiplash: The basics

how whiplash affects the bodyWhen your body (generally your neck) has been ‘whipped’ from its natural position during a sudden accident or event – predominantly when a car has rear-ended the vehicle you are travelling in – this is referred to as whiplash. It can also occur during a sporting event, if you were attacked on the street, if you fell down stairs or during any number of accidents and events.

While most people recover from whiplash within a few weeks, sufferers have to endure the likes of dizziness, tinnitus, headaches and many more ailments. However, a number of people may also find that their symptoms last for far longer. Sometimes it can take months or even years for someone to recover and may even leave them with some sort of chronic pain or lifestyle changes. The risk of greater injury comes from the severity of the impact, if you are older and/or if you already had neck or back problems (including whiplash).

Whiplash compensation explained

Compensation claims are there to help compensate you not only for your injury, but the time you had to take off work and any general discomfort that came from the injuries. It can also be claimed to help with any medical costs too. You’ll want to make your claim as soon as possible but don’t worry if it has taken you some time – you have three years to submit your claim. You can also submit a claim on behalf of any children who were passengers and also experienced symptoms. Adult passengers will have to make their own claim.

Payouts are made by insurance companies so you don’t necessarily to worry about causing a scene – it’s your right to make a claim. In order for your claim to have a better chance of success, you’ll want to gather as much evidence as possible. It’s always good to take photos or record the names of any witnesses who saw the incident. This may help you later.

The reason that whiplash compensation claims often have a bad rep – and have been the subject of countless comedy sketches throughout the years – is because there have been many less than reputable companies that offer to represent people when making a claim. These businesses – known as claims management companies (CMCs) – often have a bad reputation. Thankfully, regulation changes made in 2018 has helped stymie their growth. However, it’s still very important to research who is representing you.

When it comes to the amount of compensation you are due, the size of the award has always centred around the effect of the accident on the claimant. Historically, this was generally over £1,000 but under £5,000 – with five and even some six-figure exceptions. It isn’t uncommon for insurers to try and offer an out-of-court settlement. You can choose to accept and save yourself time and energy, or you can go to court with the chance of winning a higher claim.

One of the major problems when it comes to compensation claims can be if the person causing the whiplash didn’t have any insurance. In the case of car accidents, you may be able to get compensation from the MIB instead. That’s the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, by the way, and not the Men in Black!

The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021: What you should expect

The overhaul of the whiplash system has been quite significant. It’s not just the level of payouts that have been affected as the entire way in which you make a claim has been changed too, as well as the way these cases are handled by the courts. It really opens up whiplash claims and even allows some of those who only suffered minor injuries to make their own claim without any legal representation (and the fees that come with that).

The general limit in the small claims court for road traffic accidents (RTAs) has increased to £5,000 – a 500% increase on the previous limit. Also, this specifically means a lawyer cannot be instructed to make a claim for less than £5,000 in RTA cases. Instead, claimants should use the new personal injury claim portal. The scale of the tariff has also been increased so that it now spans from £240 for an injury lasting less than three months, to a maximum of £4,215 for injuries that last for two years.

Additionally, claimants may see this tariff increased by up to 20% if their case meets a threshold of it being proven that there was a high degree of suffering for the claimant. It’s thought that these reforms will save motorists about £35-per-year on insurance premiums – thanks to over a billion pounds in savings that are being made due to changes towards the system. It’s important to note that these new limits apply to vehicle accidents, but not incidents involving children, pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists.

As we previously noted, the system allows for people to proceed with a case without legal support thanks to the new online portal that allows claimants to submit their own details. This can lead to savings in time, energy and can even save your the need for court appearances. However, in cases that are more complex, it is absolutely advisable that you get in touch with experienced whiplash solicitors.

Lastly, the intended effect of these changes should mean that nuisance claims management companies (CMC) will likely find it hard to attract business. With more people now able to make their own claims without representation, CMCs will no longer be able to claim fees on these cases. The tariff is not payable by the defendant either so this means that CMCs cannot claim any fees from this money.

So what’s the catch?

While the new system sounds like it is good for claimants and their bank balances, there are some other concerns that have had lawyers worried for both the process and claimants. Firstly, there is some worry about payouts. It’s thought that some may actually end up with less than they expected.

This is because some claims that could have previously been up to £7,000 under the old guidelines would be less than £5,000 under the new guidelines. However, as the system can allow for someone to avoid legal representation completely, this means money saved on legal fees as well as saved time.

The online claim submission system itself is also currently under scrutiny. With 1,500 claims a day, it’s a large load for a system to take which could create delays for claimants who desperately need the money from a claim.

Additionally, there is worry that the system is too complex for some people and that the documentation to support it is not good enough. There is a worry that this will cause some to continue giving CMCs business. However, there is an official helpline in place to talk you through any problems that you may have with the interface.

Foys’ road traffic accident specialists can help you

While many will be able to use the new whiplash claim system, some will find the claims process too awkward or may have a more serious case that necessitates the involvement of an experienced road traffic accident solicitor. If that’s the case, then simply get in touch with our specialised personal injury solicitors today.

Foys has 45 years of experience in helping many victims achieve the maximum compensation payout possible from personal injury claims. We are thorough, professional and supportive of our clients, and our goal is to win you the biggest claim possible.

To talk to our team today and get your FREE initial consultation, call us on 01302 327136 or get in touch via our online form.

dash cam footage used as evidence

What you need to know about capturing footage for personal injury claims

What you need to know about capturing footage for personal injury claims

While you may think that capturing footage of an incident will be enough to ensure you win a personal injury claim, there are other considerations apart from the footage itself that need to be taken into account.

With so many of us now roaming the streets carrying all sorts of tech in our pockets, purses and even strapped to our body, there’s never been an easier time to validate the story of claimants and defendants. However, the courts are very different from the more personal court of showing footage of an incident to a nodding and sympathetic family member or friend.

Evidence has to be tested and, as such, it has to be be able to stand up to the rigour of examination from both judges and opposing parties. Footage captured on personal devices – such as smartphones or dash cams – is no different. Even though you may think that the footage should make the incident clear to a judge, there are many other things to consider that could see your footage totally dismissed from usage in a case. Knowing what these rules say in advance could not only save you money on chasing a futile claim, but could help you prepare for any potential incidents in the future.

The quality and clarity of the footage

The first consideration to be made regards the quality of the footage being presented. Not all cameras and microphones are alike. Some are very advanced and have been released not just in the past year, but even during the past few months; some are very old and provide a much more unreliable picture at a lower resolution.

dashcam personal injury evidenceThe quality of your tech could end up being a crucial aspect of a personal injury claim. Court staff and judges expect footage to be of a good quality resolution so that all of the pertinent details are evident. There should be absolutely no doubt as to what has transpired in the footage. Introducing sub-standard footage to a claim that only confuses could even end up damaging your case. Even if the incident looks clear to you, keep in mind that you were the person who experienced it and, as such, have a memory to fill in the blanks of the footage; others will not see it the same way that you do.

This is why it is important to consider upgrading your tech every few years. Older dash cam technology and older CCTV systems may not offer the clearest output or resolution when compared to more modern systems, nor will they offer the same level of data as newer systems (see below).

Additionally, while footage of the camera shaking from an apparent bump and a proceeding shouting match are all interesting titbits that can help build a more complete picture of events as they happened, this is going to be far less helpful than catching the actual incident on camera as it happened.

Complete or incomplete data?

Any footage of an accident that occurs is always far more helpful when it includes all the data relevant to the case. When dealing with a road traffic accident (RTA), it helps if it shows not only the time and date of the incident – allowing statements to be easily cross-checked – but if it also shows data such as the speed you were driving at during the time of the accident. If there is built-in GPS data, then this can help pinpoint exactly where the accident happened. While none of this information seems particularly useful, it helps any judge verify your statement and ensures that your story appears credible and factual.

In the event of a workplace accident, or an accident in a public place, similar details can also be helpful. However, you need to be sure that the footage isn’t going to ensure that your statement is left without credibility. For example, if you say that you were working understaffed and you were rushing around before you fell at work, it’s not going to look good if the footage is timestamped from when after the store had been shut. Footage can be advantageous to establishing the truth against insurers, but only if you are telling the truth in the first place.

Body cams, often used by people in security roles (such as bouncers), and headsets (such as GoPro) may also be helpful in establishing the truth of an incident – especially if there are no other witness to rely on, nor any other footage or data, other than the word of you and another party.

Is the footage secure?

Footage is generally only accepted in the courts if it can be proven that the footage has not been tampered with in the intervening time since the incident. While cloud technology can be helpful in acting as a digital ‘fingerprint’ of the footage’s legitimacy, older technology – such as tapes – will always come under scrutiny to ensure they haven’t been doctored.

This is why it’s important to have a clear and transparent process that you follow when it comes to the storage and retention of footage. If a CCTV system’s output is stored to a hard-drive, you’ll want to ensure that hard-drive is securely stored. If you use a body cam, you’ll want to ensure that you have a process for retaining footage that can be easily followed and traced. It is not unheard of that a party with access to the footage will try to have it doctored and thereby render it inadmissible.

In Australia, footage of a former police officer – who had medically retired after alleging corruption in his local force – got into a verbal altercation with a former colleague who he had criticised. This argument was captured on CCTV and did not paint the retired officer in good light. However, a video professional found several gaps and interruptions in the footage that, in their professional opinion, suggested that the video errors indicated intentional manipulation of the original footage.

This is why it is so important to have a process that you regularly follow to secure and store footage – especially if you are the claimant.

Footage must be legal

There is a common misconception – thanks to the availability of capture technology and the widespread use of social media – that you can just about record and upload anything to the internet. While this may help you win a trial by public opinion, it’s not going to help you win a trial by court.

Footage must meet stringent requirements to be permissible in court. Should the footage fail this test, then it cannot be used – no matter if it shows the incident or not. One big hurdle for the use of footage comes from the Data Protection Act (DPA). This law stipulates that we all have expectations of privacy. As such, it needs to be clearly signposted that you are operating CCTV around a property. As long as the footage is used for the purposes of protecting your home and not for other means, this is generally fine.

Additionally, dash cams, CCTV and body cameras do fall under the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that relates to the storage of personal data. This may have potential ramifications regarding, for example, a personal injury claim resulting from an incident on a business premise or one that is captured while using a company car.

If you are an employer or an employee, it’s worth knowing that employees must be notified that there is CCTV in operation on business premises – as set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. If you do want to access security footage from your workplace to help with a personal injury claim, you can do so by Subject Access Request (SAR). You have a legal right to this footage. Your employer must reply within a 40 day limit.

Keep in mind that if a recording fails any of these standards, or the courts do not think it is worth their time or money to investigate the feasibility of the footage, then it may not be considered as part of the claim.

Don’t adjust your camera while driving

It can be tempting, even if you are sat motionless in a traffic queue, to adjust your camera if you think there’s activity happening around your vehicle that may be interesting. It’s the equivalent of ‘rubber necking’ – taking your eye off the road ahead to see what’s going on elsewhere, such as another road traffic accident. This is another cause of serious accidents. Having a camera onboard can be particularly tempting in these situations, especially reaching for your mobile phone and using the camera on that. If you are involved in an accident yourself, not only could you be prosecuted if your found to have been using a phone at the time, it could be used as a reason to invalidate any insurance claim you want to make because of something known as ‘contributory negligence‘.

Work with solicitors you can trust

The success of a case can hinge on footage or recordings so it’s very important that you work with personal injury claim solicitors that will do everything they can to make sure that your case, and any footage, is presented in the best possible light to ensure that you get the justice that you deserve.

With years of experience in handling successful personal injury claims from RTAs, to falls and slips, to injuries at the workplace or from faulty goods, and much more, we’ll do everything in our power to secure you a successful result for your case. Just call or email us today to get the ball rolling so that you can get what is rightfully yours.

motorcycle contributory negligence

What is contributory negligence and how could it affect you?

Are you fully aware as to how contributory negligence could play a part in any accident compensation claim you make?

We wouldn’t be surprised if you looked at the term ‘contributory negligence’ and never gave it another thought. However, you might think again when you understand if you are involved in an accident, whether your fault or not, a claim of contributory negligence by the other party can have a serious impact on the outcome of any claim you make.

With increasingly busy lives and more traffic on the roads than ever, a little information can go a long way where being involved in an accident is concerned. In this post, we want to explain what contributory negligence means to you, as non-lawyers. We’d also like to explain how, if you’re not careful, a claim for any accident you are involved in could have negative consequences due to your own actions.

What is contributory negligence?

When you are involved in an accident and believe that the fault lies with the other party involved, you may try and claim compensation. When it goes to court, the court will seek to establish if any action on your behalf contributed to the damages your are claiming for.

It’s important to stop here for a moment and understand what was just written:

    • A clear distinction is being made between accident and damages suffered.
    • Contributory negligence refers to the damage sustained, not the event that caused it.
    • The court will seek to uncover if any actions YOU took before during and after the accident contributed to the damages YOU suffered. 
    • In other words, did your own negligence contribute to your injuries and by how much?

A simple example of this is not wearing a seatbelt in a car. If you are involved in an accident, the seatbelt probably wasn’t to blame (unless you were trying to put it on when the accident occurred). However, the extent of the injuries you suffer as a result of not wearing one may be much worse than if you had. The court would likely look to reduce any damages awarded as your negligence in not wearing a seat belt contributed to your injuries.

How might contributory negligence apply to scenarios we encounter every day?

Now that hopefully you understand the basic idea of contributory negligence, what circumstances might you find yourself in as you go about your normal day. We should point out that every situation is different and unique, and here we are simply trying to highlight the concept of contributory negligence in terms of everyday events.

Out and about as a pedestrian

Consider a person stepping off a bus and then stepping out behind the bus to cross the road. In doing so, they are hit by a car driving in the opposite direction causing the person serious injury. 

Both pedestrian and car driver have a duty of care for each other. Even though the car collided with the pedestrian, the pedestrian’s own action – i.e. negligently stepping into the road, contributed significantly to their injuries.

This was highlighted in two cases:

First. Ehrari v Carry (Court of Appeal, 2007). An incident involving a 13 year old girl who stepped out from behind parked cars to cross the road to catch a bus outside her school. She was hit by the wing mirror of a passing truck. She was found to be 70% liable.

Second. Jackson vs Murray. Again involving somebody stepping in to the path of an oncoming vehicle after stepping out from behind a bus. In this case the person was found to be 90% contributory. However after an appeal and then further review by the Supreme Court, it was reduce to 50%.

The lesson here is as much for the drivers of vehicles as for pedestrians. 

Cycling Accidents

With so many more cyclists on the road and incidents between cyclists and motor vehicle increasing, so too are injuries. Cyclists in particular are highly vulnerable and while they may believe that a motor vehicle driver is often to blame for an accident, their own actions weigh heavily on the outcome.

How much a cyclist contributes to their own injury in the eye of the courts, varies considerably and is affected by many variables, including the condition of the bicycle, cyclist’s distractions, road and traffic conditions.

In one case in Northern Ireland, a cyclist was found to have contributed to his injuries because while cycling he had looked down at his heart rate monitor. During that period he failed to notice a car crossing in front of him and therefore failed to take evasive action. His damages were reduced by 25% as he was deemed as not paying attention.

Similar distractions affect many cyclists today as gadgets continue to increase, not least in personal entertainment. Wearing a headset is going to reduce the chances of hearing other road users and thus reducing the possibility of taking evasive action. 

In other cases, cyclists who have bit hit by vehicles after cycling through a red light, as all too often happens, have seen their damages reduced significantly, in one particular case, by 80%!.

Motorcyclist accidents

Probably the situation most people are aware of with motorcyclists in traffic, is when they filter through the traffic. It’s one of the advantages of using a motorbike or scooter. There’s also nothing wrong with this as long as the rider proceeds with due care and attention, doesn’t cross solid white lines or pass when there’s a right hand turning. Even so, accidents happen and blame will be apportioned depending on the circumstances. 

In cases involving motorcyclists, contributory negligence is almost always argued by the other party where compensation is involved. It’s not hard to see why, and it’s why motorcyclists should remember just how vulnerable they are, not just to an accident, but to having their claim for compensation cut. 

For instance, in one county court case from 2008, a car was approaching its destination on the right and indicated to turn. As the car turned, an overtaking motorcyclist hit it. This matter was complicated because the driver had made previously made several contradicting signals prior to the manoeuvre. The motorcyclists had seen this and had held back, only overtaking when he believe the driver had decide to continue straight. The driver didn’t. The court found the motorcyclist 25% to blame because the motorcyclist was aware of the erratic nature of the driver, but still overtook, even though she was in a yellow box junction.

Every case is of course different, but it just shows that motorcyclists do need to be very careful, as any compensation claim they make could be impacted, even though they are not necessarily to blame.

How can you help yourself mitigate the chances of contributory negligence?

Evidence is critical to demonstrating that your actions, as the person claiming compensation, were not a contributing factor to severity of the injuries you sustained.

One of the best ways to do this is to use a dash-cam, a body or a helmet-cam. With the cheap available of such devices, there really isn’t an excuse any more. It’s very hard for a third party to counter claims you make if you have hard video evidence.

If you are a pedestrian or involved in a work place accident, use your phone to take video or images – just so long as it doesn’t further jeopardise your situation or contribute to any injury you have sustained. 

Every case is unique

Personal injury claims, who’s to blame in an accident and the issue of contributory negligence, are all situations that are assed on the individual circumstances of the case. It’s a complex area and so it’s always best to speak to a personal injury or motor accident claims specialist, whether your are a defendant or a claimant.

Contact Foys Solicitors

Foys have years of experience handling matters both for and against claimants. The issue of contributory negligence looms high in many of these cases and so you need somebody on your side who really knows how to represent your in these cases, especially as you may not be aware that a claim for contributory negligence could be made against you.

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below

Man with his arm in a sling is looking at a legal document, woman is behind him with a supportive hand on his right shoulder. They are claiming compensation

Claiming personal injury compensation with Foys Solicitors

Claiming injury compensation with Foys Solicitors

Claiming compensation for a personal injury can be a tricky process, but with a specialist and highly trained solicitor by your side, you can leave the legal jargon at the door and get the remuneration you deserve.

We’ve all been there. You pick up the phone, and it’s another company telling you that you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Most likely, you put the phone down in frustration. But when you’ve actually had an accident and you weren’t to blame, do you know who to turn to?

This is where Foys Solicitors comes in. The compensation process can be very complicated, but with the right legal representation and support, you can navigate the claim with ease and gain the maximum amount you deserve. In this article, our team of expert personal injury solicitors explain the claims process and what you could get with Foys by your side.

What does it mean to claim compensation?

Compensation is generally money awarded to a person who has been involved in an accident that wasn’t their fault and suffered an injury or loss. A common case for compensation is a personal injury claim, which is the formal process of seeking payment from the party responsible for your injury. This can be as a result of a road traffic accident, a violent crime, a slip, trip or fall, an accident at work or due to a faulty product or service. However, there are many forms of compensation.

You can be compensated for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Personal injury
  • Financial loss from fraud
  • Medical expenses
  • Travel expenses
  • Loss from theft or damage to property
  • Time off work or loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Mental health issues and trauma

Suffering from an injury, whatever the cause and severity, is never pleasant. Often, you’re forced to take time off work to recuperate, and can even face financial difficulties. In the worst-case scenario, your life may be changed entirely due to a catastrophic injury. This could result in you needing extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, and you may also need to alter your home or car to cope with your injuries. All of these things can be very expensive and can leave you in a bit of a financial bind. This is why it is important to start the claims process as quickly as possible so that you can get your life back on track.

The process for claiming compensation for an accident

Dealing with the aftermath of your accident is complicated enough without the added pressure of dealing with the claim process alone. This is why you need to work with a solicitor who has had plenty of experience helping people get the compensation they deserve.

The process of pursuing a claim begins with an honest conversation with a reputed solicitor. Our personal injury solicitors will aim to understand your situation and assist you in arranging the necessary paperwork. This will include a medical report outlining your injuries, estimated recovery time, proof of loss of earnings and evidence of additional expenses such as physiotherapy costs and medication.

By working with you to understand every detail of your case, we can establish the value of your claim, the likelihood of it winning and help you negotiate a settlement with the offending party. If the case goes to court, we will represent you and help get you the justice you deserve.

Are you eligible for injury compensation?

There are strict time limits in place for claiming compensation. Normally, you have three years from the incident to begin legal proceedings. However, if the effects of your injury weren’t realised until years later, you have three years from the ‘date of knowledge’ from which to pursue your claim. There is no amount of time that you have to wait to start your claim, so the sooner, the better. One advantage of filing a claim shortly after the incident is that details will be fresher in your mind and easier to find witnesses.

If a child has been injured, a parent or guardian can claim compensation on their behalf. This may be from a traffic road accident or even a work-related injury if the child is old enough to work. Sometimes, an injury may have been sustained during birth or as a result of medical negligence during labour. This too is a case for compensation and can be pursued via a medical negligence claim. Alternatively, you can wait until the child is 18 years old, and they can make a claim themselves. Once the child is 18, they have three years to start legal proceedings.

Reach out to Foys Solicitors

With Foys, you can rest assured knowing that we’ll be with you every step of the way throughout the entire claim process. We can determine the value of your claim and help you to negotiate a settlement that’s in your best interest. If you have to go to court because a settlement can’t be agreed on, we will be there to ensure you’re well represented.

Choosing Foys as your personal injury solicitors mean that you’ll be working with people who genuinely care about your claim. We are dedicated to getting you the compensation you need to make your life more comfortable following your accident.

So, if you’ve been in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you need someone to fight in your corner, we can be there for you. For a FREE initial consultation or more information on our personal injury claims services, contact one of our local offices today. Alternatively, you can email us at enquiries@foys.co.uk or complete our Contact Form.

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Paper with negligence printed on it

What is negligence?

What is negligence?

Negligence can take many forms, but it always causes wide-ranging effects. The highly skilled and dependable solicitors at Foys are here to shed some light on what negligence is, offer advice on how to prove negligence and tell you how Foys Solicitors can help.

What is negligence

To be ‘negligent’ is to have failed to take reasonable care to avoid injury or loss to another person. The responsible party would normally have had a duty of care to the other person and did not meet the standards of that care. All workplaces, medical organisations and businesses have a legal obligation or duty of care to ensure that persons within their establishment are fully protected against physical or emotional harm. To have been a victim of negligence is to have suffered an injury or loss which they could not avoid, at no or little fault of their own.

If you have been involved in an accident, and it was the direct result of the negligent actions of someone else, you could claim compensation. The objective of the compensation is to alleviate your suffering and give you a chance to focus on recovery and rehabilitation. The compensation usually covers loss of income, payment for current and ongoing medical treatment, psychological damage and medical equipment. To receive compensation, you must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was directly responsible for any losses incurred.

Donoghue v. Stevenson – the original negligence case

Claims for compensation against doctors or businesses for negligence was all but unheard of before the early 20th century. But in 1932, a case appeared that defined negligence laws still applied in court today. The case in question was that of Donoghue v. Stevenson, and strangely enough, it was started by a bottle of ginger beer.

The case

In 1932, Mrs Donoghue visited a café where her friend bought her a ginger beer in a dark, opaque bottle. They had no reason to suspect that the bottle contained anything other than the said ginger beer. Donoghue had consumed most of the contents of the bottle before noticing a snail, in a state of decomposition, floating in the bottle. In consequence, Donoghue suffered considerable shock and nausea, as well as serve gastro-enteritis.

Donoghue sought to claim against the beverage manufacturer, Mr Stevenson, and asserted that the defender should have exercised the greatest care in ensuring the ginger beer was safe for human consumption. It also stated that it was an obvious duty of the manufacturer to provide clear coloured ginger beer bottles to facilitate inspection. Stevenson pleaded that Donoghue’s claims were insufficient due to the fact that the drink had been bought for her by her friend.

This case, deceptively simple, was a benchmark in modern negligence law, prompting the establishment of three things you need to legally prove negligence. They are as follows:

  • That you were owed a legal duty of care under the circumstances
  • That the defendant breached this duty of care by failing to uphold certain standards
  • That you were harmed or injured as a direct result of that breach

Though the case never went to court, Donoghue was found to fit into all of these requirements and was paid £200 in compensation.

Types of negligence

Negligence can take many forms and go through many avenues of law. Common forms of negligence include but not limited to:

  • Medical negligence (or clinical negligence) – substandard care from a medical professional that resulted in injury or worsening of an existing condition.
  • Legal negligence – poor legal representation or incorrect legal advice.
  • Accountant negligence – negligent behaviour of an accountant or financial advisor that resulted in loss of finances or income.
  • Architectural negligence – failure of architect, engineer or firm to adhere to regulations, to provide accurate architectural advice or to properly oversee a project.
  • Real estate agents or surveyors negligence – failure to provide accurate reports that form the basis of property transfer.

How do you prove negligence?

For a negligence claim to succeed and result in compensation, it is necessary to establish that a duty of care was breached and that the claimant’s (person making a claim) loss was caused directly by this breach.

When it comes to claiming for compensation as a result of negligence, having accurate and documented evidence is vital. Let’s take medical negligence (one of the most common claims) for example. If you are seeking a medical negligence claim, we will work with you to:

  • Discuss your case in detail
  • Assess if professional care of duty has been breached
  • Assess your chances of success
  • Request your full medical history
  • Engage independent medical experts to review your records
  • Obtain expert witness testimony
  • Prepare accurate events that led to you suffering the injury or worsening of a condition
  • Start proceedings

During the process, our medical negligence solicitors will work with you every step of the way so you are fully informed. No matter the circumstances, we can help you understand the process of medical negligence compensation claims. Our supportive and efficient solicitors also work to ensure the best chance of success.

Another factor that influences a compensation claim is the financial effects negligence has upon you and your family. Financial loss such as missed work and loss of business should be considered when making a compensation claim, as well as any long-standing health effects (ongoing counselling, rehabilitation, mental health issues, to name but a few).

Types of compensation

If your case is successful and the involved parties come to a decision, you should be paid compensation. There are two types of compensation – General (compensation related to direct effects of the negligence) and special (compensation related to any out-of-pocket expenses).

For more information on the types of compensation you could receive, take a look at our informative Professional Medical Negligence Solicitors page. If you have suffered an injury at work or in a public area which was not your fault, contact our highly skilled personal injury solicitors for more information on the best route to compensation.

How much compensation you receive depends on a multitude of factors. We caution our clients to be wary of solicitors promising astronomical figures because it is impossible to predict an exact figure without having a qualified solicitor reviewing the ins-and-outs of your case. So contact one of our solicitors as soon as possible, give us a chance to review, advise and guide you on the best route possible to get the compensation you deserve.

Time limits for making a negligence claim

It is essential that you start the claims process the moment you know an incident has taken place. This is because you have three years to file professional negligence claims. Additionally, when things are fresh in your mind, it is easier to gather the necessary evidence.

Having said that, sometimes the effects of the negligence are not realised until years later. In this instance, you may start your case from the ‘date of knowledge’ as specified in Limitation Act 1980.

How long will a negligence case take?

It depends on how complex your case is. In some cases, we seek to resolve the case through mediation (and thereby saving your time and money) or work to reach an out-of-court settlement. If the case goes to court, it could take anything from 12 to 36 months.

What about personal injury?

Negligence can also occur at work, on the road and in various places, resulting in personal injury. For example, you slipped and fell at work or in a supermarket, or you suffer from an injury caused by faulty goods. The upshot of it is that you can claim compensation. For more information, please visit our personal injury page.

Foys Solicitors can help

At Foys, we understand how frustrating and upsetting negligence can be, both for yourself and your family.

If you have a medical negligence case or a personal injury case, contact us today. Our solicitors approach every case with the highest respect and work relentlessly to represent you and help you attain the compensation you deserve.

Our medical negligence solicitors can help in:

  • Gynaecology/Obstetrics/Birth Cases
  • Hospital cases
  • GP/dental/optical
  • Claims related to residential care
  • Medical misdiagnosis
  • Private cosmetic surgery
  • Fatal accidents

Our personal injury solicitors can help in:

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents at work
  • Slips and trips
  • Serious injuries and fatal injuries
  • Neglect and abuse claims
  • Criminal injuries
  • Injuries caused by faulty goods

We’ll do everything in our power to help you win your case and get you the compensation you deserve. For an initial free consultation, contact your local Foys office today.

We can begin to understand your case and offer some advice on the likelihood of its success. Alternatively, fill out our handy Online Form.

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Personal injury solicitors

Personal injury solicitors

Personal injury solicitors

Suffering an injury is a distressing experience and can have a devastating impact on your life.

Our expert team of personal injury solicitors can assess your case and help you get the compensation you’re entitled to. We understand the worries you may have after suffering an injury, especially if it is preventing you from going back to work and thus affecting your financial situation. At Foys, we have years of experience in dealing with such cases so you can trust that we will work hard to make a successful claim.

We work on a no win, no fee basis, which means that if your case is unsuccessful for any reason, you won’t be liable to pay any costs.

The areas of personal injury covered include:

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents at work
  • Slips and trips
  • Serious injuries and fatal accidents
  • Neglect and abuse claims
  • Criminal injuries claims
  • Injuries caused by faulty goods

For more information regarding how we can help you, check out our recently updated ‘Personal Injury’ page. Here we explain in depth the mentioned areas of law that we cover.

The process to make your personal injury claim can begin with a FREE consultation where we will discuss your case thoroughly in order to understand your situation.

Contact Foys Solicitors for advice on a personal injury claim today

To book an initial free consultation or to find out more about our Personal Injury services, call on 01302 327136 to book your FREE initial consultation. Alternatively, you can send us a message via our Contact Form.

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A guide to making a traffic accident claim

A guide to making a traffic accident claim

Thanks to improved road safety and measures addressing reckless driving, the overall number of fatalities and road casualties has been in decline for two decades in the UK.

The latest report published by the UK government in April 2018 indicates that there were 181,384 accident casualties recorded in 2016, of which 1,792 (1%) were fatal and 179,592 (99%) were non-fatal. While a big portion of non-fatal injuries didn’t require hospital admission, some suffered life-changing injuries which require ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation. If the accident involves a death, the injuries can also extend to emotional trauma.

If you have been the victim of a traffic accident within the last three years, you may be entitled to claim compensation. The conditions and causes surrounding a traffic accident are different for every case, and the process of claiming compensation can be lengthy and complicated. This is why it is best to speak with one of our specialist personal injury solicitors and we will do everything in our power to help you obtain the finances needed for your recovery.

How to make a traffic accident claim

After you have contacted one of our expert solicitors, we will analyse the details of your accident and determine who exactly was responsible for your injuries, or who was the negligent party. When the person responsible has been identified, we will work tirelessly to get an admission of fault. In some cases, this will result in an early compensation payment known as an interim payment, which can cover the costs of urgent medical treatment or other needs.

To claim an interim payment, the insurance company, which covers the negligent party responsible for the accident, must accept liability. By accepting responsibility, they are also recognising that their policyholder was responsible for the accident and will pay your compensation. After this has been decided, our personal injury solicitors, acting on behalf of you, can apply for an interim payment. Although this sum will be deducted from your final settlement, it can alleviate any current financial issues.

In the majority of cases, the amount of compensation you receive will be agreed with the other party. If the person will not admit fault, or the value of your claim cannot be agreed, your case could go to court where we will guide you through the process. The amount of compensation you receive will also depend on the nature and severity of your injuries, as well as any costs or losses you have experienced as a result. To establish the details of your case, discuss the following with one of our personal injury solicitors:

  • Details of the accident
  • Contact details for any witnesses
  • Details of injuries, medical diagnosis and treatment received

During the claims process, you will need to undergo a medical examination, determining the impact and degree of your injuries. A medical expert will review your current medical status and how your injuries have impacted your work and quality of life. This information can be used in the court as evidence. In the event of a catastrophic injury, that’s an injury with serious lifelong altering consequences, we will work with you to establish the followings:

  • Proof of loss of earnings and other financial expenses due to your injury.
  • Any evidence that can be used to support your claim, including documents from before your accident or previous accidents in similar circumstances.
  • Documents relating to any insurance policies you have, such as motor or household insurance, to see if these will cover the legal costs of your claim.

With the introduction of the CE-File system, an electronic filing and case management system, the claims process is now a lot speedier. Solicitors and insurance companies can engage with ease due to the digital exchange of documents.

When should you make a traffic accident claim?

You have up to three years to make a claim for your traffic accident, but we recommend contacting an experienced personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. There are exceptions to the three-year time limit for making a claim, including:

  • Road traffic accidents abroad: Time limits in other countries outside the UK can vary. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may still be able to claim under UK law.
  • Mental capacity: If a family member lacks the capacity to make a claim.
  • Criminal injuries: If your injuries were a result of a deliberate act, you could make a claim through the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority. In a case like this, there is a time limit of two years from the date of the accident.
  • Children: Before your child turns 18, a claim can be made at any time if they were affected by the accident. Following that, your child can make a claim until the age of 21.

How much compensation will you receive?

The amount of compensation you can receive from a claim is based on the nature and the extent of your injuries, as well as any losses or costs you have incurred in the process. The amount of compensation you could claim is based on:

  • Medical and travel expenses
  • Current and future loss of earnings
  • Mobility aids
  • Pain and suffering
  • Care and support needs

As your personal injury solicitor, we will fight to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation, allowing you to move forward with your life.

How can we help you to make a traffic accident claim?

As specialist personal injury solicitors with offices in Doncaster, Retford, Worksop, Clowne, Rotherham, Sheffield-Waterhorpe and Sheffield-Chapeltown, we have years of experience with successfully obtaining compensation for our clients. We also have the knowledge and specialised skill set to assist you throughout the claims process, offering you unwavering support and guidance.

We do not want the cost of legal fees to deter you from making a claim, so we offer an initial FREE consultation. This allows us to understand the details of your accident and advise as to whether you should proceed with your traffic accident claim. To get in touch simply fill out our Online Form or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

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This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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Injured in car accident by uninsured driver

What to do when you’ve been injured by an uninsured driver

What to do when you’ve been injured by an uninsured driver

For many people who have been in a collision, they simply swap license plate numbers and leave it to the insurance companies to deal with. However, there are times when it isn’t that simple.

The person may have been severely injured, and when it comes to dealing with it, they find out the bad news – they don’t have insurance.

It may seem like a dead end, but there are things you can do at this point. In this article, the motoring offences team at Foys help you to understand what you can do next.

Check your contract

Before you begin any kind of process against an uninsured driver, you should always check your contract first. Depending on your insurer, you may have one of a few types of protection:

  • Protected no claims bonus – when hit by an uninsured driver, you are often forced to claim on your own insurance, which instantly ruins your no claims benefits. Some companies will preserve your bonus if the other driver is uninsured, though they may still raise your premium when the time comes to renew it.
  • Waived excess – if you have comprehensive insurance, you will have to claim on your own policy, which is understandably frustrating. Many insurers recognise this and will waive your claim excess, so it doesn’t cost you money to make a claim.

Bear in mind that even with these types of protection, the companies will still deduct the no claims bonus and ask you to pay the excess while the claim is being decided, returning both if it is ruled in your favour.

Not all companies offer this protection, and many tend to offer variations or combinations of them, so it’s always worth checking beforehand to make sure you take advantage of any protection you may already have.

The Motor Insurer’s Bureau

The Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) is an independent organisation that aims to compensate people who have been hit by uninsured or untraceable drivers. The MIB has an uninsured drivers’ agreement and untraced drivers’ agreement for each of the countries it operates within. The countries are as follows:

  • England, Scotland, Wales
  • Northern Ireland
  • Gibraltar
  • Isle of Man
  • Jersey
  • Guernsey

The MIB can only assist those without comprehensive insurance, and the conditions under which they can help vary between the countries they operate within. In addition, these claims can take anywhere from three months to a year to be completed depending on the complexity of the case. Consider asking our personal injury solicitors for legal advice throughout the process as these cases are very often preceded by injury from the accident

Get help from Foys – personal injury and motoring offence solicitors

At Foys, our personal law team has expertise in many fields of law, from motoring accidents to personal injury, and we can help you pursue potential options if an uninsured driver has hit you.

To find out more, get in touch using our Online Form – or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

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Personal injury law - under-settled injury claims

The facts about under-settled personal injury claims

The facts about under-settled personal injury claims

When you’re hurt in an accident, you can make a personal injury claim against the person who is at fault.

How much to claim depends on a few factors and your legal representative would generally value and negotiate the claim based on:

  • The evidence
  • Your financial loses as a result of the accident
  • The care element and psychological aspects of your claim

Why are under-settled cases?

If you are in the process of settling – or have settled – a personal injury claim and feel like you haven’t been compensated fairly, then the case may have been under-settled. Under-settling happens when your claim handler accepts a low settlement due to inexperience or wanting to resolve your case quickly. You may have also been put under pressure to accept the claim.  It’s time to take a step back and allow the specialist personal injury solicitors at Foys to show you why cases are under-settled, and what you can do if you suspect your case has been dealt with in this way.

Reasons why under-settled personal injury claims happen

Under-settled personal injury claims happen due to negligence by your lawyer. In an effort to cut costs and maintain high profits, many firms have taken to using unqualified juniors or claims handlers to manage cases. They may miss crucial evidence, fail to consider all of the possible damages, and even accept the first offer made without trying to negotiate for a higher sum.

In some cases lawyers may look to simply settle cases quickly, usually when they operate on a fixed-charge basis – in this case they look to resolve the case as quickly as possible, no matter the result. This can result in claims being settled for far lower than they should be.

Fighting back against under-settled

As is the case with most things, prevention is better than cure. There are several warning signs that can indicate when a lawyer is likely to under-settle your case, and by looking out for these signs you can protect yourself and ensure you get the money you deserve. Here are some things you can do to avoid being under-settled:

  • Ask about qualifications – Many inexperienced claims handlers may not have the correct qualifications.  Your professional lawyers should tell you who is handling your claim and prove their worth.
  • Be suspicious of the first offer – Lawyers will very rarely accept the first offer, as it can often be a lowball – a deliberately very low offer, often to test the waters. There is no risk to the opposite party from making a lowball offer, so you should be extremely suspicious of any lawyer that suggests you take the first amount offered.
  • Don’t be pressured into settling quickly – There’s no denying the process is stressful, but if you simply settle as quickly as possible then you will likely not get as much compensation. You may also choose to settle when you have made a full physical and psychological recovery from your injury should you begin the process, so that you have all the medical evidence possible.

Don’t risk it

At Foys, we have experience in winning these types of cases for our clients. Our team is comprised of specialist personal injury solicitors rather than inexperienced claims handlers, so you can be sure that your case will be handled professionally the first time around.

To find out more, get in touch using our Online Form – or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

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