Whether physical or sexual, abuse can leave physical and mental damage that affects a person throughout the whole of their lives. Most people find that they are unable to report the case when it happens, because of fear or shame, and this makes judging abuse claims very difficult. Tracking down the offenders and being brave enough to face them can be extremely challenging but it also brings the potential of financial compensation.
Typically, compensation claims for victims of abuse are levelled at individuals in civil cases or against local authorities. However, it is not always possible for the victim to be able to track down the offender; they may have been unknown to the victim or they may have moved on or passed away. This does not necessarily mean that the victim has lost their opportunity to seek financial compensation for the abuse. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority offers a means of claiming compensation for these victims.
The CICA is a government scheme that provides compensation to victims that are unable to claim from the offender. They pay a majority of the total amount that is deemed suitable for the level of injuries that a person suffers. While this may not be as high a figure as awarded in civil cases, with an experienced and skilled solicitor or lawyer it is possible to ensure that the victim receives an amount that is reasonable and fair considering their injuries and level of abuse.
It isn’t strictly necessary to have legal representation when pursuing a claim through the CICA but there are many documented instances of claimants receiving considerably more once they have instructed a solicitor. Even those that have started the process and received an offer can enrol the services of a professional solicitor to enjoy a more realistic and reasonable package.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is a government scheme that provides compensation payments for victims of violent crime. People that suffer personal injury as a result of a period of abuse may be able to successfully claim compensation for the physical and mental injuries that they suffer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Topper is the litigation manager at Stocks Legal Personal Injury Solicitors and is highly experienced in all types of personal injury cases. He is highly focussed on client care and getting the maximum compensation that is available for his clients and their families. He rightly sees personal injuries as a real must for the English legal System as without a proper compensation system, many injury people can be left with no support or ongoing medical treatment. If you have any questions about this article or would like to speak to Mike Topper please call him on 0800 988 9055 or click here to send him an email.
The government have revealed figures that show the three most dangerous industries in which to work. They take into account the likelihood of suffering an accident at work or becoming afflicted with an industrial disease. Regardless of how potentially dangerous a job is, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that employees have as safe and risk-free an environment in which to work. All employers should take care to offer a safe environment but it is these three industries that have the highest risk level according to the figures.
Construction remains the most dangerous industry. Only around 5% of the workforce are found in the construction industry but this is where 22% of work related fatalities and 10% of work related injuries are recorded. In 2011/2012 this meant that 600,000 working days were lost because of accidents at work while a further 1.7m working days were lost due to illnesses directly attributed to the workplace. The most common injuries were trips and falls while 5,000 cases of cancer were recorded due to exposure to harmful chemicals.
The agriculture industry utilises many types of heavy machinery and these are often responsible for accidents at work. 33 deaths were recorded during 2011/2012 although it should be noted that this is an improvement over previous years but it still means that agriculture ranks among the most dangerous and potentially life threatening industries in the UK. It is also believed that many accidents in this industry are not reported but even with potentially depleted figures, it still has high fatality and injury rates.
Manufacturing is another area where the use of heavy machinery combined with exposure to potentially harmful chemicals is rife and employees often pay the price. The 2011/2012 period saw 31 manufacturing related deaths, which represents around 25% of all recorded work related fatalities. The industry is also responsible for 16% of injuries caused by accidents in the workplace. Only 10% of the workforce are employed in the industry.
Every employer has a legal responsibility to ensure that their employees, and everybody on their premises is as safe and free from harm as possible. Workplace practices, training, and hazard prevention should be considered an integral role for any company or employer and while the majority of organisations do get it right, there are those that fail their staff. Employers run the risk of having legal action taken against them and litigious claims laid by injured parties and employees that contract so called industrial illnesses and diseases.
There are various ways in which an employer may found liable for an employee’s accident or illness and if it can be proven then the employee has the right to make a claim against their employer. Industrial claims can total large sums of money and this is why employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement for any business that employs even a single member of staff. Employees that are involved in an accident at work or that contract an industrial illness should first report the incident to later aid their litigation claim.
The UK has earned the unfavourable title of being the whiplash capital of the world and recent figures released by the Faculty of Actuaries seems to back up this claim. Whiplash claims now total £2bn a year and reports indicate that anywhere between 50% and 90% of claims are fraudulent. The figures have catapulted Britain to the front of the queue as the most litigious country in the world, ahead of the US which is typically considered to be the worst offender in such cases.
Whiplash is a serious injury and it can have a negative impact on a person’s life for many years following an accident but it is also difficult to categorically prove or deny. Generally, it is down to medical experts to determine whether the injury is real or not and this allows for huge margins of errors, arguably confounded by the fact that many GPs are wary of making potentially costly and damaging mistakes.
Following an announcement by major insurers that fraudulent whiplash claims were adding more than £100 a year onto insurance premiums, the government launched a campaign to determine how best to reduce the number of whiplash claims. Their aim was to reduce car insurance premiums although no sign of reductions has yet been spotted. Over time, a reduction in premiums may be seen but with the changes only coming into force from 1st April the results and effects will take time to filter through.
Figures released by the Faculty of Actuaries shows that whiplash claims make up a huge proportion of personal injury claims that arise from road traffic accidents. In fact, 80% of all road traffic accident claims are whiplash related and this accounts for a total bill of £2bn, putting Britain firmly at the fore of whiplash claims throughout the world. While the US is often considered to be the most litigious country, these recent findings place the UK above the US in terms of claims.
Figures do vary but using a conservative estimate of 50% of whiplash claims as being fraudulent this means that £1bn of compensation is being paid out to people that have not really suffered the injury, or have not suffered to the extent that they claim. Other figures suggest that the figure could be as high as £1.8bn with 90% of claims being fraudulent or exaggerated. With that said, those that suffer injury or loss as a result of an accident that is not their fault do have a right to compensation and therefore have a right to make a personal injury claim.
The Association of British Insurers launched a campaign that suggested people involved in road traffic accidents be checked by healthcare professionals in order to support their claim of whiplash. The ABI wanted to force claimants to undergo these checks before being able to make a claim for their injury. Those that believe they have suffered a whiplash or other injury as a result of a car crash should ensure that they receive medical treatment as soon as possible, at least to prevent the injury from worsening.
Lobbyists and groups that want speed cameras removed will be disheartened to hear that a recent study of 551 fixed speed cameras has shown that, in areas where cameras are used, there is 27% less chance of an accident occurring. The study shows that hundreds of lives are saved every year while hundreds of personal injuries are also avoided through the installation of the cameras. However, while the overall figures were good, 21 of the sites showed an increase in injuries highlighting the necessity for accurate and considered placement.
When the coalition government came into power, speeding cameras were one of the areas where they introduced big cuts. They said, at the time of the cuts that local councils were over reliant on the use of the devices and that alternative methods should also be sought to help improve road safety. Surveys and studies, however, show that local councils continue to use their cameras and have not yet had them removed or decommissioned.
A number of campaign groups and lobby groups have been set up in the past to try and bring down cameras, or limit their use. Opponents of the yellow fixed cameras have questioned their value in reducing accident numbers as well as their actual financial worth. Despite this opposition, though, the number of cameras has increased in recent years although some counties suffer more than others. It is believed that there are more than 6,000 speed cameras, including mobile cameras, in the UK.
Speed is considered a major contributing factor in the number of deaths and serious injuries that result from road traffic accidents. Although there are figures available that show this is only the case in around 6% of serious injuries, speed is certainly a contributing factor in the number of accidents and a study undertaken by RAF Group would indicate that speed cameras have the desired effect. Not only do they slow traffic down but they minimise and reduce the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths on the roads where they are placed.
Road traffic accidents are the single biggest cause of personal injury claims and the insurance industry has claimed that these cases add billions to the total amount that drivers pay every year in their insurance premium costs. The UK has been dubbed the whiplash capital of the world because of the increasingly large number of personal injury claims that are made. The government introduced changes to the industry in April 2013 but anybody that has suffered injuries in a car accident that was not their fault is still encouraged to seek compensation and litigation for the damages they endure.
Busier roads, more powerful cars, and a greater array of distractions for drivers behind the wheel are some of the reasons that car accident numbers are on the increase. Speed is considered to be a major factor that increases the number of accidents and that increases the likelihood of those involved in accidents being seriously injured or worse. This latest study shows that while there are isolated incidents where the introduction of cameras has seen an increase in injuries, they do have a positive, overall effect.
The Road Safety Analysis (RSA) has revealed details of a study that shows rural drivers are more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident than their urban counterparts. The study looked at figures relating to road accidents between 2007 and 2011 and the results show that young rural drivers are, in fact, more than 40% more likely to be involved in an accident than young urban drivers. The study also revealed a number of other figures and statistics related to accidents on the road.
Road traffic accidents can be devastating and any driver that has been involved in such an accident, whether it was their fault or another drivers, will have experienced the horror and shock. They may also have endured painful and lasting injuries – the speed involved in car accidents means that greater force and pressure are put on the human body and this leads to a greater likelihood of serious injuries and even death. Road traffic accidents are the single biggest cause of personal injuries and the resulting PI claims increase in this country has seen the UK described as being the whiplash capital of the world.
The study, which was carried out by the Road Safety Analysis, was funded by Michelin and Rees Jeffreys Road Fund. Figures from accidents that took place between 2007 and 2011 were considered and the RSA looked for trends that developed, paying particular attention to the differences between urban and rural drivers. Overall, young rural drivers were 44% more likely to be involved in a road accident than urban drivers.
The difference was greatest on 60mph roads where rural drivers were 66% more likely to crash than urban drivers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, young rural adults were 89% more likely to hold a full driving licence when compared to those that lived in cities and towns. Rural drivers are also most likely to be involved in a collision while on rural roads with 58% more rural than urban drivers crashing while driving on rural roads.
When it comes to reasons for accidents, rural drivers are 16% more likely to provide a positive breath test while 52% more will be involved in an accident while on a bend. Rural drivers, who have to drive on poorly lit and darkened streets with very little ambient and surrounding lighting, were 63% more likely to be involved in an accident while driving in the dark when compared to urban drivers, who enjoy better lit streets and ambient lighting from surrounding lights and buildings.
Road traffic accidents are a common form of personal injury and anybody that has suffered in a crash that was not their fault may have a case to claim. The figures show that young drivers should pay particular care especially when they are driving in what might be considered anything other than optimal results. Drivers should avoid drinking, take care around bends, and ensure that they pay particular attention when attempting to drive on darkened roads at night.
200 military veterans have been denied access to mesothelioma compensation that civilians in exactly the same position would be entitled to and would receive. The MoD will not pay out to military personnel that were exposed to asbestos before the year 1987 even though a proposed Government Bill that is making its way through the House of Lords would see more than 3,000 sufferers in a similar position receive compensation of around £100,000 each.
The dangers of asbestos have been known for decades now and since the turn of the century a number of people that were exposed to the deadly substance and its spores have successfully been able to claim compensation from employers that put them in harm’s way. Massive law suits have been filed and even where employers and their insurers no longer exist, compensation has been available.
However, the MoD will not award compensation to those military personnel that were exposed prior to 1987. It is believed that this will affect around 200 veterans who worked on navy shipbuilding yards where it is known that the material was used. MoD civilians will be awarded the compensation but not military personnel.
Many people have come out in support of the military personnel and have criticised the loophole that currently exists. Jim Murphy, the Shadow Defence Minister, said “Those who give so much for our country should always be looked after.” Labour MP Thomas Docherty said that “MoD bureaucracy is failing to close this unacceptable loophole.” He called the situation an outrage and said that the sufferers and their families are not being given the support that they deserve.
Mesothelioma is a disease that is caused solely through exposure to asbestos fibres and there is no cure. Sufferers will typically endure extremely painful symptoms and the disease will ultimately lead to death. It is, in fact, one of several conditions that are directly linked to a substance which was frequently and regularly used in construction of buildings and, in this case, in the construction of ships. These diseases can take 40 years to fully develop which means that many that were exposed before the 1987 cut off many not yet have developed the tell-tale symptoms.
Asbestos was used by the Royal Navy in the building of its ships. Specifically, it was used to increase the strength of the ships while also offering fire retardant properties. The material was used until the 1980s when its poisonous qualities were identified and its use was stopped. However, many people were still exposed prior to this date.
The inequality is extremely harsh. Those that were exposed to asbestos after 1987 are entitled to compensation and so too are civilians that worked on the ships before 1987. However, former military personnel that were exposed prior to 1987 are not entitled to receive the same compensation. It is believed that the government will back a reform that is being led by a group of Tory MPs that will close the existing loophole and ensure that all of those affected are entitled to the same compensation.
An IT worker from Kent is suing his employer for £150,000 after an accident left him with a misshapen right finger and unable to find work within, send texts, or use a computer mouse. The man fell down an “unsafe” staircase hitting his head and enduring a number of personal injuries. It is claimed that the old staircase and a live electrical cable combined to create an unsafe environment that led to the accident sustained by Mr Alpman while working for Music and Goods Exchange Limited.
Whilst working in the computer server room at the Music and Goods Exchange, Mr Alpman fell down a flight of stairs. According to his lawyer, the 59 year old hit his head and twisted as he fell to the ground. The accident led to a number of injuries which includes a misshapen right index finger. Mr Alpman has said that the injury is so severe that not only is he unable to use a computer keyboard and mouse but he has to get his son to send text messages for him.
Mr Alpman has issued a writ against his former employers, suing them for the sum of £150,000 because the staircase was unfit and it breached health and safety regulations. All employers are legally obliged to provide a healthy and safe working environment for their employees but the state of disrepair that the staircase was in, coupled with the live electrical cable that ran down the handrail on the left means that, according to Mr Alpman’s lawyers, he was unable to stop himself falling.
The badly injured finger wasn’t the only injury sustained by the IT expert. He suffered injuries to his shoulder, knee, hands, and spine. Extensive injuries of this nature can be commonplace in personal injury lawsuits and if it is determined that Music and Goods Exchange were negligent and therefore liable to meet the damages and compensation for Mr Alpman’s accident then the total figure could be substantial. Not only will they have to pay compensation for the injuries but may have to cover potential lost earnings.
Prior to the accident, Mr Alpman was an IT executive and at the top of his field. However, he believes that the injuries sustained put him at a disadvantage in the labour market and that they are preventing him from being able to find work. Mr Alpman was dismissed from his work within a month of the accident, which occurred in 2011, and he has been unable to find work since that date.
All employers must have employer’s liability insurance and it is this policy that is used to cover incidents and accidents such as the one suffered by Mr Alpman. If the court determines that Music and Goods Exchange, where the IT expert was employed at the time of the accident, were negligent and the injuries suffered were down to this negligence then the company will be required to pay compensation to the claimant. Mr Alpman is suing for £150,000 because of the extent of his injuries, his resulting disability, and the fact that he is now unable to find work.
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