Enterprise And Regulatory Reform Act 2013 Slammed For Victorian Values

The new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 is now in operation and the new rules, which mean that employees injured at work will have to provide evidence of negligence, are being attacked by critics claiming that it is setting workers’ rights back a hundred years. The new rules mean that employees will now have to provide expert statements and evidence in order to be able to sue for compensation if they suffer an injury at work.

Every employer is supposed to be legally obliged to offer a safe working environment for their employees. This means following health and safety standards, providing adequate training, and offering the most appropriate protective clothing and equipment as well as the right machinery and tools. A failure to meet these standards can lead to injury or illness in workers as well as others that set foot on the property of businesses and organisations.

Prior to 1st October, if an employee was injured or became ill at work and it could be shown that the employer did not provide these then it was possible for the employee to claim compensation. The employer was effectively found to be negligent through their negligence. Critics have said that the new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 changes this by placing too much onus on the employee to prove negligence on the part of their employer.

Proving negligence can be considerably more difficult than it sounds. The decision may rest on witness accounts. In some instances, there may not be witnesses to the actual accident while those that are seriously injured while at work should not have to think about collecting witness details before considering their safety and ensuring that they get the medical attention that they require.

Employees should take every step possible to collect data at the time of the accident to have the best chance of a successful compensation claim. This may require collecting witness details, taking photographs, and gathering information. It is also more important than ever that the employee has qualified, skilled, and experienced legal representation if they wish to have the greatest possible chance of success.

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Criminal Injury Victims Can Calculate Likely Compensation Figures

There are a number of factors and facts that are used by courts when determining how much compensation to pay to victims of crime that are injured during the incident. Although the exact amount awarded will differ from one case to the next, it is possible to use the guidelines that are provided by CICA in order to determine at least a ballpark figure of how much compensation an individual will receive.

Claimants should ensure that they use the very latest version of the guidelines, because there have been a number of changes made to the scheme especially over recent months. Using an outdated or superseded version of the guidelines means that the claimant would end up with an inaccurate reflection of the amount they would receive. In a lot of instances, the amounts due to claimants have been reduced so using an older version of the guidelines would lead to a figure higher than is due.

The guidelines include a “tariff of injuries”. This is effectively a price list that gives a full list of potential injuries and the financial value for each of these types of injury. Virtually all types of personal injury are listed in this section of the guidelines, ranging from relatively simple cuts and bruises to considerably more serious brain damage, head and back injuries. More complex injuries like damage to your sense of smell are also included.

Multiple injuries may be included in the compensation payment. The most serious injury will be considered the first injury and 100% of the guideline figures will be used. 30% of the second injury, and 15% of the third injury will also be included in the compensation calculations that are used to determine compensation.

Special payments are also considered by CICA and these can account for a larger portion of the payment than the injury tariff. Special treatments may include loss of earnings as well as the cost of any medical treatment that is required by the victim. If long term or specialist care is required then this too may be included as part of the compensation calculations and the amount that is awarded to the claimant.

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Death At Work Figures Decrease

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released figures showing the number of work related deaths for 2012/2013 dropped when compared to the average figure over the five years before. This still accounted for 148 deaths but represents a significant drop when compared to the average of 181 deaths over the five years prior to this date. The figure also represents a drop of 14% compared to the figures for 2011/2012, when 172 people died from work related injuries or illnesses.

The Health and Safety Executive releases figures of fatal workplace accidents every year but the number of deaths means that comparing year on year is not considered the best approach. Instead, a single year’s figures is compared to a five year average in order to determine whether the tally is experiencing an upward or downward trend. The last full year figures show that 141 people died through work related injuries while the five year average is 181.

The HSE updates figures every quarter. These quarterly figures include a large number of incidents that are still under investigation and, as such, the figures are prone to change in time. For the quarter ending June 30th 2013, there has been a total of 57 fatalities. The industry which has experienced the greatest fatality is the services industry with agriculture the second most deadly and construction next.

Finalised figures for 2011/2012 show that two thirds of all injuries fall into four main categories. Falling from height, being struck by a moving object, being stuck under a collapsing object, and being hit by a vehicle are the most common causes of death in the workplace. Handling injuries are the most common form of all injuries and, when combined with slips and trips, approximately two million working days were lost as a result of these types of incident.

Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that employees are kept as safe as possible while at work. Employees that can prove negligence and suffer an injury or illness as a result of their work may have a right to claim compensation for their employer. Fatalities are obviously the most severe level of injury and a downward trend is obviously a positive sign.

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Court Of Appeal Rules That Secondary Victims Must Witness The Accident To Claim

A recent case is being viewed as a landmark ruling because it determines that secondary victims must have been present at the accident itself, rather than the death of a person involved in an accident, in order to be able to claim compensation.

In the case of Taylor v A Novo (UK) Ltd, the courts were asked to judge on whether the daughter of a victim that died several weeks after an accident at work but as a direct result of the accident was entitled to claim compensation for the psychological suffering. While the courts initially judged that the daughter was entitled to claim, the Court of Appeal judged unanimously that this was not the case and that the daughter could not claim because she was not present during the accident itself.

Secondary victims are considered to be those that are not directly injured in an accident but may suffer some form of trauma as a result. Witnessing the death of another person can have a deep psychological impact on a person, for example, and while the person affected was not the direct victim of the accident it is argued that they have suffered injury or illness as a result of the accident that occurred.

The question raised during the Taylor v A Novo (UK) Ltd case did not seek to determine whether secondary victims had a right to claim, but when. HHJ Halbert was asked to determine a single point and that was whether the daughter of Mrs Taylor was allowed to claim compensation even though she had not been present when the accident occurred. Her mother had died as a result of her injuries several weeks later, which the daughter did witness. HHJ Halbert ruled that it would be possible for such a claim to be made.

However, the case went to the Court of Appeal and the ruling was unanimously overturned. The Court determined that it was proximity to the accident itself and not to the death that determined whether Ms Taylor was allowed to claim. The Court said that changing this ruling would require Parliament intervention and not Court judgement.

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MP Warns That Doctors Are Afraid Of Innovating

Conservative MP Michael Ellis has said that doctors are too scared to innovate for fear of being sued. He made his comments while moving a motion calling for a Medical Innovation Bill. The proposed bill aims to ensure that all doctors can be innovators and that all willing patients can be research patients. Mr Ellis said that greater approval would be required before patients could be used for innovative testing but that it would open the way for doctors to be able to find cures for diseases like cancer.

Medical negligence claims have risen considerably in the past few years. Last year alone the NHS paid out £1.2bn in compensation to those that successfully brought negligence claims against doctors. Patients that have suffered illness or endured any form of loss as a result of negligence on the part of doctors have a right to claim compensation but, according to Mr Ellis, the increasing likelihood of litigation means that many doctors are afraid to innovate.

While the quality and treatment received by NHS patients in the UK is typically very high, accidents and mistakes do happen. In cases where doctors and other healthcare professionals are found to have been negligent and the patient suffers some form of loss, it is possible for the patient to claim compensation.

The amount of compensation that a claimant is due will depend on the type and severity of the injury that they suffered. While minor injuries can attract claims of a few thousand pounds, more serious and long-term injuries may lead to several hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds. Medical negligence claims of these types are meant as recompense for lost earnings and to cover any expenses that the patient has to meet.

Despite Mr Ellis’ claims, patients that have endured additional illness or injury as a result of action or inaction by their doctors do have a right to claim compensation. Mr Ellis, however, points out that while doctors are afraid to offer innovative treatment options when all other options have been exhausted, they should be free to do so without fear of recrimination. What’s more, patients should be allowed to undergo innovative treatment offered by their doctors.

About The Author

Mike Topper at Stocks Legal Personal Injury SolicitorsMike Topper is the litigation manager at Stocks Legal Personal Injury Solicitors. Mike 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 injury claims as a real must for the English legal System as without a proper compensation structure, many injury people can be left with no support or ongoing medical treatment.

If you have any questions arising from this article to can contact Mike by calling 0800 988 9055 or by sending him an email by clicking here.

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More Than 1,000 Personal Injury Firms Have Gone Bust

The effects of the Jackson Reforms and changes to the personal injury market have been felt in the legal sector with more than 1,000 small to medium legal companies less in the third quarter of 2013 than during the same period of 2012. There were 7,295 SME legal firms remaining at the end of September, not only signifying a 12% loss but meaning that nearly 200 firms went bust during the quarter.

The aim of the reforms and changes was to reduce £220m from the annual legal aid bill. Legal Aid reforms mean that funding has been withdrawn for many people that would have previously been given access. Family law and civil litigation cases were among the areas hardest hit by the changes. Funding will no longer be available for certain cases, while certain groups of people including immigrants will not be given access to any of the legal aid budget available in the UK.

Many groups have protested against the changes, with judges and the legal industry claiming that it will not only lead to poor representation but it will transfer costs rather than save them. They argue that an increase in the number of litigants in person, people that represent themselves rather than use professional legal representation, will mean that cases will take longer and cost more in that respect.

The latest figures show that these changes, among other factors, mean that even more smaller firms are in financial distress as well. The number that are considered to be in financial distress has risen 26% to 2,314 while the Solicitors Regulation Authority has said that 495 firms have been identified as being in financial risk and 55 firms are at high risk.

The number of firms in financial risk would indicate that the number of firms going bust is only likely to increase in the near future, rather than decrease. The Jackson Reforms and cuts to the Legal Aid system mean that solicitor and legal firms are finding it more difficult to turn a profit. The full effect of this has been felt over the past 12 months.

About The Author

Safina Soni is a principal personal injury solicitor at Stocks Legal Manchester, specialising in fatal injuries, criminal injury claims and accident at work claims.

Safina has brought a wealth of experience to Stocks Legal and is a pivotal member of their executive team.

"I am very proud to be a personal injury solicitor as I know that I make a real difference to people who have suffered and continue to have problems as a result of their injuries."

As a market leader in personal injury claims, Safina is really easy to contact. You can call her for FREE on 0800 988 9055 or you can send her a confidential email by clicking here.

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Medical Negligence Mortality Rates In The UK Among Highest In The Western World

The debate over medical malpractice and medical negligence claims in the UK have taken another twist as Professor Brian Jarman of Imperial College, London, has published figures that show the NHS has some of the highest mortality rates of any Western country. NHS patients are considerably more likely to die than those in the USA and many other countries. Pneumonia and blood poisoning are among the worst problems.

Medical negligence claims have been in the headlines, following a call for fewer claims to be brought against doctors and healthcare professionals. Supporters of medical negligence litigation argue that the compensation paid to victims is just because it enables them to recover from injuries and illness that were caused by the action or inaction of a doctor or healthcare professional. The money is used in order to cover lost earnings and other expenses faced by the patient.

Professor Sir Brian Jarman is emeritus professor at Imperial College, London. For the past ten years he has been collecting data on mortality rates in seven countries, including the UK and US as well as five unnamed countries. Using this data, he has created an index of mortality figures. The Index has a base rate of 100, which represents an expected level of mortality. Figures above 100 mean a higher than expected mortality rate while figures below 100 represent fewer deaths than expected.

According Prof. Jarman’s results, collected and calculated for the past ten years, England had the highest death rates and highest Index of the seven countries. Although figures have improved over recent years, in 2012 NHS patients were still 45% more likely to die than patients in the USA. Patients aged over 65 fared worse and a number of factors were highlighted as being potential causes.

The NHS is unique in many ways, being tax funded and free to use at the point of service. This means that patients do not have to worry about the cost of treatment when they do fall ill, but high mortality rates and high medical negligence claim figures could point to potential problems that need addressing in order to provide NHS patients with a safe and reliable service.

About The Author

Mike Topper at Stocks Legal Personal Injury SolicitorsMike Topper is the litigation manager at Stocks Legal Personal Injury Solicitors. Mike 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 injury claims as a real must for the English legal System as without a proper compensation structure, many injury people can be left with no support or ongoing medical treatment.

If you have any questions arising from this article to can contact Mike by calling 0800 988 9055 or by sending him an email by clicking here.

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