Brain injury news

 

Protecting your head and brain at work

Every year thousands of people suffer a brain injury whilst at work. These brain injuries can range from mild injuries right through to severe brain injuries where people are left in a vegative state.

Statistical data published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also revealed that 137 people died in the workplace during the period of 2016/2017, 20 of which were as a result of being hit by a moving/falling object.

Boyes Turner sadly have dealt with a high number of cases where people have suffered a brain injury at work, or where someone has passed away as a result of a work place accident. 

To try and help workers protect their head and brain at work we have put together the following list of helpful tips:

Hard hats

Hard hats are available for workers that have been specifically designed to protect the head from falling objects.

If your employer has provided you with a hard hat make sure you wear it at all times. Also ensure that you wear your hard hat correctly, this means:

  1. Wearing the chin strap to prevent it from falling off.
  2. Ensuring the hat is adjusted to fit the head comfortably, but firmly.
  3. Wearing it the correct way, i.e. not back to front.

Also, if your hard hat becomes damaged at all, ask your employer for a replacement, do not continue to wear a damaged hard hat as it will not offer the same protection as an un-damaged hard hat.

If your employer does not provide you with a hard hat, but you think you would benefit from one, discuss it with him/her.Your employer can then conduct a risk assessment and if necessary arrange for a hard hat to be provided to you.

And remember, hard hats are not just for construction workers, hard hats can be worn by a number of other professions such as factory workers and miners and now they are available in different styles such as baseball caps like the one pictured below.

The benefit of a baseball cap hard hat is that it may be more suitable for customer facing roles such as the front of house staff at a trade counter in a warehouse where the employee has to face customers, but also take regular trips in to the warehouse where there is a risk of falling objects.

Warning signs

If you are an employer, always post warning signs to warn employees of areas where there is a risk of being struck by falling objects.These areas of risk can easily be identified by a good risk assessment.If in doubt ask a health and safety specialist to advise your business on the risks affecting your employees.

Employers should also provide hard hats for its employees it expects to work in areas where there is a risk of falling objects and post signs reminding employees to wear there hard hats in those areas.

If you are en employee, make yourself aware of areas where falling object signs have been placed and be extra vigilant when walking through those areas, making sure you wear your hard hat all times in those areas.

Safety netting and barriers

If a risk assessment has identified an area where there is a risk of falling objects, install barriers or netting systems to catch falling objects before they land on an employee.

Whilst a hard hat will offer some protection to an employee from a falling object, a safety net or barrier will prevent the employee from being struck in the first place.

When it comes to safety nets and barriers, ensure they are suitable to catch the weight of the item(s) that could fall and that they are fitted by professionals.

Health and safety training

As an employer it is essential to provide suitable health and safety training to employees whose work may cause items to drop on to others, crane drivers for example, and to educate workers who are at risk from falling objects and how to avoid being struck by them.

Thereafter the employees should receive regular refresher training on these risks to ensure that safety is at the forefront of their mind and that they know how to prevent accidents occurring as a result of falling objects.

The employer should also police good health and safety procedures in the workplace by posting signs in the workplace reminding people of their duties and reminding people of their duties if they are caught breaching the site health and safety rules.

Sporting equipment

If you are a semi-professional or professional sportsman then your club may also provide you with essential equipment to protect you from head injuries such as a cricket helmet or a bicycle helmet.

Always ensure you wear this equipment, even during routine practice sessions to avoid the risk of injury.

Protecting yourself

Please also bear in mind there are many professions where the wearing of protective headgear is not a legal requirement and therefore an employer may not provide you with it.An example would be a bicycle courier. The wearing of cycle helmets is not a mandatory requirement and therefore your employer may not provide you with a good bicycle helmet. It is however known that thousands of cyclists suffer head injuries each year as a result of cycling accidents where a cycle helmet was not worn.

If you have a job such as this, speak to your employer to see if a cycle helmet could be provided. If the employer is unwilling to provide one then you may wish to consider investing in one yourself. Many cycle helmets can be purchased for a relatively low price now and the price will be well worth it were you to fall off of your bicycle.

The above list is just a snapshot of ways you could protect yourself from head injuries in the workplace.

If you or someone you know has suffered a head injury as a result of an accident at work please contact us on 0118 952 7137 or email piclaims@boyesturner.com

If someone you know has passed away as a result of a head injury please also contact us to see if a claim can be made on behalf of their estate.

What is a neonatal brain injury and how do I claim?

What is a neonatal brain injury?

Neonatal literally means newborn. In medical terms, the neonatal period relates to the first few weeks of life. A neonate is a newborn baby. Neonatal care is the specialist care of babies – often born prematurely, unwell or who are small for their gestational age – within the first weeks of life. Neonatal care usually takes place in a neonatal unit (NNU) or special care baby unit (SCBU) or a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), depending on the level of monitoring and treatment and breathing support that is needed.

Can I get Legal Aid for a neonatal brain injury medical negligence claim?

Legal Aid is available for birth injury and neonatal claims resulting in neurological injury where the injury was caused during the mother’s pregnancy, the baby’s birth or the first eight weeks of the baby’s life. Where our specialist brain injury lawyers believe the severely injured child has a viable claim and they are eligible for Legal Aid, Boyes Turner make a Legal Aid application on the child’s behalf.

Does my newborn baby’s admission to NICU, NNU or SCBU mean that they have a claim for negligence?

There are many reasons why a newborn baby might be admitted to a neonatal unit. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • They need help with breathing and maintaining their oxygen levels by ventilation or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
  • They are at risk of hypoglycaemia and need close monitoring and help with feeding to maintain their blood sugar and nutrition
  • Their heart rate needs monitoring
  • They are at risk of kernicterus and need phototherapy for jaundice
  • They are recovering from or are receiving treatment for an infection
  • They are recovering from surgery or other treatment
  • They need therapeutic cooling after suffering HIE (hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy - brain damage from lack of oxygen)

Premature babies (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or those with very low birth weights often need neonatal care as they need more support and are at greater risk of complications.

In full term babies (born after 37 weeks) who have been admitted to a neonatal unit, most admissions relate to problems with respiration, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), jaundice or asphyxia. NHS Improvement has identified poor treatment associated with these conditions as potential causes of greatest harm which, where causing serious neurological injury, can give rise to a claim.

In a patient safety alert in 2017, NHS Improvement said: “It is a priority for the NHS to reduce avoidable harm that can lead to full-term babies (babies born after 37 weeks of pregnancy) being admitted to neonatal units. The number of unexpected admissions to neonatal units is seen as a proxy indicator that preventable harm may have been caused at some point along the maternity or neonatal pathway.”

Perinatal asphyxia or HIE, respiratory problems from meconium aspiration during birth, kernicterus from untreated jaundice, delayed treatment of infection and neurological injury from untreated hypoglycaemia are the most common neonatal brain damage claims that we see at Boyes Turner. Our clients come to us at many stages of their child’s development - shortly after birth, in early childhood or in teenage years - depending on when the damage becomes evident. Negligent medical treatment of the newborn child can cause severe disability which lasts far beyond the baby’s first few weeks.

Neonatal brain injury can present with a wide range of features. Once the damage is done, the injured areas of the brain cannot recover and as the baby grows and develops, the full extent of the problems caused by the neonatal injury are gradually revealed. These impairments can range from near normal development to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy and can present as:

  • delayed development
  • missed early years milestones
  • behavioural problems
  • difficulties with feeding or speech
  • impaired fine motor control
  • damage to the senses
  • spasticity
  • athetosis
  • severe cognitive damage. 

If you are caring for a child who has suffered a brain injury from negligent care at birth or in the first few weeks of life, contact us 0118 952 7219 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Neonatal hypoglycaemia is a cause of brain damage - how do I know if my child has a claim?

What is neonatal hypoglycaemia?

Neonatal hypoglycaemia is a common metabolic condition in newborn babies which, if left untreated, can cause long-term brain damage and disability. Hypoglycaemia means low blood glucose or sugar. It becomes dangerous when the newborn’s blood sugar drops below safe levels, such as before the baby has established a regular feeding pattern enabling it to keep its blood glucose up in the first few days of life. 

What are the risk factors for neonatal hypoglycaemia?

Until adequate feeding is established all newborn babies are at some risk of hypoglycaemia, which is why it is part of the post-natal midwives’ job to ensure that the baby is receiving enough milk. The baby’s blood sugar is measured by a heel-prick blood test and is carried out routinely in some hospitals but should always be carried out for babies who are known to be at risk.

Those at increased risk include:

  • Newborn babies with birthweights below 2.5kg - the standard threshold level below which the baby’s blood glucose must be monitored
  • Babies with diabetic mothers
  • Babies who are small for dates with intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR)

Regardless of birthweight or their mother’s state of health, any baby who is not feeding properly could be at risk, for example by:

  • Not waking up for feeds
  • Not sucking properly
  • Demanding feeding very frequently because they are not getting enough food at each feed

Is neonatal hypoglycaemia a medical emergency?

If acted upon quickly, neonatal low blood sugar can be corrected quickly by feeding, either by breastfeeding if that provides enough milk, by expressed breastmilk or formula milk or, if necessary, intravenously by a glucose drip.

In a review of medical negligence claims relating to neonatal hypoglycaemia, NHSLA (the NHS Litigation Authority, now known as NHS Resolution, which represents the NHS in legal claims) found that abnormal feeding behaviour was very closely associated with the condition, both as a cause and as a potential consequence of hypoglycaemia. Maternal concerns about abnormal feeding behaviour were often ignored by health professionals, missing a vital opportunity to take action to prevent hypoglycaemia before permanent damage was done to the infant’s brain.

If neonatal hypoglycaemia is severe or is left untreated, the baby’s condition will deteriorate, demonstrating other signs of illness. Neonatal hypoglycaemia with abnormal clinical signs must be regarded as a medical emergency requiring immediate action to avoid permanent brain damage and severe neurodevelopmental disability. Abnormal signs which are commonly seen with hypoglycaemia include:

  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
  • Floppiness
  • Fitting or jitteriness
  • Infection
  • Respiratory (breathing) difficulties

Hypoglycaemia can also occur alongside and in combination with other serious conditions.

My baby has brain damage from hypoglycaemia – do I have a claim?

In its review of 25 neonatal hypoglycaemia claims which succeeded against the NHS over a ten year period at a total cost of over £162 million, NHSLA identified the most common errors in clinical care as:

  • Delays in obtaining blood glucose test results
  • Delays in taking action on a low blood glucose result
  • Delays in referring babies to the paediatrician once concerns have been identified
  • Delays in admitting babies who have been diagnosed with clinically significant hypoglycaemia to the neonatal unit (NNU)
  • Delayed administration of intravenous glucose on the NNU
  • Insufficient glucose being administered to correct the hypoglycaemia
  • Delayed attendance by the paediatrician when called by the midwife to review
  • Failing to advise the mother properly when the baby is discharged home.

Unlike asphyxial (oxygen deprivation) causes of perinatal brain injury, neurodevelopmental disability from neonatal hypoglycaemia might not be obvious to the parents in the immediate aftermath of the traumatic birth or the infant’s early childhood. Neurodevelopmental disability from avoidable neonatal hypoglycaemia might be disregarded or downplayed until the child grows and the impact of their injury later becomes evident when they struggle to cope at school.

In its review, NHSLA said it was likely that whilst the cases they knew about were those where the parents had identified potential deficits in care, it is likely that others who were harmed have not been notified to NHSLA via the litigation process.

Boyes Turner’s specialist brain injury solicitors are experienced in obtaining compensation for children and teenagers with neurodevelopmental injury from avoidable neonatal hypoglycaemia. We work with experts to ensure that, where liability for the injury is established, the extent of the injury and the impact on the individual’s mobility, cognition, education, work and independence is properly assessed to ensure that our clients are properly compensated. In addition, our special educational needs (SEN) team can help families with children affected by neonatal brain injury secure the educational support that they need for their child within the school that is right for them.

If you are caring for a child who has suffered neurodevelopmental disability from negligent medical care, contact us on 0118 952 7219 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Is the Boyes Turner personal injury team right for you?

When someone has suffered a personal injury it is essential that they pick the right solicitor to assist them with their claim.

Carefully selecting the correct solicitor will ensure that you have:

  1. Access to up to date legal advice.
  2. Advice from a large network of specialists that we work with, such as medical experts, barristers, financial and welfare benefit advisors, employment and educational experts, housing and conveyancing specialists, and more.
  3. Access to specialist care and rehabilitation providers to assist you in your recovery journey.
  4. A speedy conclusion of your claim.
  5. Peace of mind that you will receive the compensation you need to secure your future.

No two claims are the same, even if the injuries are similar or if they were injured in the same accident. Thankfully Boyes Turner’s team of dedicated personal injury specialists are able to advise on all types of personal injury claims from minor injuries right through to life changing injuries such as brain injuries, spinal injuries and amputations.

Below we give you a quick introduction to the partners in the team and the specialisms they hold.

Kim Smerdon

Kim Smerdon leads Boyes Turner’s highly regarded personal injury team. A specialist in catastrophic injury cases, Kim acts for clients with acquired brain damage, spinal injuries and serious orthopaedic injuries.

Kim has extensive experience of all types of personal injury cases and has acted for clients who have been injured in road traffic accidents, in the workplace, as a result of defective products and criminal injuries.

A keen charity fundraiser, Kim recently completed the 3 Peaks Challenge, climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in 24 hours to raise over £35,000 for The Debbie Fund, a charity set up to raise funds for research into cervical cancer.

Kim is a member of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel and an accredited senior litigator and brain injury specialist with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). She is an associate member of the Child Brain Injury Trust, and a member of the Brain Injury Social Work Group, Headway and Spinal Injuries Panel Solicitors. She is a Headway Life Member, a trustee of Headway Thames Valley and trustee of the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust, a charity committed to saving young people’s lives by promoting safer cycling and benefits of using a cycle helmet. 

Claire Roantree

As a partner in Boyes Turner’s highly regarded personal injury team, Claire acts for clients with life-changing injuries, such as mild to very severe brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, severe burns, complex orthopaedic and musculoskeletal injury, chronic pain and PTSD. 

Claire works closely with the defendant insurers, using the Rehabilitation Code and securing interim payments to provide her injured clients with the treatment, care, facilities and support that they need to get their rehabilitation underway straight away, without losing valuable recovery time whilst waiting for final settlement at the conclusion of the claim. Working with experts in a variety of medical and therapeutic disciplines, professional case managers and carers, the client’s immediate needs are prioritised – recovery and rehabilitation – whilst the claim is quantified to make maximum provision  for their future needs for ongoing care, support and financial security.

A keen charity supporter and fundraiser she has used her love of running and walking to fundraise for The Children's Trust, Tadworth. She has run events for Headway SW London for whom she was a trustee for six years. She is a trustee for Cycle Smart and supports the charity’s campaign to raise cycling safety awareness and reduce road traffic accidents. 

Claire is a member of the Law Society's Personal Injury Panel, APIL (Brain Injury Specialist Interest Group), Headway and ABIL (Acquired Brain Injury across London).

As you can see there is no type of claim that the team cannot handle and together they are confident that they can assist you in achieving the best recovery possible as well as the justice and compensation you deserve.

If you would like to speak to our specialist personal injury team please do not hesitate to contact us for a free no obligation advice on 0118 952 7137 or email piclaims@boyesturner.com.

Cycle Smart Foundation: The 5 S's event, Friday 27 April 2018

As specialists in brain injury and severe disability claims, Boyes Turner’s personal injury lawyers are active supporters of the Cycle Smart Foundation which campaigns for child safety, the prevention of accidents and reduction of injury. 

Boyes Turner have been working with the charity’s founder, Angie Lee, to promote safer cycling for children by encouraging them to wear well-fitted cycle helmets properly. Learn more about the 5 Ss campaign here.

Cycle Smart Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary in May 2018. To mark the event, personal injury partner and Cycle Smart trustee, Claire Roantree, was delighted to host the charity’s ‘5 Ss’ research meeting which gathered representatives from local councils in Berkshire and the South East, the Department for Transport, Hampshire & Thames Valley Police, CCG, Child Accident Prevention Trust, Royal Berkshire Hospital, Brain Injury Group,  Brake, Headway UK and Circle Hospital Reading to review and discuss data collected by Cycle Smart over the last 12 months relating to children’s cycling habits.

The charity carried out national questionnaire surveys in 2017 which looked at the cycling behaviour of children aged five to seven, seven to nine, and ten to 14, and studied attitudes in teenage cyclists.  All questionnaires were completed in schools which had been randomly selected but gave a cross-section of child cyclists in England. 

Findings of the study

The study found that although more children walked to school than cycled, there were higher numbers of hospital admissions for pedal cycle injuries than for injuries to child pedestrians.

There was an increase in the number of cyclists aged between five to nine years old. 79% of children in this younger age group own a helmet, compared with only 58% of 11 to 14 year old cyclists. Amongst helmet owners, a higher proportion of younger children wear their helmet than teenagers. Despite owning a helmet, a large proportion of teenagers never wear one.

Should wearing cycle helmets be mandatory for children up to the age of 14?

More children are cycling on roads where there are cars. Amongst primary school children, who are more easily influenced by their parents and teachers, cycle helmets tend to be worn. Secondary school children are more susceptible to influence from social and peer pressures where factors such as, whether their friends wear helmets, whether to do so is uncool or messes up their hair, are deterring them from looking after their own safety and placing them at increased risk of serious injury in the event of an accident or a fall.

Internationally, more and more countries have introduced legislation to make helmets mandatory for child cyclists, including France, 22 states of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Jersey. The obvious implication is that mandatory cycle helmet legislation is considered to be associated with a reduction in head injuries with cyclists of all ages. However, young children are particularly vulnerable to head injury if they fall from their bikes. 

The diverse and experienced focus group discussed the influence of parental control, social factors, demographics, education, peer pressure, the availability of Bikeability schemes and funding issues in Local Authorities.

Cycle Smart promotes the availability of the Bikeability Scheme for all children regardless of background, beginning at an earlier age and continuing into secondary education to promote and maintain better cycling safety habits. Cycle Smart also campaigns for the mandatory wearing of cycle helmets for children up to 14 years of age. 

This push for legislative change is all too frequently met with arguments ranging from the fear that the imposition of mandatory helmets will deter people from cycling if they perceive it to be a dangerous sport to concerns about increasing obesity within an increasingly inactive population. However, for those who have seen first-hand the brain damage and lifelong disability that can be suffered by children who are knocked or fall from their bikes, it makes sense to make safety and the protection of their head and brain the overriding priority.

Cycle Smart’s research reveals that the key factors in influencing the behaviour of children of all ages are school rules and the law. Encouragement is needed to create a collective consciousness whereby the wearing of cycle helmets becomes “the norm”. 

In the light of this latest research Boyes Turner await the government’s review of child cycling safety, due later this year in the hope that mandatory increased safety measures will reduce the numbers of children suffering head injuries from cycle accidents in England each year.

 

 

Cycle helmets: To wear or not to wear?

Recently, one of our personal injury team, asked the following question on Linkedin:

“Should cycle helmets be a legal requirement on UK roads for safety purposes?”

We were surprised at the reaction this question received.

  • The post was viewed 15,350 times in just 7 days, suggesting that the issue of cycle safety and brain injury prevention is important to a large sector of the population, whether cyclists or not.
  • The post received 137 comments:
    • Of those comments:
      • 17 people replied ‘yes’
      • 13 people replied ‘no’

The remaining comments were not ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, but were people giving their views on the subject, many of whom described their own accident experiences when they were or were not wearing a helmet.

Of the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers provided, it can be seen that more of those who answered the survey question (56.66%) are in favour of cycle helmets being a mandatory requirement, but not by much. As personal injury lawyers we were surprised by the response and expected the ‘yes’ votes to be higher.

Why should cycle helmets be a legal requirement?

Boyes Turner’s personal injury team act for many cyclists who are knocked off their bicycles by other vehicles on the roads, or who suffer injury due to a poorly maintained road. We regularly help injured cyclists who are suffering from:

  • brain injuries
  • hearing loss/tinnitus
  • loss of vision
  • facial injuries
  • skull fractures
  • extensive scarring

Many of these injuries can be avoided or, their severity reduced, if a cycle helmet is worn. 

Above is a picture of a damaged cycle helmet following an accident. It is scary to think what condition the wearer’s skull and brain may have been in had they not been wearing a helmet at the time of this accident.

Whilst the Highway Code (Rule 59) does not mandate that a cycle helmet is worn, (it simply states you ‘should’ wear one), Boyes Turner believes that this doesn't go far enough. Our experience confirms our belief that it makes sense to wear one. 

Boyes Turner’s injury lawyers also believe that it is good practice to educate children about the benefits of wearing a cycle helmet and the risks of not doing so. If children are taught this important lesson from a young age they are much more likely to continue wearing a cycle helmet for the rest of their cycling lives.

Boyes Turner supports Cycle-Smart Foundation, a local Reading charity who campaign for safer cycling particularly amongst younger children.

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured following a cycling accident please contact us on 0118 952 7137 or email piclaims@boyesturner.com for a free no obligation advice on pursuing a personal injury claim. 

 

Santa's little bikers need safety advice under the tree to go with their new wheels

Children are cycling on our busy roads at a younger and younger age, many from the age of five, according to new research from local child cyclist’s safety charity Cycle-Smart

With the Christmas peak in bike and helmet sales now upon us, the charity - as part of its #FiveSs campaign - is visiting schools across the Thames Valley to increase parent's and children's awareness of the need for properly fitted helmets and safer cycling practice - to mitigate risk of serious injury or death if new bikes and helmets are not accompanied by more effective, simple guidance on head protection and road safety. 

The national research from Cycle-Smart surveyed over 1,700 children in England aged 5-9, and found:

More than one in seven (15%) of 5-6 year olds now cycle on roads where there are cars;

The figure rises to 37% of 7-9 year olds;

Amongst boys in the 7-9 year old  44% were more likely to cycle on the road compared to 23% of girls;

Only 70% even own a helmet, and only 47% wear them every time they use their bike.

The last 6 months of road data (January- June 2017) shows a 24% increase in serious child cycling casualties compared to same 6 months last year.

Boyes Turner is proud to have sponsored a video for Cycle-Smart, released today, which gives simple to follow tips on helmet fitting and cycle safety.   

A snap-survey conducted last month by Cycle-Smart volunteers of 350 children, including 120 in the Reading, Newbury, Slough and wider Berkshire area, has revealed a worrying failure of children to wear properly fitted helmets:

Over 60% of under six-year-olds did not have straps secured properly under the chin or with the Y-shaped straps fitted correctly around the ears;

Over a quarter of under six-year-olds did not have the helmet positioned correctly on their heads.

For 6-14 year olds, over 40% didn’t have straps positioned and secured correctly, and 18% didn’t have the helmet positioned correctly on their heads.

Angela Lee, Founder and Chief Executive of Cycle-Smart, says:
"A lifetime of happy, healthy cycling is one of the greatest gifts parents can give their child. But a bike without a well-fitted helmet and the common-sense advice and training necessary to share the road with cars, vans and trucks could lead to unnecessary anguish. We're urging parents, bike shops and those responsible for educating our children to use the roads safely to come together to make sure this Christmas's bike bonanza leaves a safe and happy legacy in the New Year."

Claire Roantree, Trustee of Cycle-Smart and Partner at Boyes Turner LLP, says:
"Thousands of new bikes will be under the tree this Christmas. They're gifts that will create happier, healthier, more independent kids. However, it is an unavoidable fact that some of these bikes will lead to accidents. The risks shouldn't stop kids getting freer and fitter on their bikes. But it would be reckless if a major part of the gift wasn't parents, bike shops and schools coming together to ensure helmets are always well-fitted and advice is provided to the ever-younger kids sharing the roads with cars. We urge all parents of child cyclists to watch the Cycle-Smart video."

Oakland's Junior School win prizes for road safety project

Children from Oaklands Junior School in Crowthorne worked hard and had fun learning about road safety during this year’s Road Safety Week campaign (November 20-26, 2017).

Their challenge was to think about how to make the roads around their school safer, and to create a poster promoting road safety. 

The national awareness week is the flagship event of Brake, the road safety charity, and has been running for 20 years. The theme, Speed Down Save Lives, was chosen because speeding remains a huge problem in the UK; the risk of injury increases massively with impact speed, and speeding is a factor in nearly a quarter of fatal road crashes in the UK. 

Local Brain Injury Group member firm Boyes Turner supported the school’s activity and got involved in judging the poster entries and awarding prizes.

“We work with families badly affected by avoidable accidents all the time, and campaigns like this are a great way to get the message out there that we can all do a bit more to make our streets safer and reduce accidents,” said Claire Roantree, Partner at Boyes Turner. “The creativity of the children never fails to impress, and demonstrates that they’ve had fun learning about a very serious message.”

The winning entries each received WHSmith vouchers, and all children taking part received a fluorescent pencil.

“Road Safety Week is about raising awareness that will keep everyone alert and safe on the roads. If we can make the message fun, we can make it last”, said Sally Alexander, teacher at Oaklands.

The Brain Injury Group is a national network of specialist brain injury lawyers and support services. If you have been affected by brain injury visit braininjurygroup.co.uk for help and signposting to services.

Speed down - Save lives

The simple fact is that the faster you are driving, the more chance you have of being involved in an accident and the more chance that the accident will be serious or could result in a fatality.

Facts

  1. Did you know that approximately two-thirds of crashes in which people are killed or injured occur on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or less.
     
  2. At 30 mph vehicles are travelling at 44 feet (about 3 car lengths) per second. All it would take is one blink and a driver may fail to see the early warning of another vehicles brake lights. A short glance away and the movement of a child from behind a parked car in to the road will be missed.
     
  3. Even in good conditions, the difference in the stopping distance between 30 mph and 35 mph is an extra 21 feet or 6.4 metres, more than 2 car lengths.
     
  4. If average speeds were reduced by just 1 mph, the national annual accident rate would fall by approximately 5%.
     
  5. If an individual drives more than 10 - 15% above the average speed of the traffic around them, they are much more likely to be involved in an accident.
  6. On average, in front impact collisions, seat belt wearing drivers have a 17% risk of being fatally injured in impacts at 40 mph and a 60% risk at 50 mph, though half of drivers who were fatally injured were in an impact of 34 mph or less.
     
  7. In side impact collisions, drivers are at a much greater risk of being fatally injured:
    In a collision at 40 mph the risk of a seat belt wearing driver being killed is 85%.
     
  8. Studies involving pedestrians have shown that pedestrians are more likely to be severely or fatally injured when hit by cars at higher speeds, and particularly when the car is travelling more than 30 mph.
     
  9. An analysis of vehicle speed in pedestrian fatalities in Great Britain found that 85% of pedestrians killed when struck by cars died in a collision that occurred at impact speeds below 40mph, 45% at less than 30 mph and 5% at speeds below 20 mph.

    The risk of a pedestrian who is hit by a car being killed increases slowly until impact speeds of around 30 mph. Above this speed, the risk increases rapidly so that a pedestrian who is hit by a car travelling at between 30 mph and 40 mph is between 3.5 and 5.5 times more likely to be killed than if hit by a car travelling at below 30 mph. However, about half of pedestrian fatalities occur at impact speeds of 30 mph or below.

As can be seen from above speeding is highly dangerous and even going just a few miles per hour over the speed limit can mean the difference between life and death.

But what can be done to change the general public’s opinion that speeding is ok, as long as you are not speeding excessively?

Education

Perhaps the best way to stop people from speeding is by the use of education.

Education is absolutely vital in trying to change attitudes towards speeding.  As an example, those who drink and drive are seen as behaving in a dangerous, anti-social, immoral and selfish manner with little regard for the safety of other people.  However, those who speed are often not regarded in this way unless they grossly exceed the speed limit.  It is essential that the dangers caused by driving at inappropriate speeds are clearly explained and demonstrated (in the way that has been done for drink-driving) to work towards a general acceptance and ownership of the problem of illegal and inappropriate speed.

It will be far easier to persuade people to drive at safer speeds if they understand and accept that driving too fast significantly increases the chances of being involved in an accident, and significantly increases the chances of that accident being serious or fatal.  

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) strongly support road safety publicity campaigns such as the Department for Transports “Think Country Roads” campaign which highlights the dangers of inappropriate speed.

Speed cameras

Speed cameras are placed in known accident hot-spots to force drivers to slow down in those areas.  These cameras play a vital role in slowing drivers down though many drivers will simply slow down when they see a speed camera and then speed up again after they have passed it.

Drivers should remind themselves that speed limits and speed cameras are in place for a reason and keep at or below the speed limit at all times.

Vehicle speed restriction devices

Many modern vehicles are now fitted with speed restriction devices which the driver can set to stop them self accidentally going over the speed limit.

On many commercial vehicles such as lorries these devices are fitted by the company/vehicle owner and cannot be removed by the driver.

Vehicle speed restriction devices are a great way to slow drivers down, though even if your vehicle is not fitted with a speed restriction device by simply checking your speedometer on a regular basis you can ensure you do not accidentally go over the speed limit.

Leaving on time

Many accidents are caused by people rushing due to the fact that they are running late. Always ensure that you leave plenty of time for your journeys so that there is no need to speed.

Our message

We have sadly dealt with many road traffic collision claims where people have been severely or fatally injured. 

The effect of a high speed accident will be devastating to the injured victim, often resulting in a serious spinal injury, an amputation or a brain injury. 

In the case of a fatal accident the victim’s family will be markedly impacted by the loss of a loved one.

We fully support Road Safety Week and recommend that all drivers ensure they drive within the speed limits. If you would like more information on Road Safety Week click here.

Cycle Safety and the Highway Code

Are you aware that it is a mandatory requirement of the Highway Code for all cycles to be fitted with reflectors and lights if being ridden at night?

Rule 60 of the Highway Code states that:

·       At night your cycle MUST have illuminated white front and red rear lights.

·       Your cycle MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 01 October 1985).

The above requirements within Rule 60 are mandatory. (The Highway Code emphasises this by highlighting the word “MUST” in bold capitals).

Rule 60 also states that:

·       While front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen.

·       Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp

These two recommendations are not mandatory, but are good advice to cyclists to ensure that they are safe and visible to other road users.

Boyes Turner are instructed by many cycle users who have been injured whilst cycling in circumstances where the correct use of cycle lights might have helped avoid the accident, such as falling from the bike owing to unseen defects in the road surface or collisions with another vehicle whose driver didn't see them.

Boyes Turner recommend that all cyclists comply with the Highway Code, both for their own safety and to increase their prospects of recovering compensation in the event of an accident.

Additionally, other items such as reflective strips, reflectors that can be attached to cycle helmets and specially designed, bright clothing can make you more visible to other road users.

Boyes Turner are trustees of “Cycle-Smart”, a local cycle charity in Reading and share their aims to promote cycle safety.

  • Page 1 of 8

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

How can we help?

Please get in touch 0800 029 4802

Or we are happy to call you back at a time that suits you

Office open Mon - Fri: 08:30 - 18:00

We are here to help

For more information or to speak to one of our experts, please call 0800 029 4802