Personal Injury

 

The importance of pursuing a personal injury claim

Personal injury victims often ask whether it is worthwhile for them to pursue a legal claim following an accident. Personal injury victims can be cautious about claiming for various reasons, such as:

  • They are scared they may lose their job because their accident occurred in the workplace
  • They are unsure of whether they were owed a legal duty of care
  • They do not think they will be able to prove who was at fault
  • They do not believe they will gain much from pursuing a claim
  • They believe the claims process is difficult, timely and expensive.

In this article the reasons for and benefits of pursuing a claim for personal injuries are explained.

Responsibility

There are various circumstances in which personal injuries are suffered as a result of the negligence of another person or entity. As personal injury solicitors, we tend to see cases that arise from:

  • Ignorance of the law
  • Failing to keep abreast with health and safety requirements
  • Failing to provide personal protective equipment to employees such as gloves or safety boots simply to save money
  • Failing to educate and train employees on safe working practices
  • Failing to implement safe working practices within the work force
  • Failing to maintain premises in a good state of repair for the benefit of employees or visitors to the workplace
  • Poor maintenance of public highways
  • Poor maintenance of equipment or machinery.

In these cases the negligent party has either ignored the law or acted in a negligent manner, usually in an attempt to save time and money at the cost of the injured person’s health.

The law places a responsibility on:

  • Employers to protect employees in the workplace
  • The owners and operators of public places, such as supermarkets, to ensure visitors are safe when visiting the premises
  • Local authorities to ensure highways and public places are well maintained and are safe to use
  • Medical experts and medical treatment providers to ensure that people are treated according to reasonable standards
  • Main contractors to protect sub-contracted employees.

If these responsibilities are breached then the person or entity has broken the law and should be held to account for their wrong-doings.

Why is it so important to pursue a claim? 

Justice

Morally, the most important reason for pursuing a legal claim is to achieve justice. If you have been injured through no fault of your own you have a right to ensure that the person or entity that caused the injuries is held accountable for their actions.

Proving negligence can be an extremely lengthy and complex task. The personal injury team at Boyes Turner has been operating for over 30 years and collectively has over 58 years of experience in dealing with all personal injury claims ranging from minor whiplash injuries to life-changing brain and spinal injury. Our extensive experience means you can rest assured that we have the skills and expertise to handle your claim and achieve the best possible outcome.

Treatments, medication and aids

Following an injury you may require treatment, medication and aids.

The type and level of injury suffered will determine exactly what your treatment requirements will be. Typical treatments, medications and aids that personal injury victims may require include:

  • Prosthetics after amputation
  • Walking aids such as a stick, a wheel chair or a motorised scooter
  • Stair lifts
  • NHS prescriptions
  • Over the counter medications
  • Non-NHS provided medical treatments and equipment
  • Physiotherapy and hydrotherapy
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy
  • Holistic treatments.

The costs of these items can quickly add up and should not be paid for by a personal injury victim and should be recovered in a successful legal claim.

Loss of income

Many personal injury victims find themselves having to reduce their working hours, either temporarily during their recovery period, or permanently, in part or in full, owing to their ongoing disability.

In cases of fatal injury, the bereaved family may suffer extreme hardship from the loss of their former loved one’s income. Where the death of the family member was caused by someone else’s negligence and the financial loss to the dependant family can be proven, these losses can be recovered in a successful personal injury claim.

Care and assistance

Personal injury victims may require care and assistance with their day to day living following the accident. In cases of serious, life-changing injuries, the need for care and assistance can be life-long and constant.

Care needs may include:

  • Assistance with dressing
  • Assistance with bathing and toileting
  • Running errands and fetching items
  • Assistance going up and down stairs
  • Assistance with daily chores
  • Physical support
  • Assistance in getting to and from medical appointments
  • Psychological support
  • After care following surgery
  • Assistance with medication.

All of these types of care go over and above the usual care and assistance provided by a spouse or family member and can be very draining on the carer. The provision of this care sometimes also prevents the carer from going to work resulting in a further financial loss.

A successful legal claim would include a sum of money to compensate the carer for the care and assistance they have provided or in cases of severe injury, financial provision would be made for the employment of professional carers.

Out of pocket expenses

All personal injury victims will incur out of pocket expenses due to their accident, such as the  treatments, medications, aids and loss of earnings discussed above.  Further out of pocket expenses could also include:

  • Travel expenses in attending medical appointments
  • Parking expenses in attending medical appointments
  • Paying for professional assistance with household activities, such as gardening, window cleaning, decorating and general DIY that the injured person can no longer manage owing to their injury
  • Replacement clothing costs.

A successful legal claim would cater for these costs to be repaid to you.

Funeral expenses

Where the negligence has led to the victim’s death, reasonable funeral expenses will also be included in the claim.

If you or someone you know would like to discuss the possibility of pursuing a legal claim please call us on 0118 952 7137 for a free confidential discussion.

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."

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.

Colour the world Orange 2017 - International Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Awareness Day

To mark today’s International Complex Regional Pain Syndrome awareness day – Colour the World Orange – we have produced an infographic detailing the symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD).

Buildings across the world are set to turn orange to mark the occasion, the UK buildings are:

·       TRAFALGAR SQUARE FOUNTAINS IN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       EMIRATES SPINNAKER TOWER IN PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       FRESH DIRECT ARENA IN LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       SWINDON CENTRAL LIBRARY IN SWINDON, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       GATESHEAD MILLENNIUM BRIDGE IN GATESHEAD, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       MANCHESTER TOWN HALL IN MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 2

·       BLACKPOOL TOWER IN BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 8

As personal injury claim specialists we see a number of chronic pain cases, including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, one of the most painful types of pain. In our experience, clients develop CRPS after fractures, soft tissue injuries or burns which usually involve extensive swelling and lead to an abnormal neurological pain response that magnifies the effect of their original injury.

If you have been involved in an accident and suffer from chronic pain as a result then get in touch with our expert personal injury claim lawyers on 0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

The use of technology in rehabilitation following an injury

As claimant brain injury specialists, Boyes Turner are keen advocates of the use of rehabilitation to expedite a person’s recovery following an accident.

At the same time defendants in personal injury claims are encouraged to provide suitable rehabilitative treatment to claimants to assist them in their recovery. To read our article on the Rehabilitation Code 2015 click here.

What rehabilitative options are available to injured persons?

Traditionally, rehabilitation involved adopting physical methods to assist in recovery, for example, physiotherapy or hydrotherapy treatment to aid muscle/strength recovery. One-to-one sessions with a counsellor or neuro-rehabilitation specialist were also used to assist with cognitive behavior therapy. Whilst these forms of rehabilitative therapy are still valid and in many cases the most suitable therapy available, they can take time,  be expensive and not always convenient to the injured person.

In the modern era there is a wealth of technology available to assist rehabilitation specialists when providing rehabilitative therapy and also to allow patients to attend therapy at a time which is convenient to them and often in the comfort of their own home.  This article discusses some of the technological aided rehabilitative therapies available to injured people.

Online exercise programmes and training diaries

Physical therapy

Online applications (apps) can now be used for providing patients with exercise programmes to follow at home to assist in their recovery.  These apps provide the following benefits:

·       Physical exercises can be easily demonstrated to the patient using helpful videos.

·       Easy-to-understand information can be provided to teach patients about their posture, body mechanics and how the body repairs itself via physical therapy.

·       The videos and information can be replayed or re-read a number of times by the patient to ensure they fully understand information. This avoids the problem of patients forgetting the instruction that they received during a time-limited in person

·       Some apps have video recording facilities enabling the patient to record their training so that the treatment provider can analyse normal versus abnormal movement patterns in activities such as walking and running.

·       The videos can also be used for research purposes to help evaluate and treat people with movement impairments.

·       Many apps have a therapy diary which can be updated as the patient trains. This helps the patient to keep a track of their training and also allows their therapist to ensure they are complying with training requirements. Additionally, if the patient is making good progress, the therapist can upgrade the treatment program electronically without the need for an in-person appointment.

·       Some apps use video games as part of the physical therapy training. The use of games makes training fun and motivates patients to take part.

·       The use of these apps also provides a time and cost saving benefit to both the treatment provider and the patient, making rehabilitation more accessible, cheaper and less time consuming.

Neurological therapy

Apps can also be used for providing patients with neurological rehabilitation programmes to follow at home to assist in their recovery.  Examples of online neurological rehabilitation therapy include:

·       Apps that are used to provide physical, visual and audible stimulation to patients requiring neural rehabilitation to aid their recovery. Again these apps can be monitored by neuro-therapists to monitor a patient’s progress and, if necessary, treatment programmes can be upgraded remotely.

·       Apps that are designed to assist brain-injured people in living their day-to-day lives, such as apps that allow patients to follow checklists when using public transport or doing chores such as shopping. Family members or friends can also log in to these apps to provide ideas or support to the patient remotely.

·       App users can talk to other patients with similar problems in online chat room sessions. This helps the patient to avoid feeling alone in their rehabilitation journey, reducing depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.  A patient with a healthier outlook on life will be more receptive to treatment.

·       As with the physical therapy apps, these apps provide time and cost saving benefits to both the treatment provider and the patient.

Technology assisted physical training

There have been developments in technology assisted physical training, for example:

·       Anti-gravity treadmills are now available to assist with physical rehabilitation therapy and ambulation.
The benefit of these types of treadmills is that they greatly reduce the amount of weight placed on the patient’s lower body.  This reduces pain and pressure on bones and joints whilst exercising and working on their gait.

·       Underwater treadmills reduce pressure on bones and joints whilst also providing measured resistance which assists in recovery.
Many of these treadmills are fitted with underwater cameras which can help the treatment provider monitor gait and recovery and can also help to evaluate and treat people with movement impairments.

·       Exoskeleton suits are available now to assist people with walking disabilities.

Boyes Turner work closely with a network of healthcare professionals and specialist rehabilitation organisations, which enables us to ensure our clients receive early support and rehabilitative intervention, to assist them in rebuilding their lives after serious injury.  Our aim is to help our clients have the best chance of maximising their recovery and returning to a life that allows them to bring closure to what has happened to them and move on.

If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury due to no fault of their own and would like to discuss pursuing a possible claim for compensation and funding for rehabilitative treatment please call us on  0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

The Rehabilitation Code 2015

When an individual suffers a personal injury one of their key concerns is how long it will take and what assistance they may need to achieve a full recovery. A slow recovery from a personal injury not only prolongs the pain but can also lead to psychological problems.

In many cases the injured person’s GP and hospital will provide advice and treatment to aid their recovery. However, NHS treatment may take a long time to receive, there may be cost restrictions on what assistance can be provided and the available NHS treatment may not fully provide for the injured person’s needs.

Recognising the need for injured persons to receive the correct rehabilitation advice, assistance and treatment, a number of specialist private organisations* formed a working party to find a solution to this problem. As a result of the working party’s efforts a Rehabilitation Code was published in 2007 and was revised in 2015.

The Rehabilitation Code states that its role:

“… is to restore the individual as much as possible to the position they were in before the accident.  The Code provides a framework for the claimant solicitor and compensator to work together to ensure that the claimant’s health, quality of life, independence and ability to work are restored …”

Description: The Rehabilitation Code 2015

The Rehabilitation Code is relied upon by Boyes Turner to ensure that defendants’ insurance companies do all they can to assist the injured claimant with their recovery as early as possible following an accident.

Our solicitors work with national rehabilitation providers, therapists and clinicians whose common goal is to ensure that clients receive the treatment, care and support they need to give them the best chance of regaining their independence and maximising their recovery to its fullest potential.

Rehabilitation can be far reaching and may not just involve medical treatment or therapy.

Many clients find that as a result of their injuries they can no longer do the job they used to do.  With the assistance of a vocational rehabilitation specialist, our clients have been able to identify new avenues of employment to help regain their sense of purpose. This might involve retraining or going back to further education according to the client’s needs.

Rehabilitation can include the provision of care, aids and equipment, mobility aids such as wheelchairs, adaptations to their home and vehicle. With the right help and support, an injured person can also return to the activities or sports they enjoyed before their accident.

Our network of specialist organisations and services enables us to ensure our clients receive the best possible treatment available to them, to increase their prospects of a making full recovery or returning to their pre-accident lifestyle, bringing closure and allowing them to move on.

Claire Roantree, Partner in the personal injury team at Boyes Turner, is dedicated to ensuring that rehabilitation plays a key part in the recovery of all of her clients who suffer serious or life changing injuries and says that,

“The severity of an injury should not necessarily determine an injured person’s long term outcome. With the right rehabilitation and support at the right time, an individual who has suffered a life changing injury has the potential to achieve new goals and live an independent life.”

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a personal injury and would like a free no obligation advice please call us on  0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

* The working party included representatives from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS).  Boyes Turner are members of both of these organisations as well as a number of other specialist organisations dedicated to assisting injured persons.

Vocational rehabilitation and assistance

Recovering from the effects of a serious or life-changing injury is a long and daunting journey which starts with inpatient hospital treatment and care, often followed by some form of rehabilitation treatment and then discharge home. 

Some will be able to return to work after a short period of recouperation, but for many of our injured clients, a return to their pre-accident job may not be possible owing to their ongoing physical and/or psychological symptoms.

In these situations it is essential that the injured person receives ongoing medical treatment and support to maximise their recovery, followed by effective, vocational rehabilitation and assistance to help them return to their workplace or look for suitable, alternative employment.

But how does vocational rehabilitation and assistance actually work?

Where a person wishes to return to their pre-accident job they may need:

  • Psychological support to regain confidence to return to the work place, reassurance that they are capable of performing their role and that they remain a useful asset to their employer.
    If their accident occurred in the workplace, additional psychological support may be required before returning to the accident site. Psychological support may also be needed to help an injured person  come to terms with the fact that they cannot return to their pre-accident role.
  • Medical support to enable them to carry out their pre-accident role.
    Medical support could come from physiotherapists, for example, to help regain the physical strength and dexterity needed to do their job.

  • Workplace assessments to ensure the workplace is suitable for the injured employee.
    Workplace assessments could include ensuring that walkways are wide enough for wheelchair users, that work benches are at the right height for the user and that  workplace equipment is ergonomically suitable for the user.

  • Physical aiding to enable injured people to perform their working role.
    Physical aiding could be in the form of grab rails or specially adapted work tools.
  • Training if the injured person is unable to return to their pre-accident role.
    If an injured person is unable to return to their pre-accident role they may need training for a different role in the employer’s workplace or in a completely new vocation. Training could include workplace training or attending courses at educational establishments such as colleges and universities.
    Specialist advice and guidance will most likely be needed to assist people looking to re-train in a new vocation following an accident to ensure they pick a working role that they are both physically and psychologically able to perform and to ensure the role is one they wish to work in.

Boyes Turner’s Personal Injury team work closely with a wide network of medical and vocational rehabilitation providers, clinicians and therapists who share our dedication to improving the lives of those affected by serious or life changing injuries.

Claire Roantree, a Partner in the Personal Injury department of Boyes Turner Solicitors says:

“At Boyes Turner, we are strong advocates of vocational rehabilitation where an injury impacts an individual’s ability to do their pre accident job. The harmful effects of long-term sickness absence on a person’s physical, mental and social wellbeing should not be under estimated.  Work is such an important part of who we are and our sense of worth. Being able to return to some kind of work after a serious injury helps to improve quality of life and reduces the risk of long-term incapacity.”

Excluding liability for personal injury and the law

Have you ever been asked to sign a contract excluding liability for your personal injury or death and felt that you are signing your life away?

Common situations where you might be asked to sign away your legal rights include:

  • Signing a waiver at a sports event, such as a colour run, which says that the event host cannot be held liable for your death or any injury you suffer whilst taking part in the event.
  • Signing a waiver at a charity event, such as a skydive, which says that the charity or skydiving company cannot be held liable for your death or any injury you suffer whilst taking part.
  • Signing a waiver at work which says that your employer cannot be held liable for your death or any injuries you suffer during workplace activities, when working on certain work sites or even when participating in company fun day events.
  • Signing a waiver on a school trip or child’s activity party form which states that the school trip or party organisers will not be liable for any personal injury suffered by your child.

Unaware of their rights, many people succumb to pressure to sign such personal injury waivers and if an accident occurs, they do not pursue a claim as they believe they have waived their right to do so.

But can companies or individuals legally ask you to sign away such rights?

The answer is no.

Section 2(1) of The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 states as follows:

“A person cannot by reference to any contract term or to a notice given to persons generally or to particular persons exclude or restrict his liability for death or personal injury resulting from negligence.”

This provision is carried over into section 65(1) of The Consumer Rights Act 2015.

So what does this mean to individuals?

It’s easy to feel pressured to sign contracts with personal injury clauses in them for fear of being prevented from entering in to the activity or participating in the event.  Our advice is to point out to the company that the personal injury exclusion clause in the contract they are asking you to sign is unenforceable and is also breaking the law.  You should then try to get them to agree to remove the personal injury exclusion clause before signing the contract.  If the company refuses to let you remove the personal injury exclusion contract clause, do not sign it.

If you have already signed a contract with a personal injury exclusion clause within it and then gone on to suffer a personal injury caused by the contractor’s negligence, you can still pursue a personal injury claim.

It is important that personal injury claims are pursued for a number of reasons to include:

  • Obtaining justice
  • Ensuring that lessons are learned from dangerous practice and similar accidents do not occur in the future
  • To obtain compensation for your personal injury
  • To ensure that you are reimbursed for any out of pocket expenses that you may have incurred as a result of your personal injury, such as a loss of earnings, medical expenses or charges you may have incurred as a result of employing care nurses to help you following your accident
  • To ensure that any future costs that may arise as a result of your injury such as rehabilitation costs are catered for by the company that caused your injury

Statistics for Cyclists from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

According to RoSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, there were 18,844 reported road cycling accidents in the UK in 2015.

These accidents were broken down as follows:

 Child (0 – 15)AdultAll*
Killed694100
Seriously injured2722,9333,239
Slightly injured1,65113,50815,505
Total1,92916,53518,844

*All includes casualties where age not recorded.

However, RoSPA’s report states that the numbers recorded within the statistics do not record a true picture of the number of cycle accidents that occur each year, as many incidents, even serious ones, are not reported to the police.  Furthermore, the statistics only record road related cycle injuries, meaning that the total number of UK cycling injuries is in fact a lot higher than indicated.

The report goes on to provide the following facts:

  • Almost two thirds of fatal or serious cycling injuries involve collisions at or near a road junction with T-junctions being the most commonly involved.
  • Roundabouts are statistically proven to be dangerous for cyclists.
  • The level of injury increases with the speed limit applicable to the road where the accident occurs.
  • Almost half of cycle deaths occur on rural roads.
  • Around 80% of cycling accidents occur in daylight, though most fatal accidents occur in the dark.
  • The most dangerous times for a cyclist to be on the road are 8am – 9am and 3pm – 6pm on weekdays.
  • Around three quarters of cyclists killed die from major head injuries.
  • 16% of fatal or serious accidents reported to the police do not involve another vehicle, but arise from the cyclist losing control of their bike.
  • 20% of accidents involve cyclists entering the road from the pavement unexpectedly.
  • 20% of fatalities recorded in London involve cyclists riding on the left of an HGV where the HGV turned left and collided with the cyclist.
  • 40% of adult and 45% of child cyclists who attend hospital after a cycle accident have suffered a head injury

With the above information in mind, cyclists can take the following measures to avoid accidents and limit their injuries where accidents do occur.

  • When riding at night time always ensure your bicycle is fitted with front and rear cycle lights. An article on the Highway Code rules and guidance regarding cycle lights can be found here.
  • Additional aids can also be purchased to make you more visible to other road users such as reflective clothing, reflectors and flashing lights.

  • Be extra cautious when riding during rush hour times as this is when most accidents occur.
  • Wear a well fitted, branded and safety-marked cycle helmet to limit the damage done if you hit your head during a cycle accident.
  • Wear bright and reflective clothing when cycling to make yourself more visible to other road users.

  • Be extra cautious when riding near road junctions and roundabouts as these areas have a high cycle accident rate.
  • Be cautious when riding near HGV’s and do not attempt to ride on their inside near junctions where they may suddenly turn left.
  • Do not ride straight from the pavement on to the road. Always stop your bike, check it is safe to enter the road and then manoeuvre carefully.
  • Educate young and vulnerable people on the importance of safe cycling to reduce the risk of injury.

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

We have secured compensation awards and settlements for many clients who have suffered serious injuries in road traffic accidents whilst cycling. Where appropriate, we will seek funding at an early stage under the Rehabilitation Code to pay for your treatment and care or through interim payments once liability is proven, in order to aid your recovery and restore your mobility and independence. Making a claim can also help alleviate financial hardship from loss of earnings after suffering an injury in an accident.

  • Page 1 of 10

The service provided was first class. You were understanding, caring and professional

David Froud

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