Personal Injury

Mud on the Road

As the weather starts to improve and the daylight hours lengthen, we will all be getting back on our bikes and heading out to the countryside for some fresh air and open roads.

 

One hazard peculiar to cyclists is debris on the road.  On country lanes, this is usually in the form of mud (or manure!) that has been deposited on to the road by the flotsam of farm machinery, or the jetsam of animals moving from one field to another.

 

Coming across these unexpected lumps can cause cyclists to skid, be dismounted and suffer from nasty injuries and cycle damage.  This is even more so when riding at speed on open lanes.

 

In these circumstances, it is possible to bring a claim for personal injury.   They can be difficult claims to bring, but the basics of all road traffic accidents remains the same as you would need to establish:

 

  • that, as road user, you were owed a duty of care;
  • that by failing to clean up the mess, that duty had been breached;
  • that the breach caused you loss (e.g. injury, and/or damage to your vehicle); and
  • that the loss caused was not too remote.

 

There is no legal requirement for animal owners to clean up their animals’ mess, other than dog owners.  However section 161 of the Highways Act 1980, makes it an offence to deposit anything whatsoever on a highway which may injure or endanger other road users.

 

If you know who has put material on the highway which is likely to cause a danger to other road users, then they are liable and you potentially have a claim against them.

 

These are not easy claims to win, but they certainly aren’t impossible with an experienced legal team!

What should I do after an accident at work?

Having an accident through no fault of your own can be a traumatic experience, often made worse by it happening in the workplace. Your employer has a legal obligation to ensure the safety of all employees and if they have breached this duty of care then you are eligible to claim for compensation and any loss of earnings you have incurred due to this accident.

 

What steps do I need to take after an accident? 

Record it as soon as possible

If you have had an accident while in the workplace which was caused by faulty equipment, fault of a co-worker or even hazardous conditions then the first thing you need to do is to record the details in your employer’s accident book. It is important to do so at the earliest opportunity as this serves as initial proof of the accident. A colleague is able to do this on your behalf, should you be too injured to do it yourself. If, for any reason, there isn’t an accident book you (or a colleague) should put the details in writing and send them to your employer as soon as possible. 

Take photographs

It is also important to take photographs to help substantiate your claim. This could be of the accident location, the faulty equipment or just of the circumstances surrounding your accident. It will provide compelling visual evidence and will protect against any dishonesty from your employer attempting to fix an accident location. Take as many photographs as possible – you can never have too much evidence! 

Any witnesses?

Next, gather details of any co-workers who may be a witness to the accident because they will be important as your claim progresses. Ideally, they will have seen the accident first-hand but if that isn’t possible, perhaps they noticed something amiss before the incident took place and dismissed the concern or they can corroborate your account of faulty equipment. You and any witnesses have the right to report any accident without fear of reprisal from your employer, so any interviews will be conducted by an independent party.

 

What am I entitled to?

As an employee, you are entitled to statutory sick pay, but always check your contract of employment because it may be the case that your employer is liable to give you additional sick pay following an accident. Additionally, depending on the severity of your injuries, you could claim benefits.

Employers, by law, have insurance policies in place which protect them from paying any compensation out directly, so you don’t need to feel bad if you thought it would come out of their own pocket. Its nothing personal against your employer and should be treated objectively.

 

McHale & Co are an accredited APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) Practice. If you have been in an accident and would like to get in touch with our Personal Injury experts, who can advise you about your claim, call 0161 928 3848 or email mch@mchaleandco.co.uk

Brexit: What does it mean for personal injury claims?

With Brexit currently looming large over the UK, we have sat down with McHale & Co’s personal injury experts to discuss the impact of leaving The EU will have on the industry, in particular being involved in an accident on the continent.

The current position: Personal Injury claimants in the UK have been protected in law by legislation that originated in Europe.  These laws include a myriad of safety at work regulations, including manual handling and control of asbestos, as well as consumer protection laws.

Post-Brexit: These laws will remain in place, unless the government wishes to amend or appeal them.  If the EU introduces new laws, the UK would have a choice on whether to adopt similar legislation.

 

What if I am injured abroad?

The current position: If you are involved in an accident whilst in Europe, liability is determined according to the health and safety standards of the country in which the accident took place.  A claimant can bring a claim when they return to the UK as any judgment obtained here can be enforced in the EU country where the accident happened.

If you are involved in a road traffic accident, you can submit details of your claim to the UK agent of the foreign insurer.

Post-Brexit: The Motor Insurance Directives and European Court of Justice that have administered the above processes will no longer apply, which would have the effect of making it difficult for UK claimants to make claims for compensation arising from accidents abroad.  The situation is uncertain and there have been calls for the government to take steps to maintain the status quo.

The government is advising those wishing to drive in Europe to ask their insurers for a green card or, alternatively, apply for an international driving permit (which is available from the Post Office).

 

McHale & Co are an accredited APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) Practice. If you have been in an accident and would like to get in touch with our Personal Injury experts, who can advise you about your claim, call 0161 928 3848 or email mch@mchaleandco.co.uk

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