Month: September 2020

Accident at work – how do you know if your employer is liable?

All employers in the UK have a legal responsibility to protect the health, safety and well-being of their employees and, as the pandemic continues to sweep the world, it opens up new areas of risk in the workplace.

 

Now more than ever, employers have a legal, ethical and moral duty to ensure that everyone they employ is kept safe from physical or psychological harm.

If you have suffered an accident at work, your employer could be liable, but this will depend on the circumstances that led to the accident.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR EMPLOYER IS LIABLE AFTER AN ACCIDENT?

 

The Health and Safety at Work Act was introduced in 1974 to protect all employees and other staff in the workplace. It sets out that all employers in the UK must ensure that a work environment is hazard-free and as safe as is feasibly possible for workers to carry out their jobs with the minimum risk of being injured.

In order to adhere to this, the following measures must be in place:

  • Adequate and ongoing training provided to all employees
  • Industry-standard personal protective equipment available to all employees
  • Regular workplace inspections conducted
  • All equipment, machinery and tools must be maintained in good working order
  • Hazard signs erected in a work environment where necessary
  • Risk assessments carried out to identify hazards in the workplace
  • All employees must be made aware of any hazards that may be present in a work environment
  • All work environments must be kept clean and free from obstacles

This duty of care applies to both permanent and temporary employees, as well as contractors and agency workers.

If you suffer an accident at work after your employer fails to adhere to any of the above measures, your employer could be liable. As such, you would have every right to seek compensation by bringing a personal injury claim against your employer.

 

WORRIED ABOUT CLAIMING AGAINST YOUR EMPLOYER?

 

Nearly half of all accidents occur in the workplace, yet employees substantially under-report injuries. This is mainly due to a fear of the consequences which may occur if they claim for compensation against their employer – such as worrying about losing their job or being treated differently following the claim.

It is important to remember that these fears are generally unjustified. All employers are required to have Employers Liability Insurance, which will cover them if a member of their team has an accident in the workplace. Action can also be taken against any employer who wrongly discriminates against an employee following a claim.

Tackling the myths surrounding workplace injury claims

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE AN ACCIDENT AT WORK?

 

If you are involved in an accident at work, it can be a distressing and confusing time, especially if you have sustained an injury as a result, and are now suffering from loss of earnings and mounting medical bills.

If the accident was a result of your employer’s negligence, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Following the correct procedure below after a workplace accident will ensure that you have the best chance to claim the compensation you deserve.

  1. Report the accident immediately to your line manager, or the next person in charge if your manager is not available. Follow the correct accident reporting procedure set out by your employer

 

  1. If you have to seek medical attention from a GP or A&E department, ensure all injuries are accurately documented in your medical records

 

  1. Collect evidence from the scene of the incident if safe to do so, and record the injuries sustained, as well as any lasting symptoms and consequences (through written accounts and images)

 

  1. Make sure the accident is accurately recorded in the accident book, and if anybody witnessed the incident ensure they provide a written account of what happened – check the details are correct before you sign it

 

  1. If the accident was not your fault, seek advice from an experienced solicitor who will assist you in obtaining all the necessary information you need to make a claim.

If you have been injured at work and wish to obtain free, confidential advice, please get in touch with our expert team on 0800 880 7864 or info@hampsonhughes.com

Grade B + Solicitor

Personal Injury Department

Role: Qualified Solicitor
Experience: Must have a minimum of 3 years’ PQE experience in Civil Litigation with exposure to multitrack and extensive experience within EL/OL/PL.
Salary: £31,000 – £41,000

We are seeking an accomplished and high calibre solicitor that has a proven track record in successfully running caseload of Claimant RTA and EL/PL/OL matters from start to finish, pre and post litigation. With a PQE in the region of 3 to 6 years, you will have extensive knowledge of litigation procedures and technical knowledge of CPR within a similar role, and will be confident in securing the best outcome for our clients. You will quickly become an integral part of the busy and cohesive personal injury department, and will be supported and supervised by senior management whenever necessary. This is an exceptional opportunity for a hardworking, committed and self-motivated individual who wants to be part of a progressive and forward-thinking firm.

World Sepsis Day 2020: Are COVID-19 patients at more risk of sepsis?

As the UK’s number one cause of death, sepsis is a condition that can affect any age, sex or race. In fact, the number of people who die from it each year exceeds the number of those who lose their lives to prostate, lung and breast cancer combined.

 

However, it is a matter that still requires more public awareness, especially as we battle through the COVID-19 pandemic. As we mark World Sepsis Day on 13 September, we look at how COVID-19 patients face the additional risk of developing sepsis, how we can address this issue and what action can be taken if the development of the condition was mistreated or misdiagnosed.

 

WHAT IS SEPSIS AND HOW DO YOU SPOT THE SYMPTOMS?

Often referred to as blood poisoning, sepsis occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to fight healthy tissue and organs, leading to organ failure and, in some cases, death.

 

The Sepsis Trust tells us to looks out for the following symptoms:

Slurred speech or confusion

Extreme shivering or muscle pain

Passing no urine (in a day)

Severe breathlessness

It feels like you’re going to die

Skin mottled or discoloured

 

WHAT CAUSES SEPSIS AND IS IT PREVENTABLE?

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that, in 2017, affected 49 million people across the world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Its causes include:

  • A chest infection causing pneumonia
  • A urine infection in the bladder
  • A problem in the abdomen, such as a burst ulcer or a hole in the bowel
  • An infected cut or bite
  • A wound from trauma or surgery
  • A leg ulcer

 

While sepsis does not discriminate between factors such as age or sex, it is most common in pregnant and recently pregnant women; young children; elderly people; and those with underlying chronic health conditions. There is also a higher number of incidences and deaths in low- and middle-income countries.

 

However, sepsis is preventable and is often linked to suboptimal quality of care, an inadequate health infrastructure, poor infection prevention measures, late diagnosis, and inappropriate clinical management.

 

HOW ARE COVID-19 PATIENTS IMPACTED BY THE THREAT OF SEPSIS?

As we’ve mentioned, sepsis is the body’s response to an infection, injuring its own tissues and organs. Therefore, people who are struck down with severe cases of COVID-19 – and other infectious diseases – are at a higher risk of developing, and dying from, sepsis.

 

The Sepsis Trust says that a percentage of COVID-19 cases can develop into such organ failure, meaning that, as well as respiratory failure, kidney failure and / or shock is also possible.

 

And, the Global Sepsis Alliance (GSA) is calling for action to raise awareness of sepsis to save lives. The organisation is asking government, regional and global institutions, such as WHO, to step up its efforts and allocate more resources to fight against sepsis, stating that such improvements will impact positively on COVID-19 patient outcomes.

 

GSA President, Prof. Konrad Reinhart, says: “The 2020 World Sepsis Day occurs at a time when mankind faces one of the greatest pandemics of recent times. Severe infections with COVID-19 are in fact viral sepsis – which is often not recognised.

 

“Severely ill COVID-19 patients and those affected by sepsis from other pathogens — such as bacteria, other viruses, fungi, or parasites — are indistinguishable on clinical grounds.”

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU WERE MISDIAGNOSED AND HOW CAN WE HELP?

If you or a loved one has developed sepsis and it was not identified or diagnosed and treated during the early stages, you could go on to have long-term health problems and could therefore be entitled to compensation.

 

Our medical negligence team works with individuals to ensure they receive compensation to help towards the costs of rehabilitation, loss of earnings or prescription charges.

 

Carlos Lopez, director of the clinical negligence team at Hampson Hughes Solicitors, said: “I have acted for many clients and families who have been affected by sepsis. Unfortunately, sometimes the condition has led to tragic – and avoidable – deaths.

 

“Now more than ever, in the shadow of a potential second rise in COVID-19 infections, hospitals and medical professionals need to be on high alert for sepsis signs and symptoms.

 

“Training, relevant sepsis medical equipment and understanding of sepsis protocols are key, to avoid a wave of unnecessary deaths.”

 

Get in touch with our experts for a free, no-obligation consultation to find out how we can help. You can give us a call on 0800 880 7864 or drop us an email via: info@hampsonhughes.com

Top tips for anyone considering a career as a solicitor

Are you interested in a legal career? At Hampson Hughes, we are always keen to progress talent, having taken on many trainee solicitors in the last ten years.

 

But, getting a training contract can be tough, so we sat down with Hollie, Nick, Gary and Lisa to get some insight into their journeys, as well as a few of their tips for any inspiring solicitors.

 

NICK, PERSONAL INJURY SOLICITOR – ADMITTED TO THE ROLL JULY 2020

 

Initially, I studied Criminology and Psychology at Sheffield Hallam University before deciding to pursue a career as a solicitor. I went to BPP in Manchester to study the graduate diploma in Law before undertaking the LPC at BPP Liverpool.

 

I was delighted when I was awarded a training contract at Hampson Hughes. Getting a training contract is extremely competitive, especially at a top law firm. It wasn’t an easy process and I had to work hard to get my placement. There have been a number of trainee solicitors at Hampson Hughes before me who were all of a high standard, so I’m pleased to have joined the ranks and achieved my goal.

 

My advice to anyone considering a career in law is to expect ups and downs but to never give up your end goal. If you have faith in yourself and your abilities, you’re sure to get there!

 

HOLLIE, TRAINEE SOLICITOR

 

My journey with Hampson Hughes started in August 2019, once I had finished my LPC LLM at the University of Law in Chester. Despite early aspirations to go into psychology, I found that studying law at A-Level alongside personal experience and research ignited a passion for the legal side of healthcare. I gained as much experience in the industry as I could during my undergraduate LLB degree, and looked into many different areas of law but remained passionate about healthcare and particularly clinical negligence law.

 

Since joining Hampson Hughes I have gained invaluable exposure to clinical negligence law through assisting with all day to day aspects of client files, from initial client enquiries all the way through to trial. In July 2020 I became a trainee solicitor for the firm, and will be using this opportunity to become the best I can be in my field.

 

My advice for anyone considering law would be to never underestimate the knowledge experience of your peers and colleagues, be keen and inquisitive and put the hard work in! Furthermore, make sure you network as much as possible, utilising networking profiles such as LinkedIn to connect with as many professionals as you can.

 

GARY, SOLICITOR – ADMITTED TO THE ROLL DECEMBER 2019

 

I joined Hampson Hughes in March 2015, fresh from studying my LPC at the University of Law in Manchester. To be honest, once I had finished all my studies, I wasn’t completely sure what I needed to do next. So, I put my CV out there and luckily got a call within a few days from a recruitment agency who put me in touch with Hampson Hughes.

 

I accepted a role as a first response advisor. It was a great experience as I had never worked in an office environment before, so I was excited by everything going on and meeting the team. Within four months, I was promoted to a paralegal working for one of the heads of the RTA department at the time. After about 18 months in the role, I was offered a training contract to start in January 2018 which of course I duly accepted.

 

I started my training contract in 2018 and worked under one of the assistant heads of department. This exposed me to work of a higher difficulty and gave me the opportunity to learn from the senior team, following which I was given the chance to run my own caseload. Hampson Hughes helped me through my PSC and supported me fully through this.

 

I would definitely advise getting work experience in a number of different law firms before applying for a training contract as the job is much different to how it is often portrayed. The benefits of getting multiple work experiences is invaluable as it gives you an insight into different firms and allows you to find the one that suits you.

LISA, SOLICITOR – ADMITTED TO THE ROLL JULY 2020

 

I completed my LLB Honours Law degree at the University of Liverpool in 2011 before studying my LPC at the University of Law in Manchester. I completed the LPC on a part-time basis, whilst commencing my role at Hampson Hughes in July 2015 as a full-time paralegal.

 

When I had completed the LPC, I decided to undertake my LLM Masters degree in Professional Legal Practice, which helped prepare me for my role as a trainee solicitor. I began my training contract in July 2018 at Hampson Hughes. I managed to gain in-depth experience across a number of different departments, including clinical negligence, personal injury, costs law, housing disrepair, commercial law, holiday sickness and sexual abuse claims. Following my two year training contract and completion of my Professional Skills Course (PSC), I qualified in July 2020 as a solicitor in the Clinical Negligence department where I hope to continue progressing my career. 

 

My main tip for aspiring solicitors is to gain as much exposure as possible to a variety of different areas of law during your training contract. This will provide you with a better understanding of which area you want to pursue once you are qualified, whilst also giving you the opportunity to learn new skills and broaden your knowledge of the legal industry.

 

Read more from our team of legal experts in our other blogs, or find out more about making a claim by contacting our team on 0800 888 6888, info@hampsonhughes.com or via the contact form.

Tackling the myths surrounding workplace injury claims

Claiming against your employer can be a daunting prospect. As a result too many people decide not to make valid claims and suffer in silence.

 

The truth is you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable making a claim. Workplace accidents can cause serious physical and psychological injuries, as well as mounting medical costs and lost earnings. It is your right to seek financial support, compensation and ensure lessons are learnt.

 

Everyone is entitled to feel safe at work and the law is there to protect you if you’ve suffered an accident through no fault of your own. Despite this, we still come across many misconceptions about workplace claims, so we’ve collected and corrected the most common myths below:

 

MYTH #1: IT WAS JUST AN ACCIDENT. ACCIDENTS HAPPEN! – FALSE

 

Accidents don’t just happen. Research shows that over 99% of all accidents are preventable. The majority of the cases we work on are down to an employer having unsafe practices or systems in place, or failing to provide employees with the relevant protective equipment they need to perform their role safely.

 

£14,425 awarded to car workshop manager after employer refused PPE

 

It is your employers’ responsibility to do a full health and safety assessment to recognise any hazards which may cause an injury and then take steps to control and manage them in a safe manner. It’s important to remember that if you’ve suffered an accident at work you have a responsibility to highlight the issue and report to your employer as soon as reasonably practical, so your employer can ensure the necessary changes are made to stop the same accident happening again.

 

MYTH #2: AGENCY WORKERS CANNOT MAKE A CLAIM AGAINST THEIR EMPLOYERS – FALSE

 

The law ensures that all workers are treated equally. Every worker, regardless of whether they are a permanent employee or a temporary worker contracted by an agency, are protected by the same health and safety regulations from their first day of work. These employment rights extend to workplace injury claims.

 

 

MYTH #3: YOUR EMPLOYER WILL HAVE TO PAY YOUR COMPENSATION – FALSE

 

By law all employers – regardless of how small their business or how few staff they employ – need to have valid liability insurance in place to cover any claims made by employees following an accident at work. If you make a claim, employers will forward the details to their insurance company who will be responsible for dealing with it. If your claim is successful the costs will be covered by the insurance company and will not come directly out of your employers’ pocket.

 

Plant supervisor awarded £69,000 after workplace accident

 

MYTH #4: IF I MAKE A CLAIM AGAINST MY EMPLOYER I WILL LOSE MY JOB – FALSE

 

We understand many employees are worried about losing their job as a result of their claim. But remember, you are protected by law and have a legal right to claim against your employer following an accident. If your employer attempts to dismiss you as a result of a personal injury claim, then you would also be likely to be able to make a successful claim for unfair dismissal.

 

MYTH #5: LARGE COMPANIES ARE EXEMPT -FALSE

 

All companies are subject to the same health and safety regulations – even large corporate firms. There are no exceptions or legal protection for multinational corporations.

 

You should never be afraid to claim just because you feel you are taking on a large company. At Hampson Hughes, we have extensive experience claiming against big corporations. We will be there to guide you through the process every step of the way.

 

Delivery driver awarded £11,000 after he suffered a workplace accident

 

MYTH #6: YOU WILL HAVE TO GO TO COURT – FALSE

 

Fear of having to attend court is one of the biggest worries we come across from workers wanting to pursue a claim. It is important to remember, that the vast majority of cases are settled out of court – generally insurance companies prefer it if proceedings end amicably.

 

We do, however, have a small number of cases which end up in court, but even then it is still not always necessary for you to be present, as we attend on your behalf and appoint a specialist barrister to represent you and fight your case.

 

MYTH #7: YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE UNION’S RECOMMENDED SOLICITOR – FALSE

 

Many people think that if they are part of a union, they will have to use the solicitor recommended to them, but this simply isn’t the case.

 

You have complete freedom of choice as to who represents you and your case, and we are completely independent and not affiliated to any union, meaning that your case will not get stalemated.

 

MYTH #8: MAKING A CLAIM WILL BE TOO EXPENSIVE – FALSE

 

We handle our cases on a no win, no fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay a penny upfront of throughout your claim (we will recover most of your legal fees from the other side but will go through your funding options available carefully to find the best one for you), and only pay legal fees if your claim is successful. Ultimately, workplace injuries can lead to mounting hidden costs – such as travel expenses to and from the hospital or GP, as well as on-going medical treatments such as physiotherapy or counselling for example. All of these costs can be reimbursed as part of your claim, without which you would be further financially impacted.

 

At Hampson Hughes, we understand an accident at work can lead to lasting implications on your health, daily life, family and finances. We have a longstanding history in civil litigation and proven track record of helping our clients secure the compensation they deserve.

 

If you have been injured at work and wish to obtain free, confidential advice, please get in touch with our expert team on 0800 880 7864 or info@hampsonhughes.com

£25,0000 awarded to former cyclist following life-threatening accident

A former cyclist, who suffered life-threatening injuries after he was knocked off his bike, is calling for increased safety awareness as more people take to two wheels post-lockdown.

 

Pat Lee, from Liverpool is warning cyclists to be aware of the potential dangers of the road after being thrown from his bicycle when a car collided with him as he travelled home from work.

 

The 56-year-old was rushed to hospital following the incident in July 2017, being treated for a fractured skull, broken ribs and collarbone, and a dislocated shoulder, while neck injuries also meant he had to wear a collar in the months after the accident.

 

More than three years later, Pat is still “terrified” to get back on a bicycle and believes more needs to be done to educate both drivers and new cyclists on the rules of the road.

 

Factory worker Pat, who instructed Hampson Hughes Solicitors to seek compensation for his injuries, was awarded £25,000 following the accident.

 

He said: “I had been cycling home from work – taking the same route I always did – when a car ploughed into me from the left hand side as I went across a roundabout.

 

“The driver had failed to give way and drove straight into me, sending me flying up into the air. It was all very surreal – I remember a loud bang and then waking up with paramedics surrounding me. I had to undergo surgery for my injuries and was forced to take five months off work.

 

“I’ve been cycling ever since I was a child and my bike was my only mode of transport – but I’m absolutely terrified to get back on one now and haven’t done since.

 

“With us all being told to avoid public transport where possible and lots of people taking up cycling for a new way to exercise, we’re obviously seeing a lot more people on bikes on our roads. But, it worries me to think that many drivers – and indeed the cyclists themselves – are not clued up on road safety, including what is and isn’t the law.

 

“I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone and I truly miss getting out on my bike – so I’d urge anyone considering taking it up to really do their homework and, importantly, remember that not everyone on the road will be as sensible as you are!”

 

However, Niamh Wilson, Head of Civil Litigation at Hampson Hughes Solicitors, said Pat’s case is not unusual and more education is needed among drivers and cyclists.

 

She said: “Cyclists like Pat often rely on their bicycles as their main way to get around, so when that’s taken away from them, there can be a huge impact.

 

“Pat was very lucky to fully recover from his injuries, but the fact that he is simply too fearful to cycle on the roads indicates that we all need to increase our knowledge of cyclist safety, especially as more people buy bikes to get to and from work, or to enjoy the fresh air.

 

“Novice cyclists, and even people who haven’t been on a bike for 15-20 years are getting them out again to avoid public transport and it is vitally important that they are fully aware of the rules of the road and the severity of the potential consequences if they are not followed.

 

“Our team has worked with many cyclists who have had serious accidents on the roads, often due to motorists failing to abide by road safety laws, so it is clear that more education is required.”

 

 

A total of £25,000 was secured in compensation for Pat.

 

Have you been involved in a Road Traffic Accident?

If you’ve been injured on the road due to an accident that wasn’t your fault, then you could be entitled to claim road traffic accident compensation. Whether you’ve suffered a minor injury or something more serious, our Road Traffic Accident Solicitors can help you to claim the compensation that you deserve.

 

Find out more about road traffic accident claims, or call our team for free, no-obligation advice on 0800 888 6 888 or send an email to info@hampsonhughes.com

£14,425 awarded to car workshop manager after employer refused PPE

Eric Whittington, from Liverpool, suffered severe injuries at work after he was refused sufficient personal protective equipment.

 

The 49-year-old had asked for PPE, such as safety boots, upon starting work as workshop manager at an independent car dealership in 2018.

 

However, he was informed that, due to the nature of his role, such equipment would not be required.

 

His employer told him that his job would be mainly desk-based and he would not be needed on the workshop floor on a regular basis

 

However, Eric later found himself on the workshop floor and slipped on some spilled liquid – he believes that the appropriate safety footwear would have prevented this fall.

 

He said: “As soon as I started the job, I asked whether PPE would be possible, but was promptly told that this wouldn’t be needed. I’d worked in similar roles in the past and it had always been a given that safety footwear would be provided.

 

“Shortly after, I slipped while walking through the garage – I put my left hand down to try to save myself and severely injured myself in the process.

 

“I carried on working that day – even after telling my manager what had happened – but the next day the pain had worsened so I visited the hospital.

 

“It was incredibly frustrating as it was an accident that so easily have been prevented if I’d been given the appropriate safety boots or non-slip shoes.”

 

Eric, who has since left his role suffered post-traumatic arthritis in his left thumb, leaving him with a permanent decrease in function.

 

He added: “I wasn’t sure whether to make a claim at first or whether it would even be possible, but the team at Hampson Hughes explained everything thoroughly and made sure I was updated every step of the way.”

 

Niamh Wilson, Head of Civil Litigation at Hampson Hughes Solicitors, which secured a total of £14,425 in compensation for Eric, said: “Cases regarding PPE are, unfortunately, not rare and we regularly see clients come to us with similar experiences.

 

“The major concern here is that the employer in question deemed it unnecessary for Eric to be equipped with the appropriate footwear and made an assumption about his role. It’s therefore particularly poignant in the current climate that companies do not allow the safety of their staff to be compromised in line with budget constraints.

 

“Many businesses will be facing challenging times as we move through a post-Covid period, but health and safety is more important than ever before, and we’d therefore urge employers to take stock and review what they have in place for staff members.”

 

 

A total of £14,425 was secured in compensation for Eric.

 

Accident at Work

If you have suffered an injury at work you could be entitled to personal injury compensation, take a look at our Accidents at Work page for more information.

Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation – discover today whether you have a claim. Speak to one of our professional and friendly advisers today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.co.uk.