It has been revealed that more than £10m in compensation has been awarded to prisoners who have suffered incidents, including medical negligence and personal injury, over the past five years.
The amount awarded in 2010-2011 is less than half compared to the amount paid out in 2009-2010, which included £1.6m in medical negligence compensation alone.
Ministry of Justice figures show that the highest payment last year was £125,000 for a personal injury case. Three prisoners also received £25,000 each for false imprisonment and a further 280 offenders won payouts of less than £10,000 for minor cases.
One of the largest compensation payments was a £1.4m out-of-court settlement to a former prisoner who was left with serious spinal injuries when a doctor failed to send him for an urgent examination.
The prisoner had complained of severe back pain but was not taken to hospital until the following day. A consultant in spinal injuries, who spoke on behalf of the prisoner's legal team, told the Prison Service that if seen a day earlier he could have undergone surgery which might have prevented him losing the use of his legs.
Director of the Prison Reform Trust, Juliet Lyon, said, "To avoid wasting taxpayers' money, compensation claims are robustly assessed and judged so that people in prison who have suffered medical negligence, or have been held unlawfully, can be fairly compensated."
WOMEN are responsible for almost three quarters of personal injury claims that take place in public areas, the Irish Injuries Board has found.
While women account for some 70% of personal injury claims, the total value of public liability awards made in the two years to December 2008 was €65.4 million.
Some 56% of personal injury accidents took place in privately owned establishments, with almost a quarter happening in shops. Just under 20% happened in a pub, nightclub or restaurant and 13% took place in leisure facilities such as sports clubs, gyms and cinemas.
More than a quarter of personal injurie awards (27%) were made against local authorities, while 6% involved transport and utility services, according to Injuries Board, which was set up in 2004 as part of the Government’s reform programme to tackle the high costs associated with personal injury claims.
A woman in Scotland has launched a legal bid to sue her local authority after enduring years of bullying at school, claiming that not enough was done to help or protect her from her abusers.
Rhona Wands, now 22, has alleged that teachers and management at Fife Council ignored her torment at Markinch Primary School and Auchmuty High School. She insists the ongoing abuse – which started at the age of four – forced her to leave school early and obtain tuition at home.
Miss Wands is now seeking compensation for the physical injuries and emotional harm she suffered during her school years as well as the effect the bullying had on her academic achievements.
The claimant and her parents argue that no action was taken against the pupils who bullied her, regardless of several written complaints and numerous meetings with the headmaster at Markinch Primary.
Her parents claim that their daughter would return home from school having suffered various injuries, including scratches, pulled hair and even bruises from beatings. In one instance, when Auchmuty High appointed an older pupil as a “befriender” to look after her, the protector led the girl into an ambush where she was attacked by a gang of girls.
Lawyers for Fife Council argue that the authority dealt with every allegation properly, both directly and through its employees. They also insist that Miss Wands was “a part of the problem” and behaved disobediently to staff.
Sheriff George Way has suggested that the case is suitable for counsel and has called for a further court hearing to take place at a later date.
Safety in the home is important, especially if young children are in the house
More accidents happen in the home than anywhere else. Every year there are approximately 4000 deaths as the result of a home accident, and in 2002 there were 2.7 million home accidents requiring hospital treatment, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
More Domestic Accidents on Monday Claims data on accidents in the home over the last three years has revealed that a third more domestic accidents happen on Monday mornings compared to any other day of the week.
Accidents are more prevalent on Mondays because more people are recovering from a weekend of staying up later and often of drinking much more heavily than they would do during the week, according to statistics released by Halifax.
Lack of co-ordination on a Monday morning leads to accidents including fires started with hair straighteners, letting baths overflow and spilling drinks onto laptops.
Psychologist Glenn Wilson said: "Mondays are marked by low performance and inattentiveness as the body and brain struggle to recover."
Avoiding accidents in the home This doesn’t mean that the home is a particularly dangerous place. The reason we have so many accidents at home is that we spend so much time there, so there is more opportunity for accidents to occur.
However, it doesn’t hurt to take as much care as possible to prevent accidents happening at home. Here is a list of the ways you can adapt your home to make it as safe a place as possible.
Windows Windows are potentially dangerous, particularly in high-rise buildings. To reduce the risk of falling, make sure that furniture is at a safe distance from windows and invest in restrictor catches for all upstairs windows. Always avoid leaning on windows.
Electrics Water conducts electricity, so it is important to remove all electrical appliances from the bathroom. Wherever you are in the house, always remember to dry your hands thoroughly before handling electrical items.
Stairs Many people suffer injuries after falling over objects left on the stairs. Keep halls and stairways clear of clutter and well lit to avoid slips, trip and falls.
Lights When changing light bulbs on the ceiling, make sure you use a stable step-ladder or step-stool at the correct height. Using an unstable chair or an object which doesn’t allow you to reach easily will put you at risk of an accident.
Fire Safety You are more than twice as likely to die in a fire at home if you don’t have a smoke alarm, according to Directgov. However, many people who have smoke alarms are still not protected, as they don’t realise it is switched off or out of order. Test smoke alarms monthly and make sure everyone in the family knows what to do in the event of a fire.
Cooker The cooker is an area to watch out for when thinking about safety, particularly if you have children in the house. One easy step you can take to prevent burns and scalds is to use the rings or hobs at the back of the cooker first, and point pot handles backwards so they are unreachable for small children.
Spillages Clear up any spillages straight away to reduce the risk of slipping. Also, if the floor is wet or damp after cleaning, make sure the other people in the house are made aware of this.
Bath When running a bath, reduce the risk of scalding (particularly for small children) by running the cold tap first and testing the temperature of the water carefully. Once in the bath, small children should never be left unattended as they run a genuine risk of drowning.
Chemicals Always store household chemicals such as medicines and bleach out of the reach of children. Ideally these should be stored in secure, high-level cupboards and never left lying around after use.
Heating Carbon monoxide poisoning is a potential silent danger in the home. Reduce the risk of this, and of fires, by having oil, gas or solid fuel heaters serviced every year. Use guards for fires and ensure that you never have any curtains, furniture or clothes near to a heater or candle flame.
Plugs and Cables Watch out for cracked plugs and worn cables as these can cause electric shocks and electrical fires, as can over loading sockets with large numbers of appliances. If you have children in the house, it is sensible to use socket guards for any sockets near the floor.
The current financial crisis has led to a large increase in the number of compensation claims being lodged in the UK.
Road accidents and public liability claims have soared in recent months, as a result of damage to roads caused by the winter’s cold weather. The public themselves have not been helping the situation either, as many people are avoiding servicing their cars in an effort to save money, or in fear that they will be hit with expensive repair and maintenance costs. This has also contributed to the rise in accidents, due to more cars on the road which could be considered as not roadworthy.
There has also been a sharp rise in the number of work accident claims in the country. According to recent research, firms are putting less importance on health and safety regulations, possibly in an attempt to cut costs. However this could work against them if an accident does occur and a compensation claim is made.
MILITARY veterans that were exposed to radiation during the 1950s have won the right to claim compensation against the MoD for medical conditions suffered.
The servicemen claim negligence on the part of the Ministry of Defence during the nuclear tests performed in the South Pacific and Australia between 1952 and 1958. The veterans were exposed to excessive radiation during the tests and this month won a high court case which grants them permission to sue the Ministry of Defence for financial compensation, which could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
A group of around 1,000 veterans believe the radiation exposure has been the cause of illnesses suffered later in life, including cancers and chromosome damage.
The counterargument put forward by the MoD stated that too much time had passed since the tests and that claims would undoubtedly fail at any future trial.
When presenting his verdict in London’s high court, Mr Justice Foskett refused to follow the MoD’s point of view. Instead he highlighting a recent scientific study from New Zealand which provided fresh evidence into the likely impacts a veteran’s health would face after being exposed to nuclear testing. Mr Justice Foskett believed this would be “crucial and pivotal” for any compensation claim lodged against the MoD.
The judge asked ministers to consider settling out of court, rather than dragging out legal proceedings further.
Of the ten lead cases, five were permitted to continue and claim compensation, while the other five were allowed to proceed as well on grounds of fairness.
A solicitor representing the veterans said he was “appalled, if not disgusted” with both the government, for allowing the issue of compensation to drag on, and the MoD for fighting the case.
“Prime minister after prime minister over the past 50 years have said that if veterans could prove that they had been exposed to radiation they would be compensated,” he said.
“When we could prove that they had been exposed to radiation the MoD says, ‘Sorry guys, you’re too late.’ That’s disingenuous. It’s not right. It’s appalling.” He accused ministers of wanting to delay the case so long that all the claimants would be dead: “There is no other conclusion that one could reach.”
Since the action pursuing compensation began, 59 of the veterans have died. It is now hoped that the MoD will reach a settlement with the surviving veterans within a few months, rather than go to trial in the courts, a process which would take years in preparation alone.
Appeal judges have ordered that compensation awards made to two members of the armed forces are to be reassessed, opening the possibility for the amounts to be reduced.
The ruling was in response to a legal challenge by the Ministry of Defence on compensation awarded to the injured soldiers following a ruling by the Pensions Appeal Tribunal.
The tribunal had awarded increased compensation to the two injured servicemen, Light Dragoon Anthony Duncan and Royal Marine Matthew McWilliams.
Cpl Duncan spent two years in rehabilitation after being shot in Iraq in 2005 and was shipped this April, along with his Light Dragoons colleagues, to fight in Afghanistan for six months. The 27-year-old had his initial compensation award of £9,250 increased to £46,000 by the tribunal.
Marine McWilliams, meanwhile, who fractured a thigh during training, had his £8,250 award increased to £28,750.
Lord Justice Carnworth said the tribunal had wrongly applied two elements of the formula which calculated the awards.
Ministers initiated the challenge due to concerns that the increased payouts may set a precedent for further military injury cases, potentially costing taxpayers millions in increased compensation payouts.
A man who was shot as he confronted armed raiders at a takeaway in Birmingham has lost his appeal for more compensation.
Raj Kumar Khushia, 37, said he was originally promised more than £15,000 in criminal compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), but the figure was later halved to £7,671 because he had armed himself in self-defense.
The incident took place on May 16, 2005 while Mr Khushia was waiting for an order at a takeaway in the Handsworth area of the city. After grappling with the two armed raiders, it is alleged that Mr Khushia armed himself with knives from a nearby pub and confronted the dangerous pair for a second time after spotting them from inside his car. This led to one of the raiders opening fire and causing him a near-fatal injury.
“The bullet virtually went through my stomach,” Mr Khushia explained. “I don’t know how I survived. I was given 72 hours to live at one stage. I lost my spleen and my spine had to be rebuilt. I have since been off work and can no longer play football or do weight training, which was my favourite hobby.”
The married father of four now requires the aid of a walking stick.
“All I got from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority was £7,671. This had been reduced from just over £15,000 because I was told I was armed with knives at the time. Yet I had done this to defend myself.”
A spokesperson from CICA said: “The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme requires us to take into account the victim’s behaviour during the incident, and their character, when deciding whether to offer compensation, make a reduced award or no compensation at all.”
FOUR men have been found liable for causing personal injury in one of Northern Ireland’s worst bombings – the first time that personal injury legislation has been successfully brought involving a terrorist attack.
Michael McKevitt, Liam Campbell, Colm Murphy, Seamus Daly and the Real IRA liable were found culpable in various ways for the Omagh bomb explosion in which 29 people and two unborn babies were killed in August 1998, and awarded personal injury damages worth £1.6m to family members who brought the action.
Delivering his verdict in the High Court in Belfast, Mr Justice Morgan said: “For many, the effects are catastrophic and their lives will never be the same.”
The plaintiffs claimed damages for personal injuries they received as a result of the bomb explosion, and also entered further claims for damages because of the death of family members, alleging that the defendants were responsible for the planning, production, planting and detonation of the bomb.
Mr Justice Morgan said that the court had only to decide if any personal compensation claim was valied, rather than determin any criminal charge. “The role of the court is to establish whether the plaintiffs have discharged the burden of demonstrating that the defendants were responsible for causing harm to the plaintiffs in the manner alleged and, if so, to determine what, if any, damages are payable in respect of the harm proved,” he added.
Victims of thalidomide will no longer be overlooked by the German government, as compensation over birth defects caused by the drug are allowed.
The drug was formerly produced by Grunenthal, a German company. A ban has been in place for 26 years, forbidding thalidomide victims from foreign countries to claim compensation. This new announcement from the German family ministry says that victims will have until the end of 2010 to collect damages.
Since 1983, the German government has rejected over 100 thalidomide compensation claims for being “out of time,” as the drug hasn’t been produced since the 1960’s, when it was found to be the cause of birth defects. A recent campaign by thalidomide victims has convinced German authorities to temporarily accept new compensation claims.
The drug was originally made to combat morning sickness but some women who used the drug gave birth to children with underdeveloped limbs, whilst some lacked limbs altogether.
THE French government has for the first time in nearly 50 years agreed to pay personal injury compensation to people affected by fallout from its nuclear tests.
The country has carried out 210 such tests since its first, exploded in the Algerian Desert in 1960, but has until now refused to pay out on personal injury claims.
Its decision leaves the UK as the only nuclear power unprepared to settle personal injury claims, even though the High Court in London ruled last Friday that a group of more than 1,000 veterans has the right to sue the Ministry of Defence for compensation. However, the case is likely to take years to reach any conclusion.
Both soldiers and locals that witnessed the 1960 Saharan explosion say they were exposed to potentially deadly radiation and have suffered a variety of health problems, from aggressive cancers to minor cardio-vascular complaints. It is likely that they will now move ahead with personal injury claims.
Until now, only France had stood with the UK in denying general liability for health problems suffered by those present at nuclear tests. The US, Russia and China all have mechanisms in place for paying out personal injury claims.
A fossil hunter is pursuing a compensation claim after he became badly injured in a seaside rock fall.
Dave McGowan, 41, was looking for and collecting fossils with his girlfriend along the shoreline at Seatown, near Bridport in Dorset, when rocks fell from the cliff above. The incident left his leg and ankle broken but he believes that he could have lost the bottom half of his leg if he hadn’t been protected by his walking boots.
The taxi driver from Bournemouth is now seeking compensation from whoever is responsible for the land. “I want to try and get compensation but it doesn’t look as if anybody cares,” he said. “I want to say to people ‘please don’t go down there’. Even if I don’t get compensation, the best thing I can do is to warn people.
He explained that the accident could have been avoided if warning signs had been erected in the area. He added: “If there were notices to say how dangerous it is and what you can expect, people wouldn’t go there. I wouldn’t have gone there.”
After receiving a letter from the victim, West Dorset County Council have said that it does not own the land. The Wraxall family, who has owned the beach at Seatown for three generations, has also said that the incident took place outside its land.
Mr McGowan claims the accident has ruined his life, as he might not be able to return to work and also fears that he may lose his home.
“I know it’s a bad time of year for taxi drivers anyway but I’ll lose about £5,000 in earnings,” he explained.
“I will be off work for four months but it could be more depending on how my leg heals – it might never heal and I might not be able to work again. The rent needs paying and I’ve got no money to pay it.”
However a spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has commented that “the cliffs and seashore are dangerous” at the location of the accident and that Mr McGowan should have been able to make “[his] own risk assessment,” regardless of the lack of notices or warning signs present at the scene.
A man who suffered spinal injuries during a five-a-side football match has been granted the right to appeal against the court decision saying he would not be allowed to seek financial compensation.
Andrew Kerr was tackled whilst playing football at a sports centre in Littleborough in February 2005. The tackle caused Mr Kerr to collide into a wall, which lead to spinal injuries and him eventually needing a wheel chair.
Mr Kerr will lodge a compensation claim against the man who tackled him, Ged Willis, in a hearing that is expected to last a day and be overviewed by three appeal court judges.
Mr Kerr previously claimed that Mr Willis had pushed him into the wall on purpose, which the high court dismissed. The appeal court hearing in London has granted Mr Kerr permission to challenge this judgment.
Food poisoning is a common occurrence that can result in nasty symptoms that can last for some time, as well as the obvious side effects, food poisoning can also mean taking time away from work and incurring other costs while waiting for the sickness to subside.
All food outlets, including restaurants, takeaways and sandwich shops have an obligation to ensure they meet strict hygiene standards to eliminate the risk of serving food that could cause sickness or poisoning.
Unfortunately many food outlets fall below the required hygiene standards and instances of food poisoning are common place, some of the most common areas where restaurants and other food outlets fail in their obligations are:
- Dirty kitchens (cooking equipment and utensils)
- Handling food with bare or unclean hands
- Dirty cutlery (plates, knives, forks, cups, spoons)
- Failing to store food at the correct temperature
- Serving food that isn’t properly or fully cooked
- Failing to keep food properly covered when it is out of storage
These are just a few examples of common causes of how bacteria can make it’s way onto a plate of food and result in the unsuspecting diner ending up with a nasty case of food poisoning.
Many people believe that food poisoning is restricted to run down takeaway outlets, this couldn’t be further from the truth, food poisoning can occur at any business that serves food, below are some common examples:
- Buffet Restaurants
- Wedding & Party Catering
- Food vans and snack bars
- Hotels & Pubs
- Mobile catering companies
- Sandwich Shops
- Cafe’s & Coffee Shops
Anyone who has experienced food poisoning will know that it is an incredibly unpleasant illness, with the most serious cases resulting in a stay in hospital and potential long-term effects.
Food outlets have a duty of care to their customers and anyone who contracts food poisoning will likely be able to make a food poisoning compensation claim.
A BRITISH tourist is bringing a personal injury claim against an American couple following an accident at their holiday home.
Julian Bruch, from Horsham, West Sussex, says he suffered personal injury after an outdoor chair broke underneath him and he fell on the veranda of Michael and Debra Taylor’s vacation home, on the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas, in 2007.
The suit, which has been filed in Galveston County District Court, says: “As he sat down, the plastic veranda chair broke and collapsed beneath him, causing Mr Bruce to hit the deck and suffer injuries to his hip, pelvis, and back.”
The Taylors are accused of failing to take care of the chair, and “advertising the beach house for rental while knowing that its veranda chairs were in poor condition.”
Bruce alleges that the personal injury he suffered, including anxiety, pain and illness, forced him to seek medical treatment in two continents. He is seeking damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and losses of wages and earning capacity.
WITH social networking taking a greater importance role in our lives, sites like Facebook and Twitter are increasingly being used against claimants in personal injury cases to have them thrown out.
Now some personal injury lawyers are advising their clients to stay away from such sites as the legal process goes ahead, and have issued some pointers to avoid cases being ended as the other side confirms or disproves the claimant’s ability to resume a normal life.
Here are a few worth considering:
- Allow your personal injury lawyer unrestricted access to all your social media sites, postings, and content . They will be able to review and advise you on anything potentially damaging to your case;
- Be critical of everything attributed to you online. Run a Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter search for your name and any keywords associated with you. Take off anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother or boss seeing, even if it’s restricted and private, as personal injury investigators are expert at taking innocent-looking information and turning it to their advantage;
- Check your privacy settings. Most sites will allow you to actually block certain people altogether, so block the opposing personal injury lawyer and law clerk. They may employ someone who you don’t know instead, so don’t allow any access to anyone other than immediate friends;
- Don’t accept friend requests or answer emails from people you don’t know as, on Facebook and other sites, sending a response will grant the sender access to your profile for a certain number of days. This will give enough time for the answering party to assess your personal injury claim;
- Don’t post anything about your personal injury case at any stage throughout the course of mediation, litigation, or trial. Don’t post anything about your case, the people you’ve interacted with since filing your claim, information or details about the accident or personal injury, or any compromising materials to your claim. When in any doubt about photos, videos or friends’ comments, do not make them available online until after the conclusion of your case.
A Panorama documentary has delved into the recent increase in compensation claims for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the UK.
The documentary centered on the fact that the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD has become more frequent over recent years, as has the number of people claiming compensation for the disorder.
Approximately 236,000 people are now being treated for the anxiety disorder on the NHS every year, according to a report by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, following ‘improvements in recognition and diagnosis’ for PTSD.
Post traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that can develop in some people following exposure to a traumatic event, or series of events.
The documentary criticised claimants for making PTSD claims for relatively minor incidents, however, it is now widely recognised that PTSD relating to previous trauma can be triggered by a seemingly minor event.
Violent crime victims are to have their criminal compensation reduced if they have previously been fined for minor offences such as speeding.
The new Government policy could see rape victims and the families of murder victims lose £1,650 from a £11,000 state compensation payout. A brain injury victim could lose up to £37,500 from a possible maximum amount of £250,000.
Until now, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority could reduce payouts in instances where “the applicant’s character as shown by his criminal convictions makes it inappropriate that a full award or any award should be made.”
However the new measures will affect anyone who has a previous minor conviction within the last five years. Up to five million British motorists could be affected, as the courts issue up to one million speeding fines a year.
Tory Shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Grieve has called the new rule change “revolting.”
“The idea that a rape victim or the parents of a murdered child should have their compensation docked for a speeding conviction years earlier is a revolting proposition,” he said.
The Conservatives believe the move is an attempt by the Labour Government to save £25m in public spending.
After previous campaigns by the British public, Justice Secretary Jack Straw has announced that British people suffering personal injury in terrorist attacks abroad will receive compensation, once changes are made to the law in the coming month. At present, those wounded or even killed overseas are not able to claim any compensation for their losses.
The news is welcomed after publics fears are heightened amidst recent attacks abroad, particularly those by the Spanish Basque terrorists across popular tourist resorts in the country.
Unfortunately claims are not able to be made in retrospect, which comes as a disappointment to many. In one of the most harrowing cases, Will Pike, who was left severely disabled in the attacks on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, will not be able to claim anything for his injuries. He faces a lifetime in a wheelchair after falling out of a window whilst trying to escape from the attackers. In stark contrast, if Mr Pike had been injured in a road traffic accident here in Britain, it is likely that he may have made a successful personal injury claim of up to £5m.
Mr Pike’s father has been campaigning for better treatment and Government support for those injured abroad. It is thought that Jack Straw’s meeting with him has prompted the Government to reconsider the plight that injured victims may face on their return to the UK.
Once the new changes are brought in, British tourists injured in terror attacks abroad will be able to claim for up to £500,000 for their losses.
A child has won compensation after being hit in the head and face with a car jack by a three-year-old boy.
Jay Jones, age three at the time of the attack, was struck by another boy, also age three, after the two children were left alone together in a car.
Jay was struck 11 times and left covered in blood and semi-conscious after the attack, and the boy was said to have used such force that the carjack also cracked the windscreen.
The victim's mother Renai Williams, 29, said: ‘I thought Jay was dead when I saw him first.
There was blood everywhere and he was limp and lifeless - it was a sight no mother should ever have to see.’
This ruling by a tribunal is unusual because criminal responsibility is only applied to children over the age of 10.
The ruling means that claimants will only have to prove they have been victim to a criminal act in order to be rewarded compensation, and may lead to similar claims being made to the The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
CICA had rejected the original claim but the solicitor representing the child, David Kirwan, appealed to the Tribunals Service and won compensation. He said the new precedent ‘opens the floodgates’ for a lot more cases.
He acknowledged, however, that the case was extremely unusual. 'The doctor in the hospital had described our client's injuries as the worst of a child that age sustained at the hands of a child of equal age with a weapon,’ said Kirwan.
CICA is a government organisation which pays compensation to victims of violent crime.
SHAMED R & B star Chris Brown could be facing another day in court after he was named in a personal injury claim.
Robert Rosen is suing the singer for medical costs claiming that he suffered personal injury following an incident with the singer’s bodyguard.
According to reports, Mr Rosen took a picture of Brown playing basketball in gym in Los Angeles on March 13 this year. He says that a bodyguard of Brown’s gave chase and assaulted him, causing personal injury.
Mr Rosen is taking out an action for personal injury against Brown.
PEOPLE who suffer a personal injury as a consequence of European election posters can claim, a leading solicitor has said.
There have been instances of personal injury inquiries following incidences such as election billboard posters falling down, or distracting drivers.
But Martin Hart, of Hart & Co Solicitors in Belfast, said: “Somebody confronted with this sort of scenario should adopt a scatter-gun approach, in other words sue everyone and anyone concerned with the erection of the poster. This would include the actual candidate, their party and the person or company who put it up.”
However, the personal injury sufferer and the person responsible for the poster can be the same. Northern Ireland councilor Robert Smith was putting up one for his party’s candidate Diane Dodds when it came down and left him with facial stitches.
Eileen Ewing, of Thompson Crooks Solicitors, said any personal injury claim should “consider whether the poster had been sufficiently secured to prevent it from being blown down in bad weather”.
Mr Hart added: “The case of action would be personal injury, loss and damage. Let’s say worst case scenario, somebody is hit on the head by a poster and they crack their skull – they’d obviously sue for this or whatever injury they’ve suffered. There may also be loss of earnings to be considered if they’ve had to take off work for any length of time.”
The biological father of Baby Peter has lodged a compensation claim against Haringey Council for failing to protect his son.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is seeking £200,000 in compensation, although he could be able to claim twice as much according to legal experts. He has taken early retirement from work since his son’s death in 2007.
The personal injury claim is bad news for Haringey Council, who are also facing a multimillion pound compensation payout to the six carers who lost their jobs for failing to protect the toddler.
The former staff claim they were unfairly dismissed for gross misconduct and are appealing against the council’s decision to sack them.
Sharon Shoesmith, the former head of children’s services, was sacked last December. She could be in line to receive the highest amount of compensation if her claim is successful, at around £1 million. If all six of the carers’ claims are successful, the council could be forced to pay out a maximum of £1.4m.
Peter Connelly was 17 months old when he died in his home after months of abuse from his mother Tracey Connelly, 28, and her lover Steven Baker, 33, whose identities have only recently revealed to the public after a court order granting them anonymity expired. A third defendant, Jason Owen, 37, Baker’s brother, was also named.
A baby buggy manufacturer has offered parents in the UK free safety covers to zip over their potentially hazardous buggy hinges.
Following complaints that buggy manufacturer Maclaren had recalled its baby buggies in the US but not in their similar models UK, the company has reacted to angry British parents by offering the free covers through its customer services department.
The initial recall happened because 12 toddlers in the US had caught fingers in the buggies’ hinges and had to have them amputated.
The Maclaren buggies which are considered to be at risk include the Quest Sport, Techno XT, Volo and Triumph models.