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As from today, victims of violent crime who have suffered relatively minor injuries will no longer be entitled to compensation.
The new Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme “CICS” no longer includes injuries such as permanent speech impairment, multiple broken ribs, post traumatic epileptic fits or burns and scarring that cause minor facial disfigurement. Victims who suffer injuries such as significant facial scarring, punctured or collapsed lungs, permanent brain injury resulting in impaired balance and headaches, fractured joints including elbows, knees and vertebra, resulting in continual significant disability, will have any compensation reduced by up to 60%.
Victims of crime have never been treated the same as accident victims as generally the person who committed the crime has not been apprehended or they do not have the funds to pay compensation. A person who is injured due to the negligence actions of another knows that if they bring a claim it is likely that person or company will have insurance. The CICS was introduced so victims of crime would not be left uncompensated for the injuries they sustained through no fault of their own.
This latest cut in the injuries which the CICS will compensate is a significant blow to those innocent victims of violent crime.
In the Nockolds Personal Injury and Accident Department we are often approached by clients who have suffered criminally inflicted injuries and (if there is nobody to claim against) we are happy to guide our clients through the process of obtaining compensation through the CICS. Many of the clients we have assisted over the years would not have received compensation if the new scheme had been in place at the time they made their claim.
We recognize that the Government needs to find savings wherever it can but is depriving innocent victims of a relatively small amount of compensation the best place to look for these savings?
If you have been the victim of crime and have suffered personal injury please contact our Personal Injury Team on 01279 712535 and they will let you know whether your injuries are covered under the new scheme.
Jennie Jones, the partner in charge of the Clinical Negligence team at Nockolds, produced an article commenting on the poor standards of care in the NHS. This article was produced before the release of the Care Quality Commissions “CQC” report which was published late yesterday.
The report highlights the falling standards in the NHS following 13,000 inspections by the CQC. The headline figure (which makes bleak reading) is that 1 in 4 services failed at least one of the 16 key standards. Some of the most common failures related to dignity and respect, nutrition and care and welfare.
The key findings include:
1 in 10 NHS hospitals failed to treat people with the respect they deserve and failed to involve them in decisions about their care.
15 per cent of social care services were not providing care that respected people.
23 per cent did not have adequate staffing levels.
“It is amazing how many of our clients who come to see us for clinical Negligence matters complain about the way they or their relative have been treated. Lack of courtesy, ignoring a person’s dignity and lack of respect are common complaints.” – Ivan Moody– Senior Solicitor
Hospital staff seem unable to focus on the individual needs of their patients whether because of lack of training or insufficient time. As the regulator said in their report it seems as if they approach patients with a “to do” list and if it is not on their list they struggle to provide an acceptable service.
Broken down by sectors, the report shows 22% of the NHS had failed on at least one standard, 19% of the independent healthcare, 28% of social care and 12% of dentistry.
At Nockolds we echo the sentiments of the CQC and although we recognise that NHS staff are under considerable pressure this is no excuse for poor service and performance.
This is a link to the full report: http://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/documents/state_of_care_2011-12_main_report_final_0.pdf
As Jennie mentioned in her article yesterday we are here to help patients who wish to report issues and lodge complaints. It may be that these investigations will result in formal negligence claims and if they do we will pursue these on behalf of our clients. If you have any concerns about the treatment you or a relative has received from the NHS contact Ivan Moody or Jennie Jones on 01279 712 535.
The Court of Appeal have today, in the case of Simmons v Castle, revised their decision regarding increasing the compensation Claimants will receive for their Pain and Suffering from next April.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, concluded that:
“with effect from 1 April 2013, the proper level of general damages in all civil claims for (i) pain and suffering, (ii) loss of amenity, (iii) physical inconvenience and discomfort, (iv) social discredit, (v) mental distress, or (vi) loss of society of relatives, will be 10% higher than previously, unless the claimant falls within section 44(6) of LASPO. It therefore follows that, if the action now under appeal had been the subject of a judgment after 1 April 2013, then (unless the claimant had entered into a CFA before that date) the proper award of general damages would be 10% higher than that agreed in this case, namely £22,000 rather than £20,000".
Under “No Win No Fee” (Conditional Fee) Agreements entered into before 1st April 2013 Claimant are allowed to claim the legal costs including a success fee from the Defendant. Under these arrangements, if a claim is unsuccessful, the solicitor’s fees are not charged. If a claim succeeds then the basic fees are charged along with a “success fee”. This is a percentage uplift on the basic legal costs of the claim.
As from 1st April 2013 this is set to change. The basic legal fees will still be claimed from the losing defendant, but claimants will no longer be able to claim the success fee from the Defendant. The new reforms will cap success fees at 25% in order to protect claimants. To compensate for the deduction, which solicitors will be allowed to take from their client’s compensation, the Court of Appeal have agreed to increase the compensation for pain and suffering awarded in the six categories listed which include personal injury claims and medical negligence.
Concerns remain among consumer groups and those fighting for the rights of the most vulnerable in society, that this increase in compensation will not offset the cost to claimants. More worryingly, there are fears that the reforms may also restrict access to justice for those who are entitled to bring a claim but not achieve the government’s aims to deter frivolous or fraudulent claims.
With these changes to the system it will be more important than ever to speak to a specialist solicitor who will consider all the implications, give you clear and independent advice and deal with your claim as efficiently as possible.
For more information on how the changes may impact on you, please contact: Ivan Moody on 01279 712532 or firstname.lastname@example.org
10th October 2012
 Simmons v Castle 10th October 2012  EWCA Civ 1288
 Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012
Nockolds secure Local Government Contract with Tamworth Borough Council
Nockolds Solicitors Limited have been awarded the contract to act on behalf of Tamworth Borough Council for the provision of legal work, mainly conveyancing to support the disposal of initially 10 Garage sites with ultimate disposal of 26 garage sites being proposed.
Ivan Moody, The Head of Local Government at Nockolds, says
“It is a pleasure to be working with Tamworth Borough Council and I hope that we will continue to work with them in the future on this project and other property related matters. I was attracted to this particular contract because I know Nockolds can provide the services Tamworth require as we have an excellent Commercial Property team. Tamworth has also identified a total of 26 sites for disposal and I am sure Nockolds will be able to assist them with the other sites once this project is completed”.
Nockolds is continuing to expand despite the harsh economic conditions and Local Government and Public Sector work is an area that we are targeting as we see this as a growth area both now and in the future.
Stourbridge dog walker falls down manhole
A man has been taken to hospital after falling down a manhole while walking his dog in the West Midlands. The 34-year-old was found in the shaft on Dunsley Road, Stourbridge, after his dog returned home without him. Severn Trent Water, the agency responsible for the manhole, has now replaced the cover - which had been missing for three months. A spokeswoman said they had but a barrier and cone in place when the missing cover was reported stolen in May.
“This raises important issues about the responsibility of Public Authorities to maintain the pavements and roadways” says Ivan Moody a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor at Nockolds. “We are having more and more clients come in to see us because they have tripped over or fallen down holes and defects in the roads. Local Authorities constantly try to rely on the Defence that they have a reasonable system of maintenance and inspection in place but if this manhole had been missing for 3 months why had it not been replaced?”
Ivan goes on to say “It is simply not adequate to place barriers and warning signs up or to paint the area where the defect is. Signs and barriers get moved and we do not walk around looking at the floor when walking down the street”.
Nockolds appreciate that Councils and other Public Authorities have limited budgets which needs to be spread over many departments but anything that involves the safety of the public should be given priority. A new manhole cover would cost a few hundred pounds and if this had been put in place back in May the dog-walker’s accident would not have happened.
If you have had an accident whilst walking along the pavement or crossing the road contact our Personal Injury Department on 01279 712535 to a book a Free Initial Consultation with Jennie Jones (Head of Personal Injury), Ivan Moody or Rachel Davis.