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In this London Olympic year it reminded us here at Nockolds of a number of cases we have handled over the years involving sporting injuries. Although none of us had the pleasure of acting for Mary Decker or Zola Budd in 1984 (we are all far too young) we have had our share of sporting injury claims.
We have acted for people who have been injured whilst skiing or who when injured skiing abroad were not treated correctly. On one occasion the treatment had to be repeated in England and our client’s suffering and recovery period was therefore substantially greater than it would have been if the original injury had been treated properly.
Clients have also instructed us where they have been injured during team sports such as rugby or football. We have had to consider whether an assault during a rugby match was covered under the teams own insurance, under the RFU’s insurance or whether we had to pursue the miscreant direct.
It is not only team sports where there is a risk of injury. Our solicitors have received instructions on cases involving Track and Field injuries where spectators and official have been hit by shot putts and Javelins.
There are various rules and regulations governing both team and individual sports. Our team of experts are experienced in advising on the impact of the rules and regulations pertaining to a particular sport or event. They help clients bring claims if (in the unfortunate event) someone is injured whether competing as an amateur or a professional.
In addition to dealing with sporting injuries we can also provide detailed advice to athletes and sportsman whose career is blighted by an injury where someone else is to blame. This may have occurred whilst they are participating in the sport or they may have been injured elsewhere but part of their claim may include the future loss of participating in a sport they love.
Whilst the majority of injuries resolve within a few months or years severe injuries can have a significant impact on the injured person’s future. It is often impossible to return the injured person to the same position they were in prior to the accident so the courts look to compensate them financially for their loss. Two recent cases show the significant impact an injury can have on a young Sportsman’s life.
In 2003, whilst playing for Manchester United Reserves, a trainee, Ben Collett, suffered a broken leg in two places when tackled by a player from Middlesbrough Football Club. Unfortunately, despite significant physiotherapy and rehabilitation, Ben never recovered from his injury and had to retire from what could have been a highly successful career.
Middlesbrough FC accepted responsibility for the tackle by their player Gary Smith (not to be confused with the solicitor of the same name working at Nockolds), which was high and over the ball, but disputed whether Ben would have gone on to play on a regular basis in the Manchester United First Team. The Judge heard from numerous footballing experts, as well as an expert in statistics who calculated the prospects of Ben converting his early talent into a successful career as a professional footballer. The Judge concluded that Ben would most certainly have had a career at either championship or premiership level and assessed his likely earnings at the championship level but allowed an increase to reflect that he had a 60% chance of playing in the premiership for at least a third of his playing career. This resulted in a loss of earnings claim to age 35 (when it is likely he would have retired in any event), of £4,534,000.
The second significant case involved the Commonwealth Games cyclist, Manny Helmot. Manny was injured whilst on a training run preparing for the 1998 Commonwealth Games when he was hit by a car and suffered significant injuries. He lost the use of his right arm, was rendered partially blind and suffered significant brain injury, as a consequence of which he would never work again, drive or ride a bike. He requires 24 hour care from his mother.
The significant issue in this case was the accident happened in Guernsey and rather than applying the English formula for calculating damages for Manny’s future care, the Guernsey Court of Appeal made their own local calculation resulting in a total award of nearly £14m.
No amount of money can bring back the loss of an exciting sporting career which both Ben and Manny had hoped they were likely to achieve but the courts will endeavour (as far as is possible) to compensate injured people, including injured sportsmen for the damage this has caused. These damages will include loss of earnings, which they may have achieved in their chosen sporting career, but for the accident.
If you have had a sporting injury, and wish to discuss how Nockolds can assist you in being compensated, please contact Ivan Moody of our Personal Injury Department on 01279 712532 or email@example.com who will be happy to discuss the matter with you, and advise you on what steps you need to take to achieve the compensation you are entitled to.
Traditionally an insurance company will pay out to mesothelioma sufferers if it has been the employer’s insurer at the date of inhalation. However, following the Court of Appeal’s decision relating to public liability policies in Bolton MBC, the Municipal Mutual Insurance Limited (2006) EWCA Civ 50, (2006) 1WLR1492, some insurers have declined to pay out on Employer’s Liability Policies in force at the date of inhalation to mesothelioma sufferers or to the employers liable to them. Their argument was the wording of their policies were sustained and/or contracted rather than the usual causation wording. In insurers maintain that liability was triggered when the tumour developed as that was when the injury was sustained and/or contracted.
Court of Appeal Judgment
The Court of Appeal accepted the insurer’s argument that the mesothelioma sufferer sustained their injury not at the date of inhalation but in a period five years prior to diagnosis. The Court of Appeal did not, however, accept the same argument with regard to contracted and said that contracted had the same meaning as caused.
Judgment of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court dismissed the insurer’s appeal with regard to the contracted wording upholding the decision of the Court of Appeal that contracted should have the same meaning as caused. They also held that the word “sustained” may initially appear to refer to the manifestation of an injury but on looking at the underlying purpose of Employer’s Liability Insurance it is the initiation or cause of the accident/disease which injured the employee. They therefore concluded that a disease may properly be said to have been sustained by an employee when it was caused or initiated even though it may not have developed or manifested until many years later.
Local Government Team
Nockolds have a strong multi-discipline team within the Local Government sector, drawing on experience across the entire practice. We deliver specialist advice to secure the objectives of the public sector within the regulatory frameworks that apply.
Ivan Moody represented Municipal Mutual Insurance Limited in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
If you would like to discuss any issues raised in this update or any other Local Government related matters, please do not hesitate to contact Ivan Moody on 01279 712532 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PIP IMPLANTS – WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
This weekend saw a further National Press announcement regarding the PIP implant scandal. This follows on from recent press interest in the situation. The Times recently featured an article about Rachel Jacomb who is suing her private clinic for refusing to remove her breast implants free of charge. It is now estimated that she is one of 45,000 women in Britain who have received implants manufactured by the now defunct French Company Poly Implant Prosthese.
Unfortunately although many of the governments in Europe have concluded that these implants are dangerous the UK government does not agree. Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, says that the experts advising him have found no evidence to recommend their early removal.
The NHS has, however, confirmed they will remove and replace the implants without charge if patients, the NHS had operated, on remained concerned. This however only covers a small fraction of the women in Britain who have had PIP implants (6.65%)
The government expects the private sector to follow suit but what do the 93.35% of women do if they do not?
What should I do if I have concerns about my implants?
As with all surgery there is a risk and no doubt those firms who carried out the surgery provided their clients with details of those risks. It is, however, unlikely that these risks included the use of non-medical grade silicone which could cause injury if the implants leaked.
If you have concerns about your Breast Implants the first step is to find out if the implants are PIP implants. You can obtain this information from the supplier or the clinic where the surgery was carried out.
If you find out you do have PIP implants contact your GP or the clinic where the operation took place and ask for a scan so they can assess whether the implants pose any risk to your health. If the scan shows there is a risk then speak to the clinic about having them removed. If the scan shows there is no risk you will have to decide whether you want them removed in any event or whether to monitor them to see if a problem arises
If you have received PIP Implants and still have concerns you should contact either the NHS or the firm that carried out the surgery. Many of the firms such as Harley Medical Group or the Transform Medical Group have patient advice and information available on their websites.
How can Nockolds help?
If after speaking to the medical professionals mentioned above you remain concerned about your implants please contact Nockolds for a free no obligation consultation. As part of our “Looking After You” campaign we believe the people in Hertfordshire and Essex need a local solicitor who is prepared to treat them as an individual. We will discuss with you whether you might be entitled to compensation and if you are we will act on a “no win no fee” basis thus ensuring you receive 100% of any compensation which you are awarded. We will also advise you whether or not to pursue a claim as we realise that compensation is not always the best result for all of our clients.
For further information or to contact our dedicated Medical Negligence team please call Jennie Jones or Ivan Moody on 01279 755777.
The figures in relation to Whiplash claims do seem incredible but although the press are happy to sensationalise our “Compensation Culture” there are two sides to every story. David Cameron is meeting today (14th February 2012) with insurance, consumer and business groups to discuss what can be done.
The vast majority of people who claim for whiplash have genuine injuries. They have, in many cases, been innocent passengers or drivers whose vehicle has been hit from behind by a careless driver. Should that driver (who is often clearly at fault) be allowed to get away with his negligent action? The Insurance industry states that if a vehicle is travelling at less than 6.25mph then the claim will fail. The problem with this argument is we are all built differently and some of us can withstand greater impacts than others.
If the 6.25mph limit is implemented who will be who is responsible for proving the speed at impact? Will it be open for a Defendant to simply say that they were travelling at less than 6.25mph and leave the claimant to obtain expensive expert evidence to prove otherwise?
There are clearly a number of fraudulent whiplash claims and they need to be weeded out but the vast majority of Claimants have legitimate injuries and the government is in danger of unfairly punishing them.
What is the answer?
The suggestion of a panel of approved court experts is a good one providing Defendants and Claimants can agree who should be on the list. A number of years ago APIL (The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) and FOIL (The Federation of Insurance Lawyers) managed to produce a list of agreed Orthopaedic Experts and surely they could meet again and produce a similar list for Whiplash Injuries.
For more detail on Whiplash Claims see Jennie Jones’ article of 12th January 2012 Whiplash claims...scandal or a right to claim
Ivan Moody is a solicitor at Nockolds LLP with over 20 years’ experience of Road Traffic and other Personal Injury Claims
For help and advice contact the team on email@example.com
Hertfordshire are considering the alternative of promoting someone from within but doing away with their job instead of the CEO role.
Other Authorities are taking the opportunity, when their CEO retires, of approaching neighbouring authorities and asking if they can share their CEO. This raises the question of whether that CEO will be able to give sufficient time to both authorities and if not will one or both of the Authorities suffer? The CEO is only as good as his staff so sharing a CEO will probably work in well-run authorities but in authorities that are already struggling this is unlikely to be the answer.
Ms Tapster is currently paid over £200,000 in her role as CEO but the Council are hoping to persuade her replacement to accept the new role but to remain on the same or slightly increased salary. If her replacement is an internal appointment they propose that the position that the replacement comes from will not be replaced and that the newly appointed CEO will remain on the same pay scale as their previous role. This would result in a saving to the council of over £200,000.
In December Councillor David Lloyd said:
“The need to constrain public spending means that the council’s total income is falling while the pressure to spend increases, particularly because of inflation and the cost of meeting the needs of Herts’ aging population……..Taken together, these factors mean that we have to reduce our spending by around £200m a year by 2014-15.”
So what are the alternatives for councils who have to find £200m a year in savings? Well getting rid of highly paid staff and not replacing them or replacing them with someone less expensive is clearly one avenue being explored by Hertfordshire CC and other authorities but a saving of 0.1% leaves £199,800,000 to be found.
Cllr Lloyd has indicated that they are three-quarters of the way towards their target but savings of this scale cannot be made by internal re-organisation alone. Some of us have already noticed these cuts including the turning off of street lights, reduced bus services and funding cuts to various charities.
The outcome of today’s council meeting will be watched carefully by many of us who care about our Council. Nockolds recognise that these are difficult times and cut backs and savings need to be made but the Council must do all they can to ensure this has as little impact on their residents and local businesses as possible.
Ivan Moody 23rd January 2012