Thursday, 28 March 2013

Living with sight loss

Guest Posteye loss claimExperiencing sight loss can be painful, traumatic and sometimes life changing to those who suffer it. Major injuries and illnesses can lead to a complete loss of eyesight. Deep puncture wounds from accidents, serious chemical burns, and major trauma to the eye socket area can result in vision loss. There are also a range of eye conditions which can lead to the loss of eyesight including glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and detached retinas.

For those who have been sighted and lose their vision, the transition can be particularly difficult to deal with. Coming to terms with your blindness and the reality of never being g able to see the things or people you love the most is not an easy task to face.

Blindness also changes a sufferer’s everyday life significantly. Here are some of the ways how loss of sight changes how people interact with others and the world around them.

Learning a completely new way to read is a challenge for those who lose their sight. However, the increasingly widespread use of Braille means that the blind are able to read books and signs if they choose to learn the writing system.

In recent years more blind people are turning to electronic devices that have screen reading technology to communicate as they are more portable and allow easier interaction between themselves and other people.

Life at home
Daily life around the home is changed by blindness. It is a condition that causes difficulty with almost every aspect of life, especially everyday tasks such as cooking, dressing, shopping and negotiating open spaces. Changes are often made to furniture and the layout of a home to reduce the chance of walking into objects or suffering injuries from falls.

The risk of physical and social isolation is greater for people who are blind or partially sighted as it can be difficult to get out and make friends. Blindness can prove to be expensive for some as the cost of special equipment can be high.

Public Life
Interactions with the rest of society change as a result of being blind or partially sighted. The vast majority of blind people are not able to drive which leaves them reliant on public transport. Depending on where they live, this can be anything from good to inadequate. Crowded public places are difficult to navigate and previously simple tasks like withdrawing money from a cash machine are tricky without voice technology or personal assistance for blind users.

There are several ways in which blind and partially sighted people cope with their condition. Guide dogs are trained to safely lead their owner around the community, keeping them safe when crossing roads and allowing them to keep active. Others use a white cane to guide them as they walk, swinging it to help find objects and move around them.

Some blind people choose to have a volunteer guide them around, especially if they are allergic to dogs. As well as making sure they avoid obstacles and other dangers, the volunteer guide can help conduct tasks such as food shopping, banking and generally assist in day to day life.

Adjusting to blindness can be a very emotional and difficult experience. It is easy to become isolated and to stop doing the things that the person enjoyed before suffering from sight loss. Negative thoughts regarding the disability can take hold, such as the frustration of not being able to see loved ones or from the perceived loss of independence.

Loss of eye sight inevitably leads to major adjustments in an individual’s life. However, with the right help and support, it is more than possible to meet these challenges and adapt to blindness.

Grieves personal injury solicitors deal with serious injury claims including cases of eye damage and loss of sight. If you think you have the grounds to make a loss of sight claim contact Grieves today.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Taking the Biscuit

Hmm… haven’t we been here before?

flapjack injuriesFrom the Metro 25/03/13:

Flapjacks cut into triangles have been banned from a school after a pupil was hit in the eye with one during a food fight.

The bizarre health and safety ruling was imposed after a boy in Year 7 suffered a ‘sore eye’ when he was accidentally hit by the tasty snack which had been thrown by another student.

Dinner ladies at the Essex comprehensive school were told to cut flapjacks into squares or rectangles only – with three-sided versions deemed just too dangerous for children.

But square or rectangular flapjacks have 4 potential corners to gouge a child’s eye out. Surely that makes them more dangerous than triangular versions, not less?

Headteacher Gill Thomas reportedly slapped the ban on the pointy-shaped delicacies following the food fracas in the canteen last Wednesday.

The flapjack victim was patched up and sent home from Castle View School on Canvey Island but did not require hospital treatment.

[An ‘insider’ told the Sun newspaper] “[i]f they’re going to be extreme maybe they should insist on only round desserts”.

That’s just silly. A circular flapjack could still cause serious injuries if thrown Frisbee-style at an unwitting student. Clearly that ‘insider’ hadn’t thought it through appreciated the gravity of the risks involved here.

A safer plan would be to require dinner ladies school mealtime assistance operatives to grind the flapjacks down to granola like crumbs which can’t be turned into dangerous projectiles. Then again, what if the granola is pressed into service as canteen based shrapnel?

Best stick to jelly and ice cream, I say.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Personal injury claims in the winter weather

Guest Posticy pavement liability

Much of the UK has recently been gripped by snow, ice and blizzard and while plenty of us may have enjoyed a snow day or two, what about those who have suffered an injury due to slipping on ice? And what if their fall happened outside their office?

People slipping outside their own home is one thing, but if an incident occurred outside a workplace, perhaps due to a path which has not been properly gritted or an icy step, employers may find they are legally accountable for injuries suffered by one of their staff.

Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe for staff but they should be aware that in some cases, the definition of workplace is fluid and open to interpretation. For instance, if an employee slips on ice on an external ladder leading from their work premises, an employer could be legally responsible as they have not taken the proper precautions in ensuring a route used by employees has been made safe or temporarily closed off – even though the ladder is not technically within the workplace.

Advice from the Health and Safety Executive states that employers should identify which outdoor areas are most likely to be affected by adverse weather conditions like ice – these could include car parks, walkways and areas which are always in the shade, meaning ice will not thaw as quickly.

Instead of being caught unawares by bad conditions employers are also urged to keep an eye on temperatures by monitoring the Met Office website and other useful sites, including the BBC’s Weather site.

Solicitors handling personal injury cases involving a slip on ice outside or around a place of work have to prove that an employer failed in their duty of care to their staff by not taking the proper precautions. If pathways were gritted, unsuitable routes shut off and every other proper safeguard taken, it is unlikely that a company will be legally liable.

The personal injury solicitors at YouClaim are experts in helping victims of accidents that were not their fault to claim compensation. Use the YouClaim Compensation Calculator to see how much you could receive for different types of injuries.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Don’t let your online assets die with you – make a digital will

Guest Post

make a willWhat we recognise as our valuable assets constantly changes over time and with more of us spending time online and managing our finances on the web, it has become a necessary importance to ensure our modern-day secrets, including our passwords and accounts, are recorded in our will.

Millions of us now run a handful of online accounts. These include private information from everyday banking and savings to online shopping catalogues, betting and gambling accounts to air miles. Even social media accounts including Twitter and Facebook are recognised as valuable assets to pass on.

All of these require a password, and if you were to die without a will, these online accounts will be lost with you and could result in thousands of pounds in savings accounts, shopping websites or online gambling credit, lost forever.

Online Businesses
Online businesses or individuals who rely on the internet to earn a living also need to consider leaving their personal details. If a person is an active eBay seller or buyer for example, failure to pass on their account information could jeopardise live transactions. These could then become a legal liability on the estate, as an order for goods through and payment is demanded.

Companies can vary widely in how they treat online accounts after you pass away, however financial organisations are known to be the easiest to deal with if you do not have the username or password for a deceased relative.

eBay only require a death certificate, but crucially it will close an account or eBay shop on notification, rather than transfer ownership. If it is not notified of the death, any live sales would go through its disputes procedure if not honoured.

Influencing older generations
My worry with adding our digital information within a will, is that older generations may not recognise the value of including their digital information, or could be sceptical of passing on their personal details.

While older generations have long been thought to be slow to embrace the internet, figures from Ofcom show that older people are becoming increasingly confident about saving information online.

How to ensure your online life doesn’t die with you
First make a digital inventory. List all of your assets and include every online account and their details. You should state what your wishes are for each account on your death, this also includes whether you wish nobody to view certain information such as email accounts.

You can also make a digital will which can be included on run alongside your main will. It will set down the names of the executors responsible for gaining access, and, where relevant, shutting down or passing over each account to the heirs.

It’s vital you leave your account details and passwords safe, before transferring the information into your will. Otherwise, your executors will not be able to distribute your online assets and alert organisations to your death.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Essays win prizes… well, a place on the LPC

I see from my inbox that Young Lawyer have been banging the drum for their 2013 essay competition.  Must be that time of year again, eh? 

The question this year is:  What is the role of lawyers in protecting 
access to justice post-LASPO?

The prize is well suited to those with self-loathing disorders. 

Win a place on the LPCI’m sure any student would prefer the cash equivalent!!

Btw - I had to Google “LASPO”.  Should I be ashamed?  Thinking smile

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

University Offers – Picking & Choosing

choosing a law degreeThe Telegraph advises students (with a little help from UCAS’ Cathy Gilbert) how to make that killer decision when deciding which university offer to accept.

Ah – the joys.  I remember that dreaded period during A levels when we had all UCASsed our little hearts out and were anxiously waiting for those offers to come back.  If my experience was anything to go by, A levels are an absolutely hideous time in someone’s life and the university application process just adds to the misery.

For what it’s worth, I loved my law degree degrees (heck – one leads to another, right?) but I hated A levels with an intense passion.

Anyhow, what this really reminded me of was a ‘student confession’ quote I saw on the Huffington Post late last year.  It was one of those things in life you just have to take a screenshot of.  I still grimace when I read it now.


My ex and I were together for about 9 months. We broke up when I found out she had been sleeping with her ex-boyfriend for the entire thing. Having discovered this, I promptly went on her UCAS and declined both of her offers. #Gapyear

- Birmingham Uni

Yikes!!  Surprised smile

I believe that’s called serving revenge piping hot.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Drunk driver car accident: How to claim

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car accident claimIf you have been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, a claim maybe brought against the driver. If the driver has a valid motor insurance policy, the insurer will pay compensation if can be proven that the drunk driver acted negligently and your injuries resulted from their actions.

If, however, the driver is uninsured or left the scene of the accident and cannot be traced, a claim may be brought against the Motor Insurance Bureau.

The Motor Insurance Bureau provides a fund, as a point of last resort, for personal injury claims which occur on a road or public place in accordance with the provisions of Road Traffic Act 1988. Under these provisions, it is an offence for an individual to be in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. As a result, claims for personal injury caused as a result of an accident with a drunk driver will fail under such provisions.

How do I make a claim?
A claim for compensation for personal injury must be brought within 3 years of the date of the accident.

The claim can be brought against the driver and their insurance company or, if these details are unknown, then the claim can be brought against the Motor Insurance Bureau.

If you wish to make a claim to the Motor Insurance Bureau this can be done personally by completing the online form or by instructing a personal injury solicitor.

This article was written by Andrew Fullam on behalf of Claims National a road traffic accident compensation claim specialist.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

BT Law - Telecoms Services and Legal Advice all in one

BT - It's you we answer to

From the Solicitors Journal 04/03/13:

BT aims to turn legal services unit from internal cost centre to profit centre as it starts pitching for external business.

Nice idea. Assuming you’ve got some clients who want to pay. ;-)

BT will start offering legal services to corporate customers through its new BT Law Ltd business, which the SRA authorised today as an alternative business structure.

BT Law will incorporate BT Claims, a motor claims management service provided to other companies within the BT group such as BT Fleet, which looks after the group’s 35,000 vehicles.

The intention, [...] is for the service – currently run as a cost centre – to become a profit centre. "BT Law is already working on its first tender for new business[.]"

BT Law will be offered to BT’s existing BT Fleet clients, including The AA, G4S, and Network Rail.

The service will include “an in-house end-to-end motor claims solution for businesses, from incident notification, through investigation and resolution”, BT said in a statement.

In addition, BT Law will offer litigation services provided by an in-house team headed by solicitor and BT group’s head of litigation and employment Miles Jobling.

Jobling, who will become director of BT Law, will supervise a team on 105 staff, including solicitors, legal executives, paralegals, and claims managers.

He said the ABS licence would give BT Law “the perfect platform” to develop the business’s experience and credibility, including the provision of legal services in relation to public liability and employment.

Ah, BT - “it’s good to talk”*. Particularly when you have lawyers charging by the hour! Be right back

Subscription TV and now legal services, eh? Talk about diversifying. While BT Law’s services are only being pitched at corporate clients to begin with, this might just be one stop shy of consumers calling into mobile phone shops for legal advice. Is this the concept of ‘Tesco law’ reaching a new low?

As I’m in the mood to digress, I think the new range of BT ads are a huge improvement over the previous era of vacuous monotony (you know, that rather unconvincing story of that bit part actress from spooks and Nick from My Family having a sprog together).  Nobody believed it and nobody cared. 

The collegiate escapades of Simon, Anna (the hot brunette flatmate) and co are a welcome breath of fresh air. Particularly Anna.

Long may it continue.

Where the magic happens
Anna’s Hot Spot
How very modern

*Remember this was their strapline during the Bob Hoskins 1990s era of ads. Not quite as inspired as the 1980’s “It’s you we answer to”.

Legal advice for Irish investment funds

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Legal Advice - Investment FundsMaples and Calder provides an overview of investment funds, offering specialist advice on the legislation, regulations, restrictions and requirements.

Ireland has become a popular location for investment funds. With a skilled workforce, political stability and a variety of legal structures, the country is a major and growing centre for internationally distributed funds.

Maples and Calder are highly experienced in launching and establishing investment funds in Ireland. With a full understanding of the legislation and regulations surrounding Irish funds, we can offer specialist legal advice on setting up investment funds in the country.

Irish funds are split into two main categories, UCITS and non-UCITS funds. UCITS is an EU investment fund vehicle designed primarily for retail investors and is therefore quite constrained in terms of investment flexibility. Meanwhile, non-UCITS funds include retail schemes, professional investment funds and qualifying investment funds. Of these, the qualifying investor fund (QIF) is the most widely used. This is a fund regime designed for sophisticated and institution investors. Accordingly, investment constraints do not apply.

Legal structures
There are various fund structures, each of which is subject to different legislative provisions. These include:

  • Unit Trusts - a structure created by a written contract between a manager and trustee. The unit trust is not a separate legal entity. The manager runs the trust and enters into contracts related to management and administration, while the trustee holds the assets and enters into contracts related to asset safekeeping.
  • Corporate Funds - structured as a variable capital investment company, meaning that it must be incorporated as a public limited company. These have a separate legal existence and are therefore able to enter into contracts. A board of directors looks after the management, while shareholders have ultimate control over certain matters relating to the fund.
  • Investment Limited Partnerships - a partnership between a general partner and one or more limited partners, where the funds are invested in all types of property. Limited partners act as the shareholders, while the general partner is responsible for managing the fund.
  • Common Contractual Funds - an unincorporated body rather than a separate legal entity, this is a contractual arrangement where investors participate and share in the property as co-owners of the fund.

Along with the various legal structures, the clear and efficient taxation of Irish funds is another key factor that has resulted in its success. Irish funds aren't subject to taxation on income or gains, while Ireland also has many double tax treaties with other countries, with new agreements being negotiated all the time.

Setting up Irish funds
Through the legal structures, tax framework and other factors such as the Irish Stock Exchange and government support, Ireland has become a leading location for investment funds. When launching a fund in the country, it can be important to seek specialist advice from a law firm with expertise in this field. By investing in a professional financial service, you can be assured that the investment fund is compliant with regulations and legislation, while the strategy and operations are well-structured.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Lawyer Humour

laughing lawyerFrom the Solicitors’ Journal 22/02/13:

Jonathan Smithers asks what the horse meat scandal can teach lawyers about the free market and consumer expectations.

The recent Tesco burger scandal, finding that the ingredients might feature more Dobbin than Daisy has spawned some great internet humour. My favourite was about the joker who took an unused record store gift token to Tesco, trying to swap it for some burgers, contending that HMV stood for horse meat voucher. All very amusing […].

Hmmm. It’s hardly a Benny Hill moment, is it? They do say it’s the way you tell ‘em. Granted, solicitors aren’t known for their sense of humour and I’ve told some awful howlers in my time, but this ranks lowly on the snicker-scale.

If you’re wondering, I haven’t bothered quoting any longer extracts for two reasons. Firstly, you can draw a parallel between virtually any news story and the legal profession needing to strive for excellent customer service if you really want to.  It’s a question of how hard you want to look.  Secondly, the observations made in the article are insufferably trite and predictable.

Ne’er mind. We all struggle for content sometimes. Be right back

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Restaurant Diners: Making off without payment

Restaurant - Making Off Without PaymentFrom BBC News 03/03/13:

A woman has been arrested after four champagne diners failed to pay for their £520 meal at a restaurant in Essex.

Three men and a woman drank two £150 bottles of champagne and ate steak and lamb at Milsoms, in Dedham, before leaving on 16 February.

A 46-year-old woman from Colchester was arrested on Friday on suspicion of making off without payment.

She has been released on bail until April pending further inquiries.

This gem reminded me of the time when, in one of my holiday jobs as a student, I was asked to give ‘legal advice’ to a colleague who was a co-owner in a local restaurant.

The restaurant had experienced a spate of customers leaving without paying that summer, using a variety of techniques.  Some would just ‘do a runner’, but it typically involved diners who’d kick up a fuss and feign horror at the food, but only after they’d eaten 80%+ of it.  (If I’m honest, though, I’m not entirely sure all of the disgruntled customers were bogus!).

As I recall, my colleague had extreme difficulty getting his head around the fact the relevant offence wasn’t theft but making off without payment. Whilst we got there in the end, it was hard work.  It didn’t bode well that the first stumbling block came so early in the conversation.
I didn’t know it then, but I’ve come to realise that some ‘clients’ are just like that. Eye rolling smile

Don't Be a Victim after an Accident at Work: Show Initiative

Sponsored Post
Accident at Work
Have you been harmed at work and the incident wasn’t your fault? When a business is liable for a personal injury accident, they’ll do all they can to mitigate costs – that means attempting to con you out of the compensation you deserve. Don’t be a victim twice. Avoid silly mistakes by getting law advice as soon as possible and wise up to their tricks.

Get a Lawyer

Handling your claim by yourself will lead to you getting less compensation – it’s as simple as that. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise (especially your employers), as it’s statistically proven to be true.

You may be asked to make statements for insurance purposes, but don’t approach these without the help of a lawyer. The business is hoping that you’ll say something damaging, so they can hold it against you in court. Don’t sign a thing until your lawyer has given it a once-over and the appropriate personal injury advice.

Collect Evidence

Remember who saw your accident and take down their details, so you can use their support in the future. Witnesses are crucial for gathering evidence. Also try to take photographs of the scene and write key notes about your accident. Jot down your account of events while they’re still fresh in your mind, so you don’t muddle the facts.

Get Medical Attention

Even if your injuries are minor, go straight to a doctor – don’t delay. Leaving medical attention until later can be considered an intentional exacerbation of your injuries and will count against you in court. This examination can add to your portfolio of evidence.

Also, you may be more injured than you first think; get a medical opinion for the sake of your health. Routinely follow any treatment you’re given and go to every subsequently arranged appointment. Again, if you neglect to do this, it’ll reduce the amount of compensation you’ll receive.

Some injuries can become worse over time, so don’t make a settlement on minor damages, unless your doctor has assured you that you’ll make a full and speedy recovery. Even then, don’t move hastily. You never know if your accident will turn into a nasty condition later down the line.

Keep Records Religiously

Store away any documents regarding injury-related expenses – that means lost wages, medical costs, and changes to lifestyle. You can be compensated for this later, so become more organised with your filing system and claim these figures back. You may even be able to apply for estimated losses in the future, if your injury has long-term ramifications.

Immediately Seek Legal Help

The longer you leave the case, the colder the trail goes. Evidence and witnesses are hard to come by and it can harm your case if you leave everything to the last minute. It’s likely you’ll end up leaving with far less compensation than you deserve, unless you immediately get your compensation claim going. Leave it for over three years and you’ll lose the case altogether.

Composed for personal injury solicitors Jigsaw Law who offer insight into the personal injury sector, supporting those affected every step of the way to a resolution. Either visit their site or contact them for any assistance at the following address: Jigsaw Law Ltd, Pioneer House, Pioneer Business Park, North Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 1AD