Do you know what a thagomizer is? The thagomizer is an arrangement of 4 to 10 spikes on the tails of dinosaurs such as the Stegosaurus. The pointy bits provided a defensive weapon against predators. Stegosaurus was a herbivore. With a toothless beak and small teeth, it was not designed to eat flesh. Legendary cartoonist, Gary Larson, coined the term ‘thagomizer’ in his 1982 image of a caveman giving a PowerPoint presentation to colleagues and telling them it was so-called “after the late Thag Simmons”. Poor Thag. ‘Thagomizer’ has come to be adopted as an informal anatomical term. It’s used on the Stegosaurus display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.. Clearly, Stegosaurus had a mighty sting in the tail, if required. Personal injury claims can have a sting in the tail too, if you don’t watch out. The cruel defence is one of ‘delay’. Wait too long and your claim will become unenforceable and lost forever. As we have discussed elsewhere, the Continue Reading
Avoiding losing money on your personal injury claim
It makes no sense to behave in a way that any claim you have for personal injury is reduced through your own conduct.
The articles listed below deal in some way with things you can do - or should consider - to avoid your compensation damages being reduced below an otherwise "fair" level.
Scottish solicitors’ firms have to do formal risk management training every year. This is particularly to minimise the risk of making mistakes which might mean we end up getting sued because of losses we might cause to our clients. We had a recent session in our Elgin office where the “system” to assess risks in our work on a daily basis was summarised as: Stop and think Do as you have been told (i.e. we have a lot of systems and procedures already for managing risk) Repeat one and two Everything looks clear with hindsight. You want to avoid looking back on things with regret, if possible. It can be especially annoying if, due to not “stopping and thinking”, you make a silly error which results in a loss to you personally or to your workplace. It’s a bit like that with personal injury claims and, from our perspective, there is an avoidable mistake many injured people make at the start of their personal injury claim. It causes financial loss to them. It’s not Continue Reading
Sylvester Stallone’s big break as a movie star came with the 1976 film, Rocky. However, his own story is as inspirational as that of the boxer he played on screen. Stallone had a troubled upbringing, spending a lot of time in foster care. In his 20s, at one point, he was so hard up that he had to sell his dog. He wrote the first draft of Rocky after watching a boxing match in which an unknown and unfancied fighter lasted a full 15 rounds against world champion, Muhammad Ali. Film studios were very interested in the script but not with Stallone in the starring role. Nevertheless, he held out. Even when one studio offered him $325,000 for the script alone - at that time, the highest amount ever offered for a script – he did not waver. In the end, he got his wish. The purchase price for the script was only $35,000 (and the movie was reduced to a low budget production) but Stallone got the lead role. Rocky was a massive hit, winning an Oscar for best picture - and Continue Reading
“Idiot insurance scammer fails miserably with fake ‘ice on floor’ fall”. That was one description of 57-year-old New Jersey man Alexander Goldinsky’s apparent attempt to stage a “slipping on ice cubes” accident in his work canteen. The incident – which happened sometime in the second half of 2018 - was captured on CCTV. Allegedly, he then filed a false insurance claim for the ambulance service and treatment he received at a local hospital for his "injuries" and the outcome was that he faced a criminal prosecution for fabricating the claim. Clearly, the USA is not Scotland but did you know that... ...within the UK, Scottish personal injury claimants are most likely to put forward exaggerated or fraudulent claims? This view has been expressed in the legal press by solicitors whose job it is represent the interests of insurers in defending personal injury compensation claims. Reforms to the law in England and Wales have meant that, in some claims where the injured person has Continue Reading
Some say The Blue Nile are the greatest ever Scottish band. Though they only ever released 4 albums - between 1984 and 2004 - they maintained a consistently high standard throughout. Their music has a spare, cinematic quality which blends perfectly with Paul Buchanan’s soulful and world-weary voice. The Blue Nile’s 1989 release, Hats, has topped some polls to find the best Scottish album of all time. I listened to that album a lot when it came out - I was a student then - and I still listen to it often even now. The fact is, they almost never got a recording contract at all and took an unusual route to achieve that end. Around 1983, a top-of-the-range Glasgow-based hi-fi company called Linn Products found that their equipment’s sales prospects were boosted if they used music from the band’s demo tape when demonstrating Linn’s music systems to potential customers. When Linn discovered The Blue Nile were unsigned, they decided they would sort them with a record deal by Continue Reading
Success fees are the “hidden cost” of personal injury claims. They reduce the amount of compensation you receive from a personal injury claim after that compensation figure has been fixed and paid. Success fees are fees that are paid out of compensation (awarded or agreed) by successful personal injury claimants to their solicitors or claims management companies under a success fee agreement. In this article, we will look at how the Scottish Government wishes to regulate the maximum levels of success fee that can be charged – to provide a better financial outcome for injured people than they often get at present. First of all, in order to understand the context in which this is all happening, we need to look at wider changes that will soon affect Scottish personal injury claims. The Scottish Government intends to change the way personal injury claims are run in Scotland. This follows similar changes brought in in England and Wales. One big proposed change is to reduce Continue Reading
The law in the UK does not require pedal cyclists to wear a helmet. What this means is that you won’t be stopped by the police if you fail to wear a cycle helmet. You won’t be prosecuted under the criminal law. On the other hand, Rule 59 of the Highway Code categorises cyclists as vulnerable road users and advises that cyclists ‘should wear a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened’. The Highway Code is relevant to both criminal and civil law. Claims for personal injury compensation are civil claims for damages, so the Highway Code is relevant. Many cyclists ride without a helmet. Only just over a third of cyclists using major urban roads wore cycle helmets, according to research findings of the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory in 2008. Equivalent research in Germany apparently showed that only 11 % of cyclists in towns and cities wear a cycle helmet. Cycle helmets have to comply with a European standard. This Continue Reading
The modern car seatbelt was invented by a former aviation engineer, whose experience included working on ejector seats. By 1959, cars had seatbelts but only two-point waist restraints. In a car accident, this often did the wearer as much harm as good. Volvo engineer, Nils Bohlin, created a design which anchored the straps low beside the seat. This meant that the geometry of the belts formed a “V” - pointing at the floor – and that the belt would remain in place and not shift under sudden loading. Such a significant advance in driver and passenger safety could have netted Volvo a fortune on the patent. Instead, they gave it away. They decided that the invention was so revolutionary that its value should not profit their company but be a free, life-saving tool. In the world of personal injury claims, if you fail to wear a seat belt and are injured in a road traffic accident, you don’t expect to be free from blame. As we’ve examined elsewhere on this website, UK personal injury Continue Reading
There are those who predicted that the years from 2010 to 2020 would become known as the "transparency" decade, in which no one would be able to "live a lie". It is perhaps not turning out to be as clear-cut as it might have seemed then, especially when we are having such issues with fake news and the apparent smokescreens created by certain people and organisations in positions of power. It is hard to remember that there was once a time when you did not always know what your friends were up to. A time long ago when, in order to hear their news, you would need to phone them or arrange to meet them face-to-face. Since Facebook began in 2004 and Twitter in 2006, there has been an explosion in the use of social media. On the internet, something like 1400 blog posts are produced every minute. Dozens of hours of video are uploaded per minute. And tens of thousands of images are shared every minute. Facebook data from May 2016 indicated that there were 36.45 million users in the Continue Reading
As a chocolate lover, my taste is more for milk chocolate and white chocolate than for dark chocolate. If dark chocolate is married with another flavour, such as mint, I’m a big fan but, on its own, I’ll always prefer the other varieties of chocolate, if I can get them. With 100% dark chocolate, it means that all the ingredients have come from the cocoa bean. 100% dark chocolate is not to everyone’s taste because of its intense bitterness. In the world of personal injury claims, an area where ‘100%’ could leave an intensely bitter taste in your mouth is in relation to contributory negligence. What is contributory negligence? In the usual case, contributory negligence is where it’s accepted by the other party or their insurers that you should get some compensation for your losses. The catch is that they say it was partly due to your own fault that you got injured – so your full compensation should be reduced by a percentage to reflect your share of the blame. In Continue Reading
An "innocent third party car claim" is how some motor insurers describe what you have if one of their customers has crashed into your vehicle and it’s not your fault. In other words, the motor insurers in question are the third-party insurers, not your own motor insurers. Their customer was to blame for the accident. The third-party insurers’ offer to you is that you should let them take care of you and your vehicle in sorting things out. This help from the other driver's insurer can include: the repair of your vehicle (or a payment to represent its value if it has been written off), use of a hire vehicle, free of charge, while your own vehicle is being repaired; and help if you have been injured – to include treatment/rehabilitation and compensation. But couldn't you deal through your own insurers? If you have comprehensive motor insurance, one of your options is to deal with a claim for damage to your car through your own motor Continue Reading
If a worker is fatally injured as the result of an accident at work, there will often be an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Available options include: the holding of a Fatal Accident Inquiry by the procurator fiscal; criminal prosecution of the employer and/or any other business which might have been "in control" of the workplace at the time of the accident under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Examples of employer prosecutions as the result of a fatal accident HSE publishes a weekly email bulletin - to which anyone can subscribe - which gives details of the latest health and safety breaches which have given rise to criminal convictions for businesses. The accidents involve life-changing injuries and some result in fatalities. Using as an example the most recent bulletin, we find several reports of fines imposed on businesses for deaths of workers in a variety of circumstances: A landscape gardener who fell under the wheels of a Continue Reading