Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Don’t add insult to injury

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

Statistics show that the number of violent crimes have fallen over the years. However, latest surveys still show that there were in excess of 1 million incidents of violent crime in 2013/2014.
Most people will be familiar with the expression “victim of crime”, however fewer people will be aware that there is a government funded scheme designed to compensate blameless victims of violent crime in Great Britain. It is society`s way of recognising that you have been a victim.
There have been a number of schemes over the years and the latest scheme came into force in November 2012. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) administer the scheme and decide all claims.
Personal injury can have a devastating effect on the person who has suffered injury through no fault of their own. This is highlighted by the many blameless victims of crimes of violence who suffer in silence, particularly victims of sexual abuse who often repress their experiences, sometimes for many years.
Although the amount of compensation varies under the scheme to reflect the seriousness of the injury, it is becoming increasingly difficult for victims to recover compensation from the Scheme which was designed to compensate them in the first place.
Although you do not need a solicitor to apply for compensation, given the strict eligibility criteria to qualify for an award, and the amount of award itself, it is now more important than ever to get the proper legal advice. A claim which I have just settled is a good example.
My client had been the victim of a nasty unprovoked assault. He had suffered a number of injuries, including a skull fracture and facial scarring. Following an application to the CICA my client was awarded £2400 for the scarring and additional damages for his other injuries.
In order to decide upon the level of compensation payable, the CICA try and match the type of injury that a person has suffered with the injury described in the tariff of injuries set out in the CICA scheme. Under the current scheme, scarring to the face resulting in minor disfigurement has been removed, but significant and serious scarring can still qualify for an award.
In the above example, my client had received an award, based on significant facial scarring. Given the degree of that scarring, a decision was made to review the decision of the CICA. Happily, following a review, the CICA agreed that my client`s injury represented a serious disfigurement and awarded him the amount of £11,000, which was a substantial increase from the previous award.
Our Personal Injury Solicitors Liverpool at Jackson Lees, will assess whether you would qualify for a CICA award. If your claim is unsuccessful, for whatever reason, we will not charge you for any work that we have carried out on your behalf.
To find out if you have a claim or would like any further advice about making a personal injury claim, please get in touch on 0151 282 1700.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Surf goggles: trying out Sportsviz's Aquaviz OTS Core

The problem
In the past I've for the most part surfed whilst wearing soft contact lenses. However, recently I've become aware of the risks of infection that this can cause. I'd be fine with the risk if it just meant a small chance that I'd have at worst a couple of months of discomfort and perhaps a course of anti-biotics. But it seems the risk is that you can in fact get an infection which can cause potentially cause blindness in the infected eye. That definitely gets me looking a little further into the problem. If you want to see a couple of scare stories to get you thinking just google: swimming blindness contact lens. Here'a a couple of the stories:

BBC News

Daily Mail

Also, Moorfields Eye Hospital's advice is here.

Of course, some might say it's just another example of 'health and safety gone mad' and each person will obviously make their own choices. But clearly there's an issue whatever you decide. There might also be the general concern of sticking out like a sore thumb in the sea. Not something, frankly, that's a worry for me aged 47 and possibly the least cool person in North Devon as it is. But when thinking about why sea swimmers happily wear googles but not surfers I don't think it's just vanity. I think there's a bigger thing about the feeling that goes with surfing. The freedom of just paddling out and catching a wave unhindered by such things are goggles. That, to me, is a much bigger obstacle. But so, too, is keeping your eyesight. So, it's left me with a conundrum and no obvious answers.

Looking for the solution
So, what to do? There are various sunglasses type spectacles such as Sea Specs. The concern there is fogging and water spots on the lenses. Then there are straightforward small swim goggles with a prescription lense. The problem there is that they are very narrow in the sight path and also pretty tight in on the eye socket. Basically, not very comfortable. So far down this rabbit hole the answer I've personally landed on are larger Aquaviz glasses which are part of the Sportviz sportswear brand. The basic specs are £24.95 (plus £6.95 postage). You then choose prescription inserts to add into them which for single vision (which they recommend generally for surfing) are a further £25. 

I've ordered the basic specs to try them out and assuming they're ok I will then try out the prescription inserts. I'll update this post at that stage. In the meantime, two very useful reviews are the following:

Surfer Dad (and see also the comments below the article)

YouTube review 

I'll also be chatting it through with local Braunton optician Mark Hales at the excellent Shore Sight opticians.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How a Will Is Legal and Why One Can Be Contested

Consideration has been given for the editing and publishing of this post
Making a will is not that difficult and you can even buy a will preparation pack from several UK retailers or online if you want to. The problems come later when someone may believe that to contest a will is the best approach to getting their share of the inherence. If the will was not drawn up in a legal manner, then relatives will surely look up on the internet how to contest a will to see if there are grounds to do so.

Do It Yourself Will

Whether the will is for yourself, so your siblings will inherit something from you later or it’s to help out your aging parents, everyone likes to save costs. Buying a pre-made will where you fill in the important parts might only cost £50. This could be considered a bargain.
The trouble only occurs after you’ve died, or your parents have both passed away and your siblings or other parties decide that contesting a will is the direct line to get free money. In which case, they might use some experts like The Inheritance Experts who specialise in looking at wills to see if they are legal or can be contested in one way or another. You can find out more information about this option by visiting https://www.the-inheritance-experts.co.uk/contesting-a-will/

Getting a Will Through a Solicitor

Getting a will via a solicitor is the safest bet. They usually have someone who works on estate matters or they use a legal executive who works in this area. Either way, the service is likely to be excellent. If you have any doubts, you can also get the will inspected by a second firm of solicitors to make sure that it’s legal. They’ll be able to confirm if the clauses are valid, but unless the signing of the will was recorded on video, they won’t be able to vouch for which witnesses were there when it was signed and that the person signed without being coerced to do so. Having a date-stamped digital video recording of the signing and those present who state their full names and what day it is, could be useful later.

Single Will or Joint Will?

A single will is just for one person which could be yourself or one of your parents. A joint will covers a couple and what happens to their assets when they pass away. In many cases, a joint will states that the other half of the couple receives all the proceeds, but then also states what happens in the event both people pass away. Due to additional complexity of a joint will, they cost more.
A single will is often around £100 to £200 through a reputable solicitor. A joint will covers two people and might be £150 or over £300. The number of assets and the complexity of the document also has an impact on the cost because when it takes longer to draw up the will, it usually is sold at a higher price. If you or your parents have a trust or own assets like a home in a foreign country, the document will get infinitely more complicated and the above cost indications will be too low. Any planning for the tax implications, especially with international transactions, will be costly. Value added tax will need to be added for most bills from a UK-based solicitor.

Only Certain People Can Contest a Will

As laid out by The Inheritance Act, only certain types of people are permitted to dispute a will and officially contest it. This prevents the more frivolous claims that would otherwise hold up probate. Blood relatives, and a spouse, whether still together in their same domicile or estranged, both count.
Someone who was a beneficiary in a previous version of the will, but who no longer is, can question the validity. A person or business owed money by the deceased can make a claim on the assets before probate is concluded. Any agreement, in writing or verbally, as either a bequest or a promise over a certain possession, can be used to contest it. Also, ongoing financial support or the provision of accommodation comes into play with a will where that person was not provided for.

Contesting a Will: Invalid Execution

A will is not executed correctly due to several possible reasons. The most obvious one is that it was drawn up but never signed. The second reason is that it was signed but not witnessed or there were not enough witnesses present when the person who’s will it was, the testator, signed it. Another reason is when the witnesses signed the will later after the testator signed it. A will must be signed and witnessed by two people in the same room at almost the same time to be considered legal and valid.
When the will uses improper language or confusing terminology that doesn’t make it clear what should go to whom, then this can cause problems. The situation rarely happens with a will drawn up by a solicitor, but is more likely to happen with a self-made will. In the case of a self-made will, it’s more likely that the witnessing would be brought into question too.

Contesting a Will: Undue Influence

In a situation of undue influence, pressure was applied one way or another to encourage the person making the will to include clauses in favour of someone who wasn’t a fixture in their life. A carer or indeed a young wife to a much older man could both play enough of a role to influence them to change their will in their favour; relatives are likely to contest any will under such circumstances, especially if they knew the previous will was in their favour and they may have grounds on this basis.

Contesting a Will: Testamentary Capacity

An incapacity is a valid cause to contest when it’s clear that the testator was not able to understand what they were agreeing to. That could be a lack of the true meaning behind a legal clause or simply who they were agreeing to give money to. Someone with a mental health disorder like Dementia can sign a will that they don’t really understand, and this would be a cause to contest it.

Contesting a Will: Fraudulent

There are situations where a false will is presented as a real one, complete with the required signatures and witness signatures too. Sometimes there is more than one will and a solicitor and often the courts have to decide which will is valid and why. When a lot of money is at stake, some people will be extremely inventive in their methods to obtain it.
For someone wanting to make a will or determine whether the will that’s been made is a legal one, they can use this article as an aid with that. Taking short cuts to save money when getting a will done is likely to be a poor decision and complicate matters for siblings later.

There are specialised services available that look closely at the validity of wills when an aggrieved party is involved and believes they haven’t received something that they should have been bequeathed. At a difficult time getting over the loss of a loved one, the last thing people need is a battle over the estate. When wills are prepared properly and in accordance with the law, it reduces the instances where people feel they should have received something that they did not.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Choosing a Medical Negligence Lawyer

Consideration has been given for the editing and publishing of this post
Everyone expects the best treatment and a speedy recovery whenever they visit a hospital or a medical practice. While our healthcare system is one of the best in the world, accidents still happen, and suitable treatment may not be what you get during your visit. Even worse, you may be the victim of a medical negligence case.
When this is the case, you have the right to file a medical negligence claim. The claim is intended to pursue compensation that will help you deal with the aftermath of the negligence case. Before you can file a claim successfully, however, you need to go through the process of choosing a lawyer to represent you. To help you get started, here are the things you need to know about choosing a medical negligence lawyer.

Get as Many Options

The best way to start your search for the best medical negligence lawyers to represent your case is by finding as many options as possible. You don’t want to go for the first solicitor you come across; what you want to do is gather your options and review them from an objective standpoint. Only then will you be able to spot the right one to hire, based on other aspects we will also cover in this article.
The internet is your friend when it comes to finding the best medical negligence solicitors to work with. We now have sites such as the-medical-negligence-experts.co.uk/ helping you find and connect with top solicitors in the UK. You can find options in just a few clicks. These sites also make finding solicitors easier when you are also dealing with the effects of medical malpractice.

Sort by Experience

Since you’re already limiting your search to include only the best solicitors in the field of medical negligence claims, you can continue with the next aspect to consider: experience. Experience is everything in this field. There are a lot of new solicitors with great success rates that are growing in popularity, but your best chance of succeeding still lies with the more experienced lawyers.
Fortunately, finding out about the experience of a law firm or the solicitor that will be representing your medical negligence claims UK is easy. You can start by reviewing past cases handled by the solicitors you’re comparing, along with details such as success rates, the number of settlements or granted claims, and the time required to get clients the compensation they deserve.

Check for Accreditation

Similar to lawyers in other fields of law, solicitors working in the medical negligence field are usually accredited. The Claims Management Regulator issues authorisation numbers to firms and individuals who handle medical negligence claims.
Working with an authorised firm is the only option worth considering, so scroll down to the bottom of the page to see if the solicitors you’re looking into are indeed authorised. You may also find accreditations from other entities, including the NHS and independent agencies.

Understand Your Preferences

Medical negligence law is complex and challenging. While filing the claim is a straightforward thing to do, the process that follows isn’t as manageable as many people think. You’ll spend a lot of time working with the solicitor in understanding the case, fine-tuning the claim, and fighting for the compensation you deserve.
It is especially important that you work with a solicitor you’re comfortable with the most. This is why talking to the solicitors directly and making sure you are comfortable with the person – or the person in charge of the team – is a must, especially when you start your search online. The best lawyers are more than happy to make the time to meet you.
Don’t settle for representatives either. Larger firms may have representative or liaison officers dealing with the client-side of things while their expert solicitors handle the claim directly. While this is a great thing for efficiency, you still need to meet the lawyers that will be handling your case directly before making any decision to hire the firm.

Consider the Expenses

Cost is still a big barrier for victims of medical malpractice. Filing a medical negligence claim can be costly, especially once you factor in the solicitor’s fees, legal fees, and other small costs that accumulate quickly throughout the process. You want to be able to identify and fully understand these costs before moving forward.
You have the right to ask for a detailed cost structure when hiring medical negligence solicitors. You don’t have to worry about legal fees and other charges in most cases because top medical negligence claims UK firms work on something known as a No-Win-No-Fee basis.
As the name suggests, you don’t have to worry about legal fees when filing a negligence claim. When you get the claim accepted, the solicitor will receive fees as part of your claim. Keep in mind that there may still be out-of-pocket expenses you have to cover when filing the claim, so make sure you ask for more details before agreeing to hire the attorney.

Available Resources

The more experienced a solicitor or a law firm is, the more resources the solicitor or firm has. More resources translate to a better ability to represent your case and perform the necessary tasks to get your claim accepted. A firm that has been handling medical negligence case for many years, for instance, already have trusted clinics and medical practitioners for first-aid and examination purposes.
Some lawyers even go as far as knowing how certain medical institutions react to negligence claims, allowing them to anticipate every move accurately. These are the kind of resources that will influence the outcome of your medical negligence claim. The best way to get to know the resources available to the solicitor is by doing a review of the process one step at a time.
Before deciding to hire the attorney, ask for a quick walkthrough of the medical negligence claim process. Have the attorney explain to you every step that you need to complete and make sure you ask questions whenever necessary. This process will not only help you determine if you’re comfortable enough with the solicitor but will also allow you to see the kind of support and resources you can expect when working with them.

Select and Forget

When you are the victim of medical malpractice, your primary focus must always be your own wellbeing. Unfortunately, filing a medical negligence claim is often the only way to get the financial compensation you need to recover from the effects of malpractice while maintaining a standard of living.
The decision is a subjective one to make. That is why we take things such as level of comfort and the kind of resources available to the solicitor into account when choosing a medical negligence lawyer to hire. You can also determine if the cost of filing the claim is something you can cover without too much trouble.

Now that you have reviewed the above information and gone through the process of finding and comparing solicitors, you can make your decision to hire the lawyer that suits you best. Let the law firm do most – if not all – of the hard work for you. You, on the other hand, need to concentrate on recovering from your injuries.