Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sponsored post: What the future holds for potential personal injury claims

The world of personal injury law is never stable. 2012 saw a series of major changes to PI claims cases, after ministers decided to tackle the rather fickle issue of Britain’s supposed ‘compensation culture’, a term splashed throughout every tabloid whenever Ministers brought up our illusive addiction to making frivolous claims.
Cast your memory back to May and you’ll remember the radical proposal to change the low-value claims system in an attempt to control Britain’s supposedly notorious whiplash claims culture.
More recently came the announcement of changes to CFA’s which could see successful claimants deprived of receiving full compensation if they decide to receive legal advice from a solicitor, in an attempt to reduce the number of people making a claim. This also comes on top of the removal of legal aid which can help clients reclaim expensive insurance premiums from the defendant.
This year will undoubtedly witness more proposals to change currant personal injury legislation. The blame, if any, should be pointed towards inexperienced legal  firms and claim companies which have helped create this image of a ‘compensation culture’. Rather than weighing the costs and benefits of each individual claim, it is clear they are more than happy to take on almost any case, and I really do mean any case. From this view, their form of handling claims has become a little ludicrous.
So what 2013 will bring I wonder? In such an unstable legal sector, which is constantly changing and growing, it certainly doesn’t hurt to look to what the near future could bring. To bring a little light heartedness to the PI sector for once, I have been pondering the potential personal claims which could be the norm in the near future.

The top PI claims we could see in the future
1.      Space travel claims
Likelihood: 7/10
This isn’t as absurd as it sounds. Forget sun-soaked days lazing in luxury in an over-water villa, the destination which takes the fancy of the future rich will soon be outer space. Since the first space tourist in 2009, many private firms including Space-X and Virgin have been racing to offer ordinary travellers the chance to visit space. However sitting on top of what is effectively a giant bomb, the health and safety considerations are likely to be a little more extreme than your average cruise ship.
Cruising around Earth at five miles a second, flying around in zero gravity and falling to the ground at twice the speed of sound create the perfect mix for a serious injury claim. However the £500,000 price tag of insurance just to get into space as a tourist should be able to cover it.

2.      Driverless car claims
Likelihood: 9/10
A movement towards road vehicle automation was the most revolutionary development in transportation during 2012, with the likes of Google, Volvo and Toyota all on their way to making the first driverless car road safe. It may not even be that long before we’re getting into the passenger’s seat with road testing already being conducted in several European countries, including the UK.
Obviously a lack of drivers behind the wheel will certainly mean the law will need to be changed. Although I wonder who will be to blame if an accident does occur. Will it be the manufacturer for creating an unsafe machine? Or will the passengers become responsible?

3.       Android claims
Likelihood: 5/10
Ok this one is a little less likely than the others. However if I-Robot has told us anything it is that all devices with the power to think for themselves must abide to the rules of robotics and never injure a human being.
Scientists are already searching for ways in which robots can help us around the home. At this point they’re nothing more than a vacuum hoover which knows exactly where to clean, yet I’m a little optimistic that we’re not too far away from our very own mechanical maids.
The day this happens will we be entitled to compensation in the same way we would be if we were violently attacked by another human?

4.       Augmented reality injury claims
Likelihood: 8/10
Not to be confused with virtual reality, augmented reality uses technology to enhance our own world. Last year Google unveiled project glass, its patented augmented reality eyewear, which projects a small video screen which places information over the view of the users’ right eye.
Oakley has also released skiing goggles with the ability to provide users information about the mountain range including their speed and elevation.
This made me wonder how long we could be away from all depending on our eyewear for everyday information. However the idea isn’t all that simple and the idea of a large text message or map popping up in front of my face is likely going to lead to a slip, trip or fall at some point. We could be only a few years away before augmented injury claims become a thing of reality.
With the changes over the past year, it is evident personal injury law is an unpredictable and flexible sector.
Although all of the ideas above are likely to be years away from actually becoming an integral part of our lives, we should always be looking ahead and thinking what we could be taking legal action against in the near future.

About the author: Chris Sutton is a Director at YouClaim, an established legal firm who specialise in all aspects of current law claims including personal injury, clinical negligence, road traffic accidents and employment law. For more information visit the firm’s website at http://www.youclaim.co.uk/.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Article on lack of guidance for post-referral fees business models

I've done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors on the lack of guidance for post-referral fees business models. You can read it here.

Time for some specific guidance on referral fees

I see the Law Gazette has reported that the SRA isn't going to give pre-approval to business models in the post-referral fee world. Surely it's time for a re-think on this and some very specific guidance to firms already struggling to cope with all the changes being introduced?

Book Recommendation: Free to Choose: A Personal Statement

In this classic about economics, freedom, and the relationship between the two, Milton and Rose Friedman explain how our freedom has been eroded and our prosperity undermined through the explosion of laws, regulations, agencies, and spending in Washington, and how good intentions often produce deplorable results when government is the middleman. The Friedmans also provide remedies for these ills--they tell us what to do in order to expand our freedom and promote prosperity. Available from Amazon 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

'Jerusalem' - as good as it gets

I live in North Devon so had to read Jez Butterworth's big hit Jerusalem before I was finally fortunate enough to see it in London last year. I'm glad I did as the play is so beautifully written that the characters flew off the page. So much so that only an actor as brilliant as Mark Rylance could have taken the written words to an even higher level. This play is a song to our rural way of life. It's funny, tragic, honest, direct and utterly mesmerising. It harks back to folk tales and myths and yet is completely modern. The only way I can really describe the experience of both reading and then seeing the play is perhaps by imagining that it gives the sort of wonder that audiences must have felt when they first stumbled upon Shakespeare's plays over 400 years ago. This is truly the best play I have ever read, the best play I have seen and for what it's worth to this book review, Mark Rylance's performance was the best performance I have witnessed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Article on government delaying extension of RTA Portal

I've done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors on government delaying extension of RTA Portal. You can read it here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Recommendation: The Best of "Queens Counsel"

The very best of Steuart and Francis’s Queen’s Counsel. Everything you wanted to know about the law but didn’t want to pay £300 an hour to find out! Lawyers affect the lives of us all, whether through buying a house, getting a divorce, making a will – or being forced to sit next to one at a dinner party. This book is for everyone who wants to get their own back. Queen’s Counsel is the successful strip cartoon which appears every Tuesday in the law pages of The Times. Its good-natured satire on lawyers and the legal system has made it compulsory reading among members of the legal profession. The Best of Queen’s Counsel brings together the funniest and most popular moments of Steuart and Francis’s continuing saga of life among the tennants of 4 Lawn Buildings: head of chambers Sir Geoffrey Bentwood; aspiring head of chambers Edward Longwind; idealistic, downtrodden pupil barrister Helena; and solicitor Richard Loophole. Available from Amazon

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Recommendation: The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else's life. 'The odyssey of a simple man, original, subtle and touching'. - Claire Tomalin 'From the moment I met Harold Fry, I didn't want to leave him. Impossible to put down.' - Erica Wagner, The Times Available from Amazon

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Your convenient Law firm in Maidstone, Kent


Brought to you by our friends at ASB Law

When locating a law firm in Kent it’s essential that businesses find the right firm to meet their needs and fulfil their requirements. By working with a full service law firm in Maidstone, Kent businesses can access legal advice which takes into account their business, their industry and their objectives. Specialist lawyers in Kent are experienced in dealing with a variety of business issues and can help companies identify effective business solutions as well legal solutions.

Although companies often face generic business concerns, by appointing a local Maidstone law firm in Kent to act on their behalf, businesses gain the expertise of lawyers in Kent who are familiar with the area and with local concerns. Many business issues are often due to the location so businesses within the county may benefit from working with a law firm in Kent which can fully understand their business needs. By networking with lawyers in Kent and engaging the services of a law firm in Kent, companies can benefit from the expertise of local professionals who understand the issues faced by businesses operating with in the area.

The possibility of a new airport being built within the area, for example, is an issue that concerns both residents and businesses alike. Working with a Maidstone law firm in Kent ensures that they gain the expertise of lawyers in Kent who are aware of the potential impact on the area. Similarly, lawyers in Kent are familiar with the plans and how these have been adapted and what further modifications may be made to the plans to accommodate local businesses. This local insight can benefit businesses considerably and enable them to broker a more favourable deal thus highlighting the benefits of working with local lawyers and law firms in Kent.

Similarly, the increase in property development throughout the county has led to many businesses seeking the services of lawyers in Kent. Their knowledge of the area in conjunction with their awareness of new buildings and developments ensures they are well equipped to advise on planning applications and their likelihood of success. The local knowledge available in such instances makes using a law firm in Maidstone  preferable to using a national or international firm who may lack crucial local knowledge.

The location of a business contributes towards it success or failure so it is essential that companies undertake thorough research to ensure their location and their properties are suitable for their business. Businesses in the county often rely on expert advice from lawyers in Kent regarding business locations and portfolio management in order to ensure their physical assets serve the business as best they can. As companies continually develop their needs change, and this is often reflected in their property portfolio. By engaging a law firm in Kent and using the expertise of lawyers in Kent, businesses can ensure that they are using their assets to reduce risk and encourage growth. By doing so, they reduce costs and increase their profitability thus leading to better business performance. Working with local lawyers in Kent and obtaining the services of a law firm in Kent can be extremely beneficial for businesses and enable them to obtain specialist legal advice as well as obtaining a competitive advantage through the expertise of local lawyers.

ASB Law are a dynamic, market-driven law firm in Kent with offices in Maidstone. ASB help to create value by understanding what is really important to you... They provide a broad range of legal services to companies, public sector bodies and not-for-profit organisations, and individuals and families. Their solicitors look after regional, national and international clients from their Maidstone offices. ASB Law specialise in legal services for aviation, travel, charities and education, brain injury and vulnerable people.


Article on the importance of prescribed information in relation to deposits and landlord and tenants

I've done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors on the importance of prescribed information in relation to deposits and landlord and tenants. You can read it here.

Can Injuries Really Cause PTSD?


Brought to you by our friends at The Claim Group

Being involved in an accident is something nobody wishes to face. No matter what the consequences, lethal or otherwise, the dangerous, painful and damaging ramifications can last what feels like a lifetime, and make life inherently awkward, leaving you struggling to accomplish simple tasks such as getting around, operating a door handle or using cutlery. We want to avoid them at all costs, but, true to their name, accidents do indeed happen and are often largely inevitable at some point during our lives.

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, in its full form, is a very serious type of anxiety that can affect all aspects of your life, often leaving people who were once outgoing and sociable people, practically unrecognizable in terms of personality. Many things in the past have been defined as being a direct cause of PTSD, however one recent Australian study has shown that certain injuries, particularly those in the wrist or ankle can cause significant and dangerous PTSD.

As areas of the body particularly susceptible to sprain and injury containing integral tendons that allows us to function with the dexterity required to go about one’s day, once they are damaged, they can leave us feeling incomparably vulnerable, which can in turn, lead to an almost constant level of distress in the mind.

With wrists and ankles in particular, the injuries are often complicated due to the huge array of bones and ligaments in those joints. Indeed, many people who first receive an injury that is not their fault do not pursue it legally, presuming everything will be alright. This often isn’t the case and as the damage and pain develops, there is an increased chance of the injury worsening, potentially leading to PTSD.

What should be done in the event of receiving any injury is to have it checked out. Next, personal injury compensation claims are often a good idea as, should the pain and damage indeed worsen, you could be left unable to work, and be in need of financial aid to keep up with bills, rent and other out goings.

Essentially, ensuring you have your finances covered in the event of an accident is one way of helping to ensure  you do not develop the kind of anxiety associated with PTSD that can come from suffering with any sort of temporary disability. Keep yourself covered, whatever happens!

This article was written on behalf of The Claim Group, experts in delivering the compensation you need, when you need it. Don’t get caught out by the after effects of an injury and call today!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Book recommendation: 'You're Not So Smart' by David McRaney

I read this book in one sitting and enjoyed the points which were being made. However, I guess I did start flicking through some of the pages as it went on with study after study. I think if you were just reading a blog post a day you'd be able to take in so many studies over time but not so with the book unless you treated it as something to dip into from time to time in much the same way. Still, it's an enjoyable read and some interesting points well made.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

'The River' by Jez Butterworth

I'm afraid to say that I hadn't read anything by Jez Butterworth until I heard about 'Jerusalem' which I loved both in writing and later on the stage. This is his next play and again I've been forced to read it rather than see it. But having done so, I'm once again glad that I have since it's once again beautifully written and enormously evocative of time spent by the side of a river in this case seeking out the rise of the sea trout. The interactions between the characters provide movement and very much maintain your interest. But for me, this is a poem to the countryside just as much as Ted Hughes' poem 'Night Arrival of Sea Trout' from which he quotes. It doesn't have the pizzaz and explosive energy of Jerusalem but that reflects the subject matter of the river and its wildlife. For me, there were echoes of TS Eliot, of Citizen Kane and I have to admit too due to the subject matter, the wonderful 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen'.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Recommendation: Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan


Serena Frome, the beautiful daughter of an Anglican bishop, has a brief affair with an older man during her final year at Cambridge, and finds herself being groomed for the intelligence services. The year is 1972. Britain, confronting economic disaster, is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism and faces its fifth state of emergency. The Cold War has entered a moribund phase, but the fight goes on, especially in the cultural sphere.
Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is sent on a 'secret mission' which brings her into the literary world of Tom Haley, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? And who is inventing whom? To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage - trust no one.
McEwan's mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love, and the invented self.

Available from Amazon

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Article on the government's proposals to reform whiplash claims

I've done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors on the government's proposals to reform whiplash claims. You can read it here.