Max Clifford sentenced to eight years for sexual abuse

Max Clifford has been sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually abusing  four teenage girls.

Earlier this week Clifford was convicted for a string of sexual assaults which occurred over twenty years ago.

One of the women was 15 when Clifford first assaulted her. She explained how Clifford impressed her parents by name dropping whilst they were on a family holiday. She said she felt “blown away” when Clifford told her she could be the UK version of Jodie Foster. He later forced her to perform oral sex on him and he indecently assaulted her. A letter which the victim had written Clifford anonymously three years ago was read out in court. In the letter she talks about how Clifford had groomed her and later abused her.

Allegations about Clifford came forward in the midst of Operation Yewtree following the Jimmy Saville sexual abuse scandal. Interestingly the anonymous letter to Clifford had been sent before the Jimmy Saville sexual abuse scandal had become public. However, the letter was discovered by the police in his bedside drawer.

Victims of sexual and physical abuse are entitled to claim compensation. Whilst there are time limits for bringing claims it is sometimes possible to bring claims for abuse that occurred many years ago.

Hastings & Co Solicitors of Chelmsford in Essex have experience dealing with sexual and physical abuse claims.  Telephone 01245 835 305 for a free consultation without any obligation.

Disclaimer: this blog only gives a brief overview of the law and is not intended as a substitute for independent legal advice.

Personal Injury case studies

Liam Hastings has been  dealing with personal injury claims for the last 14 years and is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury panel. These are some of the cases he has handled in the last 7 years:-

  • £1,650 to a client who was injured when tripped he over a pothole. The claim was made against the local authority who had failed to maintain the pavement.
  • £5,000 to  a client who was injured following negligent treatment in a care home.
  • £20,000 to a client who was injured whilst at work on a building site. The claim was made against the site managers.
  • £1,000 to a pedestrian who was hit by a car as she attempted to cross the road.
  • £90,000 to a client who was injured at work. The claim was made against the employers who had failed to provide their employee with proper equipment.
  • £6,700 to a client who injured his finger at work. The claim was made against the employer, who had failed to properly train or supervise their employee and who had in place unsafe working practices resulting in the employee being injured.
  • £45,000 to a client that injured his knee at work. The claim was made against the employer who had failed to implement safe working practices.
  • £8,500 to a client injured in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £5,000 to a client who was injured whilst on an aeroplane. The claim was made against the tour operator.
  • £2,400 to a client who was injured in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £3,000 to a client who was scalded with hot water whilst on an aeroplane. The claim was made against the airline company.
  • £4,250 for a client who was injured when she slipped over food on the floor in a supermarket.
  • £6,000 to a client who was exposed to chemical inhalation at work.
  • £90,000 to a client who sustained a knee injury following an accident at work. The claim was made against the employers who had failed to supply the correct equipment for working at height and who had unsafe working practices.
  • £2,000 to a client who sustained a whiplash injury in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £3,750 to a client who suffered a whiplash injury in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £2,800 to a client who was injured at work. The claim was made against the employer who had failed to provide their employee with the correct equipment and who had unsafe working practices.
  • £2,200 to a client who was injured in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £20,000 to a client who was injured when she was bitten by a dog.
  • £44,000 to a client who was injured at work.
  • £3,650 to a client who was injured when his chair collapsed. The claim was made against the retailer that sold the chair.
  • £7,750 to a client who was injured when she crashed her bike. The bike had a design fault which made it unsafe to ride. The claim was made against the retailer that sold the bike.
  • £10,000 to a client who was injured in an accident at work.
  • £5,800 to a client who tripped over a pothole at work and injured his ankle.
  • £10,000 to a client who was injured at work.
  • £2,000 to a client who suffered a whiplash injury in a Road Traffic Accident.
  • £3,500 to a pedestrian was was injured when a car reversed into her.
  • £2,000 to a client who was injured when she tripped over in a public car park. The owners of the car park had cut down some railings but left stubs sticking out of the ground creating a tripping hazard.
  • £41,000 to a client who was injured at work. The claim was made against the employer who failed to provide their employee with personal protective equipment in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002.
  • £14,000 to a client who was injured when she slipped over a pool of water in a supermarket.
  • £10,000 to a client who was injured in a Road Traffic Accident when another car drove into the side of her car.
  • £5,750 to a client who was injured when she slipped over on wet floor in a supermarket.
  • £25,000 for a client injured in a Road Traffic Accident. The claim was made against the driver who was negligent.
  • £13,500 for a client that fell down some communal stairs and fractured his arm. The claim was made against the freeholder of the building who had failed to maintain the lighting on the stairwell.
  • £3,500 for a client that slipped on a wet floor in a supermarket and cut her hand on some sharp racking as she fell.
  • £17,500 for a client injured when she tripped over a pothole in a public car park. The claim was made against the owners of the car park who had failed to take reasonable steps to maintain the car park contrary to the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957.
  • £10,000 for a client who was injured whilst on a package holiday abroad. The claim was made against the tour operator under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.
  • £40,000 for a client who was injured at work. The claim was made against the employer who had poor manual handling practices.
  • £50,000 for a client who injured his foot and ankle in a Road Traffic Accident. The claim was made against the negligent driver.
  • £3,000 for a client who was injured when he was knocked off his bicycle by a taxi driver.
  • £28,000 for a client who was injured in a hotel.
  • £2,000 for a client who cut her foot on sharp racking in a supermarket.
  • £80,000 for a client injured whilst on holiday abroad.
  • £80,000 for a pedestrian injured in a Road Traffic Accident.

Hastings & Co Solicitors specialise in personal injury claims. Telephone 01245 835 305 for a free consultation without any obligation.

 

Pothole claims – Widow of dead cyclist is planning to sue council

The widow of a dead cyclist is planning to sue North Yorkshire Council after her husband died when hitting a pothole while riding his bike, reports the BBC.

Martin Uzzell, from Somerset, was on a charity bike ride in 2011 with two friends when he hit a pothole and was thrown into the path of a car.

An inquest into his death revealed that the Council had missed opportunities to repair the pothole.

Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 imposes a duty on “highways authorities” to maintain highways.

Section 59 of the Highways Act 1980 gives the highway authority a defence to a claim if it can show that it has in place a reasonable system of inspection and repair. Accordingly, all highway authorities will have systems in place and when confronted with a claim will produce inspection records. It is then the job of the personal injury solicitor to carefully scrutinise the maintenance records to see whether the system in place is effective.

Hastings & Co Solicitors specialise in personal injury claims including pothole claims against Essex County Council and other local authorities. For a free assessment without any obligation please telephone 01245 835 305.

Disclaimer: this blog is only intended to give a brief overview of the law and is not intended as a substitute for independent legal advice.

Legal Expenses Insurance

A lot of people have Legal Expenses Insurance as part of their home or car insurance. Sometimes it is automatically included as a feature of the policy. Sometimes it is an extra that has to be specifically selected. For certain types of legal problem it is always worth checking to see whether cover is in place.

The way to find out if you have cover is to check your insurance policy schedule and somewhere it will say “legal expenses insurance” or it might say “family legal protection”. It will then say “included” or “not included” as the case may be. Or it might say how much the premium is to indicate that you do have cover.

If you do have cover, then your insurance policy terms and conditions booklet (usually a glossy pamphlet) will tell you what types of dispute it covers and any conditions attached to it. Most Legal Expenses Insurance policies will cover personal injury claims and employment disputes. Some will also cover general contractual disputes.

The terms and conditions booklet will also tell you how to claim on the policy. There will be a telephone number and if you phone it they will refer you to one their “panel solicitors”. In our experience, the panel solicitor is rarely local and so the client does not get to meet their solicitor in person. In order to get on the panel in the first place, the solicitor has probably paid a referral fee (in the case of personal injury claims) or agreed much lower rates than usual (in other cases). The solicitor is then forced to keep their costs down and they often achieve this by using paralegals to do the work.

The good news is that you do not have to use the solicitor nominated by your Legal Expenses Insurer. You are free to choose your own solicitor however they will not tell you this. If we agree to take your case on, and if you have legal expenses insurance, we will contact your legal expenses insurer for you and ask them to pay our fees.

So in the first instance, we would encourage you to speak with us first about your legal issue and we will check to see if you have legal expenses insurance to pay our fees.

Hastings & Co Solicitors specialise in personal injury claims and employment law. Telephone 01245 835 305 for further advice or assistance.

Disclaimer: this blog is only intended to give a brief overview of the law and is not a substitute for independent legal advice.

Accident claims: what am I entitled to claim?

So you’ve had an accident and someone else was at fault. This blog looks at what you are entitled to claim when making an accident claim.

You are entitled to “General Damages” which is compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. You are also entitled to “Special Damages” which are out of pocket expenses.

The starting point for calculating General Damages is the Judicial College “Guidelines for the Assessment  of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases” (commonly referred to by legal practitioners as the “JSB Guidelines”). These are guidelines set down by judges to help judges and other legal practitioners calculate how much personal injury claims are worth. The JSB Guidelines tend to be a bit broad (some might say vague) so we also rely on case law to see what judges awarded in similar cases.

Special Damages are any out of pocket expenses and can include things like loss of earnings, medical expenses, medical treatment, damage to property, travel expenses, the cost of adapting property, the cost of care etc.

If the injured person is put at a disadvantage on the labour market because of their injuries then they are entitled to a “Smith -v- Manchester award” (named after a famous case).

It’s the special damages which are nearly always the difference between a small or modest claim and a big claim. Take a random example for demonstration purposes. An office worker loses a foot in a car accident. However, the nature of his work means that he will be able to carry on with his career as he did before the accident. The JSB Guidelines give a tariff between £60,000 to £78,000 for General Damages (11th Edition). He returns to work and so the loss of earnings claim is modest. However, the same injury to a different person could have a very different outcome. Imagine that a young professional footballer loses a foot in a car accident. His General Damages are the same as our office worker. However, his loss of earnings could run into millions.

Hastings and Co Solicitors specialise in accident claims and are accredited members of the Law Society’s prestigious Personal Injury panel. Nearly all cases handled by Hastings and Co Solicitors are done so on a “no win, no fee” basis. For a free assessment of your accident claim please call 01245 835 305.

Disclaimer: this blog is only intended to give a brief overview of the law and is not a substitute for legal advice.

Is there a compensation culture or is it just a myth?

It is ironic (or should that be hypocritical) that the insurance industry promotes the idea that there is a compensation culture and as a result that we are all paying inflated insurance premiums on our car insurance. Why is that ironic? Because it has been common practice for the last 10 years or more for insurance companies to actively encourage victims of road traffic accidents to make a claim for personal injury.

How does it work? Imagine you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident and so you report the matter to your insurer probably so that they will take care of fixing your car. Your insurer then persuades you to make a claim for personal injury and refers your claim to one of its panel solicitors.  The panel solicitor pays anything between £350 – 700 for the referral. So insurers have been making literally millions every year by encouraging people to make personal injury claims.

From our perspective it does not feel as though there is a claims culture because we don’t pay for referrals and only act for local people who have either been referred to us or who have made a decision to find us. They have not been cajoled by their insurance company to make a claim.

The majority of the claims we see are from genuine people who have suffered real injuries. In some cases the injuries are dibilitating and can have a negative impact on people’s lives. Take for example someone who has broke a limb and cannot work for 3 months. They only get statutory sick pay and can’t afford to pay the mortgage. This is not an unusual scenario.

When it comes down to the principles which underlie personal injury claims we doubt whether any truly rational person can dispute the logic of it all. In order to make a personal injury claim in this country you have to prove that someone else was in some way at fault.   Everyone accepts that if you damage someone else’s property that you should pay for it. We can’t imagine that anyone would argue the fact that if you drive your car into the rear of another person’s car, you (or your insurer) should pay for the damage. It is only logical that if you injure the driver you (or your insurer) should also pay for the damage.

Part of the problem arises in that some injuries are not easily detected for example, some whiplash type injuries. There have also been some reports of criminal gangs staging accidents. However, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. The fact that some unscrupulous individuals will exploit the system does not alter the logic which underlies personal injury claims.

Hastings & Co Solicitors are based in Chelmsford, Essex and specialise in personal injury claims of all types. For a free assessment without any obligation call 01245 835 305 to speak to an experienced solicitor.