Challenging the ‘Compensation Culture’ Myth

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, a national not-for-profit membership group representing injured people, which JNP Legal is accredited by as specialist advisers on personal injury claims, have produced a booklet, Compensation Explained: A guide to personal injury compensation, its purpose, and its value to society, which aims to remove the myths associated with making a personal injury claim. The comprehensive booklet is aimed at the general public as a guide to the purpose of compensation for personal injuries.

As part of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ campaign activity, the booklet has been produced to help explain the principles of personal injury claims, why it is important that those who are injured are appropriately compensated, what needs to be proved and includes case studies along with questions and answers. The guide also provides information on some of the barriers to justice facing those who have suffered injuries as a result of negligence.

Unfortunately, there is a large amount of misinformation in the media suggesting that there is a ‘compensation culture’ and that those who have received personal injury damages have had a windfall. However, this is a misconception of the purpose of compensation and what needs to be proved in order to make a successful claim. Those who make such claims have often lost earnings as a result of being unable to work due to their injuries. They have required treatment to improve their symptoms, have needed assistance from others and incurred additional expenses. They have suffered needlessly due to someone else’s negligence, through no fault of their own. The booklet aims to help improve the understanding of personal injury claims for members of the public and explains the realities of compensation.

The booklet can be accessed online on the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ website at https://www.apil.org.uk/. Hard copies of the booklet have also been produced by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and we have copies available at our Nelson office reception.

If you have suffered injuries as a result of negligence and require specialist legal advice please do not hesitate to contact JNP Legal.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Nelson office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) or 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Merthyr, Nelson & Llanishen office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.
If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.
We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.
If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or 02920 763211 (Cardiff Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

 

Advertisements

An End To Cold Calls?

Most of us have received an unwanted text message or phone call at some stage asking us whether we have been involved in an accident in the last 3 years and want to make a personal injury claim. Such contact is usually unwanted and irritating. Unfortunately, ‘cold calls’ impact on the public’s perception of personal injury claims. Many wrongly believe that such contact is linked to solicitors who deal with personal injury claims. However, under the solicitors’ Code of Conduct they are, rightly so, not permitted to make ‘cold calls’. These are from Claims Management Companies who are not subject to the same restrictions on contacting members of the public in this way. The tone of the text messages / phone calls give the false impression that making a personal injury claim is easy, even if the person has not actually suffered any injury. Yet making a claim where there has been no injury is fraudulent and results in the person facing serious consequences for pursuing a claim dishonestly.

Despite the Government currently consulting on a number of reforms to personal injury claims regrettably there is no indication that the Government are going to ban Claims Management Companies from making ‘cold calls’. Even though many groups, including the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, a not-for-profit group representing injured people, which JNP Legal is accredited by as specialist advisors on personal injury claims, has campaigned for a ban. As part of their campaign, ‘Can the Spam’, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers have encouraged members of the public to report ‘cold calls’ to them in order for such reports to be notified to the Information Commissioner’s Office. They have used the hash tag on Twitter #canthespam as part of their campaign. More information can be found on their website at https://www.apil.org.uk/canthespam. By reporting instances of nuisance calls / texts to the Information Commissioner’s Office investigations can be made and action taken where necessary.

Whilst the Government is consulting on various reforms to personal injury claims it is unfortunate that there appears to be no consideration of an outright ban against Claims Management Companies making unwanted phone calls and sending text messages to members of the public. The contact is unwanted and intrusive. It leaves the wrong impression on the publics’ perception of personal injury claims. A ban on Claims Management Companies’ cold calling members of the public would help to reduce fraudulent claims, and thereby reduce costs. We are sure most of you would agree that the ending of the nuisance phone calls and text messages would be welcomed.

At JNP Legal we are committed to providing a first class service to our clients ensuring that those who have suffered injuries through no fault of their own are appropriately compensated including seeking rehabilitation to assist with their recovery.

If you wish to discuss a potential personal injury claim, or any other legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.

JNP Legal offer a variety of legal services. Our Nelson office is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and our Merthyr Tydfil Office is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 12pm every Saturday morning.

If you are unable to attend our offices we would be more than happy to arrange a home appointment, where convenient.

We value our clients and pride ourselves on our ability to offer a first class service.

If you require our assistance with any legal matters please call us on 01685 350421 (Merthyr Tydfil Office) or 01443 450561 (Nelson Office) or contact us via email on Law@jnplegal.org.

 

 

Term-Time Holidays – Supreme Court Decision

In two previous blog posts we have looked at the issue of parents being fined for taking their children out of school for holidays during term-time. Due to the significant increase in holiday prices if travelling during school holidays, many parents choose to take children out of school to avoid the increased cost. The resulting fines which parents have received have divided opinions and resulted in legal action to the most senior Court in the UK in order to seek clarification of what is meant by ‘regular attendance’ for pupils.

As explained in our post in March 2017, in England the Council appealed a High Court decision which had ruled in favour of a parent who had challenged a fine for an unauthorised term-time holiday. The case was heard at the Supreme Court in January with the Court’s Judgment given in April. The Judges’ unanimous decision was to uphold the fine imposed on a parent.

The case rested on what constitutes ‘regular attendance’ for pupils. The Court ruled that ‘regularly’ did not mean ‘sufficiently often’. The consistency of a pupil’s overall attendance record will not be taken into account when considering whether parents have broken the rules in taking their children for term-time holidays without authorisation.

Parents being fined for taking term-time holidays and facing legal action by failing to pay is certainly a contentious matter, dividing opinions as to whether such measures should be taken against families. It is notable that the position varies in the UK with no system for fines being issued against parents in Scotland and Northern Ireland for taking children on term-time holidays. However, parents face action being taken where children have been persistently absent. In Wales, as set out in previous posts, the Welsh Government currently allows head teachers to authorise up to 10 days of term-time holidays at their discretion. If term-time absence is unauthorised there is the risk of receiving a fine of £60.00, rising to £120.00 for failure to pay within 21 days. Legal action can be taken if the fine is not paid with the risk of the matter being dealt with at Court.

With holiday prices increasing as the school summer holidays approach it is likely that many parents in Wales will be seeking head teachers’ authority to take their children out of school for holidays during term-time, to avoid the in creased costs.

JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist with all your legal needs in a discreet and professional manner.

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm in our Merthyr Tydfil and Nelson offices and to ensure maximum convenience to all of you that may need our help and guidance on a Saturday morning 9am – 12pm in our Merthyr Tydfil office.

We offer home visits to those clients who are unable to attend our offices in person and we pride ourselves on offering first class client care.

If you need assistance in relation to any of the issues raised in this blog please call us on 01685 350421 or 01443 450561 or E Mail: Law@jnplegal.org and we will do our very best to provide you with the legal assistance you require.

Term Time Holidays – An Update

We hope that you all enjoyed the school half term break and that those who managed to escape to warmer climates have not had too much of a shock returning to the stormy weather that has hit the UK recently.

One of our solicitors, Natalie Dyer commented on the position regarding parents taking children out of school for holidays during term time in a blog in May 2016. The area has been subject to legal challenge due to parents receiving fines for taking their children out of school for holidays, rather than during the allocated breaks.

The reason most parents take their children out of school during term time is due to the substantial hike in holiday prices during school holidays. Many have been outraged by the significant increase in holiday prices when seeking to travel when the children are not in school term. For those who booked holidays over the half term it is likely that they would have paid substantially more for the holiday than if they travelled prior to or after the half term.

As explained in Natalie’s blog in May 2016, currently in Wales Head Teachers can authorise up to 10 days of term-time holidays at their discretion, unlike in England where there must be ‘exceptional circumstances’ for parents to receive authorisation. If term-time absence is unauthorised parents risk being fined £60.00, rising to £120.00 for failure to pay within 21 days. Further action can be taken if the fine is not paid with the risk of the parent ending up in Court and facing a criminal record, costs and even a prison sentence.

The topic has again recently come up for debate as the Supreme Court heard the Council’s Appeal of the High Court decision which had ruled in favour of a parent who had challenged a fine for a term-time holiday. The Department for Education has backed the Council’s Local Education Authority in taking the case to the Country’s most senior Court in order to seek clarification. The case rests on what constitutes ‘regular attendance’ for pupils.

The case was heard at the Supreme Court on the 31st January 2017 and the Court’s decision is currently awaited. In light of the current uncertainty a number of Council’s are reviewing their policies. At this stage it is a case of wait and see as to whether clearer guidelines can be given on what constitutes ‘regular attendance’ and the risk parents face in taking their children out of school term time for holidays.

In the meantime parents who have paid a fine are left in limbo as to whether they can challenge the decision, given the High Court ruling in favour of the parent where ‘regular attendance’ was considered to have taken place despite the term-time holiday. The decision of the Supreme Court will certainly be of importance to many parents.

JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist with all your legal needs in a discreet and professional manner.

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm in our Merthyr Tydfil and Nelson offices and to ensure maximum convenience to all of you that may need our help and guidance on a Saturday morning 9am – 12pm in our Merthyr Tydfil office.

We offer home visits to those clients who are unable to attend our offices in person and we pride ourselves on offering first class client care.

If you need assistance in relation to any of the issues raised in this blog please call us on 01685 350421 or 01443 450561 or E Mail: Law@jnplegal.org and we will do our very best to provide you with the legal assistance you require.

Are the Government’s Proposed Reforms on Personal Injury Claims an Attack on Justice?

Further to our post on the 2nd March 2016 commenting on the Government’s Autumn Statement from 2015, a Consultation paper has now been released concerning personal injury claims in England and Wales. Whilst the Consultation was expected to deal only with proposed reforms to the claims process for soft tissue ‘whiplash’ injuries resulting from road traffic accidents, the proposals actually go much further than originally envisaged.

The purpose of the Consultation is stated to be the reform of the process for personal injury claims in order to discourage minor, exaggerated and fraudulent claims. It is also stated that the proposed reforms will result in reductions for motor insurance premiums from any savings made by insurers resulting from such reforms.

One of the proposals is to increase the Small Claims Court limit for all personal injury claims (not only those resulting from road traffic accidents) from £1,000 to £5,000. There are concerns that such an increase will leave many Claimants who have suffered injuries through negligence, without legal representation as they will be unable to recover their legal costs from the Defendant in the event of a successful claim, if their claim for personal injury is below £5,000. The Law Society President Robert Bourns has commented that such an increase “will stop people getting the legal advice they need in order to bring claims for the compensation they are entitled to in law”. There are concerns that access to justice will be eroded. 

It is also proposed that compensation for ‘minor’ whiplash injuries will either be removed entirely or replaced by fixed amounts. The proposals will be considered as part of a number of other potential reforms. These include a tariff of payments for more significant injury claims and prohibiting the settlement of claims for whiplash injuries without a medical report from an accredited medical expert, amongst a number of other proposed reforms.

The proposal to stop settlements of claims without medical reports is a positive step as it is crucial that all compensation claims are appropriately investigated before any sums are paid. However, the suggestion of removing compensation entirely for minor whiplash injuries along with the increased Small Claims Court limit for all personal injury claims is concerning as the legal rights of those who have suffered injuries as a result of negligence are in jeopardy.

Those who have suffered the types of injuries which these proposals are seeking to deal with will know that the injuries impact on everyday life and general wellbeing along with the person’s ability to work. Many require treatment in order to assist with their recovery. If elements of these proposals are implemented as currently set out in the Consultation such victims may find themselves unable to seek legal advice or redress for the injuries which they have suffered and will be denied justice.

One matter which unfortunately does not seem to have been addressed by the Government’s Consultation is that of cold calling. These are a nuisance which we are sure many would agree would be glad to be stopped. They taint the nature of personal injury claims. The regulations which solicitors are subject to rightly stop solicitors from making such cold calls but they are unfortunately incorrectly still associated with solicitors dealing with personal injury claims.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, a not-for-profit organisation representing injured people, has called for the Government to implement a ban to cold calling. They are running a campaign titled “Can the Spam” encouraging people to report instances of cold calling to them for them to pass on to the Information Commissioners Office. A ban to cold calling would help to reduce the types of claims which the Government state that they are seeking to address in their Consultation. Yet this has not been included in the Government’s proposals. JNP Legal are accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and certainly supports the call for a ban to cold calling. It is unfortunate that the Government has not used the Consultation on personal injury claims as an opportunity to address this.

JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist with all your Legal needs.

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm in our Merthyr Tydfil and Nelson offices and to ensure maximum convenience to all of you that may need our help and guidance on a Saturday morning 9am – 12pm in our Merthyr Tydfil office.

Call us on 01685 350421 or 01443 450561 or E Mail: Law@jnplegal.org

 

 

 

Dangers of Home Rental Schemes

AirBNB picture

Many people are now utilising home rentals through websites such as AirBNB and HomeAway. Those travelling have a wide range of options for where to stay and are not limited to simply commercial properties such as hotels.

Options for renting homes through such websites allow users to rent out their properties to guests with reservations made online. The guests rent the property for a period of time and are becoming increasingly popular for holidaymakers. They provide opportunities for property owners to increase income by renting out their properties or simply a spare room temporarily to holidaymakers. The rates paid by travellers are often lower than would be the case if staying at a commercial property.

Those renting out their properties through such means need to be aware of the duties upon them as occupiers of the properties. The Occupiers’ Liability Act imposes a duty of care upon an occupier of premises to visitors in respect of injuries to persons or damage to goods, i.e. those renting out their properties owe such duty to the guests renting the property.

The duty owed is to take such care as in all the circumstances is reasonable to ensure that that the guest will be reasonably safe in using the property for the purpose for which they are permitted by the occupier to be there.

This means that those renting out their property need to be aware of their liability for any accidents or injuries suffered by guests due to negligence. An occupier of property can only be liable if such accident or injury is caused by negligence. The danger must be foreseeable. It is therefore crucial for owners of properties to carefully consider any dangers in their properties for guests, including consideration of any vulnerabilities of the particular guests renting the property which may merit additional measures being taken. It is also important for guests to be aware of the duties owed to them by the owners of the properties.

The issues of insurance to provide cover in the event of any accidents needs to be borne in mind by the occupier of the property. Whilst most property owners may have home insurance cover for the property, policy exclusions are likely to be relevant. For example, insurance cover may be excluded under the policy for liability in connection with any commercial activity, such as renting out the property to guests. Therefore, those participating in activities such as home rentals need to ensure that they have appropriate protection in place and that their property is safe for guests. Some rental schemes such as AirBNB have protection in place for the occupiers who are renting out their properties, as part of the scheme. However, consideration needs to be made of any limitations to such protection, and some rental schemes may have no protection at all. It is wise for property owners to confirm the extent of insurance cover with their provider as a failure to inform an insurer of the use of the property could result in indemnity for any claims including any future claims being refused.

At JNP Legal we have specialists in personal injury law who can advise you in relation to such matters, in the unfortunate event that injuries are suffered as a result of an accident.

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm in our Merthyr Tydfil and Nelson offices and to ensure maximum convenience to all of you that may need our help and guidance on a Saturday morning 9am – 12pm in our Merthyr Tydfil office.

Call us on 01685 350421 or 01443 450561 or E Mail: Law@jnplegal.org

 

Personal Injury Claims – Proposed Changes

In his 2015 Autumn Statement the Chancellor George Osborne pledged to raise the Small Claims Court Limit for personal injury claims to £5,000 and to remove the right to claim for general damages, i.e. pain, suffering and loss of amenity for ‘minor’ soft tissue injuries.

The current Small Claims Court Limit for personal injury claims is £1,000. As such, legal costs cannot currently be recovered from the Defendant in a successful claim where the value of the personal injury claim is below £1,000. If the proposed changes are made this may potentially leave many Claimants without legal representation as they will be unable to recover their legal costs from the Defendant in the event of a successful claim, if their claim for personal injury is below £5,000. This will affect many victims who have suffered injuries and losses as a result of negligence.

In addition, it has been suggested that the right to claim damages for ‘minor’ whiplash injuries following road traffic accidents would be removed. Therefore, Claimants will be unable to seek compensation from those liable for road traffic accidents who have caused them to suffer ‘minor’ whiplash injuries.

In the Statement it was indicated that the Government will consult on the details for the proposed changes this year. This is an area which has previously been considered by the Government. In 2013 the Government considered whether to increase the Small Claims Court Limit from £1,000 to £5,000 and opted not to implement such an increase. However, it seems that now the Government wishes to reconsider this area.

Many of those who have suffered whiplash injuries as a result of road traffic accidents will be aware of the impact it has on their lifestyle, ability to work and general wellbeing. The symptoms suffered from whiplash injuries can often be long lasting. If the proposed changes are made those who have suffered such injuries may not be able to recover damages from those responsible for causing their pain and suffering.

For those victims who have suffered other types of injuries, if the value of their claim is below £5,000 they may find themselves unable to obtain legal advice and representation to pursue their claim for compensation from the Defendant.

We will have to await the outcome of the Government’s consultation and whether these proposed changes will be implemented in full. The suggestions are certainly concerning when considering the impact they will have on the ability for accident victims to seek justice for the injuries and losses they have been caused as a result of negligence.

If you need legal advice in relation to making a claim for compensation following an accident please do not hesitate to contact the personal injury team at JNP Legal on  pi@jnplegal.org or on 01443 454919 or 01685 350421.