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Tag Archive: Accidents

Matthew Burke: An inspirational story of recovery

Matt Burke - brain injury

Matthew Burke knows first-hand just how fragile life can be – and how crucial the right care and support is on the road to recovery after a serious accident.

Our client Matthew went from being a fit and healthy footballer to the brink of death when falling just five feet off a step-ladder at work.

The scaffolder was knocked unconscious, suffering bleeding on the brain and left unable to walk, scarred for life, and facing a battle for survival.

It was a battle that he incredibly won. Despite a five hour operation and doctors warning that he was much more likely to die than survive, he was out of hospital in just over month.

However, Matthew then discovered his battle had only just begun. He had to learn to walk again, was left out of work and unable to socialise. He was left living largely in isolation, and in his own words, facing ‘some dark days’.

When Matthew turned to our team for help, we recognised that he needed not only our legal expertise and experience, but also our understanding and support to access vital counselling and rehabilitation.

Matthew is now using the six-figure settlement sum that we secured for his injury, to cover the loss of earnings and make up for the prejudice that he now experiences in the job market.

He has bought his own house, has his independence back and is now working as a support care worker himself. Again in his own words, he is ‘really enjoying life’.

His inspirational story made headlines in the Hull Daily Mail, and he is in no doubt that without the counselling support we actively pursued for him, he would not have rebuilt his life so successfully.

I had great counselling support and it was absolutely crucial to my recovery. My solicitor, Jane Woodcock was amazing. She kept me focused and positive at all times, and if ever the counselling team needed a nudge, she was there making sure I had all the support I needed – Jane was someone I felt able to talk to as she seemed to understand my situation and the difficulties I faced. I have managed to find positivity, I am active again, and I have my work and social life back.Matthew, now 30

Matthew’s outlook on life differs far from that shortly after suffering his life-changing injury when falling from step ladders just 5ft high.

He had been manually lifting scaffolding onto some shelving at his workplace – a job he had done every day – but one which broke health and safety laws given the height and weight of objects being lifted without support or machinery.

Standing at 5ft 7in tall himself, his head felt the full force of impact with the concrete floor from a combined height of more than 10ft up.

“From being a fit and healthy young man I went to being at death’s door in a matter of seconds, and that really brought it home to me how fragile life can be.

At the time I played football for teams on both Saturdays and Sundays and it was a great social activity, but after my injury I hardly saw any of them at all as many didn’t have cars and lived on the other side of the city.

I lived with my partner and her young child at the time also, and we had been looking at houses and planning to get married, but my situation put a big strain on the relationship and simply it didn’t survive it, my social life pretty much ended and I found myself sat alone at home.

There were some dark days where I felt down, and I admit that I felt isolated. It was the counselling that helped lift my spirits, kept me positive and gave me some focus to where I was heading. I was calmer and more relaxed, and focussed on the end goal.”

Jane Woodcock, senior legal executive who deals with complex brain injury claims, is delighted to have played a part in helping Matthew to rebuild his life.

Matthew’s story highlights just how important constant support and counselling is for people suffering from brain injuries, and more importantly, just how that support can help people put their lives back together and to start moving forward againJane Woodcock, senior legal executive.

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14/08/2016 No Comments

Workers bearing the financial brunt of health and safety in the workplace

work place injury England Map

In the UK, a total of 27.3 million working days were lost in the last 12 months due to work-place injuries. New figures from the Health and Safety Executive for 2014/15 also revealed work-related fatalities increased by nine compared with the previous year. A worrying statistic considering the annual reports had shown a downward trend in the amount of accidents, fatalities and illnesses in the last 5 years.

The Most Dangerous Industries to Work in

The total number of work related fatalities hit 142 last year. 50% of those deaths occurred in the construction and agriculture sectors alone.

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09/11/2015 No Comments

All is not lost if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver


It can happen to anyone, at any time. Unfortunately, road traffic accidents are part and parcel of modern day-to-day life.

When it happens, first and foremost the concern is for the health and well-being of all involved, and if everybody walks away without having suffered life-threatening injuries, we thank our lucky stars.

For some drivers though, that is where their luck ends, and a potential nightmare begins, as they discover the other driver was uninsured, or perhaps driving a stolen vehicle, and the details given to them, if provided at all, turn out to be false.

Every week, about 2,000 vehicles are seized because owners can’t provide proof of insurance, while 15,000 letters are sent out to those suspected of keeping an uninsured vehicle.

It means the chances of being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver are on the up, and as anyone who has found themselves in this situation will know, it brings an extra mountain of concern and worry as to how the matter will be resolved.

As specialists in handling claims against uninsured motorists, we at Neil Hudgell Solicitors deal with many such situations, and it is in these circumstances that our expertise in working with the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) plays a key role.

Following an accident, it is at an insurance company’s discretion as to whether they will deal with a claim if the other vehicle involved has been stolen, or was being driven by someone who is uninsured.

It is obviously a cause for concern, and can leave a law-abiding motorist fearing the worst.

All is not lost, however, if the insurance company will not pay out, or there isn’t a policy in place, as a claim can still be made.

Our team of specialist lawyers have the knowledge and experience to pursue the case on a driver’s behalf through the MIB, helping to ease the stress of the situation, and hopefully secure compensation on a no win, no fee basis.

With the recent change of season, the falling temperatures and the nights drawing in quickly, we all need to play our part in ensuring the roads are as safe as can be, adapting the way we drive to suit the conditions.

For the Government’s part, it has to continue working to tackle the problem of uninsured drivers, and it will therefore be interesting to see how the recently introduced automated tax system will play its part.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will now be making regular checks of number plates through cameras, and although this move is to be welcomed, the problem is not one likely to disappear overnight.

It will continue to be a reason for law-abiding drivers across the country facing rising insurance premiums, and those flouting the law will continue to be a threat on the roads.

The best advice is to take care when you drive, and ensure you are being driven by the right legal team should you be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.

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15/10/2014 No Comments

Surgeons and doctors likely to cause road accidents due to stress and tiredness

By Jane Woodcock, Senior Legal Executive, Neil Hudgell Solicitors

INTERESTING research has linked ‘stressful occupations’ with dangerous driving – with a new survey suggesting surgeons and doctors are more often at fault for accidents on the UK’s roads than those working in other, less demanding jobs.

Analysis compiled by Moneysupermarket.com found nine of the 10 occupations that cause the most accidents on the road to be medical workers.

For every 1,000 surgeons who drive a car, a total of 361 made an at fault claim over the past five years. In second place were GPs, who made 333 at-fault claims, the survey claims.

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11/09/2014 No Comments

Road traffic accidents remain cause for concern

By Jane Woodcock, Senior Legal Executive, Neil Hudgell Solicitors

August is a poignant month when it comes to road traffic accidents, hence its label as National Road Victim Month. The world’s first motor vehicle death occurred on 31st August 1869, whilst a horrific car crash in Paris claimed the life of Princess Diana on the same day 128 years later. Britain’s first road death also occurred in August 1896, with the coroner declaring “this must never happen again.”

Except we live in an age where road traffic accidents are now amongst the biggest causes of death in the UK, particularly in young people.

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14/08/2014 No Comments

Jersey introduces cycle helmet law

Bicyclists on their way home in the rain, properly dressed with

New legislation has been introduced in Jersey making it compulsory for children under the age of 14 to wear a helmet when cycling, in an effort to reduce the number of head injuries sustained in cycle accidents each year.

The first law of its kind to be passed in any jurisdiction in the British Isles, the new legislation was first proposed by Deputy Andrew Green MBE, Minister for Housing, in 2010.

Deputy Green, who is also Chair of brain injury charity, Headway UK, has his own personal reasons for supporting the bill. 26 years ago, his nine-year-old son, Christopher, was knocked off a bike, suffering a severe brain injury which impacted on family life to an almost unimaginable extent. Christopher hadn’t been wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

The emotional and financial cost of living with brain injury can be limitless. Victims may need expensive and continuous care for their entire lives, responsibilities that often fall to already distraught family members, and, in some cases, they never regain the skills and memories held prior to the accident.

Even less serious cycle accidents can still be emotionally very traumatic, as well as resulting in personal injury that may require rehabilitation sessions and time away from education or work.

Compulsory helmet laws are a major step towards improving road safety for children. They automatically demand an increase in helmet-wearing rates and, with helmets being proven to reduce the risk of brain injury by up to 88%,

brain injury statistics have been reported to fall dramatically as a direct result – by up to 50% in some countries.

As a personal injury specialist, I find it particularly difficult when cases arise involving children, so feel very encouraged to learn that measures are being put in place to improve road safety for child cyclists.

Jersey is leading by example, but it is the decision of UK politicians as to whether the mainland now follows suit.

I, for one, would be fully backing the bill.

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30/07/2014 No Comments

Are UK roads too dangerous for cyclists?


The British cycling team at the 2012 Olympics won twelve medals, eight of them gold.  The legacy of that outstanding achievement is evident today in the increasing number of cyclists on our roads.  This weekend the Tour de France starts in Yorkshire.

Cycling, it seems, is riding on the crest of a wave, but apparently it has unseen dangers lurking beneath, because half of British adults believe their local roads are too dangerous to cycle on, according to a BBC poll.

Olympic medallist and British Cycling policy adviser Chris Boardman said: “People don’t feel safe when riding their bikes on our roads,” adding that a commitment was needed from government and local authorities to “prioritise the safety and needs of cyclists in all future transport schemes.”

My team at Neil Hudgell Solicitors deals with a range of personal injury claims by cyclists, predominantly due to poorly maintained roads or negligent motorists.

A DfT spokesman said: “Cycling isn’t just great exercise, it has wider benefits for the environment and the economy, which is why we are committed to ensuring more people feel safe enough to use two wheels.”

At Neil Hudgell Solicitors we place a lot of emphasis staff wellbeing, and colleagues are encouraged to walk or cycle to work whenever possible.

Claire Francis, Head of Policy for the walking and cycling charity Sustrans, said: “Employers who encourage cycling can increase their profitability and have employees who take fewer sick days. Cycle parking and showers in an office should be as common as a printer and a coffee machine.”

Claire added: “But we also need the government to deliver better infrastructure and slower speeds on our roads, so that people feel safe to leave home on their bikes.”

The Department for Transport said it had “doubled funding for cycling to £374m to help deliver safer junctions”.

Martin Lucas-Smith, from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign said “things like narrow cycle lanes” and “badly maintained roads” led to cyclists feeling unsafe in many UK places. “We’d like to see proper allocation of space on these roads which can almost always be achieved simply by a bit of redesign, so people can cycle safely and easily.”

Double Olympic gold-medal cyclist Ed Clancy said: “The more people that get involved in cycling, not just as a sport but for the commute to work or just having a laugh on the mountain bike at the weekend, is good all round.”

So, the message is: on yer bike, but take care!


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02/07/2014 No Comments

Who’s looking out for Harrison after Han Solo suffered an injury at work?

man on crutches

AS Indiana Jones, he’s used to facing all kinds of dangers in the line of duty – from racing away from huge tumbling rocks in underground caves to crossing broken bridges and leaping from planes which are shot from the sky.

Some may say its part and parcel of the job of being a Hollywood film star, and anyway, any injuries suffered are only for effect.

But suffering a broken ankle, and perhaps further injuries to his chest and pelvis when the hydraulic door of a ‘spaceship’ fell onto him when filming the new “Star Wars: Episode VII” blockbuster recently, big screen star Harrison Ford may now well beg to differ.

The 71-year-old star needing airlifting to the trauma unit of John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford after the accident occurred at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire.

He is now likely miss between six and eight weeks of filming, and as of yet, the full extent of his injuries are unclear.

Despite this obviously being a serious incident and injury, much of the publicity since has been around the delays to filming, and the problems caused by our hero Harrison – who plays Han Solo in the legendary film series – being out of action.

His son, Ben, has said that his father could need a plate and screws put into his ankle as a result.

Talk in the media has been solely around bringing some scenes forward and pushing others back in a bid to ensure the release date – of December 2015 – is not pushed back.

It has also been said that film crews may need to rearrange scenes in order to show the actor from the waist up over the coming weeks, or reschedule filming.

“There are lots of other actors in the movie so it is not a disaster. We are still confident the film can stay on schedule,” one production source told London’s Mirror.

But what about poor Harrison?

Injuries to his chest and pelvis, and a plate and screws in his ankle is hardly perfect for him to pitch for one more shot at playing the great Indiana.

And no doubt given his status in the world film industry, serious questions will be being asked behind the scenes as to how the injury happened.

Imagine a similar scenario in an office, or factory, and questions would be raised as to how the injury had happened.

The individual involved would be left out of pocket (maybe not such an issue for Harrison) as they are left out of work, needing extra support from their families day to day, and left suffering in pain.

At Neil Hudgell Solicitors, we deal with many cases where people are injured at work, be it from a slip, trip or fall, from using faulty equipment, not having the right protection, or adequate procedures not being in place.

Employees quite rightly expect their working environment to be kept safe by their employers to ensure they are safe from harm, and if they suffer and injury as a result, they could be in line for compensation.

Whether it be a local supermarket, an office, a factory floor or the film-set of the latest blockbuster movie, the requirements over employee safety remain the same.

Even Indiana Jones expects some form of protection from his employers, and so should you.

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17/06/2014 No Comments

Need to make a holiday claim?

woman relaxing on beach

Holidays – great, aren’t they?  A chance to spend time with your family and friends – to empty your mind of all the things in your life that give you hassle and strain.  A time to relax and to do the things you really enjoy.  Why else would you hand over a sizeable chunk of your hard-earned money if it wasn’t going to be just that?

And when you get back, you’ll slide back into your normal routine, refreshed and reinvigorated, ready to face new challenges, and the old ones!  At least that’s the theory.

But it doesn’t always turn out quite like that.  Things can go wrong.  You know, it’s the ‘that will never happen to me’ scenario.  Just when things are going really well, and you’re feeling more and more relaxed, something happens that brings a sudden and abrupt end to the party.

An accident or illness, for example – either of them can turn your holiday into a nightmare.

Without wishing to look at the world of holidays through darkened glasses – I always try to stay positive and upbeat! – there are so many stories in the media where people have had their holidays ruined by negligence on the part of airlines, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, cruise companies – you name it; food poisoning, swimming pool injuries, falls and trips and sometimes worse….

But hold on – people are much more savvy nowadays about their legal rights when they’re victims of negligence, aren’t they?  Don’t you just go to Google to get all the answers?

Well, with holidays it’s just not that simple; you can spend your time looking into all the rules and regulations of here, there and everywhere and, if you don’t know what you are looking for, you can find yourself going down a lot of blind alleys.

When you’re home, and you’re busy refocusing on your return to ‘normal’ life, the last thing you need is the strain and hassle of endless phone calls, piles of paperwork, unacknowledged correspondence, endless options on a telephone line.  A nightmare.

The alternative, of course, is to leave the hassle to me: a specialist in the area of holiday claims at Neil Hudgell Solicitors.  I spend my time checking the Booking Terms, the brochures, the current Regulations and chasing up responses, in fact anything and everything that needs to be done to establish the facts and to recover compensation where we can establish blame. Once they’ve given me all the information I need to start the process, I leave them to get on with their lives while I fight their corner, and, naturally, all on a no-win-no-fee basis.

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10/04/2014 No Comments

Big brother is watching…

The story emerged this week of a Hull cab company who are reported to have been advised by their insurers to install CCTV in their cabs, on the supposed basis that some of the personal injury claims made against their drivers in the recent past (presumably by passengers and other drivers) may have been fraudulent.     The self proclaimed aim is to reduce the number of supposedly fraudulent claims against the company, and to thereby save money.

When I first heard this story a number of thoughts occurred to me.

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26/06/2012 No Comments

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