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Tag Archive: Matthew Tuff

Should motorists face fines for driving too close to cyclists?

car passing a cyclist


Speak to any cyclist who faces the daily commute to and from work in busy city centre rush hour traffic and they’ll tell you drivers have little concern for their safety on the roads.

However, on the other side of the coin, if you speak to vehicle drivers, they’ll no doubt refer to cyclists as an increasing nuisance, holding up their journeys and causing further delays with inconsiderate positioning on roads which are already frustratingly congested and slow.

Currently, the UK Highway Code calls for motorists to give cyclists ‘plenty of room’ – guidance left open far too much to interpretation and opinion.

Speak to a cyclist and I can bet their opinion of ‘plenty of room’ is vastly different to that of a London-based double decker bus driver!

Cyclists are by the very nature of their mode of transport in a very vulnerable position, and from my own experience, I know they often have to deal with aggressive driving styles from motorists who are simply keen to get from A to B as quickly as possible. It can be very intimidating, causing many to ditch the bikes and get behind the wheel and further add to congestion!

Now, Transport minister Robert Goodwill has confirmed the Government is reviewing the success of a change in approach in South Australia, where the law now says drivers must always remain at least a metre away from cyclists on the roads.

It comes as the latest statistics released by the Department for Transport underlined the need for change over here.

It revealed that cyclists were 17 times more likely to be killed on the road than those travelling in cars, and that for every one billion miles travelled on UK roads, 35 cyclists are killed in collisions, compared to just two motorists.

Many new cyclists are taking to the roads – fuelled by a drive for healthier lifestyles and with the aim of helping the environment – and probably have little experience of riding amongst busy traffic. This is only going to result in an increase in accidents and injuries without significant change.

We’ve recently seen superhighways launched in London and a ban on lorries entering the capital without the required safety equipment. Now this could be the next step nationally.

Talk at present is of drivers facing maximum fines of up to £5,000, if their infringement is viewed as careless driving, a figure which seems a little high given mobile phone use at the wheel – the biggest danger of the roads at present – is £1,000 for car drivers and £2,500 for drivers of buses or goods vehicles.

I’m sure the introduction of a new law over safe distances, no matter what size the fine, would make an immediate impact on the attitude of drivers towards cyclists, further educating them of the serious injuries they can cause.

As an expert in supporting people injured in road accidents to secure compensation and vital rehabilitation and treatment through my work for Hudgell Solicitors, I know accidents involving cyclists often lead to serious, long-term and life-changing injuries.

Injured parties need a great deal of support to help them not only recover physically, but often financially too, as they can face lengthy periods off work due to the injuries they suffer, or maybe left unable to work again.

Therefore any moves to improve safety are to be welcomed, openly debated, and if we think they will save lives, introduced.

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05/11/2018 1 Comment

Support for victims and families must always be the priority after serious accidents on the UK’s roads

Man comforting his sad mourning friend


It has been interesting to see big public support to road safety charity Brake’s call for tougher charges and penalties for divers causing deaths on the UK’s roads.

The ‘Roads To Justice’ campaign is calling for tougher charges and penalties on dangerous drivers, greater investment in road-traffic policing, and for Government-funded support for road crash victims whose loved ones have been killed or have suffered life-changing injuries.

With almost half of drivers convicted of killing not jailed at all, and the average prison sentence for a driver who has killed someone being less than four years, it is understandable to see why Brake has focussed on this area for its campaign, and why it is gaining such widespread support

Launching a petition to the Government, it is calling for criminal driving to be redefined in law, and says drivers who pose a serious threat must face serious charges and penalties.

It says: “The Government’s own figures show the average sentence for a driver who kills is four years with automatic release after two; this cannot be justified.

“Inadequate sentences fail to deter offenders and fail to give victims and families the justice they deserve. Criminal drivers are reckless not careless; they cause avoidable deaths and serious life shattering injuries.”

It is those ‘life shattering’ injuries which we see the devastating impact of day to day in our work as road traffic accident compensation claims specialists at Hudgell Solicitors.

And whilst we certainly support this campaign and the good it will hopefully do to raise awareness around driving responsibly, with the possibility of leading to stronger punishments, it is that future support for victims and their families which we feel is key.

Rehabilitation led support is vital for victims of serious road traffic accidents

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake, says ‘too many families suffer the double trauma of losing a loved one in a sudden and violent way, and then witness the judicial system turning its back on them.’

Sadly, we see this happen all too often to our clients. They can be left feeling nobody is on their side, and that nobody has been looking out for them or their loved ones.

This is why we feel immensely proud of the work we do and the support we provide for people during some of the darkest and most difficult times of their lives. We know our focus has to be on supporting families with their needs and helping them to rebuild their lives after tragedy strikes – whether the result of a genuine accident, or criminal and dangerous driving.

We know that no amount of money can ever turn back the clock, but a rehabilitation focussed package of support – funded through a successful compensation claim – can help ensure vital treatment, physiotherapy and adaptations to homes can be made to make life as comfortable as possible for those injured.

For families who lose a loved one, support often needs to be focussed on physical therapy, counselling, or even securing extra family support for parents who lose a partner, and need help giving their children the best upbringing, often having had to give up work. They are difficult times, and times when the legal profession needs to support them in every way it can.

Claims process should not prove an extra strain on victims of road traffic accidents

Brake has highlighted that support for road-crash victims is a grossly under-funded area.

It says: ‘When someone dies in a crash, their mum, dad, wife, husband, partner, brother, sister, daughter or son are often left to struggle through their loss alone. We need the government to invest in specialist support, offering prompt and comprehensive help to families when the worst has happened.’

We know that making a claim for compensation following any kind of road accident can be complicated and perhaps daunting, but we always focus on filling that void of support which has been highlighted by Brake, ensuring we understand the full impact on families to provide the advice, expertise and treatment they need.

Serious accidents can often lead to issues and disputes over liability, and complications if people are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, but these are issues we can overcome.

We certainly back Brake’s call for greater funding to be made available to support victims.

In tragic circumstances, victims, and families left behind after losing their loved ones must be the priority, whether stricter punishments are introduced for those causing the accidents are introduced or not.

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13/07/2016 No Comments

More than a quarter of workers feel employers are failing to maintain high health and safety standards

Cutting flagstone


New research suggests more than a quarter of employees in the UK feel their bosses are failing to maintain high standards of health and safety in the workplace – leaving them at an increased danger of suffering an injury.

Despite health and safety being blamed for creating a ‘nanny state’ in some quarters – seven in 10 UK workers say they recognise its importance to protect their health, and that of their work colleagues.

Four in 10 people surveyed said they knew of someone who had been injured in an accident at work, with it is estimated that a total of around 611,000 injuries occurred in UK workplaces in 2014/15.

Of those, 142 people were killed whilst doing their jobs.

Now, according to those questioned in a recent survey for legal specialists Hudgell Solicitors, employees at many firms feel not enough is being done to make them feel that their health and well-being is a priority.

The research showed;

  • More than a quarter of workers feel their employers fail to meet high Health and Safety Standards
  • 4 in 10 people know of someone who has been injured in an accident at work
  • Almost half would worry about the repercussions of taking legal action against their employers should they suffer an accident at work (45.8%)
  • 84% of people don’t realise claims for loss and injury can be made up to three years after accidents at work – even if they have long left the company responsible.

‘Staff are taking risks – and employers are letting them’

Matt Tuff, a specialist in handling compensation claims for people injured in an accident at work at Hudgell Solicitors, says the research suggests many workers employees feel unable to voice their concerns should their working practices not meet Health and Safety requirements, leaving them taking risks.

“It is a situation we see all too often. Employers expect their staff to go to extra lengths to get the job done, at times using equipment which hasn’t been properly maintained or checked, or on which the worker hasn’t been specifically trained. People come and go at businesses, and sometimes these things are overlooked over time,” said Mr Tuff.

“We see many situations where staff take risks simply to get the job done, risking injury to themselves. That could be by working without the relevant safety equipment, or by using tools which are known to be faulty.

“On other occasions, health and safety regulations will be breached on a daily basis, often with staff saying it has ‘always been done that way.

“These situations can simply be missed by people in positions of seniority, or even ignored.”

Mr Tuff says he has not been surprised by those who were surveyed saying they may be reluctant to pursue legal action against their employers due to fear of repercussions, something he hears as the primary concern from many who contact him for advice after injury.

“The simple fact is that an employer has a responsibility to its staff to ensure their safety at all times, and injuries suffered can have a long-term impact on an individual’s health, and their family life if they are unable to work and earn for a significant amount of time,” Mr Tuff added.

“We know some people fear possible repercussions, but companies have to do all they can to protect their staff from injury or illness. They have liability insurance and, for the most part, an accident at work is likely to be covered by their policy.

“We have had many cases where companies have fully accepted their responsibilities, compensated their employee, made changes to working practices as a result of the legal case, and the employee has then continued to work for the same company into the future.”

Factory worker left unable to work after injury awarded £100,000 damages

David Warburton

Factory worker David Warburton, 49, found himself out of work after being left unable to use his left hand following an accident at Warrington-based Avdel Metal Finishing, where his hand became trapped in machinery.

The accident happened when Mr Warburton was called to help by his junior colleague as a furnace machine he was operating, but had not been trained in using, had jammed.

Mr Warburton said it was common practice for either he or the shift manager to repair machine faults if no fitters were available, despite not having had any training in machinery repair. He suffered a severed nerve and tendon in his index finger, and a ruptured tendon in his middle finger.

As part of the legal case, it was claimed the company had been negligent and in breach of its duty of care by failing to ensure equipment was suitable for purpose. It also faced allegations of failing to ensure work equipment was maintained and inspected at regular intervals, and failing to ensure all people who used work equipment had received adequate training.

Mr Warburton received damages of £100,000 to reflect his pain and suffering, and loss of earnings into the future, after being represented by Hudgell Solicitors.

Mr Tuff added: “Accidents at work have a major impact on the lives of many people we represent. It can be a major worry to find yourself unable to work and earn for your family, and that can place a lot of pressure on family life.

“We are passionate about ensuring people injured at work, through no fault of their own, aren’t left on the scrapheap or made to be the scapegoat.

“They deserve our support and legal expertise, and the best outcome is us securing them full compensation for their loss and suffering, and our legal case resulting in standards of health and safety being improved at the company involved.

“Hopefully, this research helps to highlight that many employers still have some way to go when it comes to protecting their employees from injury.”

At Hudgell Solicitors, we handle all cases on a ‘no win no fee basis’, so there is no financial risk to you when making a claim. We pride ourselves on cutting through the legal jargon to give you regular updates in plain English, so you can be assured of a hassle-free process, in which you truly understand your rights,

If you have suffered loss or injury following an accident at work, call our team today.

 

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13/06/2016 No Comments

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