Pothole

Recent articles in The Times (“New pothole policy is deathtrap for cyclists’” and “Pothole Loopholes”) highlight the dangers and risks faced by cyclists from potholes and road defects present to cyclists every day.


Philip Scarles
Philip Scarles
Solicitor - Health & Injury

A cyclist who hits a pothole or swerves to avoid one could fall and collide with another road user such as a car or worse. The consequences of such an accident could be serious injury or even fatal.

Who is to Blame?

Should such an accident occur, a personal injury or fatal accident claim can be commenced against the Highway Authority responsible for the maintenance of the highway. For the claim to be successful it has to be established that:

  1. the highway authority did not maintain the highway as required by section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, and

  2. the accident was caused by a failure to maintain that highway. A highway is not maintained if it was in a condition that exposed danger to those using the highway in an ordinary way.

However, even if the above conditions can be established, section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 provides a defence to any claim made under section 41.

To raise this defence the authority has to show that it had taken such care in all the circumstances as was reasonably required to secure the relevant part of the highway in a way so that it was not dangerous for traffic.

Evidence is Vital

In view of the requirements of the Highways Act, such claims are not straightforward. Evidence is all important, and if you are involved in such an accident, the first thing to do is to obtain good quality photographs and, if possible, a video of the road and potholes where the accident occurred. Try to obtain these from the direction of travel of the cyclist and at the same time of day that the accident occurred. The photographs and video should include measurements of the potholes.

We Can Help

Obtaining evidence is a key part of the work we do at MW Solicitors.  When investigating and acting in these types of cases we will make immediate site visits, cycling the road if appropriate. We will obtain evidence from the police and ambulance services and interview police officers and paramedics, if required.  We will also investigate any CCTV footage of the locality and we will investigate the history of accidents of the road.  We can also engage cycling and engineering experts.  Our dedicated cyclist injury specialist, Philip Scarles, is a keen cyclist of many years giving him a particular interest and advantage when acting for cyclists who have suffered serious injuries in such accidents.

If you or a loved one have been injured in such an accident, do not delay, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.  The earlier you contact us the better chance we have of gathering the evidence to fight your case before any potholes are filled in, records are destroyed or memories have faded.

Croydon Tram

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Croydon Tram Disaster which occured at Sandilands Junction on 9th November 2016.

Memorial Service

A permanent memorial to the victims will be unveiled at a memorial service at Central Parade, New Addington, starting at 10.30am 

Where are We Now?

7 people tragically lost their lives, with a further 51 people injured, 16 of them with very serious life changing injurues. 


Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner & Head of Personal Injury

The driver of the tram was arrested at the scene and has since been bailed twice. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) are continuing their investigations with the final report hopefully being published by the end of 2017.

British Transport Police’s investigations are ongoing and the Coroner’s enquiries will recommence once the outcome of the police investigations are known.

Despite civil liability for the accident being admitted by Transport for London / Tram Operations Limited in March 2017, the cause of the accident is still not known which has lead to many continuing to demand answers. Unfortunately investigations into this type of incident are often lengthy and due process must be followed. That is however of little assistance to the victims, many of whom suffered significant psychological trauma.

There have been many suggestions about what happened but at present all we know is that the tram entered the curved part of the track between the Sandilands Tunnels and Sandilands Junction at 46 mph, some 30 mph greater than the imposed speed limit. This excessive speed would seem to have been the root cause of the derailment.

The reason for the excessive speed cannot yet be fully understood and it would be wrong to speculate while the investigations are ongoing.

MW Solicitors Supporting Victims and Survivors


Timothy Pyant
Timothy Pyant
Executive - Health & Injury

McMillan Williams in New Addington have been instructed by over 20 victims of this accident and are working closely with Transport for London’s representatives to ensure that the victim’s rehabilitation needs are met.

Many of the victims have suffered both physical and psychological injuries which have prevented them from returning to work which in turn has caused financial pressures on them and their families.

We have been able to successfully agree regular interim payments for victims from Transport for London’s representatives, which has helped to soften the financial burden.

It is vital that this support continues.

Police

A recent report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) highlighted that police forces are not doing enough to stop their officers carrying out sexual abuses and abusing their powers. 


Fiona McNelis
Fiona McNelis
Senior Associate Solicitor & Head of Public Law

The HMICFRS is an organisation that independently assesses the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces and fire and rescue services in the public interest.  In other words, they assist in holding these organisations to account for abuses of their power and breaches of public trust.

Sexual Abuse Offences by Police on the Rise

Sexual abuse offences committed by police officers are on the rise as is evidenced by a number of prosecutions against officers in recent years.  Not only are they committing a criminal act but they are abusing their position of public trust and this can have a devastating and traumatic effect on those abused.  It calls into question the relationship of trust the public hold with police officers and could result in a fear of reporting such crimes.  It also places already vulnerable people at risk of further harm from the very people they have turned to for help.  It is through their position as police officers that this abuse takes place.

Allegations of sexual abuse by police officers need to be dealt with now to prevent any further abuses.  The victim of abuse needs to feel that they will be taken seriously by the police force they deal with when reporting such abuse.  They need to know that the Force have a plan or policy in place to deal with such situations and to ensure that the victim of the abuse does not have to face or deal with their abuser whilst the matter s being investigated by the Force.  It calls for effective, considered and sensitive action.

HMICFRS Recommendations

In December 2016, the HMICFRS recommended that Police Forces take steps to implement a plan to deal with this.  It recommended that within 6 months, each Force implements a plan setting out how they propose to deal with obtaining information about alleged abuses by police officers.    It is vital that this is done to protect the more vulnerable members of our society.

The Forces may also need to consider the level of resources to be committed to this plan and to ensure that they reflect the seriousness of these abuses.  Existing policies may need to be changed and amended. 

The report acknowledges that there are only two Forces in the country, Derbyshire Constabulary and Merseyside Police, who currently have all elements in place

This is not a change which can happen overnight and is something which will need continuous review.  It will also need a commitment to prosecuting those officers who have sexually abused an individual and breached their position of trust.  Such prosecutions should be dealt with as expeditiously as possible and not be left for large periods of time thereby increasing the anxiety and distress caused to the victims of abuse. 

We Can Help

At MW Solicitors Our Mission is “To make quality legal services accessible to everyone.” including vulnerable people who are victims of abuse by those in public office.  Abuses of power by those in public office is something that we take very seriously at MW. 

If you are the victim of abuse by a police officer or anyone in a position of power, don’t delay, call our Abuse Team on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

On the 4th October MW Solicitors reached another milestone in our history opening the 27th office in our network.

MW Eastbourne

Meet The Team

Anne-Marie Smith (Licensed Conveyancer)


Anne-Marie Smith
Anne-Marie Smith
Licensed Conveyancer - Head of Property Law Division – Eastbourne

With over 10 years experience in Residential Property, Anne-Marie provides clients with a personal service and ensures that they feel supported throughout the conveyancing process without bombarding them with legalese. 

Her experience runs the full gamut of transactions from multi-million pound properties to lock up garages.  All of her clients get the same high quality service with high availability, timely responses and top quality communications which put you at ease and ensure you have an expectation exceeding customer journey.  Anne-Marie can assist with:

  • Freehold/leasehold sales and purchase
  • Transfers of equity
  • Remortgages
  • Lease extensions

Emily Reed (Property Law Executive)


Emily Reed
Emily Reed
Executive - Property Law

Emily has 17 years experience in the legal sector, the last 15 of which have been spent in Residential Property. 

She takes pride in providing a high quality service, her attention to communication with clients, estate agents and lawyers enables the transactions she manages to proceed as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Emily has strong local connections to the Eastbourne area and is well regarded by many of the local Estate Agents whom she has dealt with for many years.

Emily can assist with all aspects of Residential Property conveyancing including:

  • freehold and leasehold sales and purchases,
  • re-mortgages
  • transfer of equity

Barbara Macdonald (Partner and Solicitor Family and Child Law)


Barbara Macdonald
Barbara Macdonald
Partner - Family & Child Law

A qualified Family Lawyer since 2005, Barbara's practice focusses primarily on Care Proceedings, representing children directly or through their Guardians and for parents and grandparents.   She is often instructed by Guardians in private law proceedings where the child requires separate representation.

Barabara is acutely aware that many parents who find themselves caught up in care proceedings come from very difficult backgrounds and lack the support of a loving family.  At MW our lawyers understand and snsure that the person representing your legal interests, or the legal interests of your child, is sensitive to those human issues.

Barbara is also:

About MW Solicitors

Founded in 1983, MW Solicitors is a multi-branch, multi-disciplinary, consumer led high street law firm with 400+ employees and 28 Offices located across London and the South of England.

We are one of the fastest growing law firms in the country in employee numbers, office locations and services provided.  We are an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and private equity funded by Business Growth Fund (BGF)

Our Mission

To make quality legal services accessible to everyone."

Our Vision

  • We aspire to have more specialist solicitors in more areas of law in more offices on more high streets speaking more languages and accessible in more ways than any other firm in the country.

  • We believe the support of the law should be life-long and that our clients should feel they and their families are cared for across generations.
     
  • We believe you should be able to deal with real people, close to you, who know you.

  • We strive at all times to offer an accessible, affordable, personal service.

MW Solicitors Head of Personal Injury, Helen Clifford, presented a cheque for £6,000 to the Construction Safety Campaign (CSC).

This cheque being a donation from Marta Tkacikova, in memory of her son Rene Tkacik who was killed on 7 March 2014 while working on Crossrail. Marta said:

“We would like to thank the CSC for their words of support & empathy. This donation is in memory of Rene.  He always strived to help & inspire others. There is no doubt that thanks to Rene other workers’ lives have been saved. Rene’s name should not be forgotten, it should live on.  If each place where a worker lost his life while performing his duties were named after him, then Holborn station would bear Rene’s name. Our world is empty without you, our dear Rene.”

Helen Clifford presents donation to CSC with

Mick Gilgunn, Treasurer of the CSC, said:

“We would like to Thank Rene's family for this kind donation, we can only imagine the pain they must be going through. These funds, together with our existing funds in the bank along with the help of fellow activists, and with a  new enthusiasm, make it possible to build upon, and we will continue the struggle for justice for Construction workers.”

At the AGM, Helen was elected to the CSC committee in the role of legal adviser. Helen Clifford said:

“I am honoured to be elected to the CSC committee. Since it was set up in 1988 the CSC has played a vital role in campaigning for improved health & safety in the construction industry & has secured many significant improvements. In addition, they support the families of those who have been killed at work. My dad was a founding member, the CSC is part of my heritage & I look forward to playing a role in the future of this vital campaign.”

About The Construction Safety Campaign

The Construction Safety Campaign is a grass roots organisation which campaigns against the criminal injustices done to Construction Workers Health and Safety.

Formed in 1988, it aims to further the concerns of Health and Safety Workers in the Construction Industry and to campaing for changes in Law to extend criminal charges in cases of corporate manslaughter and Health and Safety negligence.  Many others from both public and private sectors are now taking up our demands that we deserve far better health and safety at work.

New ways of working has intensified the pressure on all groups of workers and as such workplace stress is having an increased and severe detrimental effect on all of us.

Relatives of those killed at work have joined the CSC to campaign for a Safety Bill, which will make it far easier to jail guilty employers whose recklessness leads to their workers deaths.

CSC has also led the fight to ban asbestos imports into the UK, resulting in changes to the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations.

 

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