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.

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.

 

Helen Clifford, Head of MW Solicitors’ Personal Injury Department and a solicitor specialising in accidents in the workplace will be attending this year’s Construction Safety Campaign (CSC) AGM.


Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner & Head of Personal Injury

Helen has a strong commitment to CSC as did her father, Frank Clifford, also a lawyer, a founding member of the CSC back in 1988.

Helen recently represented the family of construction worker René Tkacik tragically killed whilst working on Crossrail.  She will be speaking about the inquest and HSE prosecution, which brought £1m fines against the three companies comprising the Joint venture BFK (BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman & Keir Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd). 

The Tkacik family have generously donated the £6000 expenses they were given by BFK to the CSC in appreciation of the support they have provided and Helen will be presenting a cheque to the CSC at the AGM.

Accidents at Work

Deaths at work are tragic and sudden, leaving family members with many questions about the circumstances in which their loved one was killed.  


Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner & Head of Personal Injury

The Inquest process is designed to answer these questions, but can be a traumatic and confusing process for families without legal representation.  

At MW Solicitors our Personal Injury Lawyers are experts at representing families at Inquests and helping them to understand the process and to get the answers they deserve.  Our work in this field is endorsed by Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) and the Hazards Campaign.

A recent example of this was the case of René Tkacik, who was killed whilst employed by the joint venture BFK on the Crossrail project.  Helen Clifford, MW's Head of Personal Injury, represented René's parents at the Inquest in February 2015 and on 3rd March 2015 the Inquest Jury determined that his death was accidental, but raised concerns about health and safety on site.

Prosecutions following Inquest

In some cases, particularly where breaches of Health & Safety Legislation or Corporate Manslaughter are concerned, prosecutions may follow.

Following the Inquest, Helen Clifford liaised with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to provide essential information to assist them in considering a prosecution for breaches of Health & Safety Regulations against the three companies comprising the Joint venture BFK (BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman & Keir Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd)

On 7th Dec 2016 the HSE announced their decision to prosecute the companies involved under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.  The companies were charged with four breaches relating to Mr Tkacik's death and to injuries sustained by two other workers on the same project, including Alex Vizitiu who is also represented by Helen Clifford.

The Trial and Sentencing

On 19th July 2017 BFK pleaded guilty having reached agreement with the HSE that they would do so on condition that the prosecution be brought against the Joint Venture BFK rather than the individual companies BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman & Keir Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd.

At a sentencing hearing on 27th and 28th July 2017 BFK were fined £300,000 for the offences which resulted in René’s death; £600,000 in relation to serious injuries suffered by another worker and £165,000 in relation to Alex Vizitiu’s accident.

Continuous Support to The Family

Helen Clifford gave continuous support to her clients from Inquest through to the final sentencing and made several statements both to the court and outside to awaiting press on behalf of René's mother, Marta Tkacikova.

Marta said

We (Rene's family) are very disappointed with the sentence, the fine is inadequate.  BFK have agreed to pay my expenses in attending court. I am donating that blood money to the Construction Safety Campaign in memory of René, to assist them in their campaign to prevent further deaths”

We Can Help

At MW Our Mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have been injured or the families of those killed in workplace accidents.  Our experienced and expert Lawyers will represent you at every step of the way.  From Inquest to prosecution and if applicable, in a claim for compensation.  We will be on hand to ensure that you get the access to Justice that you deserve.

If you or your family have suffered an accident at work and would like to speak to one of our expert injury solicitors, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

MW Solicitors were proud to attend the Hazards Conference 2017, held on the 28th to 30th of July 2017 at Keele University, Stoke on Trent.  Hazards Conference is the biggest grassroots Health and Safety conference in the Northern Hemisphere attended by over 350 Union Safety Representatives and Health and Safety Campaigners.  The theme of this year's conference was "Organizing Health, Safety and Welfare in an Insecure World"

MW Solicitors strongly supports the work of the Hazards Campaign which supports individuals and groups fighting for justice over work-related injuries and diseases. This includes challenging the victimisation and blacklisting of safety activists, supporting bereaved relatives of those killed at work, workers suffering occupational injuries or diseases in pursuit of justice, highlighting the unfairness of the compensation system and pressing for improvements to policy, law and practice.

Head of Personal Injury, Helen Clifford and Head of Road Traffic Collisions Joanna Bailey, represented MW Solicitors at the conference and spoke at Saturday's Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) Seminar "Work-Related Death, Supporting Families and Fighting Back. The Seminar was Chaired by Hilda Palmer, Co-ordinator of Greater Manchester Hazards Campaign.  FACK is supported by TU donations and sponsorship from Irwin Mitchell and McMillan Williams solicitors.

Helen Clifford and Joanna Bailey

(Left to Right) MW Solicitors Helen Clifford and Joanna Bailey

FACK supports families after a work-related death and advocates for them throughout the investigation process, inquest and any prosecutions which may result.  The seminar also focused on the role played by supporting solicitors, such as MW Solictors, who provide essential legal support to ensure that those families who suffer work-related deaths have "equality of arms" in terms of legal representation at Inquests.

Helen Clifford was honoured to speak at the closing Plenary meeting on Sunday Morning entitled "Enough is Enough: End deregulation now!" 

Helen Clifford speaks at closing plenery meeting of Hazards Conference 2017

Helen Clifford speaks at closing plenery meeting of Hazards Conference 2017

Hazards Conference

(Left to Right) Hilda Palmer (Chair of FACK), Michael Lancaster (GMB Union), Tracey Seward (FACK Member) and her daughter Daisy Seward, Joanna Bailey (MW Solicitors), Helen Clifford (MW Solicitors)

On 7th March 2014, René Tkacik, then aged 44, was crushed to death by a fall of freshly applied shotcrete (sprayed concrete lining) at the Crossrail Fisher Street site.

At the time René was working for the BFK Joint Venture (BAM Nuttal Limited; Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Limited and Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Limited).  BBC London News

Timeline

  • 23 February 2015 - An Inquest into his death took place at St. Pancras Coroner’s Court. The jury made a narrative determination which raised concerns about health and safety practices on site.

  • 07 December 2016 - The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) the body responsible for enforcing Health & Safety laws in Great Britain, decided to prosecute BAM Nuttal Limited; Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Limited and Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Limited individually, rather than as a joint venture. A decision was also made to prosecute the 3 companies in relation to two further incidents which occurred in January 2015 in tunnels being constructed by BFK.

  • July 2017 - BAM, Ferrovial and Kier approached the HSE and suggested that they would enter guilty pleas in respect of all charges, but that those please would be entered by the Joint Venture. The HSE accepted those pleas.

  • 19 July 2017 - BFK pleaded guilty to all charges at a hearing.

  • 27 July 2017 - BFK sentenced at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court.  The case received coverage across News Media outlets including; BBC London News

The Charges

  • One charge under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

  • One charge under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

  • Two Charges under Regulation 22 (1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

We Can Help

MW Solicitor's Head of Personal Injury, Helen Clifford, represents the family of René Tkacik and Alex Vizitiu, one or the 2 men injured in January 2015.  She is a lifelong campaigner for Health and Safety at Work and in particular the construction industry and a supporter of the Blacklist Support Group who support workers who have been fired for raising Health & Safety concerns in the workplace.

If you or a family member have suffered an accident in the workplace, our dedicated and expert team of Personal Injury Lawyers can get you the justice you need.  To talk to one of our team call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

Wheelchair Skills Training

MW Solicitors Ltd are extremely proud to have become the principal sponsors of the Back Up Trust Wheelchair Skills Programme.

Joining Forces to Help Spinal Injury Survivors Rebuild Their Lives

Every day three people sustain a spinal cord injury, through accident or illness and at MW our expert Personal Injury solicitors represent many clients with vital legal assistance throughout the personal injury claim process.  We are acutely aware of the tremendous resources provided by Back Up through wheelchair skills training, peer support and vocational rehabilitation. 

In addition to providing financial support for these vital services, we will also be providing hands on support in the form of volunteer assistants who will attend each and every wheelchair skills training session throughout the UK.

About Back Up

Back Up was founded in 1986 by the former British and European Freestyle Champion and James Bond stunt double Mike Nemesvary, whose life was devastated when he broke his neck during a training session. Despite being paralysed from the shoulders down, Mike was determined to get back to the life he enjoyed.  Back Up was initially set up to offer ski courses for those affected by spinal cord injury. Over the years, Back Up has expanded its services to challenge and empower people to get ‘back up’ to a place they were at before their accident.

Back Up exists to inspire independence in anyone affected by spinal cord injury and to encourage everyone to get the most from their lives.  They work with people of all ages, from young children to the elderly, whatever the motivation or background.    

Back Up relies on a vital family of volunteers, mentors and skilled professionals, who provide unrivalled support and enthusiasm and who help deliver services that rebuild confidence and self-belief. 

About MW Solicitors

At MW, our mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone" and we aim to support clients throughout their lives with our teams of skilled, experienced lawyers. 

If you have experienced a no fault injury MW can provide pro-bono or discounted assistance, whatever your legal needs.  Where your injury has been caused by someone else’s negligence we have a specialist serious injury and medical negligence team with decades of experience acting for the most seriously injured in the UK and abroad.  After suffering a life changing injury we believe rehabilitation in all its forms is key.  We have case managers who can assist with practical issues from the start and then we are with you and those that rely on and care for you throughout the course of your claim and beyond.

If you or a loved one have suffered a Spinal Injury and would like to know more about how we can support you through your rehabilitation and through the claims process, call our expert Personal Injury team on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk 

 

Coroners Court

In a recent case, Justina Molloy, Partner in the Personal Injury Team, assisted by Simon Brown and Heather Petrie were instructed by the family of John Atkin.

John was employed as a driver technician, delivering equipment to the elderly, disabled and those who have undergone substantial medical operations to assist independent living. In February last year, John was delivering a stool to a lady who had recently had a leg amputated. John had been advised by his employers that the property would be unlocked and that he should enter and make himself known to the lady. John did as he was instructed however unfortunately there was a dog in the property which he and his employers were not aware of and he was bitten.

Following the bite, John returned to his work depot where he received first aid for a simple cut. He was asked whether he had an up to date tetanus vaccination which he confirmed he did. 

Sadly, on 27 February 2016, four days after being bitten, John was found unresponsive, having developed staphylococcal septicaemia, and died.

Had John been advised of the risk of septicaemia and the warning signs to watch out for, he may have sought further medical assistance. If he had received antibiotics, John may not have developed septicaemia and may still be alive today.

In February 2017, we represented John’s family at the inquest into his death, throughout which we were assisted by John Schmitt of 9 Gough Square who also acted on a pro bono basis. At the inquest it transpired that his employers had not undertaken a full risk assessment of the lady’s home, believing instead that an assessment of the property would have been carried out by the NHS or Social Services who had ordered the stool on the lady’s behalf. There was also criticism of John’s employer’s staff training and health and safety procedures.

The Verdict

The jury returned a unanimous verdict of accidental death and the Coroner indicated her intention for a Prevention of Future Death Report to be sent to John’s employers requiring them to make improvements to their systems to ensure that there are no similar deaths in the future.

This case highlights the dangers a bite can pose and the need to quickly seek medical advice for puncture wounds – in addition to the importance of having sufficient procedures in place to ensure all risks are identified in order to safeguard employees, such as identifying the presence of dogs, and other animals, at a premises.

Families Against Corporate Killers

The McMillan Williams Injury Team are strong supporters of the work of Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) who campaign to stop workers and others being killed in preventable incidents.  FACK assist families of those killed as they go through the process of an inquest at the Coroner’s Court which is where MW comes in, acting for the families on a pro bono basis to provide them with legal representation at this difficult time.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including bereaved families who deserve to know the circumstances of their loved ones death.

If you would like to speak to a professional to discuss your case call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

MW Solicitors Head of Personal Injury Helen Clifford and Personal Injury Executive Timothy Pyant were featured on BBC London News last night (Monday 20th February).

They spoke about their efforts to support those affected by the Croydon Tram Crash which occurred on the morning of Wednesday 9th November 2016 at Sandilands Junction.

The process of getting full compensation for accidental injuries can take years to resolve.  Our solicitors are expert in helping victims of accidents get interim payments so that they can get the help they need to begin rebuilding their lives.

Timothy Pyant said:

"It's going to be stressfull if you're not able to pay your bills on time or you're not able to pay your rent on time.  There are people that are being threatened with eviction because they are not able to work and what we are trying to do is to facilitate interim payments for those people."

Helen Clifford said:

"People need to be able to pay their bills we don't want people to be ending up homeless as a result of this accident.  It's simply not their fault, they are innocent victims here and they need to be supported."

Tram Crash Support Network Event

Our firm has been established in the Croydon area for 34 years and we are committed to supporting our local community.  To further support our clients and others affected by the tragic events of 9th Nov We are holding a Support Network Event on Tuesday 28th February 2017 at our New Addington Office.

56-58 Central Parade
New Addington
Surrey
CR0 0JD

We Can Help

If you would like to attend the event and talk to one of our team and to meet other survivors and victims families please contact Timothy Pyant on 07464 541 709 or email Timothy.Pyant@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

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