The Great British Pothole Problem

What do you get if you mix together a recession and a few years’ of cold, wet winters? The answer is potholes, and they are becoming an increasing cause of personal injury and sometimes even death on British roads.

So why are potholes becoming such a growing issue? What hazards do they cause to road users, and what can you do if you suffer a personal injury caused by a pothole and wish to make a claim?

Increasing on Britain’s roads

Potholes are caused by a combination of sun, cold, rain and vehicles. The constant stress of traffic and sun beating down on a road, over time causes the asphalt to crack, which in turn allows snow and rainwater to enter into the cracks and mix with the gravel and dirt underneath. The water then freezes, causing the cracks to expand, pushing out some of the gravel and dirt from under the asphalt. When the ice melts this leaves a hole, which grows bigger as traffic continuously drives over the rupture, fatiguing and straining the affected area even further.

However, Britain has just experienced a mild winter hasn’t it? Yes, we may have experienced moderate temperatures, but the winter of 2013/14 has been officially confirmed as the wettest on record. Unfortunately, even when the climate is relatively warm, excessive rainfall and flooding can eat away at the roads, causing potholes and other types of damage. Couple this with cuts to council budgets allocated to road repairs and it is clear why personal injuries caused by potholes are on the increase.

Personal Injury

Thousands of people suffer vehicle damage caused by potholes every year. However, potholes also contribute many instances of injury and even death on our roads, with cyclists and motorcyclists being particularly vulnerable. According to cycling charity groups, more than 1000 cyclists are injured every year due to unrepaired potholes.

Just a few weeks ago, a coroner investigating the death of a cyclist in North Yorkshire in 2011 ruled that in his mind, “there was no doubt whatsoever the condition of the road on that occasion was the cause of the accident”. The cyclist had been taking part in a fundraising event when his bike hit a deep pothole and he was thrown into the path of an oncoming car and killed instantly.

If you are injured and you believe your injury was caused by pothole in the road, it is important to take the following steps. This will help you make a personal injury claim against the council responsible for the maintenance of the road where the accident occurred:

•  Take a photograph of the road and the pothole itself. Try to show a sense of scale in the photograph by placing a ruler or tape measure inside the pothole to illustrate its depth.
•  Measure the pothole’s dimensions, its position (i.e. is it close to the kerb) and note any other defects in the road.
•  Take photographs of your injuries and any damage to your vehicle or bike.
•  Report the incident to your local council.

Local authorities are aware of the dangers of potholes and most make every attempt to fix them as soon as they are discovered or reported. However, always take special care when you encounter one on the road, especially if you are riding a motorbike or a bicycle. It is also important to report the pothole to your local authority to prevent others from sustaining nasty injuries if they fail to see the hazard.

Lancashire fire-fighters receive £67,000 in compensation

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that fire-fighters working for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have received a total of £67,728 in compensation for work-related injuries sustained between 2008 and 2013. According to an article in the Lancashire Evening Post, this amount was spread over 10 claims, with the highest sum of £29,756 being paid out in 2009 to a fireman who badly injured his back in a fall.

Other payouts included £12,547 and £5,131 for head injuries, £2,350 for a shoulder injury and £7,585 for back and shoulder damage. However, some of the compensation amounts were much smaller, such as a payment of £198 for mouth injuries and tooth damage after a fire-fighter was struck in the face by an object.

Commenting on the compensation awards, a spokesperson for leading personal injury law firm, Injury Lawyers 4U, said: ’£67,728 worth of claims might sound like a lot, but in reality, only relates to 10 payouts over five years. Lancashire Fire and Rescue received a total of 17 personal injury claims for work-related incidents over this period – two of which are still awaiting settlement – which is actually a very good statistic for an organisation this size.’

‘It’s clear from the Fire Service’s statement in the Lancashire Evening Post that this organisation takes a very responsible attitude towards ensuring the health and safety of its workforce. And when things do go wrong, they take steps to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future, and make financial recompense to injured staff where appropriate.’

Sadly, not everyone is lucky enough to work for an organisation that takes its health and safety obligations as seriously as Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. Every year, hundreds of employees suffer injuries or contract illnesses in the workplace that could have been prevented if their employer had followed proper procedures, or provided the necessary protective equipment.

Have you been injured in an accident at work that was caused by your employer’s negligence or omission? If so, Injury Lawyers 4U can help you claim the compensation to which you’re entitled. A national network of experienced and specialist personal injury solicitors, they’ve pursued hundreds of successful claims for all kinds of workplace injuries.

Call Injury Lawyers 4U today on 0845 345 4444 for honest, professional advice about your accident claim. Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Why you shouldn’t suffer in silence following an accident injury

Accidents can occur at almost any time and in almost any situation. For those who are the victims of these incidents, knowing what to do can be difficult and a number of people wrongly suffer in silence.

Not only does this put you at greater risk of developing further complaints but it also means the cause of your accident is not clearly identified. Whilst individuals who have sustained a personal injury may simply want to forget the incident, this can often do more harm than good and contacting accident injury lawyers or services will enable you to take the necessary steps to protect yourself, and others, in the future.

How to protect yourself and others

Whilst it may seem a strange concept, considering claiming compensation following an accident could actually help to protect yourself and others. This is because claims of this nature help others to identify security risks in certain establishments or situations. This in turn leads to a more accurate risk assessment and allows the necessary safety measures and procedures to be put into place.

This is true for all types of accident – irrespective of where they occur. Even workplaces can be held responsible for an accident if the environment was unsafe or if those involved in the incident were not given the necessary tools or training to complete the task at hand.

In these situations it is important that you consider taking legal action as it will prevent the same mistakes from being made again. Unfortunately, a number of businesses only pay attention when their finances are affected and that means claiming for compensation is the quickest and easiest way to get them to pay attention.

Can claiming compensation have a negative effect on you?

A common misconception of compensation claims, especially when they involve your workplace or individuals whom you are associated with, is that it will negatively affect your future dealings with them. This couldn’t be further from the case and in the rare event that you are treated negatively because of an injury claim you could be entitled to take further legal action against your employment.

This is because such action would be classed as a type of discrimination – a practice that is understandably frowned upon within the corporate world.

As a general rule, businesses will accept their responsibility for your safety and that means that if you do have an accident they will be more than happy to compensate you for your discomfort. This will give you the recompense you deserve whilst giving them the opportunity to review their current safety procedures.

Who should you contact about making a claim?

If you feel you are entitled to lodge a claim it is vital that you speak to the right people. As a specialist accident claim firm, InjuryLawyers 4U offer professional and personal advice to help you understand your entitlement and the process involved with claiming compensation. We also operate on a no win no fee basis to provide you with the financial security you need when making your claim.

Is technology making us more accident prone?

With mobile phones and other technological gadgets gaining in popularity, it is rare that most of us leave the house without these devices. Yet, whilst these gadgets offer a great range of benefits and increased convenience there are fears they are making us more accident prone – but how?

Hazardous distractions
According to The Daily Mail, drivers who use their mobile phones whilst in the car are four times more likely to have an accident. Whilst manually operating your phone whilst in control of the vehicle is illegal in the UK, hands-free kits are deemed just as dangerous when in use.

The devices act as a hazardous distraction, diverting the driver’s attention away from the road. Whilst the above statistics are based on accident figures from Australia, UK drivers are still putting themselves at risk as one third of motorists confess to be involved in an accident or narrowly avoiding one after being distracted by items such as mobile phones.

Twenty per cent of drivers also admitted that the floated the ban against using a hand-held mobile whilst driving by answering their phone without the use of a hands-free kit. Texting whilst driving has also been labelled as a common source of accidents whilst the desire to update social networks on the move has seen some manufacturers create innovative devices which do this automatically in order to stop drivers taking unnecessary risks when behind the wheel.

Whilst all of the above dangers are associated with road accidents, this is unfortunately not the only danger which technology seems to pose to its users. Texting whilst walking poses a huge risk for pedestrians and drivers alike. In a rare case, a recent report saw one gentleman almost walk into the path of a stray black bear in California when distracted by texting – emphasising the high volume of threats which mobile phones and other devices can have.

Protecting against accidents
Naturally, the easiest way to protect against these types of accident is to make sure you only use these devices when it is safe to do so. Operating a hand-held phone whilst driving is not only illegal but is a reckless endangerment of life. Similarly, failing to pay attention to your environment when walking down the road could see you stray into dangerous situations, putting yourself and others at unnecessary harm.

Of course, in the event that an accident does occur it is important that you ascertain the cause and take the necessary measures to protect yourself from further harm – whether financial or emotional. If you are involved in an accident because somebody else was distracted or failed to act appropriately then you could be entitled to a no win no fee claim. These are claims handled by trained professionals who fight for the compensation you deserve and do not charge for their services if your case is unsuccessful.

Here at Injury Lawyers 4 U we offer this service and can advise you on the best course of action following an accident. Any accident, regardless of the cause, is traumatic for those involved and this is why it is vital that you take the necessary action to protect yourself.