E-Scooter Accidents on the Rise

Recent figures from the Department for Transport show that 100 road users and pedestrians were injured in collisions with e-scooter riders during 2020, while 383 riders were also injured in accidents. Given the surging popularity of both rental and privately-owned e-scooters, the equivalent figures for 2021 are likely to be substantially higher, as safety concerns regarding the use of e-scooters in public areas continue to grow.

The figures reveal that 21 cyclists, 22 people in vehicles and 57 pedestrians were injured in accidents involving e-scooters last year, with 13 pedestrians seriously injured. This shows that all road users are at risk from e-scooter riders, with the charity Guide Dogs reporting visually impaired people are having to either change their usual routes or stop travelling independently altogether due to the perceived danger from e-scooters and their riders.

While e-scooters are not allowed to be ridden on pavements (and only rental e-scooters can be used on roads), they are unfortunately becoming a common sight across the UK. The vehicles are supposed to be limited to a top speed of 15.5mph, but many privately-owned e-scooters can travel much faster. The popularity of e-scooters reflects their convenience as a means of transport in urban areas, especially among young people, some of whom ride them irresponsibly and without wearing helmets.

E-scooter riders are themselves extremely vulnerable if they lose control of their vehicle and are involved in an accident, but they also pose a serious risk to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. With reports indicating that the government is likely to legalise the personal use of e-scooters in public areas in the next 12 months, an increasing number of e-scooter accidents are likely to be recorded across the UK in the future.

Find out more: https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/road-accident-claims/who-is-reponsible-for-an-escooter-accident.html

30 in 30 Challenge Returns

Zoë’s Place Baby Hospices in Liverpool, Coventry and Middlesbrough are hoping to repeat the success of last year’s 30 in 30 Challenge during October this year, and raise vital funds to enable the independent registered Children’s Charity to continue to provide its free services to families that need them most.

The 30 in 30 Challenge invites individuals or teams to cover 30 miles in 30 days by walking, jogging, running, swimming or cycling, and to encourage friends, family and colleagues to donate and reward participants’ efforts. You can also set your own distance target if you think you can manage more than 30 miles during the month of October.

The 30 in 30 Challenge is a great way to get fit, have fun and make a much-needed contribution to Zoë’s Place, and the services it is able to provide to infants aged 0-5 years with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. Zoë’s Place has lost hundreds of thousands of pounds during the pandemic due to cancelled events and a drop in donations, so now is the perfect time to get involved and help secure the charity’s future.

To give an idea, it costs £30 an hour for respite care for one child at Zoë’s, while £45 provides one hour of music therapy for a child, and £100 would cover a day out for four children. Every donation helps provide short-term regular care with dedicated nursing staff, in a home from home environment to give parents and carers a well-deserved break.

You can find out more about the 30 in 30 Challenge and sign up to participate on the Zoë’s Place website: https://www.zoes-place.org.uk/events/2435/30_in_30_challenge_returns

Hair Dye Reactions and Covid-19

Various reports suggest that people are experiencing unexpected allergic reactions to hair dye after contracting Covid-19, indicating that the virus may be permanently changing the immune system of a minority and making them vulnerable to new allergies, including to hair dye products which they may have used for many years without any ill effect.

One woman who had recently recovered from Covid-19 told the BBC she experienced an adverse reaction following a patch test for the same hair dye product she had used regularly for 10 years. Multiple anecdotal reports from within the industry also appear to confirm that clients are suffering allergic reactions to various hair dye products which they previously used safely.    

There is currently no evidence of a direct link between coronavirus and allergic reactions, but the long-term effects of Covid-19 and its differing impact on certain individuals remains unclear. Researchers at Imperial College London are now investigating whether the virus does indeed have a permanent impact on some people’s immune systems in the same way that other illnesses do, making individuals more susceptible to allergic reactions to hair dye.

The National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF), the trade body that represents hairdressers and beauticians, is currently calling on all salons to carry out skin patch tests on existing as well as new customers to minimise the risk of allergic reactions among clients who may have only recently developed a sensitivity to hair dye ingredients like phenylenediamine (PPD). Many salons are now implementing compulsory patch testing for all clients, and this may be the only way forward in terms of minimising the risk of allergic reactions in the future.

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/hair-beauty/compensation-for-allergic-reaction-to-hair-dye-at-hairdressers.html

Staycations & Bed Bug Infestations

With many people having recently returned from staycations in the UK this summer, an unfortunate few will have unknowingly brought unwelcome visitors home with them in the form of bed bugs. These small (roughly 5mm long) blood-sucking insects are often transported from hotels, B&Bs and holiday rentals in guests’ clothing and luggage, resulting in a domestic infestation which can be extremely difficult and expensive to eradicate.   

As they only emerge at night, bed bugs can be difficult to spot, although the bite marks they leave on all parts of the body are usually obvious, typically grouped together and becoming red, inflamed and itchy within 24 hours of a person being bitten. While bed bug bites can sometimes leave no mark at all, there are a number of other indications of an infestation, including blood and copper coloured fecal stains on sheets, bedding and mattresses. Bed bugs also shed their skin multiple times as they mature and lay eggs, both of which can be spotted, while a further telltale sign of an infestation is the musty, sweet and unpleasant smell which bed bugs release.

Bed bugs are resilient creatures and notoriously difficult to eliminate. The services of a professional pest control company will be necessary to eradicate a bed bug infestation, and multiple visits will normally be necessary to deal with the issue. Over time, bed bugs have become resistant to many insecticides and chemicals, and attempting to deal with an infestation without professional help can make the problem worse by only killing some of the insects and dispersing the rest to new locations at a property. While costly and time-consuming, professional pest control services are absolutely necessary for an infestation to be eradicated effectively.

Our firm has particular expertise in claiming compensation for bed bug bites and domestic bed bug infestations resulting from hotel, B&B and holiday rental stays. We have successfully represented hundreds of clients in these specialist claims over the years, and this experience means that our clients receive the most effective legal representation, as well as the highest amount of compensation for bed bug bites and infestations.

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/bed-bug-claims/compensation-for-bed-bug-bites.html

Housing Association Shamed on Twitter

Over a period of 18 months, a housing association tenant repeatedly begged his landlord for repair work to be done on his mould and vermin-infested property, but without success, during which time he and his two sisters were forced to live in appalling conditions.

The tenant’s property had multiple problems, including damp and mould caused by water streaming into the property, a missing ceiling, exposed asbestos, and a cockroach and rodent infestation. He informed his landlord (Europe’s largest housing association) about the issues on numerous occasions, yet no repair work was carried out until the tenant posted photos of the dilapidated flat on Twitter, after which his case quickly gained publicity and the housing association finally took action.

The chairman of the housing association told the BBC, “We have been publicly shamed by the quality of some of our homes. We took our eye off the ball.”

The tenant has since decided to campaign on behalf of other social housing tenants, and shame housing associations and local councils into taking action to deal with disrepair issues. Many social housing tenants have been living in squalid conditions for decades, but have had their complaints ignored time and again. This recent case highlights how social media can be important in circulating pictures of unacceptable living conditions, and in helping tenants band together to force landlords into taking immediate action to fix problems.

Our firm has considerable experience in suing housing associations and local councils for disrepair issues including damp and mould, vermin infestations, and structural issues with walls and ceilings. Contact our housing law team for a free consultation: 

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/accidents-at-home/suing-a-housing-association-for-injury.html

Walter Sickert Retrospective Opening

The highly-anticipated Sickert: A Life in Art exhibition opens at the Walker Art Gallery on 18th September (next Saturday), and will run until 27th February next year.

This major Walter Sickert retrospective will feature paintings by the artist loaned from national and international collections, as well as drawings from the Walker Gallery’s own collection of Sickert’s work, many of which are being displayed for the first time. The exhibition will showcase around 100 paintings loaned to the Walker Gallery for the Life in Art exhibition and 200 drawings.

A Life in Art is the largest retrospective exhibition of Walter Richard Sickert’s work to be held in the UK for more than 30 years, providing a once-in-generation opportunity for art lovers and anyone interested in the development of modern British art to explore the life and work of one of the country’s most radical and influential artists.

Walter Sickert was born in Munich, Germany and moved to the UK as a child in 1868. In a career spanning six decades, he became a pivotal figure in British avant-garde painting, influencing a generation of British artists as the leader of the Camden Town Group, an association of artists who advocated a rough and unromanticized vision of urban life.

Tickets for The Walker Gallery’s Sickert: A Life in Art exhibition can be booked in advance on National Museums Liverpool’s website:

https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/whatson/walker-art-gallery/exhibition/sickert-life-art

A New Dimension at the Planetarium

The World Museum’s immersive fulldome Planetarium is currently screening a number of daily shows exploring the mysteries of the Solar System and Earth’s place within it.

The 20-30 minute shows allow visitors to travel through time and space and discover the wonders of the galaxy. The introductory screening, From Earth to the Universe, starts with a history of astronomy, and then embarks on a journey of exploration across the Solar System, out into the Milky Way and beyond. This is the perfect introduction to the mysteries of the universe for people of all ages.

A new show, The Edge of Darkness, explores the outer reaches of the Solar System and what can be found there, including the dwarf planet Pluto, asteroids, comets and other strange and mysterious objects. The Little Star That Could is a cartoon for young children about a newly formed star and how he discovers other stars and planets.

The Planetarium’s other three daily screenings cover one of the great mysteries in astronomy, Dark Matter; the ongoing search for planets orbiting distant stars (exoplanets); and a 20 minute show looking at the discovery and history of the telescope. Visitors will need to make sure they arrive at the correct time for each screening, as no late admittance to shows is possible due to the nature of the experience.

The World Museum’s Planetarium is the oldest planetarium in a British museum, and has been visited by more than two million people since its 1970 opening. The Planetarium’s opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 6pm, with screenings starting at 11.30am and ending at 5.25pm. Find out more:

https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/whatson/world-museum/exhibition/planetarium

Damp & Mould Problems For Tenants

Damp and mould is a real problem for tens, if not hundreds of thousands of tenants living in local authority housing and housing association properties. The airborne spores released by mould pose various health risks when inhaled, especially to young children who may develop breathing problems, flu-type symptoms and asthma. Damp and mould is a danger to the health of tenants of all ages, and can make pre-existing medical conditions significantly worse.

Local authorities and housing associations face the same legal responsibilities as private landlords in terms of keeping their properties in a decent state of repair, and taking swift and effective measures to deal with disrepair and damp and mould issues when they are reported. Apart from health problems, damp and mould can cause considerable disruption to tenants’ lives, including damage to personal possessions, stress, sleeping difficulties and time off work. 

Damp and mould is usually the result of structural issues at local authority and housing association properties, such as damaged roof tiles, cracks in plastering and rot around window frames that allow water to penetrate inside the home. Once damp and mould is entrenched, it can be difficult to get rid of, which is why many landlords try to ignore such issues or delay having the necessary repair work carried out. By doing so, they endanger the health of their tenants, frequently causing emotional and domestic turmoil in the process.

Local authority and housing association tenants have a legal right to expect that their landlord will deal with damp and mould problems within a reasonable time frame, and at the very least will address the disrepair issue within 20 working days of it being reported to them. If they fail to do so, the tenant may then sue the local authority or housing association for property disrepair and the associated problems it has caused.

Find out more about damp and mould, disrepair and the expertise and experience of our housing law team in suing local authorities and housing associations:

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/accidents-at-home/suing-a-housing-association-for-injury.html

Emmanuel Bell Strikes 70

2021 marks the 70th anniversary of Liverpool Cathedral’s record-breaking bells being rung for the first time in 1951. When Liverpool businessman Thomas Bartlett died in 1912, he left a bequest for the construction of a huge array of 13 bells for the new cathedral which was then being built. The bells were cast at Whitechapel’s famous bell foundry in 1938 and 1939. The ring of bells weighs 17 tonnes, and surrounds the massive ‘Great George’ bell which weighs 15 tonnes on its own, making it bigger than Big Ben and second only to St Paul’s Cathedral’s ‘Great Paul’ bell. Great George cannot be swung, and is instead struck with a hammer.

Visitors to Liverpool Cathedral can view a small exhibition about the bells, including video and audio content and a selection of photos and drawings showing how the bells were made and put in place from the Cathedral’s archives. Each bell was given a unique name, such as the ‘Emmanuel’ Tenor bell (pictured above) relating to bible characters, historical figures and eminent people associated with the Cathedral’s history. Each bell also bears a unique inscription from the Prayer Book version of Psalms (Old Testament), except for the Emmanuel’s inscription which is taken from the New Testament.

Thomas Bartlett is a direct ancestor of our firm’s owners, and Bartletts are proud to continue a tradition of support for Liverpool Cathedral in its current fundraising efforts. It is possible to support the Cathedral in various ways, especially by making a donation or leaving a gift in a will to help this venerable Liverpool institution continue to provide its unique spiritual and charitable services in the community.

https://www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk/home/support-our-work.aspx

https://www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk/home/about-us/about-the-cathedral/the-tower/the-bells.aspx

Tenant Sues Housing Association For £150k

A recent claim brought against a private housing association in London offers insight into the difficulty in determining whether the landlord was responsible for an accident involving a tenant, or whether sheer bad luck was to blame. The claimant had been walking up the driveway to her home one night when she tripped over a large stone in her path and fell into a bush, causing a sharp branch to penetrate her left eye, and subsequently leaving her blinded in that eye.

The claimant’s barrister argued that the pathway was unsafe at the time of the accident, and the landlord had failed to take ‘reasonable care’ to keep its tenants safe from the risk of getting injured while walking on it. The injured tenant had apparently notified the housing association multiple times that the pathway was uneven and unsafe due to large stones and potholes, while the lighting was also poor, yet no action has been taken to repair the surface or make the path better lit.

The housing association’s legal team strongly contested the claimant’s arguments, suggesting she may have been drinking on the night of the accident, which she denied, and questioning whether she had in fact complained to the housing association about the state of the driveway, citing a lack of evidence of messages she had allegedly sent. Work had recently been carried out on the driveway, and this amounted to reasonable care having been taken to make it safe.

The claimant lost her £150,000 compensation claim against her housing association after fierce arguments in court from both sides, with the judge agreeing the the defense that the claimant’s injury was the result of an ‘unfortunate accident’. The case highlights how difficult it can be to prove that a housing association was to blame for an accident, as well as the fact that they are likely to strongly challenge claims made against them, including defending a claim in court.

Find out more about: Suing a Housing Association for Disrepair and Personal Injury