Children’s Accident Claims

Children’s claims differ from those of adults in two main ways:

Firstly, they require an adult (this will usually be a parent) to act on their behalf. In the eyes of the law anyone below the age of 18 is a minor and must be represented by an adult who has close contact with the child. The adult must act in the child’s best interests at all times.

Secondly, the child has three years from their 18th birthday to bring a claim, not three years from the date of the accident, which is the case with an adult’s personal injury claim. For example, if a child aged five was involved in an accident in a park, that child would have until their 21st birthday to pursue a personal injury claim.

As solicitors, we must proceed with caution when dealing with a child’s case to ensure that they are fully compensated for their injury. A child’s claim cannot be settled until the child has fully recovered from their injury. If the child has sustained a permanent injury then a final medical report must be obtained confirming this prior to settlement of the claim.

Once settlement has been agreed between the parties, a short hearing must take place at court for a judge to approve the settlement. Again, this is to ensure that the child is being fully compensated for their injury. This hearing is known as an “infant approval hearing” and usually lasts for no longer than 10-15 minutes. The injured child must attend the hearing along with their adult representative.

Following approval by the court, the child’s compensation will be placed in a high interest account and released to the child on their 18th birthday. If the child needs their compensation prior to their 18th birthday, whether in whole or in part, then an application must be made to the court. The court will usually only grant such a request if the money is needed for educational or employment purposes, e.g. to purchase a computer, college/study materials or maybe even driving lessons. This request can be made at the infant approval hearing or any date prior to the child’s 18th birthday.

Find out more about children’s accident claims:

Cyclists Injured by Motorists

Our firm regularly handles claims on behalf of cyclists injured in collisions with motorists. The typical injuries which cyclists sustain when hit by cars and other vehicles are outlined below. Apart from the physical injury itself, compensation will also cover private healthcare treatment, physiotherapy, psychological therapy, expenses (such as the cost of travel to hospital appointments), loss of income and household adaptations.

Facial Injuries – Cyclists often hit their face when they fall from their bike, sustaining injuries including broken and fractured noses, jaws and eye sockets. Teeth may also be damaged, while abrasions caused by scapes (road rash) can leave long-term or permanent scarring.

Head Injuries – Head injuries from cycling accidents vary widely in severity, from minor cuts and scrapes to skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries. Cyclists often develop concussion from a blow to the head even if they were wearing a helmet, and this needs to be closely monitored to make sure the head injury is not more serious than it appears.

Broken and Dislocated Bones – The blunt trauma from the impact on landing when a cyclist is thrown from their bike can cause broken ribs, legs, and more severe broken back and neck injuries, which can result in spinal cord damage and paralysis. More commonly, a rider will attempt to break their fall with their hands and arms, resulting in broken and dislocated shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers.

Soft Tissue Injuries – Most cycling accidents on the roads thankfully only cause minor injuries like cuts, scrapes and bruises. However, strains and sprains are also common, including torn ligaments, while whiplash is another possibility, particularly when a cyclist is struck from behind by a motorist’s vehicle.

Bartletts is a law firm with expertise and experience in cycling accident compensation claims. In one recent case we successfully claimed £60,000 in compensation for a cyclist who seriously injured his back after being knocked off his bike by a car that pulled out in front of him from a side street. If you are a cyclist and have been involved in a collision with a motorist, contact our firm for free, expert and reliable legal advice:

Pothole Claims Against Local Authorities

The main piece of legislation relating to potholes and responsibility for road maintenance is the Highways Act 1980, which obliges local councils, highway authorities and any other road owner to ensure that roads are in a safe state. This duty of care means that anyone using a road should be able to do so safely without risking an accident, including when a person walks into a pothole, trips, falls and gets injured.  

However, local authorities often refuse to accept responsibility for accidents of this kind under Section 58 of the Highways Act, on the basis that they had taken all reasonable measures to identify and quickly deal with potholes on the road in question. Local authorities have a system of inspection and repair, and as long as they have regularly inspected a road, and a pothole has not been reported to them, they may seek to deny legal liability.

The success of a claim will therefore depend in large part on whether the local authority has implemented and followed an acceptable system of road maintenance. A claimant is legally entitled to access information about a local authority’s system of inspection, and also whether it was aware of a pothole, which can prove that it failed to properly maintain a road and was therefore responsible for the claimant’s injuries. 

Further important evidence in support of a claim includes photographs showing the location, width and depth of a pothole, with a depth of at least one inch (2.54cm) necessary to show that it posed a significant injury risk. Poor street lighting may also be influential in proving that a road was dangerous to walk down at the time of an accident. These factors, in addition to a local authority having no defence under Section 58, will determine the ultimate success or failure of a pothole injury claim.

Find out more about claiming compensation for falls in the street:

Social Housing Reform Update

The Government’s 2020 social housing white paper, The Charter for Social Housing Residents, set out a series of measures aimed at delivering ‘transformational change’ for social housing residents. The measures focus on improving the quality of social housing by making social landlords more accountable for the standard of their accommodation, and empowering residents via better regulation and improvements to the complaints and redress process.

According to the Government, the Charter was well received by tenants, social landlords and the housing sector. However, concerns were raised about certain elements, including frustration over the slow pace of social housing reform, issues regarding the supply of homes for social rent, confusion over the ultimate purpose of social housing, the failure to address the stigma attached to social tenants (given the Government’s strong focus on home ownership), and the challenges social landlords could face in meeting the new requirements.

Following further consultation regarding delivery of the proposals with experts from across the sector and social housing residents, the Social Housing Regulation Bill 2023 is currently passing through Parliament. The Bill is intended to regulate social housing and establishes the legal basis for many of the proposed reforms, particularly by setting up new approved schemes for investigating complaints about social housing from tenants.

Apart from improving the consumer regulation regime, the Bill’s other core objectives are to modify the existing economic regulatory regime, and strengthen the Regulator of Social Housing’s powers to enforce both regimes. Further provisions include empowering the Housing Ombudsman to issue a code of practice for complaint handling and monitoring compliance, as well as formalising and enhancing the relationship between the Regulator and the Ombudsman.

Six years after the Grenfell Tower fire provided the impetus for reform in the social housing sector, the Social Housing Regulation Bill 2023 will finally provide concrete improvements to the legal rights of social housing tenants, and make landlords more responsible for providing decent and safe housing. While the proof will be in the delivery, this is at least welcome news for tenants living in England’s four million social homes.

Find out more about taking legal action against housing associations for disrepair and personal injury:

Bed Bug Outbreak to Hit UK?

There is mounting concern that the recent and extensive bed bug outbreak in Paris and other French cities will spread across the channel, if it hasn’t already, with one major UK hotel chain reportedly asking new guests whether they have travelled from France, and if so, organising a deep clean of their room when they leave.

Hotels across the country are preparing to deploy pest control experts with sniffer dogs that can detect the insects to combat the potential bed bug invasion, and guests should carefully check their room on arrival for the presence of these resilient parasitic insects. The first place to look is under the bed sheets and on the bed frame, and it is advisable to strip a hotel room as far as possible, as bed bugs can be present in various places including mattresses, carpets and other furnishings.

Apart from hotels, bed bugs have been spotted in multiple other public spaces in Paris, with phone footage capturing their presence on buses, trains, and in hospitals, GP surgeries, schools, workplaces, shops and cinemas, among other places. Several French schools have been forced to close temporarily after becoming infested with bed bugs, while public transport services are routinely deep cleaned and disinfected.

France appears to be overwhelmed by the bed bug ‘invasion’, with city residents dumping mattresses in the streets, burning bed linen and luggage, and even evacuating their homes. Pest control companies in the UK report being ‘snowed under’ with bed bug callouts, while Transport for London has started to disinfect seats on a daily basis after a widespread outbreak on the Paris Metro.

One problem is that getting rid of a bed bug infestation can be a lengthy and complicated process, particularly now that modern bed bugs have evolved and developed resistance to chemicals in the insecticides traditionally used to eradicate them. Until new insecticides are developed, bed bug infestations will continue to be difficult to deal with, including the stress and toll they can take on a person’s mental health.

If you or your children have been bitten by bed bugs, contact Bartletts Solicitors for free legal advice and to claim compensation for the physical injury, associated mental trauma and financial repercussions:

E-Scooter Collisions Rise Moderately

A recent Department for Transport factsheet reported on the main trends in collisions involving e-scooters in 2022, and the casualties involved. The report is based on final data for 2022, as supplied by police forces up to the end of August 2023. Interestingly, after an upsurge in e-scooter collisions and the resulting injuries in 2021, the number of reported collisions and casualties only increased moderately in 2022.

The number of collisions involving e-scooters rose from 1,352 to 1,402 year on year, while the number of casualties increased from 1,434 to 1,492. The report’s best estimate (after being adjusted for changes in the way the police report e-scooter collisions) is that 440 people were seriously injured in e-scooter collisions in 2022, compared to 418 in 2021, while 1,040 were slightly injured, up from 1,006 the year before.

Out of the 12 people killed in collisions involving e-scooters in 2022 (compared to 10 in the previous year), 11 were e-scooter riders, which indicates why the government classifies e-scooter users as one of the most vulnerable road user groups. After e-scooter users themselves, pedestrians and cyclists were the two types of road user that were most involved in collisions with e-scooters and injured as a result, with 233 pedestrians and 50 pedal cyclists reported seriously or slightly injured in 2022.

The number of reported casualties in collisions involving e-scooters has been on a broadly upward trend over the last few years, while the number of e-scooter users has grown rapidly following the coronavirus lockdowns. The popularity of e-scooters as a transport method, and the possible legalisation of private e-scooter use on public roads in the near future, mean that both the number of collisions involving e-scooters and the resulting casualties are unlikely to fall in the near future.

Despite this, the moderate year-on-year growth in collisions and injuries in 2022 offers hope that both e-scooter users, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users are becoming increasingly accustomed to the sight of e-scooters in UK roads, and that this familiarity will result in less e-scooter accidents and injuries. You can find our more about collisions involving e-scooters and who is legally responsible on our dedicated page:

Motorists Owe Cyclists a Duty of Care

Despite the fact that cyclists are more vulnerable than other road users, many drivers are impatient, uncaring and inconsiderate when it comes to cyclists in front of them. Under the general principle of negligence, all road users have a duty to take reasonable care and display reasonable skill to avoid causing accidents. This means that motorists must drive safely, keep a proper lookout, and avoid dangerous driving behaviour that could put other road users at risk.

The standard for judging whether a motorist is at fault for an accident is to consider what an average, competent motorist should have done in the same circumstances. For a claim to succeed, it will be necessary to show that a motorist was driving below this standard at the time of an accident, and that this breach of the duty of care owed to other road users directly caused an accident and the claimant’s injuries.  

There are many circumstances in which a motorist may breach the duty of care they owe to cyclists. Generally speaking, motorists must give cyclists precedence on the road if they are ahead of them. Drivers must take care to overtake cyclists safely, allowing sufficient distance between while doing so, and avoiding cutting them up when they pull in after overtaking. They must also avoid pulling out in front of cyclists at junctions, and must properly check their mirrors before turning off roads.     

Other specific examples of dangerous driving behaviour include motorists drifting into cycle lanes and hitting cyclists, and driving too closely behind them (tailgating), leaving a motorist insufficient time to stop if a cyclist brakes or turns, or otherwise distracting them and causing them to lose control and crash. Parked motorists may also be at fault if they open a vehicle’s door without checking the road properly and hit a passing cyclist. Inattention and driving too fast and/or aggressively are common factors when motorists hit and injure cyclists.   

Our firm has dealt with many cases where motorists have breached the duty of care they owe cyclists and caused an accident, and have successfully brought claims on behalf of the cyclists involved. Over the years, we have become experts at dealing with such claims. Find out more:

Hotel Guests Bitten by Bed Bugs

A number of press reports last week concerned a pair of friends who were bitten more than 200 times by bed bugs during a two-night stay at a Blackpool hotel. As is often the case with bed bug bites at hotels, their room appeared to be clean and tidy when they checked in, making it a shock to wake up in the morning with blood on the bedding and hundreds of bites on their arms, legs and bodies. One of the guests had to go to A&E when the itchy bites did not disappear, and was subsequently prescribed antibiotics and antihistamines to prevent an infection.

While council inspectors had found no evidence of a bug bug infestation just two days before the couple’s stay, the hotel acknowledged that it had received previous complaints about ‘bug issues’, but had effective procedures in place to treat rooms when bed bugs were identified. This indicates the problem that hotels face when it comes to bed bugs – the resilient blood-sucking parasites can easily be transported into a room by newly arrived guests, causing an outbreak which the owners are entirely unaware of and unable to prevent.

Once a single room is infested, hotel cleaning staff may inadvertently transport bed bugs to other rooms and areas of the hotel, potentially forcing an establishment to close for a period of time to deal with the problem. Eradicating a bed bug infestation will normally require assistance from a professional pest control company which can be a difficult and expensive process, with even small hotels facing bills running into thousands of pounds. Bed bugs have also become resistant over time to many widely used pesticides making eradication efforts even more challenging.         

The recent post-pandemic resurgence in travel and tourism is one of the main reasons behind Rentokil reporting a 65% year-on-year increase in bed bug infestations in the second quarter of 2023. If you or your children have been bitten by bed bugs while staying at a hotel in the UK, contact Bartletts Solicitors for free legal advice and to claim compensation for the physical injury, associated mental trauma and financial repercussions:

Accidents at Water Parks

Management and staff at water parks owe their visitors a legal duty of care, and must take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of guests being injured while visiting the premises. With many water parks featuring dozens of pools and slides spread across massive sites of 25+ acres, accidents occur on a daily basis, most of which are fortunately minor and not caused by safety failures on the part of the water park. However, some accidents cause injuries for which the water park operator can be held legally liable and obliged to pay compensation.

One area in which a water park may be responsible for an accident is when employees fail to supervise activities properly, for example, if there are insufficient numbers of trained staff on duty to monitor the safety of visitors effectively, and they fail to notice a safety risk resulting in a visitor being injured. This includes monitoring the behaviour of visitors to make sure they observe the rules and do not pose a danger to others, as well as providing proper instructions to visitors so that they know how to use the facilities safely.

Accidents at water parks commonly occur on slides and similar water-based rides. Slides must be well maintained and regularly inspected to check for safety flaws. Defective slides may cause visitors to be thrown off them at relatively high speed, potentially injuring themselves and others. Apart from pools and slides, water parks offer an ever-increasing range of facilities, including restaurants, bars, arcades, car parks and bathrooms, all of which must be maintained in a safe state by an efficient system of inspection and cleaning. Slipping accidents at water parks may be the result of maintenance failures, such as when a floor surface is left in a slippery and hazardous state by cleaning staff or spillages are not dealt with promptly.

If you have been injured in an accident at a water park through no fault of your own, contact our firm for expert legal advice from solicitors who have recent experience in personal injury compensation claims against water park owners and operators:

Slips and Burns in Restaurants

Slipping accidents in restaurants are usually the result of wet and slippery floors and outdoor surfaces, which may be due to recent cleaning, spilled drinks, food and litter, rainwater trampled inside or ice and snow in winter. When such hazards cannot be sorted out immediately by staff, warning signs, protective barriers and anti-slip matting should be used to prevent customers from accessing the particular surface and risk slipping over. 

When a customer slips and falls through no fault of their own due to a slippery floor in a restaurant, it will often be the result of negligence on the part of management or staff. Restaurant managers are responsible for devising and implementing an efficient system of inspection and cleaning which results in slipping hazards being identified and dealt with as quickly as possible. They must also ensure that sufficient staff are available to maintain safety standards at all times.

Customers may also be burnt in restaurants due the negligence of management and staff. Hot drinks or food may be spilled over diners by restaurant servers, for example, when the latter are handing a hot drink across a counter or serving food at a table. Carelessness and failure to pay proper attention on the part of individual staff members is often the cause of this type of accident, which may leave first or second degree burn injuries, and long-term or even permanent scarring.

Restaurant owners owe a duty of care to their customers, and under the terms of the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 must take all reasonable measures to protect them from getting injured while dining on the premises. CCTV footage from a restaurant is often helpful in proving the precise circumstances of an accident. Contact our solicitors with expertise in claiming compensation for slips and burns at restaurants for free legal advice that you can rely on: