BridgeMcFarlandSolicitors

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Bridge McFarland can offer you practical, uncomplicated advice, support & guidance when you need it most. Whether it be an employment dispute, family advice, an accident or negligence, life planning or moving house, let us help you.
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Our commercial team in Lincoln, Hull, Market Rasen and Grimsby prides itself on its sound business sense, commercial insight, local knowledge and first class understanding of the relevant legal disciplines ranging from employment law, business contracts, dispute resolution to agriculture and property development. From company formation to sale, succession, dissolution or dispute resolution, you can trust our team to deliver first class service and results.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for some answers? Check out our helpful FAQs section.

Frequently Asked Questions
Home > Why BMcF? > Frequently Asked Questions > Personal Accident and Injury
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Personal Accident and Injury

 

The ability to bring a claim for compensation against someone whom has caused you to have an accident or injury.

 

Personal Accident and Injury
After my case is settled, can I ask my opponent to pay me more compensation if my injuries worsen?
In cases where there is a risk of the injuries or condition becoming worse, it may be appropriate to obtain provisional compensation which would mean that you would be awarded a sum of money and will be permitted to seek further compensation should your injuries or condition deteriorate.

Those instances are very rare and generally arise in industrial disease cases involving asbestos related conditions. Otherwise, the amount of compensation you receive will be in full and final settlement of your claim.

Am I eligible for government compensation?
If you have more than pleural plaques, you may be entitled to state benefits such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and Disability Living Allowance.

You may also qualify for a lump sum payment under the Workers’ Compensation Act scheme.

Even if you have not been exposed to asbestos through your own work, you may qualify for certain benefits/payments and you should contact us for more advice.

Can you claim compensation for pleural plaques?
The legal position in England and Wales is that they are not compensatable unless they are sufficiently extensive to cause symptoms. This is not often the case. In Scotland, the legal position is different and you should seek advice from a Scottish law firm if this affects you.
Do I have to visit my GP?
In the course of your claim, we may need to obtain your medical records from your General Practitioner and any hospitals attended. It is helpful if you have visited your GP as your attendance will then be mentioned within your records.
Do I have to visit you at the office?
It really is your own personal preference as to whether you want to meet with us face to face or whether you prefer to conduct matters over the telephone or by email.

In certain circumstances, it will be appropriate for us to meet face to face say for example if the circumstances of the accident are quite complex or if there is paperwork to go through. If for any reason it is difficult for you to attend our offices, then we can visit you at home.

There can also be occasions when it is necessary for us to have conferences with barristers or with medical experts. Generally, those conferences can be arranged over the telephone although on some occasions, it will be appropriate for you to attend in person. Again, we will make this as convenient for you as possible.

How can I contact Bridge McFarland?
You can contact us by telephone, by email or fax and through our online enquiry facility found on this website.
How long after my accident do I have to make a claim?
You have three years to pursue a claim for personal injury. If you are bringing a claim because of an accident that occurred at work, on the street, in someone’s premises or in a vehicle, the three years start to run from the date of your accident.

When you are bringing a claim for an industrial disease such as Noise Induced Hearing Loss, Vibration White Finger and Asbestos related conditions, then you have three years from the date of knowledge of your condition. When considering the issue of knowledge, factors taken into account will be when you first appreciated that the injury was significant and was linked to your employment and when you were first diagnosed by a health professional. This list is not limited to these matters and other factors will be taken into account in considering when knowledge has taken place.

If you do not bring your claim within the specified time, then you will be precluded from bringing your claim by legislation, namely the Limitation Act 1980.  It is only in very exceptional circumstances that a late claim will be allowed.

How long will it take to win compensation?
It is difficult to say exactly how long a personal injury claim will take to resolve as every case is unique. It will very much depend on the nature and severity of the injuries sustained. . In catastrophic cases and cases where significant injuries have been caused, it is important that we establish how your injuries are going to impact upon your life, both in terms of daily living and in terms of your employment, before we settle your claim.

That will be determined by medical evidence but until the final prognosis is known, the claim cannot be resolved.

In straight forward cases, where the injuries are less serious and the circumstances of the accident are not complex, then generally, a personal injury claim will take between 9 and 12 months to conclude.

We use up to date information technology to progress your case as quickly and efficiently as possible.

How much compensation am I likely to receive?
Compensation for a personal injury claim is comprised of two elements. The first element is compensation for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries.

You are also entitled to claim back any out of pocket expenses/financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.  This can include loss of earnings, travelling expenses, the cost of private treatment, damage to clothing and any other miscellaneous items of loss/expenditure that have arisen of a result of your accident. You are also entitled to claim a monetary sum for any care and assistance that was provided to you by a partner, a friend or family member during your recovery.

Our online Compensation Calculator found on this website can give you an idea as to what you are likely to receive.

How much do I pay if I lose?
If you lose your claim, then you will not have to pay any of our legal costs however, there can be occasions when you are liable to pay your opponents costs and this generally arises when a case is lost in a Court hearing.

To protect you from any such liability, at the outset of your claim, we will obtain a policy of insurance for you, known as after the event insurance.  The policy is at no cost to you and is a self insuring policy. It will only become effective if the case is subsequently lost in a Court hearing. Should that happen, then the policy will cover your opponents legal costs and also any disbursements (fees for professional charges) that we have paid on your behalf. There is nothing to pay in respect of our legal costs.

How much does it cost to make a claim for personal injury?
Personal injury claims can be funded in a variety of different ways. Legal Aid is not available to those bringing a claim because of an accident or an industrial disease however, it can be available in claims for medical negligence although eligibility to qualify for legal aid is means tested.

In a personal injury claim, you can enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as ‘no win, no fee’). At this firm, this means that if we are able to recover compensation for you, then you keep 100% of the amount awarded to you. Our legal costs will be paid in addition.

Personal injury cases can also be funded by what is known as before the event insurance. This is where you have an existing policy of insurance such as a motor policy, buildings or contents insurance and the policy provides for Legal Expenses Insurance. Not all insurance policies provide for this and at the outset of the claim, we will check any policies you have to establish whether Legal Expenses Insurance is available. On occasions when it is, we will take steps to ascertain from the insurers whether the policy covers the claim you are bringing as some policies that provide Legal Expenses Insurance do not cover all types of personal injury claim.

If you are a member of a Union, your Union may fund the claim for you.

How much will I have to pay?
If you have a condition which is compensatable in the courts, then we will not have to ask you to pay anything. Your legal costs would be paid by the other side if you win your claim. If you lose your claim, you pay nothing.

Sometimes, if it not clear whether or not your condition is a compensatable one, we may ask you to pay the costs of a preliminary medical, so that we can find out more about your condition. 

However, in most cases, you are not asked to pay anything.  In any event, we would not incur any costs without your express prior agreement.

How was asbestos used?
Asbestos has been extensively used because of its insulation properties, industrially and domestically. It was used in a wide variety of products and applications. See 'Where is asbestos found?' for more information.
I think I was partly to blame.  Does this mean I cannot claim at all?
Sometimes, you may have been injured through someone else’s fault but you may have been to blame as well. You can still bring a claim for personal injury but you might not receive 100% of your compensation as there may be a deduction to reflect the blame on your part.
If I have an accident at work, what should I do to report it?
If you have an accident at work, you should take steps to report it to your manager and also to record the details of the accident and the injuries sustained in your employer’s accident book. If you are absent from work for a period of seven days, then your employer must submit a report to the Health & Safety Executive.
Is lung cancer caused by asbestos?
Many cases of lung cancer are caused by asbestos exposure but are wrongly attributed to other causes such as smoking. Asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing lung cancer, particularly in those who have smoked tobacco.

In common with asbestosis, for the lung cancer to be attributed to asbestos exposure, a fairly high level of asbestos exposure must have taken place. In some situations, surgery is possible to remove the tumour.

Compensation may be payable for asbestos related lung cancer. State benefits are available.

Is there a time limit to make a claim?
Yes. You should seek legal advice promptly upon finding out that you (or a deceased relative) has asbestos related disease.

Generally, if a claim is not settled, court proceedings have to be commenced within 3 years of when you had knowledge of the condition and could relate it to the fault of others.  Beyond this time limit, the claim will be classed as out of time.

However, the court do have discretion to allow late claims to proceed and whatever your position, you should seek legal advice to check the position.

My employer is defunct, can I still make a claim?
We regularly win compensation against defunct companies. We are usually able to trace either a successor organisation who has taken over the liabilities or an insurer.

Over the years, we have built up a reservoir of knowledge and source of contacts which often help us to win the claims.  On the rare occasions when we cannot trace someone to pay, we look to see if there is an alternative organisation to claim from. For example, the occupier of the premises, another contractor or product supplier.

My partner and I are on state benefits, will damages affect my entitlement to these benefits?
If you or your partner receive means tested benefits, then your entitlement to those benefits may be affected if you receive a significant amount of compensation and we would advise you to consider investment options such as Personal Injury Trusts to ensure that your entitlement is not affected in the future.
Should I try to make a claim myself?
You are of course entitled to bring a personal injury claim yourself however, this is not advisable as it is important you receive advice in terms of the value of your claim so you do not receive a settlement that is lower than what you are entitled to. We can advise you in this regard.
The other driver wasn’t insured or cannot be traced, can I still make a claim?
The answer is yes. In these instances, a claim can be pursued through the Motor Insurers Bureau Uninsured Drivers or Untraced Drivers Scheme. We are able to deal with these types of claims on your behalf.
What are pleural plaques?
This is a very common condition found in persons who have been exposed to asbestos. The pleura is a sac which contains fluid. It surrounds and protects the lungs and has two layers.

When asbestos fibres reach the pleura, they can cause scarring and this can be known as pleural plaques. The plaques do not usually interfere with breathing unless they are very extensive.  They are therefore, not usually compensatable in England and Wales.  However, the position is different in Scotland.

What compensation am I entitled to?
Compensation is not payable in England and Wales for pleural plaques. However, compensation can be paid for other asbestos conditions such as pleural thickening, asbestosis, mesothelioma and asbestos related lung cancer.

Compensation is paid for pain, suffering and loss of the ability to do normal activities.  In addition, financial losses and expenses may be claimed. Each claim is very different and it is best to seek advice on your particular circumstances.

What if I am the victim of a criminal act. Can I claim?
In cases where injuries have been sustained due to the criminal act of another, say for example an assault, then a claim can be made with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, who are a government body that compensate the victims of crime. In these instances, we are able to conduct the application on your behalf.
What if I do not work with asbestos but a family member did and I have an asbestos related disease?
There is still a very good chance that you will be entitled to compensation. We are experienced in winning such claims.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a group of fibrous minerals of which there are 3 main types:

- Blue asbestos (Crocidolite)

- Brown asbestos (Amosite)

- White asbestos (Chrysotile)

All are cabable of causing lung disease.

Extensive amounts of asbestos were imported into the United Kingdom, particularly during the 1950s and 1960s. Asbestos was an extremely useful commodity because of its resistance to heat and fire and because of its sound absorption qualities and strength. It has been widely used domestically as well as in industry.

The dangers of inhaling asbestos fibres have long been known but employers frequently failed to take adequate care for the safety of their workers and other persons exposed to the fibres. Their negligence has resulted in many men and women developing asbestos related diseases many years after inhaling the fibres. (This is usually between 20 and 50 years after exposure).

Generally, workers are now better informed about (and protected against) the dangers of inhaling asbestos fibres. Further, the importation and use of asbestos is now banned in Europe (except for research purposes). However, its legacy remains.  Asbestos can still be found in the structures of many of our homes, public buildings and workplaces.

What is asbestosis?
This is a distinct condition in its own right and is a form of scarring of the lungs. “True asbestosis” requires a person to have been exposed to a substantial “dose” of asbestos. Low levels of asbestos exposure will not cause it.

Sometimes, the effects of asbestosis are minimal and it causes little or no breathlessness. In other cases, it can cause very severe breathlessness and can sometimes be fatal.  It is very variable in degree.

Compensation can be paid for asbestosis. State benefits may be payable such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and Disability Living Allowance.

What is Mesothelioma?
This is a form of cancer which, in the UK, is mainly caused as a result of asbestos exposure.

The most common form is Pleural Mesothelioma. The tumour encases the lung, compressing it and causing shortness of breath. Sadly, it is invariably fatal.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma is rarer. It involves the development of a tumour on the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum). Again, it causes shortness of breath and is not curable. 

Mesothelioma can occur in persons who have had a relatively low level of exposure to asbestos.

Compensation may be payable for Mesothelioma. State benefits are available and should be fast-tracked.

What is pleural effusion?
This is a build up of fluid in the lining of the lung which can cause symptoms of breathlessness. It may resolve by itself or the lung may need to be drained.

It can be caused by asbestos exposure but may be due to non-industrial causes.  After the pleural effusion has resolved, it may leave some scarring (pleural thickening).

We have obtained compensation for asbestos related pleural effusions.

What is pleural thickening?
This condition can be caused by exposure to asbestos but it can also result from non-industrial causes. When asbestos fibres reach the pleura, they can eventually cause scarring.

When the scarring is widespread rather than localised, it is known as pleural thickening. Depending upon the extent of scarring, it can cause shortness of breath.

Compensation may be available for pleural thickening. State benefits may be payable such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and Disability Living Allowance.

Where is asbestos found?
Asbestos can still be found in the structures of many of our homes, public buildings and workplaces. The list below is not exhaustive. Examples of where asbestos may be found include:

* Insulation on pipe-work and boilers

* Some plasters, paints and textured coatings

* Asbestos flues

* Asbestos seals on ovens

* Asbestos gaskets or seals

* Ducting

* Cable trays and cables

* Electricity/cable boards

* Partition boards

* Linings of lift shafts

* Boxing in and cladding

* Vinyl floor coverings and floor tiles

* Ceiling tiles

* Bath panels

* Artex

* Window ledges

* Fire doors

* Fire blankets

* Fire retardant clothing

* Stage curtains

* Asbestos mats - e.g. as used to be used in schools

*  Roofing materials including roofing felt and corrugated roofing

* Soffits

* Guttering

* Pipes including downpipes

* Structural supports - e.g. girders clad or sprayed with asbestos

* Pre-fabricated buildings including homes, offices and classrooms

* Fume cupboards

* Garden furniture

* Ironing boards

* Hairdryers

* War time gas masks

* Brake and clutch linings

* Friction products

* Conveyor belts

Which industries/trades are typically affected by asbestos?
Asbestos disease does not discriminate. People from any walk of life can be affected. Our specialist lawyers have helped people to claim for compensation who have worked as:

*  Boilermakers

*  Boilerscalers

*  Burners

* Cable engineers

* Construction workers

* Chemical industry workers

* Cleaners

* Crane drivers

* Demolition workers

* Dock workers

* Electricians

* Factory workers

* Fire fighters

* Fitters

* Furnace workers

* Gas fitters

* Health workers

* Heating and ventilation engineers

* Joiners

* Labourers

* Laggers

* Laundry workers

* Maintenance workers

* Mechanics

* Merchant navy seamen

* Miners

* Office workers

* Painters

* Pipe fitters

* Plasterers

* Plumbers

* Police personnel

* Power station workers

* Process operators

* Rail workers

* Refuse collectors

* Riggers

* Riveters

* Roofers

* Salvage workers

* Shipbuilding and repair

* Shop fitters

* Tannery workers

* Tar industry workers

* Teachers

* Trawlermen

* Waste disposal workers

* Welders

Will Bridge McFarland keep me updated?
We will endeavour at all times to keep you updated in respect of your claim. We will write to you at regular intervals to explain to you what is happening in your case and the action we are taking on your behalf. We are happy to correspond with you by email, by letter or by telephone and if you have any queries throughout the duration of your case, you can always contact us as well.
Will I have to attend a medical assessment?
Yes. If you are too ill to travel to see a doctor, we can arrange for the doctor to see you at home or in hospital.
Will I have to attend a medical assessment?
Yes. You would be examined by a chest physician with years of experience of asbestos disease. If you are too ill to travel to see the doctor, we can arrange for the doctor to see you at home or in hospital.
Will I have to go to Court?
The majority of personal injury cases do settle out of Court however, there can be occasions when it is necessary to attend a Court hearing and that will generally arise when blame cannot be agreed between the parties or when the amount of compensation to be awarded is also in dispute. However, it is relatively rare that cases go to Court.
Will I have to go to court?
This is unlikely but it is possible. Most of our claims settle outside of the court room. If you did have to attend court, then we would discuss with you what would be involved.

We would accompany you throughout the hearing and our barristers would also help to reassure you and give you the confidence needed. It is not as bad as you might think!  Judges are sympathetic to victims of asbestos disease and you can expect to be treated with the utmost respect. 

Will you take my case over from my current/previous solicitor?
Asbestos claims are complex and solicitors who do not have extensive experience of asbestos claims may lack the skills to win the claim/maximise your compensation. It is a good idea to check that your solicitor has vast experience of this type of claim. There are pitfalls for those that do not.

Other solicitors do refer claims to us as we are known for our expertise in this field. We sometimes take on claims that have been abandoned by other solicitors, if we feel there is merit in the claim.

Please contact us if you require more information