Please click below to read our 2018 Personal Injury Newsletter. We hope you find this useful. If you would like to receive future publications of our newsletters, please complete the simple form opposite.
Why Choose Thomas Dunton?
We talk about maximum compensation and rehabilitation a lot in the Personal Injury Department at Thomas Dunton because it’s vitally important that we achieve both for you. They go hand in hand to getting you back to full health and financial security. They are at the heart of every claim we pursue.
One-hour FREE consultation
Our team of expert solicitors provides a free one-hour consultation in person. It helps us understand the impact your injury has had on your life and what we can do to help. It can be done in our offices, at your home or in hospital. For you, it also means that you know who will deal with your case if we start legal proceeding: providing peace of mind at this traumatic time.
A Positive Future
If you need to adapt your home, have long periods off work, or require additional medical or psychological treatment, then we will actively pursue an early payment so that you can start your rehabilitation as soon as possible.
We always aim for maximum compensation, because whilst money can’t change what has happened, it can help you deal with the consequences.
No Win, No Fee
We don’t believe that you should pay for something that is not your fault. So, you do not pay any fees upfront and there is nothing to pay if you lose your case. No hidden costs; because we firmly believe that honesty is the best policy.
Clinical Negligence Claims: What you need to know
If you are you considering a Clinical Negligence claim, the law only enables you to claim compensation if “on the balance of probability” your medical treatment was carried out negligently and this caused your injury.
When can you claim?
Claims must be made within 3 years from when you first realised you had suffered an injury. In the case of children under 18, they can make a claim at any time up to their 21st birthday.
Negligence and Causation
For a successful claim you need to prove both Negligence and Causation.
Negligence – that the medical attention you received fell below acceptable standards.
Causation – that the negligence directly resulted in an injury to you.
It is not enough to prove negligence, you must also prove that you received an injury as a result.
Examples of Clinical Negligence
· Failing to diagnose your condition or making the wrong diagnosis
· Making a mistake during a procedure or operation
· Giving the wrong drug
· Failing to warn about possible risks or side effects
Initial action to take
Upon making a formal complaint, you should receive an apology, an explanation and assurances that the problem has been addressed.
If there has been negligence, compensation may be due to you and legal action may be required.
Instructing a Solicitor
Legal action can be costly, lengthy and very stressful. Your specialist Clinical Negligence solicitor will assess the strength of your case and possible value of the damages. They will need the positive opinion of an independent medical expert. If a supportive report cannot be obtained, then your case will not succeed.
What Information do you need to start your claim?
· Details of the injury sustained, the treatment received and your current condition.
· All expenditure resulting from injury, including all prescriptions, travel costs to hospital etc.
· Any loss of earnings and any state benefits received.
· People caring for you and the number of hours they help.
· Any activities or work you are unable to do as a result of the injury.
What should you do if you’ve had an accident?
If you have suffered an injury, perhaps a road traffic accident, an accident at work or elsewhere, or if you have a work-related disease, you may have a claim.
To pursue a claim the injury must have occurred within the last three years. However, there are exceptions, for instance for children or where the consequences were not immediately apparent.
Gather as much information as possible:
· Obtain the details of the other party, the potential defendant, including their address
· Photograph the scene of the accident if it is a public place, particularly any important features, for example defects.
· Draw a sketch plan of the scene of the accident marking the accident spot and any direction of travel.
· For a tripping accident, measure the height of the step and photograph it. Include another item to demonstrate scale, e.g. a ruler.
· Obtain a copy of any accident report book.
· Obtain a copy of the police report if it was a motor accident.
· If you were assaulted, ensure that you have immediately reported the matter to the police and obtained a crime number.
· Write down your own statement while it is still fresh in your mind.
· Write down the names and address of any witnesses.
· Give us details of any injury sustained, the treatment received and your current condition.
· Provide details of your GP and any hospital attended. Photograph your injuries.
Further steps to take
· Ask any witnesses to write down their version of events straightaway whilst the incident is still fresh in their minds.
· Keep receipts for any expenditure resulting from injury, including all prescriptions. Record details of any mileage for travel by vehicle to the doctor, or hospital or elsewhere.
· Keep a note of any loss of earnings and any state benefits received.
· Keep a note of people caring for you, especially those taking time off work to do so.
· Record the number of hours and days and if possible their pay rate.
· Keep a note of any activities or work you are unable to do as a result of the injury.
· Keep a note of your feelings and symptoms and how the injury progresses.
· Gather together any motor, household and legal expenses insurance policies you have.
· If you were the passenger in a motor accident ask the driver for a copy of his/her motor insurance policy, if possible. We will need to check the policies to see if you have the benefit of any legal expenses insurance cover.
· Providing this information now will help progress your case as quickly as possible.
Careful not to Slip: Accidents at Work:
All employers have a duty to protect their workers, contractors and visitors from accident or injury.
They are obliged to inform you about health and safety issues and ensure you have the proper tools, safety equipment and clothing to carry out your duties.
All machinery must be regularly inspected and maintained and the workplace must be clean, tidy and free from hazards.
They are legally obliged to report certain accidents such as a death, major injury or one that stops an employee carrying out their duties for more than 3 days. They must pay you statutory sick pay, or contractual sick pay if that is in your contact of employment and allow any necessary time off for a work-related injury.
The employer should carry out a risk assessment to ensure that there are adequate first aiders on hand and what equipment and facilities should be available. They should also have Employer’s Liability Insurance.
What you need to do to help your case:
If you have an accident, you should take the following actions:
· Make sure your injury is recorded in the “Accident Book”
· Make sure the accident has been reported
· Check your contract of employment for details regarding sick or accident pay
· If there are ongoing health and safety issues at work, point them out to your employer and if they are not dealt with, they should be reported
If you believe that your accident, and subsequent injury, was the fault of your employer, you may be entitled to compensation.
There are strict time limits in which you may make a claim for compensation of 3 years from the date of the accident.
Either contact one of our specialist personal injury lawyers or your trade union if you are a member. You may be able to use their legal services.
We don’t ambulance chase…..
At Thomas Dunton we are one of the few Personal Injury Specialists who don’t pay middle men for our cases and we don’t represent insurance companies. All our clients come to us because of our reputation which has been build over 40 years. Our clients are our only priority.
Unlike big multinational companies, we meet clients face to face for an initial free one-hour consultation to really get an idea of your circumstances, your injury and how best we can help you. It helps us then provide you with qualified, expert advice on the best way to proceed. And we always speak in plain English.
The Legal Process for making a Compensation Claim:
Step 1: The first interview
This is completely free and enables us to find out the exact circumstances of how your injury occurred, the nature of the injury and the effect it has had on you mentally, financially and socially.
From this information, we are then in the best possible position to judge the merits of your case and provide the best advice. There is no obligation to use our services.
Step 2: Second interview
If it is decided to proceed with the claim, we will explain the whole process to you and we can agree the method of funding.
You will need to bring with you your identity documents, e.g. passport, together with any documents/records you have about your accident.
Permission may also be required for us to write to your doctor and any hospital you have attended to obtain your medical history.
Step 3: Rehabilitation
Apart from striving for the maximum compensation, we will be actively pursuing the defendant to fund additional medical treatment to enable you to get back to full health as quickly as possible. As a local solicitor we will be familiar with local services such as Osteopathy, Physiotherapy, etc.
Step 4: Presenting your case
We now prepare your case and present it to the defendants who have a set period of time to consider the claim.
If they accept responsibility, we obtain and present to them expert medical evidence about your injuries.
At this point an offer of compensation is made and we will advise you as to whether or not we believe the amount to be a fair offer. If the offer is accepted, we arrange all the paperwork and a cheque is sent to you.
If we believe it is an unfair offer and you have grounds for a better award, we’ll negotiate for you to have the amount increased.
Only if the defendants won’t make a realistic offer or accept responsibility for your accident, do we use Court proceedings
You’re in safe hands:
Robert Sardo heads up the Personal Injury team at Thomas Dunton. He qualified as a solicitor in 1992, joining the firm in 2004. He has Senior Litigator Approved Status with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is an Approved Member of the Law Society’s Specialist Personal Injury Panel. He also volunteers his time to host evening legal clinics in Oxted and Crawley as part of the Surrey Law Centre Scheme.
Serious Injury Claims:
A serious injury could mean major changes to your life with major consequences on where and how you live and work, on a temporary or permanent basis.
We fully understand and appreciate how devastating a serious injury can be and the help and support that you will require to become independent again and rebuild your life. We will discuss your current and future needs, including rehabilitation assistance, physical needs, accommodation requirements or housing adaptations, mobility issues etc.
Our areas of expertise include:
· Injuries to the head and brain
· Back and Spinal Injuries
· Broken bones and fractures
· Serious psychiatric injuries
Why you need to claim maximum compensation
A serious injury compensation claim isn’t just about compensating you for the pain and suffering you have endured but ensuring that everything possible is done to ensure that you are returned to full health as quickly as possible or, if this is not feasible, then you have everything you require to give you the best quality of life that the circumstances allow.
Such injuries can mean lengthy periods off work, financial problems, extra work and stress for your family, as well as possible psychological issues for the injured person.
We always actively pursue the defendant to fund additional medical treatment and that any specialist equipment or home adaptations that are required are made available at the earliest opportunity to reduce the financial burden and help stabilise their life.
Strict time limits apply for bringing a Personal Injury claim and proceedings must start within a 3 years period from the date of the accident. Children may claim at any time before they are 21 years of age. Different rules also apply to people unable to manage their legal affairs due to mental incapacity.
It is essential that we receive all the necessary information as quickly as possible.
Road Accident Claims:
If you have been injured in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
· A vehicle that you were driving has been involved in an accident that was not your fault.
· You are the rider or passenger of a motorcycle involved in an accident that was not your fault.
· You were a passenger in a vehicle and injured in an accident caused either by the driver or by the driver of another vehicle.
· You were injured by a vehicle but were not in it (eg a pedestrian)
If you have been unlucky enough to have found yourself in one of these situations, talk to us about your options for making a claim.
Stress at work
Britons put in an average of 40 days unpaid overtime a year, making their working hours the longest hours in Europe. These long hours and a heavy workload can result in levels of stress that people believe are making them ill.
A certain amount of pressure at work can be motivating but when it becomes too much, it can lead to work related stress. The Health & Safety Executive describe stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other demands placed on them”.
Some of the most common causes of stress are:
· Dealing with the public or customers
· Worried about job security
· Receiving a formal warning
· Poor working conditions
· Victimisation, harassment and bullying
· Worrying about childcare
· Unable to vary your work or suggest new methods
· Increased workload and deadlines
· Monotonous or repetitive work
· Lack of adequate training
· Excessive hours and shift work
· Frustration with poor management
· management changes
· Skin rashes and ulcers
If you recognise any of these symptoms you should consult your GP immediately. They may diagnose that you are suffering from a work-related stress disorder and if your employer has been negligent in either not protecting you in the first instance or failing to take preventative action when the matter was later raised.
Employers have a duty, under the health & Safety at Work Act 1974, to protect the safety and welfare of their employees and this includes conducting risk assessments for work related stress.
Good health can sometimes depend on good stress management as stress can lead to smoking and increased drinking which in turn can lead to a higher risk of heart disease.Making a claim:
It is sometimes difficult to bring a claim for compensation as the employer is entitled to assume that his employees are coping with the normal pressures of their work if they are not notified otherwise by the employee bringing the situation to their attention.
To bring a successful claim it is necessary to prove:
· That the employer failed to provide a safe working environment
· That the work posed a reasonably foreseeable threat of psychological illness that the employer knew of or should have known
· That the employer failed to take reasonable and adequate measures to prevent or reduce the risk of psychological harm to the employee
· That the employee’s psychiatric injury was a result of, or was contributed to by, the work he did and the employer’s breach of duty
· That the work caused a recognised psychiatric illness such as clinical depression
· That the stress at work was clearly the cause of the illness
· That the employer was aware of the difficulties you were experiencing at work and that you were not coping
· That the employer failed to help you even when aware of your situation