New Laws and Old Laws – has anything changed?
Looking back over the past 12 months is a mixed bag of changes. A welcomed development in the law meant that abuse victims could seek compensation many years after the alleged abuse took place and those enquiries are still on going. The Court of Appeal ruled that injured soldiers’ families could sue the MOD for failing to provide the right equipment to front-line soldiers who were injured. Thousands of women are pursuing compensation following the PIP breast implant scandal and those cases are also heading to the courts.
The number of cases where people are claiming for asbestos related conditions continues to rise many years after they were exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Negligence claims against the NHS also continues to give cause for concern and comes at the very time when the 111 Service is failing to deliver what was promised. Health tourism is an emotive topic with the drain on NHS funding being much higher than first thought and Ministers have finally published a report that outlines its plans to charge migrants to use the NHS. A&E Departments are overstretched leading to more allegations of poor service and GPs are now part of Clinical Commissioning Groups.
There has been much talk of changes to the Dangerous Dogs legislation but it is a terribly slow process and many argue that the proposals do not go far enough. Whatever the changes they will come too late for many families who have seen loved ones seriously injured and even killed by out of control dogs. Only this week, the tragic case of Jade Anderson was highlighted in the national news when the owner of the four dogs that killed this lovely 14 year-old girl walked free from court with a suspended sentence. The campaign for tighter controls continues!
There will always be those who argue that the real fault for all these compensation claims is the ‘No Win No Fee’ culture which is ruining the country. Compensation claims are allegedly responsible for taking away scarce resources from the NHS, insurance premiums are rising in every sector and businesses are being squeezed because of compensation paid to injured workers. I hear this argument on a regular basis but wonder if those that do so might take a different view if they were seriously injured because of the negligence of someone else. When they are recovering in hospital after major surgery, or convalescing at home unable to work for many months without any salary, what will they be thinking? They might be trying to figure out how they will pay their mortgage and household bills, or support their family, and being able to seek professional [free] legal advice leading to an opportunity to secure some financial compensation suddenly seems like a really good service.
It is for the Government of the day to introduce legislation that will make us all safer on the roads, in the workplace, or when we’re under the care the NHS. The role of the personal injury lawyer is to challenge those laws where necessary and represent those people who suffer as a result of the negligent acts of others.
Harris Fowler has a specialist department dealing with the whole range of personal injury and clinical negligence claims. Free and confidential legal advice is available on 0800 213 214 or visit our website www.harrisfowler.co.uk
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