In January 2017 Dr Jasjot Singhota, 30, was on her way to work at St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth, as she crossed the road on a pedestrian crossing on Tulse Hill she was struck by a Ford Fiesta. The driver of the car had set off earlier without defrosting the windscreen.

Jasjot suffered a traumatic brain injury and died the next day.

The driver claimed that because his windscreen was covered in frost he could not see Jasjot on the crossing.

Had he have just taken the two minutes or less to make sure that the glass areas of the car were clear of frost then Jasjot may be alive today.

It takes less than a few minutes to clear a car or van window and yet some people make a conscious decision not to do it.

It may be reckless bravado or the thought of “it’ll never happen to me” but if it does happen the consequences can be tragic, as proven in Jasjot’s death.

No one should have to go through the pain of loss and grief, and certainly not because of such a simple omission.

Jasjot’s family have teamed up with the Metropolitan Police’s Command for Roads and Transport Policing and are campaigning to make motorists think twice before starting their journeys. More details of the campaign can be found by here or on twitter under #readyfortheroad

Jasjot’s sister Neha Santasolo has a clear message. “People won’t drive with their eyes closed so why do it when you can’t see out of the windscreen?”

Jasjot’s death continues to impact the family’s lives every single day

Jasjot had dedicated her life to helping others. Before working at St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth she had volunteered in children’s hospitals in New Zealand.

Even after her death, she saved five lives through organ donation.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists have set up a bursary in her memory.

Are You Ready For The Road?

With the cold weather upon us it will not be long before we have to reach for the de-icer spray or the ice scraper before turning a wheel and so please make sure that you have cleared your windows and windscreen before setting off.

Please spread the word, share the hashtag #readyfortheroad and think before you drive.

By Tristan Holdom

I feel a midlife crisis coming on!!  I am taking part in a ‘Legal Leap’ on 20th October 2018. Please form an orderly queue to tamper with my parachute.

Giving to charity is a very personal thing and I am sure you all have your own preferences and priorities.  However, if you feel able to give up a few quid, if only to ensure I get kicked out of a plane at 13,000 feet, it would mean a great deal to me and of course the SIA.

https://www.justgiving.com/Tristan-Holdom

As many of you may know, I represent those who have suffered catastrophic brain and spinal cord injuries.  Coming to terms with spinal cord injury and the rehabilitation journey is traumatic not just for the individual but their families and carers, whose world has been turned upside down.

Now it’s my turn to give something back (probably upside down too).

My job and the recovery path of my clients would be so much more difficult without the charities who support the injured and their families and the Spinal Injuries Association is no exception.

The tireless work of the SIA is phenomenal but relies on charitable donations to continue to provide such a valuable service to those who have suffered life changing injuries.

Thank you to my employers, Tollers for supporting me in my madness! You can visit my Just Giving page by clicking here.

To Infinity And Beyond

 

On Tuesday 12th September 2017 Tollers Solicitors will once again be exhibiting at the Milton Keynes Healthwatch event.

Healthwatch 2017 will see Middleton Hall in Centre:MK host 80 stalls consisting of local charities, voluntary, private and public sector organisations to provide support, advice and guidance for all your health, welfare and social needs. The event is completely free to attend and runs from 10am-4pm.

Tollers Solicitors, whose Milton Keynes office is located just 10 minutes from Centre:MK, specialise in the provision of vulnerable and elderly client services, including acting for incapacitated clients, challenges against incorrectly charged care fees and action for abuse and neglect in care. Tollers also offer specialist injury claim services for those with brain injuries and clinical negligence claims.

A number of our specialists will be on hand throughout the day to answer your queries or concerns. We will also have a brief interactive and informative quiz to take part in and a number of factsheets on hand for you to take away.

Specialists attending include:

Free Legal Advice At Healthwatch MK

Tollers at HealthWatch MK 2016

This year, Tollers are proud to support Charities Carers MKSpinal Injuries Association and Headway, who will also be exhibiting at the event. Carers MK offer support, information and advice to unpaid carers in Milton Keynes, whereas the SIA and Headway help people to live better after sustaining life-changing injuries.

If you would like to ask one of our specialists a legal question, or if you just want to have a go at our quiz, please come and pay us a visit at Stall 2. You can find us just outside of Pret A Manger in Middleton Hall, Centre: MK. For more information from the Healthwatch website, Click Here

RoadPeace the national charity for road crash victims have August as National Road Victims Month. This is a month-long vigil to remember those killed or injured on our roads every day. The awareness campaign culminates with a service on 31st August on the steps to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, the date is the anniversary of the car crash which resulted in the death of Princess Diana.

RoadPeace offers an internet memorial site at www.remembermememorials.org which has been created to remember those who have lost their lives because of a road crash. RoadPeace say: “Our hope is that this site provides individuals, families and communities opportunities for remembrance that hold personal and collective meaning.”

Formed in 1992, RoadPeace work in three ways, they provide support services for road crash victims, campaign for justice and campaign to reduce road danger. You can find out more about RoadPeace and the services they offer by visiting their website, click here.

National Road Victims Month

In the UK 5 people die on our roads every day.

Despite this RoadPeace say:

This statement resonates rather strongly with the Tollers Personal Injury team who work tirelessly to gain the financial support road crash victims and their families need. Financial support that will be needed to pay for rehabilitation and adaptations for survivors and whilst money can never compensate for the loss of a loved one, we work hard to make sure the families left behind are not left struggling financially as a consequence.  We see the devastating effects road deaths have on family members and friends left behind. We particularly resonate with the last point “Crash victims do not have the same rights or support as other victims of crime or trauma”. They are right, in recent years we have seen the government impose restrictions on legitimate injury claims of what they perceive to be less serious, we are now at the point if you have an accident you can claim for the damage to your vehicle but in some cases, not the personal trauma to the victims involved. Does that then make an object more valuable than a person? Surely there is something wrong with that kind of thinking?

If you have been affected by a road crash and need support RoadPeace have a national helpline you can call 0845 4500 355 which is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm alternatively visit their website to find out how you can get involved National Road Victims Month.

Signature Flight Support London Luton Ltd, who operate a private jet service for corporate and VIP clients from Luton Airport, have been fined £250,000 for Health & Safety breaches leaving a worker with catastrophic brain injuries.

Suzi Dorbon, now 47, was employed by the defendant as an aircraft mover.  On 28th April 2015 she was working on her own in a hangar, opening the mechanically operated doors to Hangar 219 at Luton Airport, when she became trapped between two sections of the doors.  She suffered serious crushing injuries resulting in catastrophic brain damage of such severity that she remains in a persistent vegetative state to this day.

Her employer pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees by failing to provide adequate information, instruction, supervision and a safe system of work for the operation of the doors at Hangar 219 Luton Airport.

The Judge when delivering the sentence said, “I have heard read aloud in open court the very moving Victim Personal Statement of Michael Dorbon, Suzi Dorbon’s husband and carer, in which he sets out the appalling consequences of the injuries his wife suffered and the life-changing effect that her on-going condition has had and continues to have upon him, her parents and their friends and family.  No punishment I can impose can ever make up for the dreadful human tragedy which this case represents and I must strive to decide upon a penalty which is just when looked at from every angle.”

Speaking on BBC Three Counties Radio, Tristan Holdom, a specialist lawyer in catastrophic brain injuries at Tollers Solicitors who is representing Mrs Dorbon said: “Unfortunately, despite the guilty plea by Mrs Dorbon’s employers, their insurers have maintained a denial of liability in the civil claim for the past 2 years, forcing the family to rely on NHS funding for Suzi’s care and their own savings for equipment such as a wheelchair accessible vehicle.  I hope that they will now do the right thing and agree to compensate Suzi and ensure that she is looked after for the remainder of her life.”

Hangar 219 was fitted with two mechanically operated doors, each of which consisted of three very large solid sections or ‘leaves’ which could be moved horizontally along tracks using a hand-held control panel. Despite the manufacturer highlighting the crush risk, the Company’s formal Risk Assessment document failed to identify the risk of a person being crushed by the doors or any steps which needed to be taken to reduce that risk.  Although CCTV was present in the hangar staff were not monitored or supervised to ensure that they operated the moving the doors safely.

The prosecution pointed to the fact that following the terrible accident, the Company took a number of simple steps to reduce the risks to employees including  painting yellow lines on the floor to show employees how far to stand back from the doors, new warning signs, a new operation manual with additional entrapment warnings, retraining, monitoring and supervision of staff.

The Judge agreed that all these steps were simple and inexpensive and should have been taken when the doors were first installed.  Had they done so, it would have prevented the risk which resulted in the catastrophic injuries to Suzi Dorbon.

Mrs Dorbon’s condition is unlikely to improve and will require 24 hour care for the rest of her life.

The sun is shining and thousands of us will be heading off to the nearest beach or swimming pool to enjoy the glorious British summer time.

Before donning your swimming costumes, take a look at the following water safety advice we have gathered from various water safety experts:

General water safety advice

Don’t rely on someone else watching children or vulnerable adults, drowning is silent! Keep sight of them at all times.

Learn to swim and teach those who can’t.

Understand water safety, which is different from being able to swim, knowing what to do should someone get into difficulties could make all the difference. There is some great water safety advice available on the ROSPA website.

Watch children playing near water, if your child goes missing check the water first as every second is vital.

Swimming Pool

Life guards, for the most part life guards do an admiral job of keeping pool users safe, however, as highlighted in a recent case won by Specialist Brain Injury Solicitor, Tristan Holdom, they are not always effective.

Floatation devices should not be relied upon to keep children in the water safe.

Do not wear loose fitting clothing, it is tempting in outdoor pools to cover up those prone to sun burn by adding a t-shirt over a swimming costume. Pools have pumps and drains, if a piece of clothing gets caught in a pump it can pull the wearer under.

At the beach

Know the tidal information for the area you are in and be mindful of the warning signs. Tides can turn very abruptly and areas of our coastline will change dramatically. Even if you are not in the water, take care to keep an eye on the tide and ensure you can reach the access point quickly and easily should you need to.

The weather may be hotting up but the sea and rivers around the British coast will still be very cold. The cold water advice given in a national campaign by RNLI “Respect the Water” gives some lifesaving advice. If you fall into cold water, float until the shock of the cold has passed. Do not try to swim as your body will be in shock, restricting blood flow and removing the air from your lungs making you gasp involuntary. Wait a minute and “float”. Once the shock has passed, call for help and if able, swim to safety. More information about this cold water campaign can be found here.

Watch for signs of a rip current: choppy, discoloured, foamy water, filled with debris. A rip current can carry even the strongest swimmer far from shore, almost before you realise what is happening. If you get caught in a rip current, as with the cold water, relax. Float, if you can safely raise your arms and shout for help.

However you choose to stay cool this summer, please stay water safe!

… after 15 years of legal wrangling!

Following a lengthy and drawn out legal battle, Partner and Brain Injury Specialist Tristan Holdom and his dedicated Personal Injury team at Tollers Solicitors recently won a landmark case on behalf of a client. The case which related to an injury suffered by a child in 2002 has taken 15 years to reach a settlement.

In June 2015 the High Court delivered a strong Judgement in favour of the claimant finding Northampton Borough Council, who owned and ran Danes Camp Leisure Centre, negligent causing the Claimant to suffer a catastrophic brain injury.

The trial only dealt with the issues of negligence and the cause of the injury.  The question of the value of the case was to be decided at a later hearing.

The Defendant did not accept the Court’s decision in 2015 and spent the following two years trying to appeal this judgment.

During this two year period the Defendant made no attempt to negotiate a settlement.  The Court of Appeal rules required the parties to engage in Alternative Dispute Resolution and 4 weeks before the Appeal Hearing which was due for 14th June 2017, they came to mediation.

At the meeting and through both mediation and negotiation the Defendant finally made a reasonable offer of settlement – a lump sum of £13 million.

The Appeal Hearing was put on hold following the Mediation Meeting and instead a Settlement Approval Hearing was held on 15th June 2017.  This type of Hearing is required where the Claimant is a child or does not have mental capacity.  The Claimant after all this time is now an adult, aged 22 but does not have mental capacity due to the injury sustained.

The recent Hearing held was for the Judge to consider the terms of settlement agreed between the parties and to ensure he was satisfied that they were in the best interests of the Claimant and that the settlement agreed upon would adequately provide for the Claimant’s needs for the rest of their life.

This result was a culmination of incredibly hard work, tenacity, skill, persistence and very often significant stress, on the part of all the solicitors, support staff and barristers involved.

The work and hours dedicated to this case over the 15 years has not just been 9-5.30 Monday to Friday, but many evenings and weekends to ensure this positive outcome was achieved.

However, the hard work and long hours committed by the team at Tollers and Counsel pales into complete insignificance when compared to the Claimant’s mothers uncompromising sacrifice, stress, strain and unwavering dedication to her son in the face of over a decade of fierce resistance and denial of liability by the Defendant, Northampton Borough Council and their legal team.

The result achieved is exactly why Tristan Holdom does his job.

Tristan said “It’s not about the money. It’s not about the glory. It’s about doing what’s right and being able to change the lives of innocent victims of negligence and those who care for them. 

To see the expression of sheer exhaustion but also total relief on the face of Mum, who has tirelessly looked after her son with no support or compassion from the Defendant, made it all worth it. 

Money won’t turn the clock back to 2002 when a 6 year old boy almost drowned, but it will make sure they can buy a home where Mum can finally stop sleeping on the sofa.  Where she can get the support workers to come in and take her son out and give her a few hours respite. Where she can regain her identity as a person as opposed to a carer and can just be a mum again. A home where my client can live for the next 50 years and Mum can rest easy that he will be looked after when she can no longer do it. Above all, where my client and his family can start living and be happy again.

This is a fantastic and momentous result but more importantly allows our client and his family to start a new life which has been on hold for over 15 years”.

Tristan and all of team at Tollers would like to thank Bill Braithwaite QC and Cath Howells from Exchange Chambers for all of the assistance and support they provided that has led to this positive result and the wider team for all of their endeavours in securing this result for the family.

This case study is a useful example of the importance of choosing a Headway approved specialist brain injury lawyer. Tristan Holdom, an accredited Headway Brain Injury Specialist Solicitor explains:

Mr C a successful business man was assaulted in 2001 and suffered a serious traumatic brain injury.  Despite a period of intense rehabilitation and some improvement, he suffered from permanent problems affecting his decision making, memory, learning and speech together with physical weakness on his left side and spasticity.  Mr C was and still is a very intelligent man and his injuries were a great source of frustration to him as he gradually gained more insight into them and the limitations they placed on him.  He could still manage his own affairs but often made poor decisions.

He made a claim for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme he chose a local firm of solicitors from the phone directory who advertised general personal injury services.

He did not have the benefit of a brain injury case manager and relied on his mother for care, who had her own health issues,.

In 2004 his award was assessed at £363,000 but only based on a moderate brain injury rather than a serious/severe injury. It also assumed that he had a future earning capacity.

Unfortunately, his solicitors simply handed his settlement to him without putting in place the usual protections such as a case manager, financial advisor or setting up a personal injury trust with a co-trustee. for someone who, whilst was perfectly capable of making decisions, would invariably make the wrong ones.

Mr C was vulnerable and was taken advantage of by persuading him to make a bad business  investment.  He lost his house in 2010 and was evicted leaving him wholly reliant on the state and his mother for care.  He was in a bad way.  By 2014 he was in considerable debt and desperate after the CICA, following review, refused to reopen his case.

Biggest isn’t always best!: Mr C came to see me when other large serious injury firms had turned him away. He had phoned the excellent Headway helpline who referred him to the Directory containing specialist brain injury lawyers who have been through the rigorous Headway accreditation programme. He had no money, but I could see that he had not been given the best advice.  Nor had his claim  been assessed correctly.  I agreed to help him, initially without charge, to appeal the review decision and try and re-open his case.

Guiding him and his partner through the appeal process, drafting statements and gathering medical evidence, Mr C then bravely represented himself at the appeal against resistance from the CICA. On 14/10/15 he was successful in re-opening his case and we then set about making sure he was fully and properly compensated.  More importantly following settlement I  supported him and his family to ensure the funds were protected to help him and his family through the remainder of his life.

In May 2016, working as a team, we secured a revised award of £500,000 which is the maximum award possible  under the scheme.

We placed this in a special trust which protected his state benefits and allowed him to remove overnight, the stress of his mounting debts and plan for his family’s future.

With hindsight, Mr C said that whilst he was very glad he came to Tollers, he wished he had done so from the start.  The compensation is only part of the jigsaw. It’s as much about supporting the client and the family before, during and after the case.

If you or a loved one have been affected by this article then Talk to Tollers on 0333 414 9123.

We are not personal injury lawyers by accident!

Mrs Ivy Butler, living with Dementia, had a needs assessment after a hospital stay. A Care Home was sought that matched Mrs Butler’s health needs and she was admitted to Priestley Care Home in 2012.

After only four days as a resident of the Care Home, Mrs Butler had a fall, fracturing her hip. Four months later she fell again fracturing her other hip. Because of these falls, Mrs Butler’s health needs increased, but her Care Plan wasn’t changed to ensure she had sufficient support. Mrs Butler fell many more times and suffered cuts and bruises to her face.

Despite several bouts of pneumonia, Mrs Butler’s Care Plan wasn’t changed to reduce the risk of further occurrences.

Mrs Butlers daughter also raised concerns about her personal care and hygiene. Mrs Butler’s family purchased an electric chair to provide support for her as she had a tendency to slump after her stroke. Due to the lack of support in regards to her poor personal hygiene, the chair had to be thrown away.

Mrs Butler’s weight was low when she was admitted to Priestley Care Home, her weight continued to decrease whilst she was under the Care Home’s care, however, no appropriate steps were taken to increase her weight. Mrs Butler’s family raised concerns about meals being missed by Mrs Butler because she was asleep, but there were no steps taken by the Care Home to ensure her nutritional needs were met. There was no referral made to a dietitian to investigate how best to support Mrs Butler to maintain and put on weight.

Mrs Butler was finally assessed as needing the support of two carers when mobilising and using the toilet, it was confirmed that she was not to be left unsupervised during mobilisation. On a visit to the toilet with two carers, she was left alone causing her to fall, fracturing her pelvis and cutting her head. Mrs Butler was taken to hospital by ambulance. Mrs Butler’s family were involved in the subsequent Safeguarding Investigation into the incident and they raised concerns about the poor quality of care Mrs Butler received at the Care Home. The Safeguarding Investigation upheld the fact that Mrs Butler had been left on her own causing the fracture to her pelvis but did not investigate adequately the other concerns the family raised about the level care and support provided.

During her stay from 2012 to 2014 at Priestly Care Home it is very clear that Mrs Butler’s risk of falling had not been adequately assessed and an appropriate Care Plan was not put in place. Concerned daughter Mrs Susan Butler instructed Veronica Male, a Care Home Abuse and Neglect Specialist at Tollers to investigate a potential claim against Priestley Care Home. Mrs Butler’s daughter wanted to bring the claim to make people aware of the poor care in the Care Home but also the difficulties the family faced when raising concerns about the various incidents of poor care.

Veronica initially wrote to Priestley Care Home, advising them of the claim against them, in accordance with the rules. Veronica then sent a formal letter of claim. Unfortunately, there was no response to any of these letters and so Veronica resorted to emailing the contact address for the Care Home requesting a response. This was not acted upon and it was only when threatened with reporting their failure to communicate and provide documentation to the Information Commissioner, did they then refer the matter to their insurers and then their solicitors. The solicitors disclosed the Care Records and then made an offer to settle the claim. A Barrister’s advice was taken on the offer and the Barrister recommended acceptance of the offer.

Mrs Susan Butler, who claimed on behalf of Mrs Ivy Butler’s Estate was happy, money would be available to put gravestones on her grandparent’s graves. Mrs Susan Butler was not concerned about how much money the claim produced, it was far more important that the Care Home be held accountable for the poor quality of care her mother received.

Mrs Susan Butler says: “Tollers have been absolutely amazing, I can’t thank them enough! I turned to 6 other solicitor firms but they wouldn’t take the case. I just wanted to get justice for my mum. I am so glad I did it, my friends told me to let it go, asking what I was hoping to gain, but I knew what my mum would have said and my dad if he was alive, they would have said it’s not right. There were 40 other rooms in the care home with other residents, I had to do something.”

Mrs Butler has advice for those who suspect something is not quite right: “If I could talk to others in a similar situation I would say: if your gut feels there is something wrong, listen to it. Don’t feel like you are being over anxious, do something. All I wanted was for my mum to be cared for, at the end of the day it is your relative. Go at different times of the day, speak to other residents and their families.”

Speaking about Veronica Male, Mrs Butler says “Veronica was so good, she rung me and kept me informed throughout the case.”

If you have concerns about the level of care your loved one has received then Talk to Tollers call 0333 414 9123 in confidence.

The Trust responsible for Kettering General Hospital has admitted that more than 138 patients have suffered harm as a result of delayed treatment and surgery, including one patient who suffered substantial loss of their eyesight.

The delay in treatment went way beyond the set time for the relevant treatment and left some patients waiting more than 52 weeks.

As a consequence of an internal investigation Kettering General Hospital say they have put in place measures to bring down patient waiting times for procedures and surgery. That will benefit future patients but does not help those patients who have already suffered harm.

Whatever the specific explanation of the problems at this hospital, patient harm may reflect a more general squeeze on funding within the NHS. There are a number of Hospital Trusts that are failing to meet the 18-week target for referral-to-treatment. Consequently, and unfortunately, there are likely to be many more patients across the NHS who have suffered avoidable harm.

An unreasonable delay in treatment that leads to harm or injury may result in compensation, as a result of clinical negligence.

What is clinical negligence?

‘Clinical negligence’ or ‘medical negligence’ are terms used to describe the situation where you, or a loved one, have suffered an injury (physical and/or psychiatric) in a medical setting by the negligent act, or failure to act, of a healthcare provider. This can include a delay in treatment.

There may have been a positive act by the healthcare provider. For example, where a surgeon (negligently) damages a nerve, which resulted in you being unable to move a limb, or where a doctor misread an X-ray image and told you there was nothing wrong.

Alternatively, there may have been an omission by the healthcare provider, or delay by the Hospital Trust. For example, where a nurse failed to give you your medication at the prescribed time, and that failure led to you being very ill, or where delayed surgery leads to a worse outcome.

You can be compensated for reasonably foreseeable injuries that you can prove were caused by negligence.

How Tollers can help you?

The head of the Clinical Negligence Team at Tollers is Dr Darren Conway PhD.  Darren has specialised in the area of clinical negligence since re-qualifying as a solicitor. He has considerable experience of clinical negligence claims, having trained and worked for a leading niche practice in London, and subsequently for both a national and international firm specialising in the field of clinical negligence.

If you believe your injuries are as a consequence of clinical negligence then please contact our Welcome Team, who are happy to take initial details from you. Your first consultation with our Welcome Team is FREE of charge.  Call free 0333 414 9123 or email us on personalinjury@tollers.co.uk

Assisting you through the process

We cannot change what has happened to you. What we can do is to help you through what can be a stressful process, focussing on the key issues to win your claim, taking that stress from your shoulders, and to recover for you money that fairly compensates you for the injuries and losses caused by any identified negligence.

All things Tollers

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https://www.headway.org.uk/