No fault. No claim.

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Who are BL Claims Solicitors

BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

We are rated as one of the top firms in the UK and believe in speaking to our clients in jargon-free language and ensuring you're speaking to a highly qualified lawyer right from the outset

The catalyst of the "discussion" was a report in the Daily Mail about a woman who had received around £112k due to injury sustained when she slipped on some grapes outside a greengrocers.  She broke both wrists.  "How can this possibly be right?" said my friend.  "The greengrocer did all that he could and swept up regularly."  Clearly not.  As I explained to my friend, legislation would only require that he take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of visitors to his premises.  I have not had the benefit of reading said article, but why believe what you read in the newspapers?  A biased report of a few lines cannot tell the whole story.  My friend had read a tiny snippet and clearly relevant detail was missing.  The Daily Mail sold papers and they had achieved their aim.  Not only that but they reported on the sort of story that adds fuel the "compensation culture" debate.  My friend's reaction was clear evidence of that.

But the "discussion" did not end there.  "So what about the story about the soldier who only got "x" amount, and he suffered catastrophic injuries?  How can that be right, when the other woman got £112k?".. or words to that effect.  My response was that, while I have utmost admiration and respect for our service personnel (my own husband was in the forces for 24 years) I had not read the article, so I could not really comment.  However, it is possible that he was injured in the line of duty.  The services carry a risk of injury particularly during active combat.  While I would wish that not one of our service personnel was injured in the line of duty, it is likely that the award my friend was referring to was a payment reflecting medical retirement from the service.  It does not mean that anyone was at fault or that anyone had done anything wrong. He was a dreadful casualty of war.  Had someone been at fault, then they would be held accountable.  As for the grape woman, it was likely that the majority of her compensation reflected the effect on her ability to work.

"So, a builder falling off a ladder while undertaking his work shouldn't receive compensation then?"  Well, no.  Not if he just fell off through no one else's fault.  But if the ladder was defective, or if the wrong type of ladder for the job in hand had been provided, or he hadn't been trained.... then, yes.  Each and every case depends on the facts.

On returning to this office this morning, I Googled the grape lady case.  Not only did the greengrocer lose his case in the County Court, he also lost in the Court of Appeal.  Evidence, in my view, that the article read by my friend did not contain all the facts. 

The weekend was all about chilling out.  It was a girly spa weekend.  But, for me, the weekend was marred by this conversation.  In every area of life there are dodgy people.  Dogdy builders.  Dogdy plumbers. Dodgy doctors.  And, yes, I am sure that there are also dodgy lawyers.  But why oh why believe everything you read in the papers?  Why make snap judgments based on a few lines of text?  Why criticise the very people who are trying to help injured persons recover compensation for injury sustained by someone else's negligence?  Perhaps people who make such snap judgments should speak to our clients and listen to them crying down the phone because they are scared about losing their home, their family, their life in some instances, because they are unable to work often dismissed from work because they can no longer fulfil their duties and unable to find alternative employment.

I have to say that I feel really down this morning.  Just what do we have to do???

Deborah Blackmore

Chartered Legal Executive - Personal Injury team

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