Is Santa safe from Injury – By Adam Edwards

Christmas – is even Santa safe from injury this time of year?

Now, according to the Mirror, 80,000 of us Brits will somehow injure ourselves this Christmas, but is St. Nic going to somehow injure himself this Christmas?

Likely ways Santa will injure Himself this year include;

  1. Crashing his sleigh
  2. Rudolf  “kicks off “
  3. A heart attack
  4. The cold
  5. A stray bullet or missile from the middle east

Crashing his Sleigh

Considering a dog sleigh crashed in Sweden last year, is this really safe for our old gift giver or for those he visits? Think about it, Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, and if we consider that there are 2 billion children under 18, he has to move at excessively fast. Now if we consider that the average household has 3.5 children in, and that Santa doesn’t seem to visit those of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist faiths, which will reduce the number by roughly 15%, but still 92.8 million homes, which indicates that Father Christmas has to travel at 650 miles per second and has 1/10th of a second to park before hopping down our chimneys. It’s great what you can learn from ‘The Physics of Santa’).  If nothing else this data provides a perfect excuse for breakages on xmas eve caused by one too many down the pub; blame Santa. I’ve bricked up the chimney this year; let’s see how he copes.  

Reindeers Kicking Off

Reindeer – docile and helpful sleigh puller and Santa’s steed of choice, or are they malevolent killers seeking revenge for the years of injustice they think that they have suffered at the hands of mankind? Pat Cook will argue that she was lucky to survive, and so would Ms Davis who suffered an attack in 2009. Santa seems to be living a charmed life but eventually his luck will run out. Do  eight or nine conventional (or even flying) reindeers  have enough pulling power to transport all the gifts around the world! Apparently he really needs 214,200 of the horned hoodlums to do the job and even then the front two reindeer will each be subject to 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second. I really do have to thank ‘The Physics of Santa’ for all these facts and figures.

A Heart Attack

Santa’s health must take a hit over Christmas; I mean think of all those pies that he’ll have to eat! According to a 12 yearlong study by Dr Robert Kloner Ph.D we are more likely to suffer heart attacks around December and January (the months of brilliant, but excessive food as I like to think of them). So think of Santa’s heart when you pace those mince pies under the fireplace ready for him to come, we really don’t know when his hearts going to blow! Think about it, Santa has been delivering presents to us for years, and if the ordinary folk of this great and magnificent earth can’t handle the excess food of Christmas, how is Santa going to handle 100 million mince pies in 31 hours without any major heart problems?

 

A Cold Snap

He doesn’t qualify for the winter fuel allowance being a Jonny Foreigner however so death by cold will be a major concern for Father Christmas, particularly when over 60 people died earlier this year in Eastern Europe. It was so cold that people had to open the fridge to heat up their houses! Never mind the fact that it gets a lot colder up in space, as Felix Baumgartner probably knows – maybe they should exchange notes on human space travel? What if they worked together? Father Christmas flies the sleigh and Felix jumps out and strategically drops the presents in such a way that they all go through the chimneys at the same time! I am defiantly going to write to Father Christmas and suggest this! But any way, death by cold is a serious issue that Father Christmas should be aware of and definitely be preparing himself – and his reindeer – for.

The Palestinian Factor

The Middle East is a touchy subject, because of many reasons such as the Arab spring, the Syrian war and the Palestinian Israeli conflict. There is clearly a lot to be concerned about. The missiles have reduced over the last few weeks but if Hamas kick off again or the Israelis invade then the skies above the middle east will be a true no go zone for Father Christmas as he zips between Christians and those who just believe in Christmas .The horrific possibilities are endless! There is potentially so much terror that could befall our beloved Rudolf, and all the other much loved Christmas steeds. However we must consider his pre-mentioned speed though, no missile will ever be able to catch him, unless now is the time that Tony Stark decides to put his mind to developing a rocket that can travel at such speeds!

I think it is wise, to leave you on a positive note so  merry Christmas, and a very happy, but safe, new year!

Now to see how our good old friend is doing, visit Norad, and have a very merry Christmas from all of us at Edwards Hoyle!

Setting the record straight on Whiplash

You might think it more appropriate for the blawger (Mr. David) rather than the blogger to pen this week’s blog. However what the Government is now proposing on PI (Personal Injury) is so patently silly from a consumer’s perspective that I volunteered to write it!

In the beginning the thrust of the government’s Legal Reform Bill – LASPO – which becomes law in April 2013, was both to reduce the level of PI claims, as many were seen to be spurious, and eliminate or reduce what were seen to be excessive cost and reward structures in the referral fee system. Nothing wrong with that, although alarm bells should have been ringing, when it became clear that the Insurance Industry have been one of the main puppet masters, guiding the Government’s thinking.

Let’s deal with spurious first. Apil recently commissioned a study of 4,000 people from June to August 2012 to establish the current scenario APIL Whiplash report:

  1. Whiplash claims are down not up by 24,000 so the Whiplash epidemic talked up by politicians and lobbyists is hardly that. In any case 30% of these claims are encouraged by Insurers.
  2. Britons have  the weakest  necks in Europe – a favourite with some MPs. You only have to look at the Premier League to recognise that this is patent nonsense – nearly all the best headers of a ball are Brits! More seriously the truth is that with almost double the average of cars per kilometre of road, compared to the EU average, road accidents are more likely to happen in the UK, so proportionately more claims will occur!  “Whiplash claims are driven by lawyers” is also routinely trotted out as a fact – in fact insurance companies are more likely to encourage a claim than a lawyer or a Claim Management Company – so perhaps Insurance companies should put their own house in order first?? This would immediately reduce the number of claims therefore empowering every car insurance firm in the land to reduce its premiums.
  3. Whiplash is difficult to diagnose – as a past sufferer I can confirm it is – so surely the only responsible way of dealing with it is by using medical professionals to establish a case. Many insurers will make an offer, normally lower by a factor, to avoid a prosecution – surely this practice should be outlawed?
  4. Fraud – in terms of attitudes to fraud the survey found that 90 per cent of people thought claiming for an injury when you haven’t been injured is fraudulent. In fact more than 50 per cent of people thought offering compensation by an Insurance company without medical evidence was fraudulent. The same group also believed car repair bills were also higher because the bills were being paid by an Insurance company. It therefore follows that any legislation should also address these issues which it doesn’t of course.
  5. Solutions to fraud – any industry which involves making claims will inevitably suffer from fraudulent abuse. APIL has come up with its own ten point charter several parts of which could be enshrined in the coming legislation so why is this not happening??
  6. Trust – the APIL report finishes with whom do you most trust – the answers being:
  • 72 per cent Doctors
  • 39 per cent Lawyers
  • 21 per cent Insurers
  • 13 per cent MPs

It will there for be of great comfort to know that the future legal options open to you if you get injured, are being determined by MPs ably assisted by Insurance experts!

The Government has further demonstrated its lack of understanding by its    suggested Legal Fees, published last week by the Ministry of Justice Fee Structure.  In short the fixed fees that a lawyer can now earn per case are less than the cost of acquiring the case. Nobody is going to lose sleep over fat cat lawyers losing money, but most PI firms I know are small or medium size operations who use a high percentage of paralegals. The likelihood is that many will go to the wall blowing another hole in Small Business employment numbers.

As whiplash normally occurs in Road Traffic Accidents, the most common form of accident by far, the fees claimable in this areas are the most severely reduced.

This means the unfortunate corollary is that with less PI lawyers around, and even less PI firms willing to take on low value cases, the only legal option left to the consumer will be the Small Claims Court where you will represent your self, often against a lawyer, with further personal financial exposure if you choose to use medical experts either for purposes of proof or rehabilitation! Sadly the political objective of reducing the number of fraudulent claims may well be achieved but only at the expense of the 90 per cent of us who would make valid claims!

The good news of course is that with all this draconian legislation set in concrete, as we are so close to this Bill becoming law, every Insurance company in the land will be writing to us in the New Year to tell us that our car insurance premiums will be reduced by 30% due to all these costs being taken out of the system so watch this space ……………..for a   very long time!!

Safety in the Home – Top Ten Tips

As an alternative to Bon Voyage we often say safe home but just how safe is home sweet home and the food we eat?  Well according to Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents almost 3 million accidents occur in the home!

  1. More than 300,000 accidents happen in the living and dining room areas –   more than anywhere else making it the most dangerous place to be – so watching Sky Sports from your sofa whilst eating your Indian takeaway is much more dangerous than you thought! Outside of locking yourself in a cupboard it turns out that a greenhouse is the safest “room” to be in – rather surprising given all that glass….
  2. In terms of utensils frying pans are especially dangerous causing more than 2,500 injuries – presumably fat related as there are no records of concussion. Although frying pan figures are not separately released in America, we know that 2% of domestic murders involve blunt instruments which may or may not include frying pans. The good news however is that in America women intent on murdering their partner tend not to use frying pans and that 69% turn to ….well a gun Guns-don’t-kill-people-frying-pans-kill-people .
  3. If you are house proud and thinking of entering Come Dine With Me, probably best to scan the guest list, and see if it contains the name Flynn as said gentleman broke more than £300,000 of Qing vases whilst tying his shoe laces Telegraph – what a Qinger!
  4. We have of course written about the dangers of the grape before in a supermarket environment. It turns out that the pumpkin, closely followed by the turnip are amongst the most dangerous vegetables according to this article in the Telegraph which is based on a survey by online takeaway company Just Eat . It turns out that most of the injuries are caused by us trying to imitate TV superchefs in the chopper department! In the same article Sheila Merrill, public health adviser at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “The kitchen is where some of the most serious home accidents occur and cuts are among the most common types of injury to happen, with tens of thousands of people attending A&E as a result each year.”Good preparation is crucial when it comes to preventing kitchen accidents such as severe cuts, so make sure your knives are sharp and in a good condition, use a vegetable peeler where appropriate and do not rush chopping.”Keep knives out of the reach of children and, if you’re involving young children in food preparation, supervise them at all times and help them to develop good skills in the kitchen.”
  5. All very sensible advice and of course watch what you eat – the world’s most dangerous foods according to Just Eats include the Japanese Fugu or blowfish – 1,200 times more potent than cyanide – and the Sannakji or South Korean wriggling octopus so called because you chop its tentacles off before eating it whilst still wriggling – is that the diner or the octopus? The main danger of course is its tentacle suckers sticking to your throat on the way down causing asphyxiation ….revenge is sweet. Under no circumstances attempt preparing a pumpkin and turnip salad chopped a la Jamie, to accompany your Sannakji whilst reclining on your lounge sofa….  Here are some additional things to look out for from our own customer archives:
  6. Cowboy Carpenters A client from the North East fell victim to cowboy carpenters who, whilst installing a new central heating system at her home, removed floor boards to feed new heating pipes underneath the floor. Cuts were made at the edge of joists rather than in the middle of the joist. This meant that when the floorboards were re-laid, one side of the board was supported by a joist but the other was not. Our client was putting his daughter to bed when he stepped on a floor board and his  right leg when through the floor and ceiling below. He suffered leg and particularly knee injuries.
  7. Fire Brigade to the rescue   This Client lived  in a rented property with her family.  There has been a small hole in the bathroom floor of the property for about 4 weeks. Clients mum has informed the landlord that the hole was there and it was dangerous. Client was in the bathroom brushing her teeth when she stepped back and fell through the hole in the floor leaving her right leg dangling through the ceiling into the room below. The Ambulance and Fire Brigade were called and they had to cut around the client to get her out of the hole as her foot was stuck.
  8. Where Estate Agents fear to tread   Our  Client was viewing a house , for the second time ,  with an estate agent  . On the first occasion problems were noted including to the floorboards in the hall. On the second occasion our client walked in to the hall , followed by the estate agent , when after walking about 2 paces she fell through the floorboards. 
  9. You’ve been framed   Our client moved into his new property. Within the first month of living there our client and his family noticed the front door was loose and poorly fitted.  The condition of the door was reported to the council who  arranged for a workman to call. He inspected the door but indicated that he could not do the job at that point as he was going on holiday in the next couple of days but would arrange for someone else to come round and undertake the repairs. This didn’t happen in time as shortly afterwards our client went out of the front door and closed it behind him.  The whole door including the frame then fell on top of him.
  10. Juliette  wherefore art thou   Our  Client was leaning against a Juliette balcony in an apartment when the balcony fell out  falling 12 feet on to a car  below with our client following on behind. He broke one wrist and two elbows. The workman had not put in appropriate retaining devices and the whole thing was an accident waiting to happen.

Should cyclists have to wear helmets ?

In the past week we’ve had Bradley Wiggins come off  second best in a  Collision with an Astra Van   and the head coach of British Cycling suffer a bleed on the brain following a cycling collision on the A6 in nearby Levenshulme. Cycling accidents happen even to those who are trained to bob and weave at speed. I’m assuming that both were wearing helmets. I’d be surprised if they were not based on what Mr Wiggins has had to say in the past (see later) . 

Photo by Mostly Dans

You would be forgiven if you thought that we have always been a major cycling nation, both amateur wise and professional. However, it has only been in the past few years that we have seen a phenomenal increase in the amount of riders out on the road. 

The catalyst for the huge growth in the sport is undeniably down to the success of the Great British cycling team at the last two Olympics and Wiggins becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France, with fellow Englishman Mark Cavendish also increasing his impressive amount of stage victories in the meantime. We’ve even got Victoria Pendleton on Strictly come dancing .  

Seeing the increase in enthusiastic, beginner cyclists, both young and old, teetering around towns and cities made me think about the safety of the sport. 

It’s the age old dig at new hobbyists of ‘all the gear, no idea!’ however, I’ve noticed that a lot of the time these fresh, bike riding amateurs are missing what I feel would be the first piece of equipment you would purchase being a novice, a helmet. 

Since 2003, professional cyclists have had to wear helmets; this rule change was triggered after the high profile death of cyclist, Kivilev. With professional cyclists having to wear helmets in competitions then surely potentially, less experienced, amateur riders should also be wearing them when riding on public roads. 

There are many countries that have already made it the law to wear a helmet including Australia, New Zealand and many states in the USA. 

However, studies have suggested that these countries have not seen a great decrease in cycling injuries and the cons of this law could outweigh the pros.  One of the opposing arguments to the law being introduced is that the wearing of the helmet leads to false confidence and an indestructible attitude, which can then lead to more accidents. 

Another theory is that it attracts people who are not very confident or competent riders to try out the sport as they believe that the helmets make the sport injury-free. Whether you are wearing a helmet or not, cycling is a very dangerous sport. 

Bradley Wiggins was recently on the receiving end of the brunt of the argument against the introduction of the helmet law. After his time trial win at the Olympics, he was asked about the death of a public cyclist near to the event, Wiggins stated that he felt cyclists should wear helmets as they are then more protected. 

These comments threw the debate up into the air. With Wiggins later reiterating his statement saying that he meant the wearing of helmets would give cyclists more legal cover if a road accident occurs. 

Other opposing arguments to the law being introduced are that it would put more people off starting the sport. This could then lead to a rise in obesity and the roads being made more dangerous for cyclists as there is no longer safety in numbers 

A law compelling people to wear helmets would be hard to enforce ;  I couldn’t see the Police chasing cyclists ( they’re too nippy )  and the lack of number plates make camera detection tricky .  Mind the opportunity to feel the collar of    ” plebgate ” cyclist Andrew Mitchell who is regularly photographed without a helmet may have been a sweet conviction for the Police.

Cars and Young People

The ABI – the Association of British Insurers – which is the trade organisation for insurance companies – has recently published a report ABI report aimed at improving the safety of Young Drivers. It recommends the following measures:

  • A minimum 12 month learning period before you sit your test
  • Banning intensive driving courses
  • The lowering of the age to 16 ½ for starting to drive
  • A graduated licensing scheme which would restrict numbers of young passengers that can be driven by a young driver during night time hours
  • A lowering of the blood alcohol concentration for drivers between 17-24

Anecdotally we all know that young drivers are more at risk as therefore are their passengers. Fatalities sadly do happen as the recent case, last month of the young Manchester City footballer, Courtney Meppen-Walter, illustrates – Guardian. In the North West we also live in a particularly dangerous area as a recent 2010 report covered here,  says that not only do we have Britain’s most dangerous road in the Cat and Fiddle A537,  but that 9 out of 10 of Britain’s most dangerous roads are in the North of England Daily Mail – 10 most Dangerous Roads !

The ABI report, using Department For Transport stats, makes the point that a young person is 5 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than a middle aged person. Brake, the Road Safety charity and campaign group, also make the point that Young Male Drivers are more at risk than Young Female Drivers, and staggeringly between the hours of 2-5 am they are Seventeen times more at risk than all other males drivers Brake on Young Drivers .

The Government response to the ABI has been somewhat muted with the Road Safety Minister Mike Penning saying in the Daily Mail : ‘Britain has some of the safest roads in the world and the majority of new drivers are safe and responsible.

‘To further improve safety we have made the driving test more realistic by introducing an independent driving element and have stopped the publication of test routes to stop candidates learning them by rote (heart).

‘We are also considering how to improve training for drivers after they pass their test, to help them develop their skills and confidence.

‘However, we do not propose placing any restrictions on new drivers as we do not want to unfairly penalise responsible young people who rely on driving to get to work or college.’

We agree with the Government on this largely. Also the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents also provide plenty of advice in this area – in their Young Drivers at work report – ROSPA on Young Drivers .

Our own view is that the problem needs to be looked at in the round, and that any measures taken on safety, should be part of a comprehensive Government policy on Young Drivers that covers not just vital safety issues but also addresses other major parental concerns to do with the cost of teenage driving which are principally insurance.  As the ABI report above states “ High motor insurance premiums for young drivers are the direct result of their poor safety record, and a result of the statistically higher risk that they will cause themselves, their passengers, or other road users severe and life-changing injuries  which can require a lifetime of care to be paid for from the original premium”.

It therefore follows that additional safety because it reduces risk must reduce premiums so let’s have an adult debate between Government, the Insurers, the Lawyers including APIL , safety organisations like ROSPA and Brake , the Motoring organisations, and consumer organisations like Which, who have sensible suggestions here on Teenage Car Insurance Which? , about how to improve safety and make the cost of motoring bearable!

 

Ghouls Trying to Claim Your Soul this Hallowe’en.. and How to Stop Them

As personal injury specialists, we always have our eye on the accident pitfalls that can strike at any moment; and how best to ensure that people do what they can do make themselves safe.

That’s why, at this terribly dangerous time of year, we want to do what we can to make sure people are keeping themselves safe. Hallowe’en plays host to all sorts of terrible ghouls and creatures looking to steal your soul; if it isn’t the living dead crawling their way out of graves, it’s werewolves hunting you down in the night. So, with this in mind, we’ve put together a handy guide on what may try to harm you this Hallowe’en- and how to make sure they don’t succeed…

1. Zombies

Typically, Zombies will drag themselves out of their miserable undead graves around midnight on Hallowe’en night, and will search for fresh victims to feast on human flesh or brains (according to their palettes). Easily identifiable by their grey, sullen features, gory open wounds and loud groans; zombies will catch the scent of living humans and hunt them down (quickly or slowly, dependant on injuries sustained before death etc).  Injuries likely to be sustained by a zombie include open flesh wounds, severe lesions and the contraction of deadly, brain-eating diseases.

How to Fight Them:

Luckily, there are several ways you can stave off an attack from a member of the living dead, despite them being notoriously difficult to kill (already being dead and all). To avoid contact altogether, it’s recommended to stay inside (preferably in a concealed basement, padlocked from inside) and ensure that all scent tracks are eliminated outside your home. This can be done by giving your front door/ path a quick splash of bleach before bolting yourself inside. If they do manage do break through the locks, then a blow to the head is the only way to kill them. Remember- a zombie’s brain is the only thing ‘living’ in its whole body, so keep a sledgehammer handy for a straight-to-head attack. Failing that, start acting like a zombie if one spots you and hope they accept you as one of their own.

2. Vampires

Whilst Robert Pattinson has done his best to portray vampires as thoughtful and brooding, DO NOT believe the hype. For centuries, vampires have sucked the life out of many an innocent victim on Hallowe’en, luring them in as lovers or simply swooping into bedrooms at night. Common injuries sustained from vampires include neck lesions, deep puncture wounds and a general aversion to light (leaving those of us with day-time careers in a real pickle).

How to Fight Them:

Luckily, you needn’t have to claim for personal injury suffered at the hands of a vampire, as there are things to do to avoid an attack altogether. Common deterrents include wearing garlic around the neck or bedposts, fit metal bars to bedroom windows and keep a vial of holy water handy to splash on the Vampire should it manage to get too close. If all else fails, a wooden stake through the heart will kill any vampire after your blood, so maybe pop one in your handbag/ briefcase just in case.

3. Werewolves

Although most common around full moons, one happens to be falling just two days before Hallowe’en this year, so extra precaution must be taken to make sure you’re not having to call in sick with a severe case of excess body hair and an anger management problem. Common injuries sustained from werewolves include lacerations to the body/ face, deep bite injuries and a need to shave every 10 minutes or so (particularly tricky for customer-facing professions).

How to Fight Them:

In order to avoid injury at the clutches of a werewolf, do not linger around any dark sections of woodland this Hallowe’en. If you do happen to cross their path, a silver bullet through the heart really is the only way to kill them, so keeping one handy (with a legal, licensed firearm) is the only way to protect yourself fully. Rumours suggest that dog treats could deter them from an attack, but these remain unconfirmed (and potentially pricey, dependant on how many you stock up on).

4. Ghosts

Ghosts are rife at this time of year, and although many will not try to harm you, a fright at an inopportune time can cause injuries in the form of trips, falls and shock; all of which could results in time taken off work.  Although there are no foolproof methods to warn off ghosts, rumours suggest that many ghosts avoid religious symbols at all costs, so carrying a cross and having a priest on-hand for any exorcism emergencies is always a good idea when trying to avoid spirit-induced injury.

Credits:

 

Stay Safe this Halloween & See Our Strangest Injuries

Halloween is that time of year when you allow children and teenagers a bit more leeway. When you understand that a few tricks or pranks are bound to be played and at the end of the day, are all part of celebrating this holiday.

However, it is no coincidence that October 31st and the days surrounding it are also the days with the highest number of recorded accidents. The really scary thing on Halloween is not the ghosts and ghouls but the increase in potential hazards!

When you analyse Halloween, there are obviously many accidents waiting to happen. Young Children dressed in dark clothing, masks covering their faces, running around unaccompanied on dark streets. Then add in the annual pranks of throwing eggs and even fireworks and you’ve just about got most of the potential dangers.

Now enough of the doom and gloom, there is a solution! Follow these easy to implement steps that will make Halloween just as safe as any other night!

There are three main hazards on Halloween;

  • Road safety.
  • Fire safety.
  • Trip and fall safety.

One statistic that I find most frightening is the fact that you are four times more likely to be fatally killed in a road accident.

  1. Give your child a torch and take one for yourself!
  2. Walk on the pavements in single-file, or hold your child’s hand.
  3. Don’t skateboard, roller-blade or cycle.
  4. Make sure kids remove any mask that will obscure vision or affect how they can cross the road.
  5. Don’t allow children to run from house to house.

With Bonfire Night being just round the corner on Halloween, fireworks and fires in general are also a major hazard.

  1. When making or purchasing a costume, masks, beards, and wigs, use fire retardant materials when possible!
  2. Minimize the risk of contact with candles or other sources of ignition by avoiding costumes made with flimsy materials and with big, baggy sleeves.
  3. Keep candles, matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
  4. Teach your child “Stop-Drop-Roll”, should their clothes catch on fire.

Preventing trips and falls.

  1. Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
  2. Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling.
  3. Eye holes should be large enough for good peripheral vision.
  4. Torches help trick-or-treaters see where they are walking to prevent falls.

Five Strange Injuries

Licorice

Consuming too much black licorice may cause abnormal heartbeats, or arrhythmias, particularly in older adults. Black licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which can cause the body’s potassium levels to fall.

In some people, this can lead to, besides arrhythmias, edema (swelling), lethargy or congestive heart failure. Don’t eat lots of black licorice all at once; and if you’ve been binging on the stuff and you experience irregular heartbeats or muscle weakness, contact your doctor.

Bobbing for Applies Infections

An eye expert has warned that Halloween traditions such as bobbing for apples could put people at risk of serious corneal infections.

The Doctor said some scratches, infections and eye injuries were picked up from hitting an apple at force when playing the bobbing for apple game.

“And in addition to these types of injury, there is the possibility of people contracting potentially serious corneal infections from dirty water or residue of liquids if bowls aren’t cleaned properly,” he added. (BBC, 2010)

Egging

Egging is not only a major criminal damage hazard due to the smashed windows, dented cars and splattered driveways that usually occur each year but it can also result in some nasty injuries; I’m speaking from experience here!

There are not only a few bruises and black eyes from eggs but it can also result in scratches to the cornea and retinal swelling that can lead to severe visual impairments.

If you are going to go out egging this year, just make sure they’re not hard boiled!

Pranks going wrong

We’ve all seen some of the videos on Youtube where pranks go wrong to hilarious effect, however, there are also a lot more pranks that have resulted in serious injuries.

Pranks are part and parcel of Halloween and hopefully always will be! However, when planning or implementing your tricks just use common sense on what could go wrong and think if it’ll be worth it.

Check out this video of a classic Halloween Prank going wrong!

Pumpkin Carving

Designing and carving your pumpkin is a big part of Halloween, however. this again does not come without its dangers.

Cut and stab wounds are most common, with stories of an American Footballer ending their season with a hand wound and a pianist ending her potential career hopes.

Cows and People

As Cheshire lawyers, although we are based near major conurbations like Manchester and Liverpool, we are also fortunate to have easy access to wonderful countryside like the Derbyshire Peaks National Park, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. Although most of us would recognise the dangers inherent through poor weather conditions, whilst out and about, few of us would consider the threat caused by the humble cow.

Calving mother

 

All big animals have the potential to be dangerous, and cows, although predominantly docile, when stressed can very easily become aggressive. I myself have witnessed cows stampeding, whilst walking my dog, and would have been severely crushed had I not been on the right side of a dry stone dyke. Very sadly there are serious cases every year – during the summer in June a Halifax hiker was taken to hospital by the Great North Air Ambulance after sustaining life-threatening injuries after being attacked and trampled by cows – The Huddersfield Examiner.

The best documented case from a legal perspective was a Cumbrian woman who was awarded more than £250,000 in initial compensation after being severely trampled by cows – covered here in Peewiglet’s blog which also commentates on the problems in greater detail. Further cases have involved David Blunkett, the ex Labour minister, and horribly a female vet who was crushed to death by cattle whilst walking her dogs The Guardian.

I will leave the rather dry issues of the law in this area to Mr. Edwards, but from a common sense perspective it is incredibly difficult to understand, what your rights are given there are more than 10 Acts of Parliament involved, plus copious Health and Safety directives and more….

However in lay terms it may be useful to know that only bulls are banned from fields crossed by public rights of way, and only certain breeds of bull bizarrely! This means cows are allowed to roam relatively freely in the countryside.

In the majority of instances this is not normally a concern. However if cows get worried or nervous – most obviously when they are pregnant, or calves are under foot – BUT also particularly if dogs are present – then they can quickly become aggressive. Recent stats are hard to come by – partly because cattle injuries are reported separately depending on whether you are an agricultural worker or not. However the issues are of sufficiently significant concern that the HSE have just recently (August 2012) beefed up their advice to farmers, landowners and other livestock keepers. In short it suggests using a variety of means to keep cattle away from areas of land the public legitimately are expected to use or cross, and also specifically to increase signage, particularly if the cows are in calf. The detailed HSE (Health and Safety Executive) advice is here Cattle and Public Access .

Protective Mother

Both photos courtesy of Stuart Alldred on Flickr – Many Thanks!

Farmers of course have a right to earn a living and we the people have to be sensible too – particularly if you have a dog with you. The Rambler’s Association offer some very balanced and sanguine suggestions including:

  • Be prepared for cattle to react, and, where possible, walk carefully and   quietly around them – do not split up a clustered group.
  • If  you have a dog with you, keep it under close control, but do not hang on      to it should a bull or cow start acting aggressively.
  • Cattle  will usually stop before reaching you. If they do not, just carry on quietly, and do not run.
  • Should  a bull or cow come up very closely, turn round to face it. If necessary      take a couple of steps towards it, waving your arms and shouting firmly.
  • Above  all, do not put yourself at risk. If you feel threatened, find another way      round, returning to the original path as soon as is possible.
  • Remember to close gates behind you when walking through fields containing      livestock.

They have more detailed advice here in this section of their website Ramblers on Rights of Way .

However my final word of advice would be to keep on rambling but simply be “cow aware” and not get into these situations in the first place!

Costly Workplace Injury Cases (and how to help avoid them!)

Whilst injuries at work have substantially decreased over recent years, cases of accidents in the workplace are unfortunately still rife, with statistics showing that 171 workers were fatally injured at work in 2010/11. A whopping 603,000 workers were victims of accidents in the workplace in the same year; 200,000 of which led to an absence from work of three days or more. Continue Reading »

Rollercoaster Fun ?

I came across a story a few days ago  of a fairground ride in California that recently malfunctioned leaving  20 riders dangling 300 feet up for 4 hours! Eventually, after it had gone dark and the park had closed, the riders were all safely lowered back down, fortunately with no injuries. 

It actually turns out that this was the second problem with the ride in just a month! Get it fixed! 

At Edwards Hoyle we handle a number of fairground accident claims with litigation and claims against Oakwood Theme Park , Alton Towers , Drayton Manor Theme Park  and Greenwood Forest Park . After reading about the Californian drama ,  it made me think about other rollercoaster accidents and I decided to look into them in more detail.

A warning to all of the adrenaline junkies about to continue reading this, they happen a lot more than you’d like to think! 

Here are a few worldwide statistics and 5 examples showing a wide variety of rollercoaster related  injuries that have happened to thrill seekers : 

  • Each year there are over 270,000,000 people who visit Amusement and Theme parks.
  • There are approximately 7,000 people that are treated in emergency rooms each year due to an amusement park accident.
  • There are approximately 4-5 deaths each year due to an amusement park accident.
  • The majority of amusement park accidents are never reported.
  • Statistics for death on rides are approximately 1 in 250 million riders.

(Law Leaf).

 

5. Rita Queen of Speed.

 

 

( Photo Courtesy of Uriba ) 

A 12 year old girl was treated for two sprained wrists, which after an x-ray turned out to be fractured after riding Alton Tower’s Rita, Queen of Speed.

The ride boasts of its high acceleration with it doing 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and is based on the sport of drag racing. The Mother of the girl called for stricter height restrictions, however, the theme park denied this was necessary stating “The ride is safe and no changes to the ride, height restrictions or operating procedures are deemed to be necessary.” 

 4.  Mumbo Jumbo.  

Rollercoaster injuries are not just limited to physical injuries. A woman spent 20 minutes stuck upside down on the World’s steepest rollercoaster at Flamingo Land in North Yorkshire  and now claims to suffer from regular distressing flashbacks. It turns out the mechanical failure resulted from a poncho stuck on the track.

  ‘It was so frightening, I am still getting flashbacks. Every time I close my eyes, I can see us hanging upside   down. I was terrified the restraints would fail and we would come crashing down, it was awful.’ (Daily Mail,    2010 )( Photo courtesy of Roller Coaster Philosophy)

 

3. Superman Tower of Power. 

A young girl lost both of her feet in 2007 after riding the Superman Tower of Power ride at renowned theme park chain, Six Flags in Kentucky. 

During the ride a cable broke and literally whipped off the girls feet, they were later recovered, however, unfortunately only one could be reattached. The family filed a lawsuit against the theme park but Six Flags denies responsibility. ( Photo coutesy of hagerman )

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Luna Park. 

Ten people at a Russian theme park were left hanging upside down on a single wire on a rocket themed ride when the other safety wire broke.The Russian theme park blamed the accident on hot weather stating that this can sometimes cause safety wires to unravel. With theme parks normally being a summer attraction, I find this excuse quite worrying! 

Many of the people on the ride complained of head, back and neck ache after being lowered to the ground. 

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSj9P-xJJ70

 

1. Children’s ride! 

A Swedish man had his bottom impaled whilst riding a children’s go-kart style ride at a theme park in Sweden.The man jumped to the back of the car to allow his daughter to reach the pedals but didn’t realise there was a 6 inch tow bar protruding upwards from the back of the kart. The accident resulted in internal injuries and the man being prescribed morphine and penicillin. 

“It was terribly painful,” said the father. “It was a complete shock to the whole body.” (Examiner. 2012). 

Click on the link to see the pic! http://www.examiner.com/article/swedish-man-has-freak-accident-at-theme-park-and-has-bottom-impaled