Law Injury Claims News

Homeowners Can Now Claim Compensation for Unfair Spanish Mortgage Clauses

January 23rd, 2017 | By licnewsadmin

The government in Madrid has outlined the process for up to four million homeowners to claim compensation for unfair Spanish mortgage clauses.

Through the property boom, many Spanish banks offered mortgages with attractive introductory interest rates followed by a variable rate linked to EURIBOR. Unfortunately for many homeowners, the mortgage agreements also included a “clausula suelo” – a floor interest rate that would apply should the EURIBOR fall below a certain level.

The clauses advising of the floor interest rate were often buried deep within lengthy and complicated mortgage agreements, and often overlooked. Consequently, once the introductory period had finished, homeowners found themselves making increased mortgage repayments, even though the EURIBOR rate had fallen to historic lows.

Homeowners who tried to claim compensation for unfair Spanish mortgage clauses initially got little sympathy from the courts. Judges typically agreed with the banks´ interpretation of the law that it was the homeowner´s responsibility to understand the mortgage agreement before signing it – despite the clause being reportedly responsible for 90% of mortgage defaults and home evictions.

In May 2013, Spain´s Supreme Court found that the floor interest rate clauses were unfair and should be voided in mortgages sold by Spain´s second biggest lender – BBVA. A class action followed and, in April 2016, a judge in Madrid´s commercial court ruled that forty banks should refund the “quantities improperly charged” to more than 15,000 homeowners.

The ruling was questioned by the European Commission for only backdating the compensation for unfair Spanish mortgage clauses to May 2013. Commissioners wanted to know, if the clauses were to be voided, why they were not voided for the life of the agreements. The court´s response was that to pay the full amount of compensation for unfair Spanish mortgage clauses would cost €4 billion and cripple the already-struggling financial sector.

Nonetheless, in December, the EU Courts of Justice ruled that homeowners were entitled to a full refund of the interest they had been overcharged, plus interest on the overcharged amount. Concerned about a rush of claims for compensation for unfair Spanish mortgage clauses, the Spanish government have acted quickly and, last Friday, issued a decree about how the claims process should proceed.

Spain´s Economy Minister – Luis de Guindos – announced that the liable banks should identify and write to each homeowner with floor interest rates in their mortgage agreement, and offer them compensation for unfair Spanish mortgage clauses. The banks have three months in which to do this, while homeowners will have fifteen days from receipt of the offer to decide whether to accept it or negotiate a better settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached within three months, homeowners have the right to claim compensation for unfair Spanish mortgage clauses through the courts.

Some banks have already indicated that they will not fully comply with the decree. The BBVA has said that, where the bank can identify the homeowner was represented by a financial or legal professional, they will not consider themselves liable for the failure to advise the homeowner of the clause. Banco Sabadell has made a similar argument for cases in which it believes the mortgage agreement was “transparent”.

Due to the potential for claims for compensation for unfair Spanish mortgage clauses to be contested, Spanish property owners in the UK are advised to seek professional legal advice at the first practical opportunity.

Holidaymakers Compensated for Illness

December 1st, 2016 | By licnewsadmin

 

A couple, whose holiday in Egypt was ruined after eleven of their thirteen quests fell ill, has been awarded a five-figure settlement of compensation by their tour company.

Brian Pilling, a sixty-one year-old retired labourer from Chesham in Buckinghamshire, and his wife Pamela decided to treat their family to a luxury holiday. The couple decided to visit the five-star Sea Club Resort in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt. After spending over £17,000 on the trip, the Pilling family were greatly looking forward to the trip and booked several adventure activities such as quad biking or camel rides. Yet just five days into the holiday, some of the family members started falling ill.

Recounting his experience, Brian – one of the first to fall ill – said: “I thought at first it would just be a day thing, a little gastric upset but wow was I wrong… In the end, we had to ask the hotel doctor to visit. He immediately put me on an intravenous rehydration with antibiotics and paracetamol.”

Eventually, eleven of the thirteen family members on the holiday became ill. Two – including Brian – required intravenous fluids, for rehydration and others had to go on a course of antibiotics. Even upon returning to the UK, many of the holidaymakers report that their symptoms didn’t subside. Brian commented, “The holiday was a great disappointment devastated by illness and I wish we had never gone.”

Acting on behalf of all the ill family members, Brian and Pamela consulted a personal injuries solicitor and subsequently made a claim for sickness whilst on holiday in Egypt. The claim was made against Thomson Holidays, the company that organised the trip, and sought compensation for both the cost of the holiday and the suffering of each family member that fell ill.

In the claim, the couple alleged that the stomach bug stemmed from substandard hygiene conditions at the luxury resort. They claim that the food was not cooked thoroughly and small birds were regularly seen around the uncovered food. After Thomson Holidays investigated the allegations, they settled the claim for compensation with the couple for £29,850.

Scottish Construction Engineer to Claim Compensation for Work Injury

October 5th, 2016 | By licnewsadmin

An engineer from Scotland, who was gravely injured whilst working on a construction site in Arbroath, has begun the process of claiming for work injury compensation.

On the 24th September 2013, Connor Watson – then aged just seventeen years old – was working for DJ Laing Ltd on the Arbroath Flood Protection Scheme. Connor was assigned to a team that needed to replace a damaged pipe that was behind an old letterbox. The letterbox was built into a wall supporting a railway line connecting Arbroath to Forfar.

As Connor was removing the blocks such that the team could access the pipe, the entire structure collapsed. A concrete wall weighing 0.46 tonnes fell onto the young man’s legs, crushing them. After intense rehabilitation, Connor has thankfully regained use of his limbs, though is still limited in the activities he can undertake. For example, once a keen football player, he may never play the sport properly again. He has also been warned that he will probably develop arthritis in his limbs by his thirties.

The Health and Safety Executives conducted an investigation into the workplace accident, determining that DJ Laing Ltd did not carry out proper safety checks on the structure before assigning Connor to work on it. As this is a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act, the company were fined £32,000 last year at Forfar Sheriff’s Court.

However, DJ Laing Ltd run a successful “return to work” scheme for employees that have been absent on extended leave. As such, Connor has resumed work at the company, though still harbours concerns that he will be excluded from future job markets.

Connor and his family sought the advice of a personal injuries solicitor and prepared a case for claiming compensation. Connor’ solicitor has stated to the press that he doesn’t expect the claim to be a question of “if” his client is compensated, solely by “how much” he is.

David J Laing, Managing Director of DJ Laing Group Ltd, commented that “I confirm that Connor is currently employed by DJ Laing (Contracts) Limited and was involved in a serious accident on one of our civil engineering sites in September 2013. Connor is currently undertaking a return to work rehabilitation programme and the matter of compensation is being dealt with by our insurance company.”

Solicitors Investigate Greek Holiday Food Poisoning Allegations

September 23rd, 2016 | By licnewsadmin

 

A couple from Cheshire have ordered their solicitors to begin an investigation into their allegations of a poor standard of hygiene in a Crete holiday resort after one of the couple developed severe food poisoning.

William and Leanda Kidley holidayed in the Katrin Suites Resort, a three-star holiday resort in Stalis, Crete, in August 2015. However, towards the end of their holiday, William – who works as a Transport Support Manager – began feeling unwell, complaining of flu-like symptoms. Upon the couple’s return to Cheshire, he also developed diarrhoea.

After visiting his GP, William was referred to the Warrington General Hospital such that diagnostic tests could be conducted. William was subsequently diagnosed with campylobacter food poisoning, and as such was admitted to hospital. Though he stayed there for a week, he has yet to fully recover.

Once the results of the tests came back, the couple consulted a personal injuries solicitor, believing that William’s illness was a direct result of the poor standard of hygiene practiced at the resort. The solicitors will investigate these claims, and if they can find a direct link between the standard of hygiene and William’s diagnosis, Thomas Cook – the travel company with whom the couple booked their unfortunate holiday – have already stated that they will pay a compensation settlement. Thomas Cook were operating as FlexibleTrips when the booking was made.

The couple allege that much of the food at the resort was left out in the open all day, and as a result, they often saw flies. Additionally, they claim that the food that was served to them was often inadequately cooked.

Leanda, speaking to her local press, has commented that “The last thing we ever expected when we booked the holiday was for either of us to end up in hospital going through tests to find out exactly what was wrong. William missed time off work because of the problems he was having and it took him a long time for his stamina to improve and even now he has not made a full recovery.”

Child Compensated for Scrambler Bike Trauma

August 23rd, 2016 | By licnewsadmin

A seven year-old girl, who sustained grave injuries because of a passing motorcycle when she was just four years old, has been awarded a five-figure settlement of compensation for her injuries.

The girl, who has remained anonymous though is known to come from Co. Armagh, was injured as she was playing outside her grandparents’ house aged four in 2013. As she was playing, a passing motorcyclist veered too close and scraped the child’s cheek with the handlebars of his scrambler bicycle.

The impact caused a gash to be made in the four year-old’s cheek, which extended to her mouth. She suffered extreme damage to her jaw and teeth, though her injuries were not purely physical. The young girl developed a phobia of loud noises, particularly those from motorcycle engines, and had recurring nightmares in the weeks after the incident.

Acting on the girl’s behalf, her mother – whose anonymity has also been preserved – made a claim for the scrambler bike injury against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. The body admitted liability for the injuries, and the case proceeded to the courts in Belfast for assessment.

Mr Justice Stephens presided over the assessment hearing, where he heard evidence that the since the incident, the young girl was becoming dependent and clingy at the sound of motorcycles. Additionally, whenever the engines could be heard passing her house, she would scream in terror.

The judge also examined the scar left by the accident, noting that “when the plaintiff smiles, expressing happiness and enjoyment, the impact of the smile is spoilt by the scar becoming markedly indented.”

He proceeded to describe the child as “relatively shy”, adding that the obviousness of the scar meant that she would be very conscious of it as she grew. The nature and location of the scar means that plastic surgery is unlikely to have a pronounces effect.
The court awarded the child £90,000 in compensation for the injuries she sustained, accounting for both the physical and psychological effects of the accident.

Driver Compensated for Workplace Injury

July 29th, 2016 | By licnewsadmin

A lorry driver has settled his claim for workplace compensation after he injured his back whilst delivering milk to clients.

The accident occurred last year when Ross Knowles, aged fifty from West Yorkshire, travelled to Peterborough to deliver a consignment of milk. As he was finishing the delivery, he lost his grip on the handle of the lorry and then fell backwards. Ross was knocked out upon impact with the ground and also sustained damage to his spinal cord and vertebrae.

Ross was rendered unable to work because of the intense and chronic pain that resulted from his injuries. As such, upon seeking legal counsel, he decided to make a claim for work injury compensation against Buckley Farm Dairy, his employers. In the claim, Ross alleged that – as he was working at a height – he should have been provided with a ladder. Instead, he had to climb up onto the lorry’s trailer every time one of the pallets needed to be moved.

Buckley Farm Dairy conceded liability for Ross’ injuries, offering him a settlement of compensation worth £39,000. However, though he accepted the settlement, Ross has still expressed concerns following his future employment. In speaking with the Wakefield Express, Ross said that  “I would love to go back to work at some stage. But I don’t know what else I can do. I’ll have to see what the doctor says because I’m very limited now. If I carry too much, my back goes”.

Additionally, due to the nature of his injuries, Ross sold his two-story home and bought a bungalow such that he could avoid climbing stairs. “The pain in my lower back means I can’t get into a bath” he told his local newspaper. “I’m on incapacity benefit and I can’t work because of my medical condition and the pain I’m in. I don’t think I will get my HGV licence back and I’ll be on medication for the rest of my life.”

Negotiations Settle Car Crash Compensation Settlement

June 11th, 2016 | By licnewsadmin

A man, who suffers from psychological trauma after his car was involved in a fatal car crash, has been compensation £30,000 for his difficulties

The tragic accident occurred in the 8th March 2012, when Warren Smith – a fifty-two year-old man from Lancashire – was driving from Burnley to Rochdale. However, along the A671 Bacup Road, his car collided head-on with another vehicle as it was making a  sharp turn – on the incorrect side of the road.

The other driver – who was determined to be at fault in the accident – was fatally injured. Warren was rushed to hospital, suffering from multiple head, chest and back injuries. Since the accident, Warren has not been able to return to work as a contracts manager, as it requires him to drive for long distances, which is no longer possible with his injuries.

However, Warren also sustained extensive psychological trauma as a result of the accident. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yet when he first tried to claim compensation for his injuries, the negligent driver’s insurers did not take his psychological damage into account. Warren was told that negotiations would likely end in a £3,000 settlement.

Warren consulted a second solicitor and was told that he could submit a new claim that would account for all of his injuries. Renewed negotiations proceeded, which lead to a settlement of £30,000. This will help pay for Warren’s therapy.

In a comment to the Lancaster and Morecambe Citizen newspaper after the announcement of the claim, Warren said that  “People should not underestimate the consequences of car accidents and I am lucky to be alive. I am still haunted by the events of that day and my injuries are a constant reminder of the fact that someone died in the crash. But I am incredibly relieved that I now have access to the care and support that I need to move forward with my life.”

 

Bus Crash Victims to Seek Compensation

May 9th, 2016 | By licnewsadmin

The claims for bus injury compensation are expected to be made once a police investigation into the crash has been completed.

On the 3rd March 2016, there was a three-way collision involving two cars and a bus on the Bridlington Road in Chesterfield. One of the car drivers sustained such serious injuries that they had to be airlifted to the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham; the other, along with seven passengers on the bus, were taken to the Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

The police then commenced an investigation into the accident, and then proceeded to arrest a thirty-seven year old man on suspicion of dangerous driving which then caused the crash. Since the accident, victims have begun to consult solicitors on the possibility of claiming compensation. These claims are likely to proceed once more headway has been made into the police investigation.

Seventy-year old Mavis Blood, who had been travelling on the number 70 bus at the time of the collision, was diagnosed with a bleed on her brain after she was taken to the Royal Chesterfield Hospital. She also had many deep lacerations on her face. Though she was kept overnight to monitor her condition, doctors determined that she had mercifully escaped the crash without permanent injuries.

Ellen Chapman, Mavis’ granddaughter, made a statement to the Derbyshire Times shortly after the accident. In it, she commented that: “She went to hospital and there was concern because she’s 70 she’s high risk, and they found she’s got a bleed on the brain, likely because she takes blood thinning tablets. They’re monitoring her and hoping the bleed will sort herself out.”

A solicitor representing one of the victims has also commented that “The consequences of such incidents should not be downplayed, as through our work acting on behalf of clients we have seen how crashes of this nature have left victims suffering from not only their physical injuries months after the event, but also the psychological trauma.”

Negotiations Resolve Claim for Animal Attack

April 12th, 2016 | By licnewsadmin

The claim, made by the widow of a man who was killed after being attacked by a bull, was resolved through out-of-court negotiations for an undisclosed figure.

The accident occurred in November 2010, when Glenis and Roger Freeman were walking on a public path that went through the Underhill Farm in Stanford-on-Soar in Leicestershire. However, as   they were walking they began to be trailed by a heard of cows. Yet as they quickened their pace, a bull that was in the heard attacked, seriously injuring both Glenis and Roger.

Glenis managed to crawl to safety on a road nearby and signal to a passing car for assistance. An ambulance was called to the scene, and both victims received emergency first-aid before they were taken to the hospital. Upon her arrival, Glenis was put into a medically-induced coma and was treated for a fractured wrist, broken ribs and a ruptured spleen. When she was woken up from her coma, she learned that her husband Roger had tragically died from his injuries.

After an investigation into the circumstances of the accident, Paul Waterfall – the owner of the farm – was charged with gross negligence manslaughter. The Nottingham Crown Court acquitted him in May 2014, after which time Glenis had sought compensation for the injuries that she had suffered – both her physical and emotional traumas.

Negotiations ensued between the parties, after which the claim for compensation was settled for an undisclosed sum. However, Glenis’ solicitor described the settlement as “significant”.

Whilst speaking to her local paper after the settlement of the claim, Glenis said: “The trial was extremely distressing and I was particularly upset with the not-guilty verdict. I hope that the settlement of this case goes a long way to stop this ordeal happening to anyone else. If only there had been a sign up saying there was a bull in the field, we wouldn’t have gone into the field, and Roger would still be alive today. All farmers should follow the HSE recommendation and put up a sign. As it is, this settlement has shown that farmers can be found liable if they do not show a duty of care to the public.”

Negotiations Commence for French Cycling Accident

March 4th, 2016 | By licnewsadmin

 Negotiations have begun between an English man who was severely injured whilst cycling in France and the insurance company of the motorist who ran him over. 

 When Christopher Brody, aged forty-seven from Sutton Coldfield, was on holiday in Brittany with his wife and two sons, the family decided to go on a tour of the region on bicycles. However, whilst cycling, Mr Brody was hit by a passing camper van and then dragged under it for a stretch of the road, sustaining severe injuries.

Mr Brody was transported to a hospital in Brest, where emergency surgery was carried out to try and repair some of the damage to his body. The injuries he sustained were extensive and included fractured vertebrae, nine fractured ribs, a broken wrist and numerous deep lacerations across his body. Mr Brody also went on to show symptoms of psychological distress and contracted an infection in his right arm.

 After two months in the French hospital, Mr Brody was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where a second operation was carried out to repair his fractured pelvis. Five weeks later, he was discharged, but remains an outpatient at the clinic, continuing to receive treatment and rehabilitation.

 During his recovery, Mr Brody sought legal counsel concerning his accident and then proceeded to make a claim for compensation against the French motorist who ran him over. Mutual de Poitiers, the motorist’s insurance company, admitted that their client was liable for Mr Brody’s accident and have commenced negotiations with Mr Brody’s legal representatives. The purpose of the claim is to ensure that Mr Brody receives adequate compensation for his treatments.

Mr Brody commented after the accident that “The accident just happened so quickly. One minute I was cycling along the road, the next I was being dragged along the road by a vehicle that had struck me from behind. I have been signed off work for six months and have been forced to completely change my living arrangements at home due to my injuries. I know I face a long road to recovery and a prolonged spell of physiotherapy.”


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