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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Edinburgh office raise over £10,000 for homeless charity

The team in our Edinburgh office were thrilled to present a cheque for £10,040.86 to their local charity partner Fresh Start.

Fresh Start, located at Ferry Road, help people who have been homeless establish themselves in a new home. They provide:

  • Starter packs including basic essential household goods to help set up a new home;
  • Hit Squads where volunteers help tenants to decorate two rooms in their new home;
  • A training initiative to help people get back into the workplace.

Our staff have been busy raising money throughout the year with fundraising events including bake sales, running in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival and walking an incredible 26 miles along the John Muir Way from the Edinburgh office at 160 Causewayside to North Berwick. This is the second year the office have supported the charity.

Gordon Dalyell, Partner at the Digby Brown Edinburgh office said:

“Fresh Start offers those in need the facilities and skills to help break the cycle of homelessness. The team in Edinburgh have really enjoyed organising fundraising events to raise money for this remarkable charity.”

Biddy Kelly, Managing Director at Fresh Start said:

“We are absolutely delighted that the Digby Brown Edinburgh office chose Fresh Start as their local charity to raise vital funds for. Over the last two years, the staff team have been innovative in their approach to raising such a staggering amount of money and we cannot thank them enough for their commitment to our cause. 

"All of the money raised will go towards the direct service costs that help some of the most vulnerable people across Edinburgh, at a time when they need it the most, by providing them with the social and practical support they need to move forward with their lives.”

For more information on Fresh Start and the support they provide please visit their website http://www.freshstartweb.org.uk/ or find them on Twitter or Facebook.

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Should drivers be gambling with safety and using mobile phones?

If you spend any time standing at the side of a road it will not take long to tally a hefty number of people driving past using their phone. The top deck of a double-decker gives a good aerial view and can also reveal a startling trend of drivers passing whilst using their phone.

A survey by Transport Scotland and Department of Transport revealed Scottish drivers are significantly more likely to use their mobile phones whilst driving compared to anywhere else in the UK – and this doubles for younger drivers aged 17 to 24 years old.

They found more drivers using their mobile phones at traffic lights compared to on the move. However, by law even holding a mobile phone at any point while driving is an offence, including while the car is stationary at traffic lights or sitting in queuing traffic.

The police report that a driver is four times more likely to crash if using a mobile, and reaction speeds are halved.

However, the sad reality is that drivers continue to gamble with the safety of themselves and others. The growing trend of being glued to our phones at every waking moment has seemingly spread to include the time spent driving.

Perhaps people think they will not get caught, or perhaps they think that even if they do the penalty is light enough that they can afford to take the risk.

The real consequences of using your mobile whilst driving

Although the stricter penalties that came in force in March 2017 go some way to addressing such a mentality, if indeed that is the problem, it is worth remembering that it might not just be the fine, the points, the re-sit of the test and any increased insurance premiums that you need to worry about. 

There could also be adverse consequences for your job, your family life and your own freedom if you drive whilst using your phone.            

Driver reading text message sent to prison after causing fatal accident

Danny Warby was driving a 13.6 tonne vehicle when he crashed into a car being driven by off-duty police officer Det Con Sharon Garrett.  At the time, Mr Warby was reading a text message.  Mrs Garrett died at the scene. 

Mr Warby was convicted of dangerous driving, banned from driving for ten years and was jailed for six years.     

Driver using mobile phone jailed for 9 years after causing fatal injuries to cyclist

Cyclist Lee Martin suffered fatal injuries when he was struck by a van being driven by Christopher Gard. 

Mr Gard had at least six prior convictions for driving whilst using a mobile phone. He was jailed for nine years.    

Lorry driver distracted by mobile phone sentenced to 10 years after killing young family

Tomasz Kroker was driving a lorry when scrolling through music on his phone.  Although driving at 50mph, he had barely looked at the road for almost a kilometre. 

He crashed into the back of stationary traffic, instantly killing Tracy Houghton and her sons, Ethan, 13 and Joshua 11, along with her partner’s daughter, Aimee Goldsmith, 11.  Mr Kroker was sentenced to ten years in prison.        

The message cannot be more clear – aside from driving whilst using your phone being illegal, the consequences can be fatal and a moment of inattention could literally destroy your life and others. 

Be safe, and put your mobile phone away.

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Friday, January 25, 2019

Digby Brown funds tickets to “The Greatest Snowman” for charities

Digby Brown were proud to support Circus Starr again this year with their production of “The Greatest Snowman”.

Circus Starr was founded in 1987 and provides free places for disadvantaged, disabled or vulnerable children.

This year Digby Brown were able to offer places to a number of local children’s charities including: The Yard, Caudwell Children, The Brae Riding for the Disabled, Finding Your Feet and Bobath Scotland

Performers at the 2019 performance from Circus Starr

For parents the performances offer the opportunity to take their children along to something that they would have previously not considered an option.

One of the parents from the Dundee show said: “I just wanted to say a huge thanks to Caudwell Children and Digby Brown for providing us with the opportunity to visit the circus in Dundee. It was the first time that my son attended such an event and he enjoyed it so much! He even asked to go to the circus again!

“To be honest, I avoided taking my boy to various events due to his challenging and unpredictable behaviour. However, this opportunity taught me that my boy is able to concentrate and is ready to go to events.”

Caudwell Children (Scotland) arranged for families to attend all three performances and were inundated with requests for tickets, saying:

“At Caudwell Children (Scotland) we receive requests from families who feel attending this type of event would be really beneficial to supporting their child with disability. These Circus Starr tickets offer families the opportunity to attend an event that offers a fun but relaxed environment, enabling families’ time away from the demands and constraints of daily life.”

Performers at this year's Circus Starr.

Families from The Yard attended the Edinburgh event and they have had great feedback from the families that attended: “Adam had a lovely time it was great not to have a big wait before hand and staff were very friendly. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity and would recommend this to anyone who gets tickets in the future.”

The team from Circus Starr said: “At Circus Starr we pride ourselves on bringing fun and accessible arts to those that need it most, and we couldn’t do it without the amazing support of businesses like Digby Brown. Their continued generosity is simply amazing, and means that underprivileged children throughout Scotland get to make magical memories that can last a life time.”

Find out more about our work with Scottish charities or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

New legal promotions at Digby Brown

Digby Brown Solicitors is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Associates.

Rona Hayworth and Rachel Walker were recognised this month following a successful 2018 for the firm.

Rachel Walker and Rona Hayworth new Associates.

Both Associates joined the firm as trainees in 2011 – Rona now works with the Foreign & Travel Law team in Edinburgh while Rachel is with the Network department in Glasgow.

The pair earned their promotion through proven technical ability and consistent delivery of results for clients.

Rona said: “I am delighted to have been selected for promotion to Associate.

“I find the work challenging and rewarding and hope to build on my Foreign & Travel law experience whilst continuing to help client's in their time of need."

And Rachel added: “I am delighted to have been promoted to Associate at Digby Brown and look forward to helping more clients in the future."

The promotions followed the latest ranking figures from Chambers & Partners which saw Digby Brown graded as ‘Band 1’ in both the personal injury and clinical negligence fields.

Fraser Oliver, Chief Executive of Digby Brown, welcomed the new Associates into their new roles.

He said: “Both Rona and Rachel have consistently proven their technical expertise, commitment to the firm and passion for helping clients since they first joined seven years ago.

“We aim to surpass the expectations of our staff, legal peers and our clients and we believe that investing in our staff is just one aspect of unlocking this potential as we aim to lead in the field of Scottish personal injury litigation.”

A further five legal staff members were also promoted to Senior Solicitor at Digby Brown.

Digby Brown 2018 promoted Senior Solicitors.

From left to right: Fiona Fowle - Serious Injury Team, Amy Ferguson - Serious Injury Team, Vicki Alexander - GPIL, Maite Gurpegui - Foreign & Travel Team, Caroline Fraser - GPIL

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Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Is speeding worth the risk?

It was recently highlighted that 1,250 Scottish drivers were caught speeding in a mere week. It is clear that drivers are not recognising the risks involved.

A report by Police Scotland stated that 949 drivers were identified as driving above the limit by speed cameras and another 306 were stopped by police officers.

One driver was caught driving at 118mph in a 70mph limit on the A9 south of Inverness.

Another report found that more than 50 drivers were speeding near a number of Highland primary schools.

This is particularly worrying considering that children are less able to accurately judge the speed vehicles are travelling at, meaning it is more likely that they could walk out onto the road in front of your car.

We represented a young school pupil struck by a speeding driver after she was left with a life changing brain injury. The motorist was driving at 54mph – even though the speed limit was 30mph - and as she crossed the road with a friend, she was hit.

The faster you drive, the less likely it is that you will have enough time to identify a hazard such as a pedestrian crossing the road and will have enough time to react and stop the car.

At 20mph, it will take you about three car lengths to stop. At 30mph this increases to six car lengths, at 40mph, this rises to NINE car lengths. This will be even longer if you are tired or distracted by something.

Consider the difference that could make if a pedestrian steps out onto the road between parked cars, or someone gets out of a parked car.

It is also far more likely that the faster you drive, you will cause serious and life changing injuries in the event of an accident.

Stats clearly show that if a pedestrian is hit at 30mph they have a one in five chance of being killed. At 35mph, this increases to one in three.

You may think that because a child steps out in front of the vehicle, that by law they would be completely at fault. However, this is not always the case.

If a pedestrian walks out onto the road without looking properly and steps in front of an oncoming vehicle, it could still be possible for them to make an injury claim against the driver. However, there would be much debate over contributory negligence – how much was the pedestrian to blame, and this percentage would then be deducted from their compensation settlement.

For example, if the court determines that the pedestrian was 20% to blame for the accident and their own subsequent injuries, then their final compensation would be reduced by 20%.

Read more about what happens if pedestrians are partly to blame for the road accident.

For those caught speeding by the police, the minimum penalty is a £100 fine and three penalty points. For experienced drivers, you could lose your license if you have 12 or more penalty points within three years.

For new drivers, this could mean losing their license entirely if they have accrued six or more penalty points within two years of passing their test.

Quite simply, speeding is not worth the risk to yourself and those around you. Remember speed limits are in place for a reason, and you should reduce your speed to suit road conditions.

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