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Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas Hamper in aid of Headway Highland

Our Inverness office have raised over £300 for Headway Highland with their luxury Christmas Hamper filled with festive treats. For only £5 a strip, people were in for a chance to win this indulgent prize.

Sam Cowie, Associate solicitor in our Inverness office, visited the offices of Anderson Shaw and Gilbert where Director Findlay Boyd drew the lucky winner – congratulations to Suzanne!

Sam Cowie presenting Suzanne with her hamper.

Pictured above: Winner Suzanne and Sam Cowie, Associate Solicitor Digby Brown Inverness

Headway Highland deliver crucial support to individuals with a brain injury and their families in the local area. At Digby Brown, we represent people who have suffered serious brain injuries and we understand the impact this can have on their lives and their families.

Our Inverness office have been fundraising on behalf of Headway Highland throughout 2018. This year included another luxury hamper for Valentine’s Day, a race night that raised over £1,700 and sponsorship of their family day at Landmark Forest Adventure Park out in the summer.

It’s no wonder they were awarded excellence in corporate social responsibility in March this year.

Sam Cowie, Associate in our Inverness office said: “Thank you to everyone who took part in the raffle, and congratulations to Suzanne who was our lucky winner.

“We know everything we raised with the raffle – and all our other fundraising activities this year - helps Headway Highland deliver essential services to people living with a brain injury across the region so thank you to everyone for their support.”

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Wednesday, November 07, 2018

End of daylight savings time - the danger to child pedestrians

As the clocks roll back an hour, the unified sigh of relief in the UK for an extra hour of sleep lasts momentarily, until we realise that our commute to and from work will now occur in the dark!

The end of daylight savings time creates a number of hazards on our roads, but none more so than the risk to children.

Children are already vulnerable road users. Despite the best efforts of parents, schools and other bodies; children are more likely to be injured as a pedestrian than anyone else.

Figures recently released by Transport Scotland show over 900 child casualties in 2017. 152 were seriously injured and two died. The year before in 2016, there were nine child fatalities - the highest numbers recorded in almost 10 years.

The increase of in-car distractions was believed to have contributed to the increase in accidents reported in 2016.

While the number of children seriously injured as pedestrians is decreasing, the increase in distractions for young pedestrians is often causative – educating children on a few simple steps to stay safe on the roads is crucial as we enter darker mornings and evenings:

1. Visibility

If your child is walking to and from school, make sure they have reflective clothing. Particularly as the weather also deteriorates heading into winter, visibility on the roads decreases.

A reflective backpack is one option, however we suspect that may not be too popular! Alternatives are reflective zips, badges, arm-bands, snap bands and beanies – all of which can be purchased in different colours to help keep the children safe on the road.

2. Headphones and Mobile Phones

When we walk the streets, a good proportion of us are staring down at their phones oblivious to all around them. While this is not overly hazardous on pavements, it is extremely dangerous when crossing roads.

Encourage your children to remove headphones and place phones in their pocket when crossing the road. The old maxim of stop, look and listen is even more important in the dark – and children should be reminded to keep looking and listening until safely across.

3. Never Assume!

When we are young we feel invincible. We assume cars can see us and they will stop. The figures show this is not the case: children remain at risk.

Children should be taught to presume that a car will not see them. Teach them to always use crossings where available, and only when it’s unavoidable should they cross at an unmarked area and to do so with care. It should also be emphasised to never cross between parked cars.

2016 figures showed an increase in road fatalities in Scotland by 18%, and the view that in-car distractions contributed to that (around one third was surmised), the in-car distractions must be considered for pedestrians – if the driver is distracted they are at risk of injury, but the vulnerable pedestrian is at much more significant risk of harm.

Make yourself visible, take care when crossing, and don’t be distracted yourself!

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Thursday, September 06, 2018

Compensation for injured dog attack victim

Mrs Katrina Urquhart was on holiday with her husband at a caravan park when she was the victim of a dog attack.

They had brought along their own dogs to the caravan site and had met a fellow camper while out walking who was with his Alaskan Malamute dog. Mrs Urquhart greeted the dog and thereafter petted him.

A few days later, Katrina made her way across the caravan site. She stopped again to say hello to the dog. However, on this occasion, the dog turned on her aggressively, biting her arms.

Katrina was hospitalised for over a week and underwent surgery as a result of her injuries. She has been left with permanent scarring and permanent reduction in the strength of her grip.

On contacting our Inverness personal injury solicitors, they had to raise the case in court as the owner’s pet insurers denied any responsibility for the accident. The defending solicitors also denied responsibility throughout the preparation of the court case.

However, before the case was due to be heard in court, an offer of compensation was awarded to Katrina for the loss, injury and damage she suffered.

In Scotland, there are statutory provisions in place to ensure that in certain circumstances the keeper of a dog is found responsible for you or your child’s injuries. These rules can be found under the Animals (Scotland) Act 1987.

Under the 1987 Act, the keeper of the dog at the time of the injury is “strictly liable” if the injury was caused by “biting or otherwise savaging, attacking or harrying”.

So, the Act does not cover being knocked over by an overly affectionate dog, for example. If it can be demonstrated the injury was caused by biting or otherwise savaging then no more needs to be proven, even if the dog in question has never displayed such behaviour in the past.

It is important to bear in mind that the keeper of the dog must be identified in order for a compensation claim to progress. Under the 1987 Act the keeper of an animal is:

  1. The owner of the animal;
  2. The person in possession of the animal; or
  3. A person with “actual care and control of a child under the age of 16” who either owns the animal or has possession of it.

So, in the event that you or your child is attacked by a dog, it is very helpful to find out the identity of the owner or possessor of the dog. While dogs are privately owned animals, claims for dog attacks will usually be made against the owner/possessor’s household insurers i.e. the company they have their home contents insurance policy with.

If a claim is successful, the household insurers will be the ones to pay the compensation. While such household insurance details may not be exactly forthcoming in the immediate aftermath of an attack, we would encourage people to try to obtain details of any household insurance policies to prevent any long delays in securing compensation.

It must be noted that “strict liability” will not apply in cases where people provoke the dog into attacking them in self-defence. This is only for cases where injuries are caused by unprovoked attacks.

 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Supporting Headway Highland Family Day Out

We were delighted to sponsor Headway Highland Group’s family day out which took place at Landmark Forest Adventure Park on Monday 13th August.

Our Inverness office has chosen Headway Highland as their local charity partner for 2018, and will be raising funds to support the charity this year. 

Headway Highland provide vital support to people living with a brain injury and their families in the region. Often, we act for victims who have suffered serious head injuries and we understand the impact this can have on them and their families.

This family day out at Landmark Forest Adventure Park was open to Headway members, their families and carers. Admission to the park was entirely free of charge and there was a range of activities to suit everyone. Families could choose from going on the runaway timber train, the wild water coaster to discovering the butterfly house and exploring the ancient forest.

Headway members attend Headway Highland's Landmark Day out sponsored by Digby Brown

Both David McGowan, Associate Solicitor and Sarah Newman, Solicitor in our Inverness office went along to the day with our CSR manager Kirsten Smith.

Kirsten said: “Headway Highland is dedicated to supporting adults with acquired brain injuries and their families with a special focus on social activities.

“Sponsoring the group’s trip to Landmark allowed us to see first-hand the fantastic work the charity does and the difference our support can make.”

Lee Gordon, Development worker for Headway Highland said: "Headway Highland were delighted to receive support from Digby Brown Solicitors towards our Family day out at Landmark Forest Adventure Park.

“This day out is always eagerly anticipated by our members and their families and they always have a wonderful time enjoying the activities on offer."

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Monday, June 11, 2018

How safe is the A9 now?

The A9 has been renowned as one of the most dangerous roads to travel on in Scotland. Such was the level of concern about casualties on the stretch of road from Inverness to Dunblane, the A9 Safety Group was set up by the Scottish Government in 2012.

The key objective of this task force was to improve driver behaviour and subsequently improve the safety of road users.

Working closely with organisations such as Police Scotland and Bear Scotland, the Safety Group have implemented plans that they believe would have a positive effect on driver behaviour.

One of the most controversial strategies was the installation of average speed cameras in October 2014. Many regular road users were sceptical as to whether they would actually work and felt that the only result would be increased journey times.

Have the average speed cameras served a purpose?

In April 2018, the A9 Safety Group released a Data Monitoring and Analysis Report aiming to show the statistical differences since the installation of the cameras.

The number of drivers exceeding the speed limit prior to the installation of the cameras was one in three whereas now it has decreased to just one in fifteen. The impact of this on the safety of the road is clear to see from the data collated. Since 2014, there has been 10 fewer lives lost and 96 fewer injuries than in the comparative figures between 2011 and 2013.

In particular, the Perth to Inverness stretch of the A9 has seen the biggest changes, with the average number of fatal and serious casualties down by more than 32%.

How much longer is your journey taking?

The latest statistical analysis has shown that between Perth and Inverness, the variation in the length of time a journey will take is now between three and three and a half minutes. However, since 2013, the length of time that road user’s journeys are lengthened as a result of incidents on the road has lowered by a massive 25%.

What’s next for the A9?

The Government have made it clear that work remains to be done to try and further reduce the number of casualties on the A9 – despite the progress since 2013, there is still an average of four deaths per year.

The long term aim is to upgrade a stretch of 80 miles of road from single carriageway to dual carriageway by 2025 at a cost of £3bn. MSPs are confident this remains on track and it is hoped that road users will see the benefit of reduced journey times but will also see a much safer road.

At Digby Brown, we see all too often the devastating impact of road traffic accidents on the A9 and we welcome these changes to reduce unnecessary accidents on our roads.

However, even if you are careful and mindful on the road, there is always a danger that you may suffer an accident. If you have been injured a road traffic accident that was not your fault, it is important to seek expert, independent legal advice as soon as possible. Find out more about the process at What is the procedure of making a claim?

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