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Old man standing to the left with old building behind him

Monday, October 22, 2018

How easy is it for victims of low asbestos exposure to secure compensation?

For decades, employers exposed their workers to the known harmful substance asbestos. Employees that have then gone on to develop an asbestos related disease have been able to secure compensation following the negligence of their employer.

In saying this, those who have been exposed to low levels of asbestos have come across difficulties when trying to access compensation for their condition.

In the past it wasn’t just workers handling asbestos on a daily basis that came into contact with the dangerous fibres. Other staff within the work had the potential to be exposed to the harmful substance as well as the families of workers.

Some of those exposed to low levels of asbestos have gone on to develop an asbestos related condition later in life. For these individuals it is more difficult to prove that employers were at fault in order to secure compensation for their disease.

However, it looks like this could be changing.

Recently the English Court of Appeal overturned an previous ruling that enforced a high level of proof for those looking to prove the employer was at fault in a low level exposure case.

Not long after this, there were two Scottish cases which have reinforced the position in favour of low level exposure cases.

In a case against North British Steel Group, a member of staff based in the office would go to the factory floor to run an errand every now and again. This was where asbestos blankets were used. It was determined that the worker had been subjected to an adequate level of asbestos dust for North British Steel Group to be responsible for their asbestos condition.

In a further case against Babcock International Limited, the company was held accountable for secondary exposure of asbestos when a wife died of mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer, after asbestos fibres made it into her home on the clothes her husband wore at work.

These cases should be encouraging for those that are suffering from asbestos related diseases and their families. It shows that they should not give up hope and instead put their faith in the legal experts who are specialists in this field.

The law is changing…

Fraser Simpson Partner in Digby Brown's Industrial Disease Team

Fraser Simpson,
Head of Industrial Disease

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Glasgow office raise an amazing £2,359 for Simon Community Scotland

Solicitors in our Glasgow office held a Race Night last week, raising a fantastic £2,359 for their chosen charity Simon Community Scotland.

As well as the racing there was a raffle on the night. Prizes included a year’s membership at 29 Members Club, various overnight stays and afternoon tea at the Grand Central Hotel. 

Jenna Ingram, Volunteering Coordinator, from Simon Community Scotland opened the night with some information on the charity and what they do in the local area to help.

Simon Community Scotland are trying to combat the causes and effects of homelessness and offer services like 24/7 helpline support, street outreach and drop-in hub, residential accommodation and housing support.

On Facebook they said: “Huge thanks to the Digby Brown Glasgow team for raising £2,300 at their Race Night on Friday.“

Jenna Ingram from Simon Community Scotland starts the Digby Brown race night in Glasgow

Kirsten Smith, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Digby Brown, said: “Staff in our Glasgow office hosted a fun-filled event which raised a fantastic amount for Simon Community Scotland. We are proud to partner the charity and hope that the money raised will support their vision of combatting the causes and effects of homelessness in our community.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Dundee road casualties are dropping – is it enough?

In June 2009, the Scottish Government set national road accident casualty reduction targets for 2020 with the aim of improving road safety and reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads by 40% and 55%.

Provisional statistics for 2017 published by Transport Scotland reveal a continuing downward trend of reported road casualties in Scotland with the lowest numbers recorded since records began in 1950.

Sadly, however, there were still over 9,000 reported road casualties which included 146 fatalities and 1,580 people seriously injured. These statistics show that further measures are required to ensure our roads are as safe as possible for the individuals using them.

At a local level, provisional figures for Dundee City show that the total number of accidents and casualties is dropping, although the number of fatal and serious injuries reported remains the same in 2017 as the 2013 to 2017 average being one fatality and thirty three people seriously injured.

The overall reduction is good news. However, despite statistics showing the picture is improving, it is important to remember the devastation on a human level that is caused by fatal and serious road accidents.

To continue with these improvements, Dundee City councilors are being asked to agree to £150,000 of new road safety measures at areas across the city. Over a dozen locations have already been identified for improvement work in the coming year, but these changes may not be popular with everyone.

Earlier this year, an experimental 20 mph zone was brought into force targeting specific residential areas around Dundee. These measures were not universally popular with residents but they could potentially become permanent and rolled out to other areas of the city from next May.

Although the lower 20mph speed limits will mean longer journey times for drivers, which can be frustrating, driving at 20mph instead of 30mph can make a big difference if you are involved in a road traffic accident.

A belted front seat passenger is three times more likely to be seriously injured in an impact speed of 30 mph than 20 mph. For pedestrians, that difference could be life saving.

Around 95% of pedestrians who are struck at speeds below 20 mph will survive. At speeds between 20 to 40 mph, nine out of ten pedestrians are killed.

We act for a number of individuals injured as a result of accidents on Dundee’s roads as well as family members of loved ones sadly killed as a result of these accidents. We see first-hand the devastation that these road accidents cause and welcome improvements that can avoid destruction on our roads.

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