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Achieving fair compensation

Digby Brown legal funding helps client achieve 3-fold increase in compensation

Mr M was a self-employed sheep shearer but after an accident on a farm, he was left with permanent eye damage. Our solicitors at Digby Brown investigated and pursued a claim against the farm to compensate him for his injuries, securing over four times the initial offer.

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Injury at work case settles for over 3.5 times original compensation offer

Our client was injured at work, sustaining a crush injury to his right thumb, with scarring and loss of sensation, when a spreader beam toppled over. With expert advice and funding, the claim settled for £8,000, over 3.5 times the pre litigation offer of compensation made by the insurers.

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Fife client receives six-figure sum after shoulder injury

After a woman tripped on a temporary manhole cover being used by Fife Council, breaking her shoulder, she initially pursued a claim for compensation herself. However, she approached Digby Brown for a second opinion on the compensation offer made by the council. In the end, with our help, the case settled for a six figure sum, many times more than the original offer made.

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Client receives almost four times the initial offer insurance company were prepared to offer

A front seat passenger injured in a road traffic accident contacted Digby Brown for legal advice about making an injury claim. Our specialist personal injury solicitors negotiated with the third party insurers and settled the case for £6,000 - over three times the initial offer.

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The dangers of allowing other sides Insurer to deal with your personal injury case

Mrs M. was involved in a high speed crash on the M74 whilst travelling on holiday. Esure represented the driver at fault and persuaded Mrs M. that they could deal with the claim on her behalf. After almost 3 years of no progress and poor medical intervention Mrs M. contacted Digby Brown. We raised a court action and £7,500 was obtained in settlement.

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Insurers trying to deliberately under-settle cases

Our client contacted Digby Brown after he suffered whiplash and a soft tissue injury to his chest in a road traffic accident. The insurers made him an offer of £1,648 but we secured a final offer of £6,500 - approximately x 4 the initial offer made by the insurers.

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Road worker receives over ten times the original offer after serious accident at work

Mr S. was employed by Aberdeenshire Council as a roads worker but was injured after he was trapped between a lorry and a chipping machine used to lay gravel. He developed arthritis in both knees and was unfit to return to heavy work, eventually retiring on ill health. His injury at work claim settled for £250,000 - over ten times the original offer - compensating him for his injuries and future loss of earnings.

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The importance of speaking to a specialist firm of personal injury lawyers

Mr P. was involved in a road traffic accident in which he was hit from behind by a third party vehicle. Previous solicitors had secured interim payments on Mr P's behalf totalling £2,852 but failed to secure any more compensation. After Digby Brown took over the handling of his case, Mr P's case settled for £300,000 gross of benefits received.

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Don’t DIY your PI case

After Mr M. was injured in a road traffic accident, he initially dealt with the insurance company of the negligent driver directly - rather than seeking the assistance of a solicitor. However, he was unhappy with the offer made by the insurers and contacted Digby Brown. After arranging for the right reports from expert medical professional and raising an action in the Court of Session, Mr M.’s claim settled for £7,500 – over five times the original offer.

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Contact Digby Brown

Learn more about clients we have helped or if you would like to speak with someone about your circumstances, please either call us on 0333 200 5925 or text help to 83310. Alternatively you can fill in our online form.

 

Work accident case studies

Inverness injury lawyers dispute wage loss for work claim

Inverness injury lawyers at Digby Brown dispute wage loss for client on a zero hour contract for workplace injury claim.

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The right Ayr lawyers for work accident claim

After initially instructing another firm, Mr Sharkey got in touch with the solicitors in Digby Brown's Ayr office and realised that they were the right lawyers to fight for his work accident claim.

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Doing my job got me injured at work

Our client was injured at work when he tripped and fell over 14 feet through a floor. Solicitors in Digby Brown's Edinburgh office managed to secure fair compensation following his ordeal.

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Victim of exploding coffee machine awarded £180,000

Our client was injured when a coffee machine at her place of work malfunctioned and exploded leaving her disabled. Our solicitors were able to secure £180,000 in compensation for her injuries.

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Injured worker gets justice after lawyer fails to do a good job

Digby Brown Edinburgh help Mr Queen after a high street lawyer failed to obtain fair compensation for his accident at work.

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Court award 6 times more compensation for injury claim

Stewart Dewar was working as a delivery driver when he badly injured his back at a delivery to a supermarket in Stirling.

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Saw accident at work succeeds with injury claim

Mr MacDonald was working for a building supplies company in the Highlands when he was injured using a saw.

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Dundee solicitor receives a lovely thank you from client

Our client was unable to return to work after his accident and was medically retired. Our Dundee solicitors secured £120,000 -  six times more than the original offer.

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Stepping in to help after a work accident

Mr H was employed by a construction company and was working on a local housing development in Fife when the accident happened.

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Man injured by chainsaw at work

Martin was employed as a Tree Surgeon by a local company in Aberdeen when he was injured by a chainsaw.

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Stuart McLean – Successful outcome after life-changing injury at work

Stuart McLean was seriously injured at work when he and his team were taking down an old warehouse in Fife, negatively impacting on his future career and job opportunities.

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Worker injured due to health and safety failings

Sheila broke her wrist in an accident at her work in Edinburgh when she slipped on water. She had been working at the factory for almost 29 years as a process operator.

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Compensation for accident at work in Fife cafe

Mrs Robertson was injured as a result of the negligence of a fellow employee at the cafe where she worked.

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Injury at work case settles for over 3.5 times original compensation offer

Our client was injured at work, sustaining a crush injury to his right thumb, with scarring and loss of sensation, when a spreader beam toppled over.

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Aberdeen solicitors secure 6 figure settlement for work injury

Gordon Lorimer was seriously injured in a work accident that could have been prevented if the right health and safety regulations had been followed.

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Work injury claim settles for five times original offer

Our Inverness office secure over five times the original offer using new Pursuer Offer.

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Initial injury deteriorated causing Mr P. to give up work

Mr P. was injured whilst at work and although his injuries at first did not appear very serious, he was forced to give up his job as his injuries developed.

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£125,000 for welder who badly injured his shoulder

Mr R. was unable to return to working as a welder after he was injured working in the Highlands.

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£9k settlement after injury caused by lack of Personal Protective Equipment

Our client injured his hand in an industrial accident at work and his employer denied liability for the accident.

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Accident at work aboard tanker vehicle in Lanarkshire

Following Mr X’s accident at work, he found it painful to drive and carry out his role at work but his employer ignored his requests for compensation.

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Industrial accident in East Lothian

Mr N was working for a firm manufacturing aircraft parts in East Lothian when he was injured in the face by a metal rod he was using.

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Container door which injured client should never of been used

Mr V. worked for a demolition company when he was injured by a defective container door at work.

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Injury at work claim awarded £100,000

Mr Meadows suffered a nasty injury during a lifting operation at work. Specialist solicitors secured 5 times more compensation for Mr Meadows.

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Foot injury aggravated after fall at work

Our client had not long returned to work after an operation on her foot. She was using crutches when she fell at work, aggravating her foot injury.

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Client felt disloyal pursuing work accident claim but needed to secure families future

"The compensation has secured my future and my daughters’ future which was my main priority."

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Work accident in Fife secures compensation after court proceedings

Mrs P worked in a local factory in Fife when she was injured in a fall at work. She came to Digby Brown’s Kirkcaldy office for help making a claim for compensation.

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Back injury caused by disputed accident at work settles for £60,000

Our client injured his back in an accident at work. He couldn’t return to heavy manual work and was made redundant at work.

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Six figure compensation for man seriously injured working on farm

When Raymond came to Digby Brown after his work accident, our solicitors obtained liability and began negotiations to reach a six figure settlement.

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Compensation for accident at work in Edinburgh hair salon

Mrs H. suffered a nasty forearm fracture after slipping on a wet floor at work, a hair salon in Edinburgh. The salon refused to accept full responsibility for her injuries.

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Failure by employer to abide by health and safety regulations cause of accident

Mr W. was injured when he fell from a ladder whilst working as a roofer. Had someone been footing the ladder, the accident could have been avoided.

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Health and safety, accident at work caused by lack of provision of a step-ladder

Ms C. was working as a sales assistant in a soft furnishings store when she was injured carrying out her job.

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Accident at work, caused by lack of training, leaves client with knee injuries

Mr J, a young man who had just started a job with a manufacturing firm, suffered knee injuries after a heavy piece of metal fell on him.

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Legal funding helps client achieve 3-fold increase in compensation

Digby Brown's personal injury lawyers were able to use their legal funding to help a client achieve a 3-fold increase in compensation following an injury in an accident at work.

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Contact Digby Brown Solicitors

If you have been injured at work and would like to speak with someone, please either call us on 0333 200 5925 or text help to 83310. Alternatively you can fill in our brief enquiry form.

 

Cycling accident claims

Making a cycling accident claim for compensation in Scotland

Cycling in Scotland has never been more popular. For recreation, for commuting, for sport however it is now a sad fact that cyclists are now starting to overtake motorcyclists in the number of serious accidents which happen on Scottish roads. When you take into account that helmets are not compulsory and the safety clothing used is nowhere near as robust, it is easy to see why serious injury occurs when a cyclist is hit in a road traffic accident.

Numerous situations occur where the motorist will fail to see the cyclist and if you add into the mix the potential for bad weather creating poor visibility, the state of the road network or diesel spillages it does make cycling a potentially hazardous activity.

Digby Brown has seen an expediential rise in personal injuries from those involved in bicycle accidents in our Scottish cities, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Dundee especially, with these claims accounting for some very serious injuries.

In addition to our existing case load Digby Brown acts for the British Cycling Federation for members in Scotland which has again seen an explosion of popularity but leading to an increase in personal injuries.

If you are involved in cycling accident what should you do? 

Unlike your fellow motorist you are unlikely to have an insurance policy and therefore do not have an organisation at your back to fight your side, if the accident circumstances are disputed.

We would suggest giving Digby Brown a call, explain what happened and we will be able to help.

We will explain the process of making claim, the process of funding the claim, on a no win no fee basis, and what you should do next.  It is likely your injuries will have caused you to take time off work, caused additional expense, in the least your bike will require repair if not replacement – these days, that can easily run in to hundreds of pounds.

We have the expertise to help, call 0333 200 5925, text help to 83310 or fill in our brief enquiry form and someone will contact you.

Brain injury claims

They call it a hidden disability but for those closest to someone who has an acquired brain injury it is anything but hidden. It is hard to imagine or understand the consequences for someone who is affected by a brain injury. 

Digby Brown Solicitors has been helping the families of a loved one who has sustained a brain injury as a result of negligence in an accident, for many years. As a firm we are personal injury specialists but that doesn’t really tell the story.

Digby Brown has worked with people and been involved in Scotland with organisations involved in brain injury for over 40 years. The experience built up over this time truly allows us to call ourselves experts in our field.

Does that help you?  Not really.  As a family member of someone, who is a patient in hospital or has been recently discharged, you are still reeling from the immediate aftermath of a serious brain injury accident.  You will have many questions. Some of them you might not at this stage want to know the answer to. We understand this, we have helped many other families in the same situation, over time, come to terms with the situation and deal with the issues.

Long standing relationships in the brain injury community

We have a long standing relationship with Headway, both locally and nationally, we are recommended by the Child Brain Injury Trust, and work alongside Momentum, the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust and the Huntercombe Group. Additionally, we are members of the Scottish Head Injury Forum and the Brain Injury Network Group.

Brain injury welfare rights

Digby Brown provide in-house Welfare Rights advice and specialist advice in relation to Additional Learning Support for children with brain injuries.  We understand that early intervention in a personal injury claim may involve the provision of advice and advocacy in relation to the benefits system.  Children similarly may need support to ensure they obtain their legal entitlement under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004.

No win no fee funding for brain injury claims

It is crucial that brain injury claims are properly investigated through the correct medical and expert evidence to ensure cases achieve the maximum compensation. Unfortunately, this can be expensive.

We are able to offer complete case funding through our Compensate funding package, giving you access to justice with no financial risk.

Call our specialist brain injury claim solicitors today

To start the legal process, we urge you to pick up the phone or email to have a chat. By providing detail about the accident and how the injury occurred will help our legal team assess your case and determine how likely it is for your claim to succeed.

Call Chris Stewart, Partner and Head of the Serious Injury Department, on 0141 566 9541, to discuss your families circumstances and see if we can help.

 

Motorcycle accident claims

Digby Brown Solicitors have specialist motorcycle department that help those who have suffered a personal injury as a result of a motorcycle accident in Scotland that was not their fault.

The Motorcycle Law Department (MLD) is comprised of a team of highly experienced and qualified motorcycle accident lawyers representing victims of motorcycle accidents in Scotland.

Specialists in motorcycle accident claims

At Digby Brown we have the expert knowledge and requisite experience to deal with both straightforward and complex motorcycle accident claims. We are motorcycle accident claim specialists.

We understand that as a result of a motorcycle accident which was not your fault:

  • Your motorcycle may be off the road;
  • You may not be able to work;
  • Your kit may be ruined; and
  • You are in need of assistance.

Direct access to expert motorcycle accident lawyers

We offer you direct access to our team of expert lawyers and we focus on the needs of our clients from the moment we are first contacted. We have gained a reputation for being formidable litigators acting at all times in the best interests of our client.

Our team of motorcycle accident lawyers handle cases throughout Scotland. They can help you.

If you would like to talk to someone about a motorcycle accident in which you were injured either contact us on 0333 200 5925 or complete our brief enquiry form and we will be in touch.

No win no fee funding

Using our no win no fee package, Compensate, we can provide you with the information and support you need by giving you expert advice on your motorcycle accident claim.

We can assist you in getting back on the road and obtaining accident compensation for both personal injury as well as the damage to your motorcycle.

How we help with your motorcycle accident claim

There are many aspects of your motorcycle accident claim that we can help you with; motorcycle accident claims can be made for:

  • Personal injury
  • Damage to your motorcycle and the cost of repairing or replacing it
  • Medical or dental expenses
  • Care needs
  • Loss of earnings and;
  • Other expenses arising as a result of your motorcycle accident including motorcycle hire

Specialist serious injury solicitors

It is a recognised fact that motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to serious injuries due to the lack of protection a motorcycle affords compared to a car. It is therefore vital that accident victims are represented by an expert lawyer. 

At Digby Brown we have specialist serious injury solicitors to assist those with spinal or brain injury.

Making a motorcycle accident claim

Learn more about the process of making a claim for those involved in a motorbike accident or read about clients we have helped with a motorcycle accident claim.

Contact our motorcycle accident lawyers

To speak to someone about a motorcycle accident in Scotland in which you were injured, please call us on 0333 200 5925 or fill in our short personal injury enquiry form and someone will be in touch.

Motorcycle Accident Claim Process

The claim process for a motorcycle accident commences as soon as you get in touch either by e-mail or by phone.

Your enquiry will be allocated to an experienced lawyer who will provide you with initial advice. As soon as possible we will arrange a non-chargeable, face-to-face meeting.  We operate on a “No Win No Fee” basis.

Motorcycle compensation claim made on your behalf

A claim will be intimated on your behalf to the third party (party at fault). Thereafter, we will deal with the third-party insurers setting out your case and asking them to admit liability.

Liability and claim value

If liability is admitted, we will value the claim. It will be necessary to obtain a medical report outlining the extent of your injury. This will be arranged through our network of independent medical consultants.

We will submit a valuation to the third party insurer as soon as we can. This valuation will include a claim for the injuries sustained in the motorcycle accident, loss of income, damage to your motorcycle and kit, expenses and insurance excess.

Claim settlement

Thereafter, we will enter into negotiations towards settlement.  If an offer is received following conclusion of that process, we will contact you and provide all necessary advice as to whether you should accept or reject the offer. If the offer is inadequate we will raise a court action on your behalf.

If liability is denied, we will fully investigate your claim and advise you on the prospects of success should it be necessary to raise an action in court on your behalf.

Criminal injury claims

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is an organisation set up to compensate the victims of crimes of violence in the UK.

The time limit for making a criminal injury claim is two years from the incident. In the case of a child the two year period will run from the date when the child reaches the age of maturity. The time limit may be relaxed in cases of childhood abuse depending on circumstances.

How is compensation calculated for criminal injuries?

Compensation is based on a tariff system. The scheme sets out a large number of specific injuries each of which has a prescribed monetary value. No compensation is payable unless the injury attracts a minimum value of £1,000.

Loss of earnings is not payable unless the absence from work exceeds 28 weeks. Other expenses such as dental charges can only be paid if the claimant has been off work for more than 28 weeks.

Requirements for claiming compensation for criminal injuries

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority scheme has a number of important provisions –

  • The incident must have been reported to the police without delay. A delay of even a few days may be enough to rule out or reduce an award. If you have been assaulted at work a report to your employer may be treated as sufficient.
  • You must have co-operated fully with the police in bringing the attacker to justice. Withdrawal of a complaint or refusal to give evidence will usually result in refusal of the claim.
  • Your own conduct before during or after the incident will be taken into account and may prevent or reduce an award. If you have provoked an argument or voluntarily taken part in a fight that will generally result in refusal of the claim.

If you have criminal convictions these will be taken into account and may prevent or reduce an award depending on the number and seriousness of the convictions and how recent they are.

Who pays for legal costs?

It is important to note that if the CICA does make an award, the award will not include your legal costs. These will have to be paid out of the award. For that reason it will not be possible for us to act in low value cases and it would not be economic for you to instruct a solicitor in such cases.

At Digby Brown we specialise in criminal injuries claims involving serious injury, particularly brain injury. In appropriate cases we offer no win, no fee through our funding package, Compensate.

Victims of violent crime can suffer devastating physical and psychological injury. Digby Brown’s experience and expertise in acting for the victims of criminal assaults allows us to assess the prospects of success.  If we form the view that a case has reasonable prospects of success, we can fund the case from start to finish. In the event that the case is unsuccessful, we will cover any liability to meet the client's own outlays, eg for medical reports, and will not charge a fee.

Using our expertise we have obtained awards in excess of £2 million.

Expert advice on criminal injuries compensation

For expert advice on your criminal injuries compensation claim please call 0333 200 5925 or fill in our brief enquiry form and someone will contact you.

 

What benefits are there in having specialist departments?

At Digby Brown Solicitors, we believe we are the only firm in personal injury in Scotland that operates by using specialist departments depending on either the type of accident, injury, location or circumstances.  The law is always changing and to really be an expert, you need to specialise. 

We feel that “personal injury” is too broad an area to truly consider yourself an expert. Therefore, we have split the firm into specialist departments which deal with:

Each of these departments is managed by experienced solicitors and headed by one of Digby Brown partners – an expert in that field.  For the client, this gives them the very best advice from experienced lawyers who know their specialist area inside out. To understand more why it is important that you should only deal with specialists, please visit our department pages.

If you would like to discuss your circumstances please either call us on 0333 200 5925 or text help to 83310. Alternatively you can fill in our brief personal injury enquiry form .

Why would you use Digby Brown Solicitors in Scotland?

Digby Brown is a specialist law firm in Scotland and we have been working in the field of accident compensation claims for personal injuries for many years.

Qualified and experienced personal injury lawyers

Our success is built on our people. Our formula for success is using, from the outset, highly qualified and experienced lawyers combined with what we believe is an excellent level of service.

Understanding of your accident

We understand that an accident is a traumatic experience. We know as well as the physical pain and suffering, the disruption to your lives and those of your family can be enormous.

We are here to help, to listen and to understand your individual circumstances. To put right what we can and at least make sure you have been financially compensated for your losses as a result of your accident and the injuries you have sustained.

Best injury lawyers in Scotland

We know you have a choice when it comes to choosing which law firm to use for your personal injury claim. Whether it is adverts, which regularly appear on the television, or the many websites offering to take on your claim.

In Scotland we truly believe we have the best injury lawyers and in 2018, we were named Firm of the Year at the Scottish Legal Awards.

We know through keeping records for many years what level of compensation you should be obtaining for your loss after an accident.

Our records show that our lawyers gain, on average, three times the pre-litigation offer

No win no fee funding for your personal injury case

Combining this with our ability to fully fund your case with no win no fee funding from the outset, you will never be asked to pay a penny towards this cost, means you couldn’t be in safer hands to access the justice you deserve.

Contact Digby Brown Solicitors

If you would like to discuss your circumstances please either call us on 0333 200 5925 or text help to 83310. Alternatively you can fill in our brief personal injury enquiry form.

Asbestos & Industrial disease claims

Digby Brown has many years of experience in working for victims of industrial diseases.

We handle a wide range of industrial disease cases from Asbestos disease to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, Hazardous substances and Industrial Deafness and tinnitus.

We pride ourselves on being experts in this field, particularly in asbestos-related conditions, where we recently won a landmark ruling for a pleural plaques compensation claim.

Specialist industrial disease solicitors

Industrial diseases can take years to manifest and the cases can be difficult to prove. It can often be difficult to trace insurer to make payments, but Digby Brown's industrial disease solicitors have the expertise and experience to assess your case, advise you on the best way forward and give you the very best chance of success possible.

Industrial disease solicitors will guide you through the claim process

Wherever possible, our industrial disease solicitors like to follow up the initial discussion by arranging a face to face meeting with you, either in our office, hospital or we are happy to come to your home if this is most convenient.

At this first meeting we will explain exactly what steps we will be taking and the process involved in seeking financial compensation. We will also let you know what you can do to help us. We will fully explain how we fund the case through our no win no fee compensate funding scheme.

When can you make an industrial disease claim?

In Scotland, the three year period for an industrial disease claim will start to run from the date when a person should have been aware that their symptoms were related to their employment.

The three year period may well start to run prior to any medical diagnosis by a doctor.

For this reason, if you believe that you may have a condition which could have been caused by your working conditions, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Contact us today for more advice about an industrial disease claim

Call us on 0333 200 5925, or fill in our brief enquiry form and someone will contact you to discuss your particular circumstances.

Clinical negligence claims in Scotland

Fortunately most medical and dental treatment is carried out well.  Sometimes, however, treatment is not performed as expected or mistakes happen. Clinical or medical negligence occurs when treatment falls below the acceptable standard and causes unnecessary illness, injury or death.  If there is clinical negligence, it may be possible for you to seek compensation for the consequences you have suffered.

Treatment may have been provided through the NHS or through a private healthcare provider and can involve hospital doctors and staff, surgeons, GP’s, dentists or other specialists providing healthcare.

Legal claim for medical or dental negligence

Unlike many personal injury cases, establishing clinical negligence is extremely complicated  and the decision as to whether to pursue a legal claim should not be taken lightly.

In most cases when sub standard treatment appears to have taken place, it is helpful to seek an explanation and answers through the NHS complaints procedure described below. This can help to clarify important aspects of your care and enables us to advise you more fully.

If you have already made a complaint and still feel that you wish to discuss matters further, please complete a simple Clinical Negligence form. The more information you provide the easier it is for us to advise you. If you would rather speak to someone directly about your circumstances then please call us on 0333 200 5925, however we will still require you to make a formal complaint directly.

Making an NHS complaint

Often clients contact us because they want an explanation for what has happened to them and an answer to questions that they have. Every NHS organisation has a complaints procedure and this can usually be found on the organisation’s website.

You can find out more making a complaint about the healthcare in Scotland on NHS Inform. To make a complaint, you will need to contact the complaints department at your local NHS board which you can find on NHS Inform. The NHS is obliged to acknowledge receipt of your complaint and to investigate it in a timely manner.

Complaints about NHS services must be either:

  • Within 6 months of the date on which the matter which is the subject of the complaint occurred, or
  • Within 6 months of the date on which the matter came to the notice of the complainant;
  • But normally no later than 12 months from the event.

Complaints received after this period may be investigated if the Chief Executive accepts that it would have been unreasonable for the complainant to make it earlier and where it is still possible to investigate the facts.

Once you have made a complaint to the NHS, find out what happens next.

To succeed in a claim for medical or dental negligence

To succeed in a claim for medical or dental negligence it is necessary to prove that the treatment that was provided fell below the appropriate standard of care. That standard is judged by the standard of other professionals practising in the same field. It is therefore necessary in every case to obtain an opinion from one or more medical or dental experts.

It is also necessary to prove that the unacceptable treatment was the cause of an adverse outcome and what that was. This can be very complex. Experts reports will always be required.

Instructing a specialist medical negligence solicitor

Medical and dental negligence cases are amongst the most complex cases you will find. It is important to instruct a solicitor you know is fully equipped for the task. That means instructing a specialist clinical negligence solicitor with a track record.

Chambers Legal Guide and the Legal 500 Guide review law firms in Scotland and can confirm whether the firm you wish to instruct is specialist in clinical negligence. The Law Society holds a register of solicitors accredited in this field. You can access these publications free on the Internet.

Sue Grant is an accredited by the Law Society as a specialist clinical negligence lawyer. She is recognised as a “Leader in her field” by Chambers Legal Guide and is on the panel of AVMA (Action for Victims of Medical Accidents) and accredited by APIL (the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers). Sue heads an experienced team of four based across Digby Brown's Edinburgh and Glasgow offices. Digby Brown is consistently ranked Band 1 in Chambers Guide to the UK Legal Profession and Tier 1 in Legal 500.

Here to help

In certain circumstances we understand that speaking about what happened can be very difficult, specifically cases involving the complicated area of childbirth resulting in Cerebral Palsy or other birth related problems. You can find further help in Birth Injuries and Cerebral Palsy.

If you would like to talk to someone about your experience, or need expert advice on a possible claim, our medical negligence team can help. Please complete a simple Clinical Negligence form and give as much detail as you can. This will assist in our ability to fully understand your circumstances and best decide the next steps to be taken. This advice is, of course, free of charge.

Alternatively, if you think you may have been wrongly charged for continuing care costs after a serious injury, we would encourage you to get in touch with us at healthcareadvice@digbybrown.co.uk, giving brief details of your family's circumstances.

Background to Compensate Personal Injury Network (CPIN)

Our credentials in Personal Injury Law are strong and reflect the wealth of experience and expertise we hold. Digby Brown is the only firm in Scotland to be top ranked for personal injury by both the top independent legal directories in the UK: Chambers Guide to the UK Legal profession and Legal 500 respectively with three of our specialists rated “Leaders in their Field”.

For many years the firm has achieved a number of awards in litigation, 2015 saw an unprecedented five legal awards won, 2016 a further two at the Law Awards of Scotland and in 2018 we were again named Firm of the Year at the Scott and Co Legal Awards.

We have recognised through our work with other referring solicitors and correspondent firms that personal injury cases can cause unique difficulties to a general law practice. Due to the pressures of time, continual legislative changes and the under settling of cases by insurers - from Digby Brown’s experience, due to the difficulty and risk in litigating, clients do not always receive the best possible service or outcome in their compensation claim.

On average, our clients receive three time the pre-litigation offer made by insurance companies.

The Network has been set up to address this and offers a partnership approach to running personal injury cases.

Accident abroad claims

Whether travelling abroad on holiday or business few people like to think that their time away will be ruined by an accident, but each year many Scottish holidaymakers are involved in accidents abroad.

Accidents on the road, in hotels and swimming pools do happen.

An outbreak of food poisoning can turn a holiday or cruise into an ordeal.

Compensation for accidents abroad

Digby Brown can help with all types of accident abroad claims.

Our specialist Foreign & Travel Law Department can help you to receive the compensation you are entitled to, whether you have been injured in an accident on holiday or you are a foreign national who has been injured in Scotland.

The laws relating to jurisdiction and damages in cross-border accident cases are complex.

That is why you need expert advice from an experienced lawyer.

Our Foreign & Travel Law Department has successfully recovered compensation for clients who have been injured abroad on holiday or on business. We have also helped clients who have been injured while travelling abroad for example, on the plane.

In addition we have acted for hundreds of foreign nationals who have been injured in Scotland and have recovered millions of pounds on their behalf.

We provide translation and interpreting services so that language is not a barrier.

Global network of specialist personal injury lawyers

Our membership of The Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL) and the American Association for Justice (AAJ) gives us access to a global network of specialist personal injury lawyers.

If you have been injured in an accident abroad we can ensure that you obtain prompt expert legal advice.

Claiming for injuries abroad - what is the time limit?

Although it may be possible to pursue certain foreign accident claims in the Scottish courts, the time limit for bringing a claim may be governed by the law of the place where the accident happened.

The foreign time limit may be shorter than the Scottish time limit of three years.

In addition, the damages which can be recovered may be regulated by the law of that country rather than by Scottish law.

It is important that you take specialist advice as soon as possible.

Digby Brown, experts in all types of accident abroad claims

Contact us for free advice on  –

Digby Brown LLP is today Scotland’s largest specialist personal injury practice. We are rated Band 1 by the leading independent publications, Chambers Guide to the UK Legal Profession and Legal 500.

With Digby Brown offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Kirkcaldy, Inverness, Aberdeen and Ayr we handle personal injury compensation claims across Scotland.

How accident abroad claims are funded

We operate on a no win, no fee basis. We are able to offer a complete funding and insurance package through our litigation funding company, Compensate.

This gives our clients access to justice with no financial risk.

Had an accident abroad?

For further information call us on 0333 200 5925 or fill in our brief enquiry form and someone will contact you by return.

 

Spinal injury claims

Having a spinal cord injury is devastating, we understand that. Having a spinal cord injury is life changing, we accept that.  In one moment in time everything has changed, the world is turned upside down and will it ever turn right again? 

There will be many questions which may not at this stage have any answers. We are here to try and help where we can. To try and sort out what we know we can help with and to put you in the best hands to adjust to the rest.

The cause of the spinal injury can vary greatly. However, statistics show road traffic, sporting or industrial accidents are mainly responsible for the majority of accidents. Where the injury is the fault of another and in many cases this can be unclear or disputed, you really need the help of the experts in this field – Digby Brown Solicitors.

The firm has over 40 years' experience dealing with every aspect of someone who has sustained a spinal cord injury.

Spinal injury claims, rehabilitation and interim payments

Making a claim for compensation after the accident is just one aspect of the package of measures which needs to be considered and implemented to try and ensure that the process of rehabilitation and adjustment can begin.

Digby Brown aim not only to help our clients receive full and proper compensation for their spinal cord injury, but also to help them achieve the best outcome physically, psychologically and emotionally. 

We try to start this process from the moment we take on the case, rather than waiting for compensation to be awarded.

We subscribe fully to the Rehabilitation Code of Practice and to the (APIL) Association of Personal Injury Lawyer’s Best Practice Guide to Rehabilitation. We recognise that the medical condition and quality of life may be improved by early intervention, by the carrying out of an immediate needs assessment and by early interim payments.

Welfare rights and specialist advice

Digby Brown provide in-house Welfare Rights advice and specialist advice. We understand that early intervention in a personal injury claim may involve the provision of advice and advocacy in relation to the benefits system.

Children similarly may need support to ensure they obtain their legal entitlement under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004.

No win no fee funding for spinal injury claims

We appreciate that proper investigations for a spinal injury claim can be expensive which is why we operate similarly to no win, no fee basis. This means we are able to offer complete funding through our Compensate funding package. This gives our clients access to justice with no financial risk.

Specialist spinal injury solicitors

We have been helping people claim the compensation they deserve for over 40 years' and this experience means we are truly specialists in spinal injury compensation claims.

We have a dedicated department for spinal injuries which consists of a team of nine people based in the Glasgow office of Digby Brown. This includes two welfare rights advisers as well as our Client Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager. Head of the Department is Chris Stewart and Partner to Chris is Moira Kay who leads the department in its casework and is rapidly building formidable legal experience and reputation in her field.

Spinal Injuries Scotland

We work closely with Spinal Injuries Scotland, a national voluntary organisation concerned with helping people suffering from a spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends, along with those involved in the management, care and rehabilitation of the injury.

Every November, we organise the Winter Dinner Dance which has raised £550,000 for Spinal Injuries Scotland over the last decade.

We are recommended by Spinal Injuries Scotland as their solicitors of choice for anyone in Scotland with a spinal cord injury.

Call our specialist spinal injury claim solicitors today

If you would like to talk to someone about your circumstance, we would urge you to call Chris Stewart, Partner and Head of the Spinal Injuries Department, on 0141 566 9541. Please call, we are here to listen.

Digby Brown scoop top prizes at 2019 Scottish Legal Awards

We are proud to retain the prestigious awards of Firm of the Year and Community Contribution titles at last night’s Scottish Legal Awards ceremony.

For us, these accolades recognise all the good work we do at Digby Brown and this wouldn’t be possible without the commitment of all the people working within the firm to deliver excellent results for our clients.

Every day we work alongside organisations and charities across Scotland and we were proud to have this recognised again when we won Community Contribution award.

It matters to us that we make a positive difference in the communities in which we work all year round such as Spinal Injuries Scotland and the Child Brain Injury Trust - each of our seven offices also support a local charity of their choice throughout the year.

Fraser Oliver, Chief Executive of Digby Brown Solicitors said: “We’re humbled to earn these awards and have our commitment to charitable, welfare and community-based initiatives recognised by industry experts and our peers.

“We do significant work for key charities and individuals in the areas of welfare rights and benefits, as well as supporting clients beyond core obligations, such as fatal accident inquiries.

“In the last 12 months alone we’ve supported the Spinal Injuries Scotland BBQ & Activities Day and raised more than £80,000 for the charity as well as supporting road safety events, holding our own Head Injury Information Days and raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos to today’s workforce.

“Our dedicated and talented staff - both legal and non-legal – consistently deliver a top quality service and share our passion for providing excellence in access to justice.

"Not only winning but retaining the Firm of the Year title is therefore a very proud moment as our commitment to helping clients is very much a team effort across the board and I’d like to acknowledge the hard-working Digby Brown staff whose efforts made this recognition possible.”

Is towing a caravan dangerous?

Towing a caravan can have its difficulties, especially if you haven’t done it before. Like anything, the more you do it the easier it becomes but there are things you can do to help reduce the risks.

Can you tow a caravan?

Firstly, you must establish if you are legally permitted to tow. 

If you passed your car driving test on or after 1 January 1997 you can:

  • drive a car or van up to 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM
  • tow a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the combined MAM of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg

Maximum authorised mass (MAM) is the limit on how much the vehicle can weigh when it’s loaded. If you wish to tow anything heavier, you must pass the car and trailer driving test.

If you passed your car test before 1 January 1997 you’re usually allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg MAM.

What weight can a car tow?

A car’s towing capacity is the maximum weight they can tow. It’s usually listed in places such as the handbook, doorsill or V5 registration document.  Towing capacity is the maximum weight a car can tow safely.

To work out the towing capacity you need to know two key figures: the kerbweight of the car and the maximum mass of the caravan (called ‘maximum technically permissible laden mass’, or MTPLM).

As long as the mass of the caravan is 85% or less of the car’s kerbweight, the car should tow it with no difficulty. However, if the weight of the caravan is between 85% and 100%, caution should be taken, and only people who are experienced with towing should proceed.

If the caravan is heavier than the car, that car must not be used as a towing vehicle.

What size of caravan can you tow safely?

The maximum trailer width for any towing vehicle is 2.55 metres.

The maximum length for a trailer towed by a vehicle weighing up to 3,500kg is 7 metres.

Do you have the right tow bar?

If your car does not have an integrated tow bar, you will need to have one fitted.

This needs to be ‘type-approved’, in other words it has to meet EU regulations and be designed for your car.

  • Type-approved tow bars have a label with an approval number and details of the vehicles it’s approved for.
  • If your car was first used before 1 August 1998, your tow bar doesn’t need to be type-approved.

Do you need to use towing mirrors?

You must have clear view of the road behind you when towing a caravan or trailer.

If your caravan is wider than the rear of your car, you should fit suitable towing mirrors, this is a legal requirement.

Have you checked your caravan brakes?

Your caravan must have a working brake system if it weighs over 750kg after it’s been loaded, and brakes must be kept in good working order.

You must also use a breakaway cable or secondary coupling in case the caravan becomes detached from your car.

Driving risks and how to avoid them?

Weight distribution plays an important role in the stability of your caravan.  If you fail to load your caravan correctly, it may cause it to sway or yaw. 

It is recommended to load the heavier items directly over the axle, with the medium to lighter items at the front and back of the caravan.

Loss of control could be caused by driving on uneven terrain, wind, overload or imbalanced loading.

Before you set-off

When you leave home or a campsite, it is important to remember to:

  1. Turn off the gas at the cylinder;
  2. Empty the fresh and waste-water containers;
  3. Check the caravan’s windows and roof lights are closed;
  4. Internal doors and cupboards are closed;
  5. Loads are safely secured and the external door is locked;
  6. Test indicators, break lights are fully functioning and so on.

These are just a few tips to overcome the dangers of towing a caravan but proper planning and preparing is essential to make your journey easier, safer and stress free.

Glasgow office raise over £14,000 for Simon Community Scotland

Last year, our Glasgow team nominated Simon Community Scotland, a local homeless charity, as their charity partner for 2018. They were delighted to hand over a cheque for £14,114.84 as a result of their year-long fundraising efforts.

Simon Community Scotland tackle head on the causes and effects of homelessness and provide vital services like their 24/7 support helpline, outreach and drop-in hub, residential accommodation and housing support.

But this doesn’t happen without securing ongoing funding and support from communities around them.

Throughout the year, our Glasgow office have given up their time to organise and deliver some exciting fundraising efforts including raffles, sweepstakes and bake sales.

A notable fundraiser was the race night which raised over £2,000 alone for the charity. However, the most rewarding aspect was the weekend our staff volunteered at the charity's warehouse where they sorted through donations to be re-distributed to the homeless.

Digby Brown Glasgow volunteering at Simon Community Scotland Warehouse

Kirsten Smith, CSR Manager at Digby Brown said: “Staff in our Glasgow office have really enjoyed fundraising and volunteering for Simon Community Scotland over the last year.

“We hope that the funds raised will help the tremendous work they do in our community to combat the causes and effects of homelessness.”

Jenna Ingram, Volunteering Coordinator at Simon Community Scotland said: “We would like to give a huge thank you to Digby Brown for their fantastic fundraising, awareness raising and volunteer support over the past year.

“We are absolutely delighted to receive £14,114.84 which will fund our Donation Warehouse, the Youth Homelessness Prevention service 'Nightstop', and a significant contribution to developing the Streetreads project in Glasgow.

“Thank you for organising the fundraising events throughout the year, the donation collections, the volunteer days and awareness raising presentations.

“Every employee from Digby Brown who have engaged with us have been professional, passionate about our services, and determined to make a meaningful contribution that will benefit as many service users as possible. We cannot thank them enough!"

Biker awarded life-changing settlement after leg had to be amputated

Ewan Simpson, a 35-year-old Police Officer from Aberdeenshire, suffered a below the knee amputation as a result of a motorcycle accident.

Mr Simpson was travelling home from work late at night when a driver veered across the carriageway heading directly in front of his path.

“I think the other driver fell asleep at the wheel. It turns out they had been in Liverpool earlier that day and he came onto my side of the road. I tried to do everything I could to avoid him but he hit the right side and I went cartwheeling into the air.

“I tried to move but realised my right elbow and my lower leg were shattered.”

The driver drove off after the accident, leaving Mr Simpson lying helpless in a field. He was there for over an hour calling for help before two nurses drove by and came to his aid.

His right lower leg had to be amputated below the knee and he also needed surgery for his right arm. He was in hospital for seven weeks, returning home in a wheelchair.

“Struggled to do things using the prosthetics”

Mr Simpson paid to adapt his house to help him get about in a wheelchair and become more independent. His partner also switched to part time hours and took four months off to help.

After six months, he returned to work on light duties.

“The recovery was very long. I couldn’t use my right arm for about a year and I struggled to do things using the prosthetics I had.”

Expert legal help from Aberdeen office

The Police federation put Mr Simpson in touch with Digby Brown’s Aberdeen office.

The driver responsible for the accident had been driving without insurance and was convicted of dangerous driving. This meant his claim for damages was made against the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) to recover compensation.

“Digby Brown were great and kept me updated about what was happening and the next phase. They covered all bases such as seeing a psychologist and working out any future loss from lack of promotions in the future because of my injury. These were things I would never have thought of.”

They arranged for Mr Simpson to be examined by medical experts to determine the long-term impact of his injuries and any future issues.

With the amputation, he relies on prosthetics to do everyday tasks. However, there is a range of prosthetics available today which can help people return to activities they previously did such as running and swimming.

The office arranged for Mr Simpson to be seen by a Private Prosthesist and undertake a trial with top of the range prosthesis. “All I really wanted was to return to work on full duties. The NHS have standard prosthetic legs which are great but I really needed proactive and powered prosthetics which you can get privately. However, these cost anywhere from £10,000 to £70,000 and need to be replaced after three to six years.”

Compensation pays for private prosthetic treatment

Our Aberdeen office settled his case and secured ongoing annual payments to fund all future private prosthetic treatment. He was eventually able to return to full duties - over two and half years after the motorcycle accident.

“The settlement was far more than I ever dreamed off, it was life-changing. It has allowed everything to go back to normal, I’m now back on full duties at work with no restrictions which is wonderful.

“Without the money for private prosthetics, I don’t know if I could have returned to my life as it was before.

“I would tell others to just trust Digby Brown as you know what you are doing.”

Driver on mobile phone causes car crash

“If my story can even stop one person from using their mobile phone while driving, then it was worth sharing what happened to me.”

A woman was using her mobile phone behind the wheel when she crashed into the back of a taxi. She had a young baby in the back of her car and thankfully neither of them were hurt.

The taxi driver on the other hand was not so lucky.

“I could see her in my rear view mirror talking on her mobile. I think she must have been going about 35mph and I knew she was going to hit me, there was nothing I could do to stop it.

“I now have arthritis in my right foot and have a limp which I will always have now.”

Being a taxi driver, his injuries mean he will always be restricted in his ability to drive and therefore he won’t be able to work as much as he did previously, losing a significant amount of money.

“If she hadn’t been on her phone and actually concentrating on the road, it wouldn’t have happened. My injury, physio, mental impact and the costs involved – it could have all been avoided if she wasn’t using her mobile phone.”

Sadly, this is not a rare cause of road traffic accidents as drivers continue to use their phone behind the wheel, with Scottish drivers more likely to take the risk compared to the rest of the UK.

After coming to Digby Brown, we sued the other driver for compensation. They admitted fault and tried to under-settle the case for £2,000.

With expert evidence, we negotiated an increase of 13 times this offer - settling the case at £26,000.

“I’m so happy Digby Brown were there for me after the accident. They helped me physically, mentally and monetary get through it all and I can’t thank them enough.

“At the end of the day, I’m still here and I can live with my injuries. The other driver and her baby weren’t injured either. You just have to accept it and I got some form of justice in the end with Digby Brown.”

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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Sam Craib
Paralegal
Specialisms: Accident at Work, Accidents in Public Places, Road Traffic Accident
Location: Dundee
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01382 236 639
Sam Craib
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Sumera Shah
Paralegal
Specialisms: Accident at Work, Accidents in Public Places, Road Traffic Accident
Location: Dundee
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01382 723 255
Sumera Shah
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Louise Duncan
Paralegal
Specialisms: Accident at Work, Accidents in Public Places, Road Traffic Accident
Location: Dundee
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01382 236 638
Louise Duncan

Do you have to go to your car insurer for an injury claim?

Many people do not know that it is possible to go elsewhere for a claim if they’ve been injured in a road traffic accident. Instead, they assume they must go to their car insurer.

Does it matter?

A recent case in Dundee drives home the difference it makes when you go to independent, specialist solicitors for a road traffic injury claim – rather than your car insurer.

Mrs Stuart and her husband were both hurt when a lorry crashed into them on the Kingsway, causing their car to spin onto the central reservation of the dual carriageway.

“It was all very scary. It all happened so quickly, we didn’t realise what was going on. I remember screaming and looking at my husband who was sheet white.

“Afterwards, the driver said he just hadn’t seen us.”

The car was written off and her husband was passed to panel solicitors in Glasgow after contacting his car insurer.

It wasn't until a couple of years later that Mrs Stuart contacted Digby Brown after a recommendation from a colleague. Craig Brown, Associate solicitor in our Dundee office, took on her case for compensation.

“We just thought that was what you were meant to do if you were injured in a car accident – go to your insurer. 

“I just think everyone should know they don’t need to go through their car insurer if they’ve been injured – there are far more capable people out there that can help.”

In the end, her case settled for £10,000.

“My husband's case is rumbling on with the panel solicitors – it’s been over four years.

“It has been night and day the experience with Digby Brown. With the firm the insurers put us on to, we’ve had three people dealing with the case and never met any of them. There is no compassion for what we are going through, we’re simply another case to them. They don’t care and seem bored when we speak to them, it’s horrendous.

“I thought it was "set in stone" that if you had a road traffic accident you called your insurer about an injury. I am delighted I came to Digby Brown instead, the service was second to none and I cannot be happier with the result.”

This is a story we hear time and time again. It is important that you seek legal advice from specialist solicitors. We have local offices across Scotland allowing people to meet with their solicitor face-to-face if need be and we are experts in personal injury law. On average, we achieve three times the first offer for our clients. Make sure you don’t leave your injury claim in the wrong hands.

“I think insurance firms are all out for themselves and in each others pockets. It’s important people realise they don’t need to go via their car insurer, they can go elsewhere.”

Right advice gets 13 times more compensation

A taxi driver was sitting at temporary traffic lights when he was hit by a distracted driver on their mobile phone.

“I could see her in my rear view mirror talking on her mobile. I think she must have been going about 35mph and I knew she was going to hit me, there was nothing I could do to stop it.”

After visiting the hospital, medical staff said he had whiplash injuries from the crash. Although these are thought of as minor injuries, they can have far-reaching consequences and are often underestimated.

For our client, it meant he couldn’t drive. Being a self employed taxi driver, this was a big problem made worse by the fact the accident happened a few weeks before Christmas - one of the busiest seasons for the taxi trade. This meant he was losing a substantial amount of money every hour that he was not able to work.

Chris Ritchie, solicitor in our Dundee office, took on the personal injury case against the other driver. The other driver admitted fault for the accident and her car insurer’s made an offer of £2,000 to settle the case – before any medical evidence had even been collected.

Without proper medical evidence, it is impossible to really know if this was a fair offer or not and we advised our client to turn down the offer until more evidence had been collected as we were confident he was owed more compensation.

“It was ultimately my decision at the end of the day whether or not to accept the offer on the table but I trusted the advice I was given by Digby Brown. I knew they had my best interests at heart.”

We went on to get two medical reports and a forensic accountant's report to calculate how much our client had lost because of the accident. 

“The attention to detail was unbelievable, nothing got past him – he went out of his way and way over the hill plus a further ten miles for me.

“It was the best service from the very first minute right to the end – I wouldn’t have gotten that anywhere else. There was a real personal touch.”

Further negotiations led to further offers being put forward in the sum of £7,500, £8,120 and £12,500. However, the other driver’s insurers were refusing to consider any claim for his loss of earnings – which was significant considering his injuries.

The medical report showed our client would not recover fully. He will always be restricted in his ability to drive and will never be able to do the same level of work as he did before the accident, impacting his earnings.

They said that the forensic accountant's report prepared by ourselves was unnecessary and described our clients claim for lost earnings as 'ludicrous'.

We raised the case in court and ultimately settled his case for £26,261. This is over 13 times the first initial offer they made which is why it is essential that you don’t accept an offer before properly investigating a case and getting medical evidence.

“The settlement was mind blowing. I was given the best advice at all times and it resulted in me getting 13 times more that than the first offer.

“They were the very best people to deal with it all - god help any other solicitor up against them.”

Dumfries & Galloway Head Injury Information Day 2019

We are delighted to be partnering with Compass BISL to hold a Head Injury Information Day in Dumfries and Galloway on Wednesday 27th March.

At Digby Brown, we have been organising Head Injury Information Days for over eight years, bringing together hundreds of people to share information, experiences and knowledge about a brain injury.

These events are entirely free to attend and are open to everyone. You can speak with a wide range of exhibitors on the day including charities and organisations who support individuals living with a brain injury.

There is also the opportunity to listen to presentations from leading experts in the field who will cover important topics such as restructuring rehabilitation in Scotland, recovery through collaborative working and the law around future damages.

Registration opens at 9.30am with the day running from 10am until 3.30pm. See the full programme for Dumfries & Galloway Head Injury Information Day.

Save the Date for Dumfries & Galloway HIID on the 27th of March 2019

If you cannot make this event, we are also holding Head Injury Information Days in Edinburgh and Glasgow this May. Find more information about our Head Injury Information Days.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Our responsibilities matter

At Digby Brown, we are committed to operating our firm in a responsible way with our clients, staff and the communities we work in at the centre.

We take into account the way we do things from day to day, our values and the impact they have.

These can be summarised under our three main responsibilities; people, community and environment.

People matter

All our staff are dedicated to supporting clients through their legal journey helping them to receive not only the compensation they deserve but also the support they need at that time.

To ensure we have the best staff on hand to help, we provide a motivational, fulfilling and fun environment to work in with a focus on recruiting and retaining the top people, rewarding their efforts and recognising their achievements.

It is Digby Brown’s aim to develop an environment that values diversity within its workforce, encourages individuals to succeed. and  responds to the needs of all individuals in a fair and equitable manner, whilst accounting for current legislation.

In 2016, Digby Brown became the first law firm in the UK to earn Platinum accreditation from Investors in People which does not only illustrate our drive for high performance and self-improvement, but also the quality of our service to clients.

Every year our legal excellence hits (and indeed retains) the top spots in publications like Chambers Guide and Legal 500, as well as numerous Scottish Legal Awards, and deservedly so given the effort every single employee puts in.

Investors in People fits in with these accolades because a great workplace encourages great work, which encourages great productivity.

Team at Digby Brown collecting the award for Firm of the Year

Community matters

At Digby Brown, we are proud to support the communities we work in and charitable causes through charity partnerships, staff volunteering and community events.

Charity partnerships

Each of our offices select a ‘Charity of the Year’ to work alongside and support throughout the year, championed by a Charity Ambassador. The total raised by each office is then matched by Digby Brown before being presented to the chosen charity at the end of the partnership.

To be considered as a charity partner for 2020/21, please complete and return our Charity Partnership Application Form by Friday 29th November 2019.

The Aberdeen team raise money for their local charity at their race night

The Dundee office take part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival to raise money for their local charity

Staff volunteering

Whether clearing out a warehouse, tidying up hospital gardens, serving tea and coffee or bucket collecting at a football match, staff participate in volunteering activities that lend a hand to our charitable causes.

The team from the Glasgow office help clear out the Simon Community Scotland Warehouse

Community events

We help to organise and facilitate a number of events throughout the year to raise awareness and demonstrate the support available to those with brain injuries, spinal injuries and cerebral palsy.

Events include:

  • Head Injury Information Days
  • Spinal Injuries Scotland Activities Day
  • Cerebral Palsy Scotland Conference

A member of SIS at the annual BBQ

Environment matters

Digby Brown recognises that our activities have an impact on the environment and aim to operate in an environmentally sustainable manner to reduce waste and improve recycling across the firm’s seven offices.

We are continuously working on ways to reduce our waste through initiatives such as the removal of plastic water cups from staff areas and providing all staff with reusable water bottles, implementing energy efficient motion activated lighting in our offices and encouraging staff to operate as a paperless work environment. We purchase recycled consumables where possible and encourage the disposal of waste paper, cardboard and plastics in the recycling bins provided.

For futher information please contact Kirsten Smith, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, by emailing Kirsten.Smith@digbybrown.co.uk.

Asbestos solicitors secure compensation with only three months to time bar

Robert Brown, 71-year-old-man from Erskine, came to Digby Brown Solicitors after another specialist injury firm in Scotland said they couldn’t take his case any further due to insufficient evidence against his employer for asbestos exposure – with only three months left to claim compensation. They advised him to contact Digby Brown Solicitors.

Mr Brown first discovered he had pleural plaques after he went to see his local GP about a shortness of breath and a crackle he was experiencing from his lower right side.

“I get breathless and have a puffer which I can use now and again but I can’t be as active as I used to be because of it.”

Nobody in the hospital told him that he was able to apply for compensation, it wasn’t until he met with a consultant and was put in touch with a Glasgow based charity that he knew he could take legal action.

“I went through the rigmarole of making a claim with the first firm and they were nice enough but kept saying they would send paperwork and I never received it. This went on for years and I never met a lawyer.

“In the end, they said it was not worthwhile going any further as they would have to pinpoint how I was exposed to asbestos and they couldn’t.”

Gary Ross, Associate solicitor in our Industrial Disease team took over the case after reviewing the evidence. We were able to locate the companies Mr Brown was employed with and looking at the file, it didn’t look like the other law firm had tried that hard to find them or take on board what Mr Brown was telling them.

“Mr Ross got back to me practically right away and took the case on. Nothing was too much trouble – he would get back to me right away and answer any questions I had. Everything was explained in my own language so I understood it all – they never tried to baffle you.”

Mr Brown worked for Scotwood Products (Busby) Limited as a joiner in the 1980s and was exposed to asbestos during his time here. He used to cut into asbestos sheets and fit asbestos ceiling tiles by drilling these into place, which released asbestos dust.

“I worked there for over 12 years and there were no masks back then or safety equipment. You would be drilling into old walls and ceilings and you didn’t know anything about the dangers but my employers did know – but they wanted a quick buck.”

His employer put nothing in place to limit asbestos exposure such as providing protective equipment. These measures would not have been expensive to implement.

Other people Mr Brown worked alongside at the time have died of mesothelioma, including his best friend.

After investigations by our solicitors, it became clear that Mr Brown was also exposed to asbestos when he worked at another company and we sued both companies for compensation.

A court action was raised using no win no fee funding, and our team secured £10,000 in pleural plaques compensation.

“I would give 150% to Digby Brown to be perfectly honest with you. I was over the moon with the result as didn’t think I would get anything after the other firm turned me away but Mr Ross sorted it all out for me.

“Everything was absolutely great all the way through and everyone I met was lovely, it was a far superior service compared to the other firm.

“I would tell anyone to go straight to Digby Brown and I would certainly go to them if anything else was to happen or if I needed advice about anything.”

Passenger injured after accident involving drunk driver

Sarah was a passenger in a car with her partner driving from Stirling to Alva late at night when the accident happened. They were on a country road and as they came round a bend, a car had pulled out from the side of the road.

“We turned the corner and the car was across the road with its lights off. There was no way to avoid it, we hit the front of her car and then almost crashed into a bus stop. My partner went to check if she was ok and she was clearly drunk so we phoned the police.

“Before the police could arrive, the other driver just drove off. I couldn’t believe it she was putting herself and everyone else at risk.”

Sarah injured her neck and developed a phobia of being in a car after the accident.

“I had never been in an accident before and now I’m terrified. It’s got to the point where it was dangerous for me to be a passenger as I kept having flashbacks and reacting really badly every time I got in the car with someone.

“I was hoping at some point to get lessons and start driving myself but there is no way I could do that now. I have a wee girl and when we see family they have to come to me as I can’t make the journey myself.”

After talking through the accident with her partner, Sarah decided to get in touch with Digby Brown.

“We decided that because it was a drunk driver we had to do something. The road we had been on was a windy back road and I couldn’t believe how stupid she had been to make the decision to drive when she was clearly over the limit.”

Euan Robertson, Solicitor in our Dundee office took on Sarah’s case.

“We’d seen adverts and read reviews and decided that Digby Brown was the best place to go. Euan was excellent. He phoned with updates all the time and let us know when anything happened.”

After submitting expert medical reports the insurers came back with an offer of £4,500, which Sarah happily accepted.

“I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do without his help. He went through everything and gave us advice when the offer came in. I was really happy with how we were looked after.”

“I can’t thank Euan enough for everything he did. I would definitely tell anyone that found themselves injured in an accident to get a lawyer and to go to Digby Brown."

Over £2,000 raised for Cash for Kids at Aberdeen race night

Our Aberdeen office organised a race night in aid of Northsound Cash for Kids last Thursday.

The night took place in the Duthie Suite in The Holburn Bar and the team managed to raise an outstanding £2,305.

There were a number of great prizes for the winners of each race, with races sponsored by Ampersand and Arnot Manderson and the final race sponsored by Alex Quinn and Partners with a prize of a £100 John Lewis voucher up for grabs.

the team from Digby Browns Aberdeen office at their race night

As well as the racing, the team put on a raffle where guests could win a round of golf at Cullen Golf, a £50 voucher for Slaters Menswear and a cheese hamper to name a few of the prizes.

Michelle Ferguson from Northsound Cash for Kids said: “We are absolutely delighted that Digby Brown are fundraising for Northsound Cash for Kids, we support sick, disabled and disadvantaged children in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and we can only do that through the help and kindness of others.

"The money raised will go into our next grant round and will help local children when they need it most. We fund groups and activities and often support children with the basics such as beds, bedding, clothes and specialist equipment for children with special needs.”

Neil Davidson, Partner in our Aberdeen office said: “This was a truly fantastic evening and we thoroughly enjoyed putting together this event to support Northsound Cash for Kids.

“I would like to say a special thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and guests who helped us raise an incredible amount for this great charity – we couldn’t have done it without you.”

Runner hit by driver secures 13 times more compensation

“I was out on my normal morning run when a gentleman jumped a junction. I hit his bonnet and went flying into the air a few metres and was lying dazed at the side of the road.”

The driver was badly shaken and put his hands up, offering to drive our client to the hospital. Our client was informed at the hospital that he had a broken shoulder joint which would need surgery. This involved a steel bolt to put it back together and help the healing process, which was nine months.

During this time, he needed to go to physiotherapy and do exercises to rebuild his strength, but the surgeon said it would never return to 100%.

“To start with, I wasn’t going to bother making a claim, but I had no idea how widely it would affect me every day.

“It was months of painful everyday life. I couldn’t sleep and there wasn’t a fat lot I could do, I was essentially one handed and everything took twice as long and certain things like gardening were totally off limits.

“Until you have to go through it, you don’t realise how difficult things will be and costs you need to pay when it was something you weren’t at fault for.”

Catriona Headley, Associate solicitor in our Edinburgh office, took on the case.

“It was relatively straightforward. I came into the Edinburgh office and spoke with Catriona and she clearly explained what I was signing up for.”

Car insurer admits liability – and makes low offer

The defending car insurers admitted liability for the accident and made an offer of £1,000 to settle the injury case – before any medical evidence had been collected.

This was an attempt by the insurer to settle the case for far less that what was owed to the client. Without medical evidence, it is impossible to determine the future implications of his injuries.

“I was really impressed with the service, I knew things were happening and I was always kept in the loop.

“When it came to numbers on the table, Catriona gave me sound advice about my options and likely outcomes so I could make an informed decision.”

Expert legal advice results in 13 times more compensation

Our Edinburgh office lodged a pursuer’s offer for £13,500 to settle the case, before the case was due to be heard in court.

This essentially meant that if the defending solicitors failed to accept this offer within a reasonable period of time and the court then awarded a settlement at the same level or more than the pursuer’s offer, then the defending solicitors would suffer financial penalties as they could have settled the case sooner.

Less than a week later, the defending solicitors accepted the pursuer’s offer, formally settling and concluding the case at £13,500 – over 13 times more than the first offer.

“I was more than happy with the outcome. I had no expectations at the start and Catriona gave me an estimate based on what happened to me and her experience and the final settlement was slightly more than this.

“My advice to others would be to at least have the conversation about making a claim if you’ve been hurt. I’m not the type to make a fuss and I initially thought just get on with it but I didn’t know how much of an impact it would have or know how long it would go on for.

“I would say get medical advice and speak to a specialist solicitor before making a decision on whether to go ahead.”

Damages secured for young boy after being injured from falling brickwork at school

A family contacted Digby Brown‘s Inverness office after five-year-old Max MacPhee was injured when he was leaving his school nursery with his mum.

Max had been leaning on a wall when a coping stone came off and struck him on his right leg – breaking it just beneath the knee.

He spent two months in recovery most of which was spent using a wheelchair or a walking frame. After the break healed, Max was left with one leg 1cm longer than the other.

The local council denied liability but after our Inverness office investigated the case it became apparent that the council had already been alerted to a similar incident but failed to carry out an adequate inspection or any repair work.

They raised the case in court and submitted a Pursuers Offer. This essentially means if the council don’t accept this offer and the court award a higher settlement, they will receive a penalty and end up paying more.

However, the council accepted the Pursuer Offer before the case went to trial.

David McGowan, Associate Solicitor in Inverness said: “This was clearly an accident waiting to happen and it’s distressing to consider how much worse Max or anyone else could have been injured.

“Every local authority has a duty of care towards those entering their premises and this is especially important when considering schools and nurseries.

“Securing rightful damages is just one aspect of how we help individuals - the other is holding defenders accountable to hopefully improve safety standards for all.”

Max’s mum Louise was glad that the case had been settled but was not impressed with the way that the council had dealt with the accident.

In a statement she said: “It’s shocking that Highland Council didn’t have the common decency to hold their hands up and just help a little boy who was hurt by their own failings instead of having the audacity to try and blame him.

“At least now after the help from Digby Brown they can be held accountable.

“If there’s any good to come from this then I hope it’s that the Council invest in improving the safety of public areas so people aren’t hurt in the first place.”

You can read further coverage of the story at:

Aberdeen solicitors get the right result for injured trainee

Mr Ewing was a Trainee Fire Protection Engineer in Aberdeenshire but was hurt after being asked to move supposedly empty gas canisters causing a freeze burn.

“Even to this day, I have to watch not to get heat on that area or it gets itchy and sore.”

Mr Ewing was off work for two weeks and when he went back, they gave him a disciplinary claiming he had broken their health and safety regulations. In the end, they dismissed him for gross misconduct.

He raised a claim for unfair dismissal and was awarded compensation. He secured other employment about two weeks later.

“I decided to make an injury claim after the way the company treated me. They tried to blame it all on me and pass the buck, but I knew they were in the wrong. I hadn’t been fully trained in that job and they wrongly told me the canister was empty.

“Accidents happened all the time there. Another worker had a similar thing happen to him just before my accident. He was told the canister was empty and broke his hand as it turned out it wasn’t.

“Another employee had his boiler suit go up in flames and luckily was able to put it out with a puddle - but it was all brushed under the carpet.”

Another Scottish law firm acted on behalf of Mr Ewing but they ended up closing his file when they received the denial of liability from his employer, saying there was nothing in his case but he could seek legal advice elsewhere.

He came to us for a second opinion.

By this time there was only two months left before the case went to time bar and he lost his legal right to compensation. For the majority of personal injury cases, the law permits victims to claim compensation within three years of the accident.

Amy Shand in our Aberdeen office, handled the case against his employer.

“With Digby Brown, everything was a lot better. It was much easier and simpler – the way it should have been to begin with.

“Amy was just super to be honest, she really knew what she was doing and got where I was coming from straight away. She understood that I was not fully trained to do that job but the other solicitors never grasped that.

“On top of this, it was only Amy I was dealing with the whole way through. With the other firm I was getting passed about all the time and wires were getting crossed, things were being lost in translation. It was a shambles.”

It wasn't straight forward as the argument was that Mr Ewing was the author of his own misfortune, the CCTV of the incident didn't do many favours and the witnesses were against him.

However, our solicitors had other views on liability and felt there was a case to answer for his employers. We collected expert medical evidence and raised the case in court.

Employer pays up

His employer never admitted liability for the accident, but they did pay the price for their mistake.

Shortly before court, they made an offer to compensate Mr Ewing for his injuries and losses.

“I was happy to receive anything to be honest. For me, by them paying compensation proves they had something to hide and were guilty in some way. The employer was really stubborn so I half expected him to take it all the way and go to court to try and prove a point.

“They didn’t seem to learn from their mistakes but I hope by taking legal action against them that it will make them see sense and people that work for them are now safer.”

Injured driver awarded eight times more with independent lawyers

Mr Henry, a 60-year-old man from Kirkcaldy, had stopped his car to let an ambulance past but the driver behind rear end shunted his car.

“The driver was pretty arrogant and told me I shouldn’t have stopped. I don’t know if he was on his phone or something as he had no reason to run into the back of me.

“The driver told me I wasn’t getting a penny out of him from the accident and refused to give me his insurance details.”

It wasn’t until the next day Mr Henry realised how badly injured he was, he couldn’t use his right leg so he went to Victoria hospital in Kirkcaldy. He was off work for two weeks as a result.

“It was an odd injury, very horrible. Every time I would press on the brake pedal I would get a shooting pain through my leg.”

Mr Henry contacted his insurer and they recommended a company in Glasgow and passed his details along. He had taken pictures at the scene of the accident making it easier to trace the driver.

“I did not have a positive experience with the previous solicitors dealing with my claim. I could never speak to anyone when I wanted to and they never even asked me about my injuries.”

He received a compensation offer for his injuries from the other driver’s insurer, which his solicitors urged him to accept. This was without any medical reports or a medical examination to determine the compensation he was owed.  If he wanted to obtain his medical records and a medical report, this would cost in the region of £800.

“It was a total waste of time to be honest. It was only two or three weeks after the accident that they offered me £1,000 – I think it was just a tactic to get me to go away.”

Mr Henry refused to accept the offer. He had not signed any paperwork from the law firm and decided to look elsewhere.

“At that point I was in quite a bit of pain and I knew that was nowhere near what I was due.

“It was clear that they weren’t the right people to go to so I decided to contact Digby Brown.”

He later found out that the solicitors dealing with his case actually act for car insurers to defend injury claims made by drivers, so they were not independent.

Ryan Smith, Senior Solicitor in our Kirkcaldy office, took over the handling of his injury claim. He did all the necessary investigations and obtained the right medical records.

In the end, Mr Henry secured a settlement of £8,000 which is eight times the offer his previous solicitors achieved.

“There was no comparison, the other company were just terrible, they didn’t have a clue.

“Everything with Digby Brown was painless, the whole process was very smooth. Ryan was were very thorough and asked me all the right questions, focusing on how my injuries from the accident impacted on different things I did in my life.

“It went like clock-work and I have no hesitation to recommend people to Digby Brown. I’ve already told someone who was in a car crash to go to Digby Brown as they will do their very best for you.”

Why independent legal advice matters for a settlement agreement

If you have been offered a settlement agreement by your employer, there is often a temptation to sign the agreement quickly to bring an unwelcome situation to an end and receive payment.  

It is important to remember a settlement agreement is a legally binding document and you need to take legal advice on the detailed terms for the settlement agreement to be valid.

However, the standard terms in a settlement agreement may not be in the best interests of the employee and these will often need to be adjusted before they should sign.

There is a risk that employees are signing up to terms which may cause a problem in the future but are not obvious at the time. 

Negotiating the right terms for a settlement agreement

We represented an oil and gas worker based in Houston who was working for an Aberdeen company. His proposed settlement agreement restricted him from speaking to existing customers for 12 months or working for a similar company in the US, Brazil or UK - essentially rendering him unable to work for 12 months.

We negotiated the terms of the settlement agreement so he was able to seek employment in similar companies based in the US or Brazil, ensuring his career was not hindered.

This is why experience matters and the solicitor you choose to represent you should be well versed in settlement agreements. The clauses are complex and the payments carry important tax implications including recent changes to the law which can lead to penalty payments. 

It is important that all of the payments that you are entitled to when your employment comes to an end are included within the agreement. If they are not, then your right to recover these payments will be gone once the agreement is completed.

This could mean missing out on valuable payments such as notice pay, a bonus or payments for share entitlements.

How quickly do you need to accept a settlement agreement?

If your employer proposes a settlement agreement then you are entitled to a reasonable time to decide if you wish to accept. 

However, an agreement can be withdrawn at any time so acting quickly is important. 

It is also important to remember that you do not need to accept a settlement agreement. It may be possible to consider pursuing an Employment Tribunal claim instead if grounds for this exist.

If you need legal advice about a settlement agreement, then please contact us on 0333 200 5925 or fill in our call back form

Ross Milvenan Associate Employment Solicitor at Digby Brown

Ross Milvenan
Associate
Employment Law

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.

Digby Brown Kirkcaldy office proud to present £7,000 donation to Frontline Fife

Our Kirkcaldy office were delighted to present a cheque for over £7,000 to support Frontline Fife, a homeless charity, who campaign to prevent rough sleeping and help those affected by it.

These funds were raised through year-long fundraising activities such as bake sales and pub quiz nights attended by members of the public.

This is double the amount raised the previous year by the office.

Innes Laing, Partner at Digby Brown’s Kirkcaldy office, handed over the £7,255.26 earlier this week.

He said: “The work Frontline Fife does is really incredible so it makes us proud to be able to contribute to their efforts for the second year.

“I’d also like to thank those who have contributed to our fundraising efforts by attending our events - without your support we wouldn’t have smashed our total raised last year.

“This is the second year in a row we’ve supported Frontline Fife and we’re immensely proud to contribute to the lives they literally help improve for hundreds across the Kingdom."

Ruth Young from Frontline Fife said: "We were delighted to be chosen as Digby Brown Kirkcaldy's chosen charity for a second year.

"Their support and commitment to raising funds for our organisation has been greatly appreciated and we were overwhelmed with their cheque presentation this week. 

"Without the support of the community and local businesses, we wouldn't be able to provide the additional assistance to people threatened with, or facing homelessness in Fife."

Ayr solicitors raise an outstanding £3,351 at annual Burns Supper

Digby Brown’s Ayr office held their annual Burns Supper and Ceilidh night on Saturday 2nd February raising an amazing £3,351 for their chosen local charity Ayrshire Cancer Support. The evening took place again at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.

Guests on the night were well entertained with the traditional Address to the Haggis, Selkirk Grace and our Ayr office’s very own Lee Murray doing Burns’ Ode to the Toothache. As usual there was a fantastic three-course Burns Supper which was followed by a traditional Scottish Ceilidh.

The entertainment for the evening did not stop there with a variety of fundraising activities throughout the evening, starting with a game of “Heads and Tails” with the winner receiving a litre bottle of whisky.

There was also the opportunity to win a bottle of malt whisky, bottle of Morgan’s rum or a bottle of prosecco in this year’s coin toss.

The raffle was another success of the night with a Nespresso coffee machine, a year’s family membership to the National Trust for Scotland, afternoon tea, a variety of gift vouchers amongst the 20 prizes on offer.

Damian White, Partner and Head of the Ayr office said: “We are delighted that the Burns Supper was such a success again this year.

“We are proud as an office to be supporting Ayrshire Cancer Support and the vital work they do in our community. We know that the funds raised will be a great help to them and the services they provide for cancer sufferers and their families.

“I would like to personally thank everyone who supported the event, our programme sponsors and those that donated prizes for the evening. We managed to raise a fantastic £3,351 for a very deserving charity."

Ayrshire Cancer Support said: "We've just heard that the Digby Brown Burns Supper raised over £3,300! Excellent news - thank so much. Thank you to the team who helped make the night such a success, our volunteers who were able to attend had a fantastic night"

How expert solicitors secure rightful compensation for pleural plaques victim

A joiner from Oban was diagnosed with pleural plaques and diffuse pleural thickening from working with asbestos more than forty years ago.

He went to another dedicated personal injury firm in Scotland but they turned him away, saying they were unable to help as they could not locate any insurance for the relevant companies and the previous companies were dissolved and no longer in existence.

“They seemed to have the case for ages and then they said they couldn’t find any of the firms I had worked for as they were no longer in business so that was that.”

Our client, like many others at the time, was exposed to asbestos when he was involved with building properties for a local firm. He cut directly into asbestos sheets releasing harmful asbestos dust and fibres into the air to then fit them around new homes. His employer provided no safety provisions to limit his exposure and didn’t even warn him of the dangers.

“In those days, there were a lot of asbestos roofs and things like that and you would cut into it by hand, so there was dust everywhere. It was just a thing you had to do, there was no real health and safety back then.”

He now has a respiratory disability and is at risk of his asbestos condition worsening or developing a more serious asbestos related condition. If he went on to develop Mesothelioma, the likelihood is that he would die within 12 months of the onset of symptoms. 

“I was breathless and couldn’t walk for much of a distance – I would have to sit down and I would be wheezing. I was sent to the hospital and it wasn’t until over a year later that a doctor said ‘you know you have pleural plaques?"

“I had never even heard of it before.“

It wasn’t until he read the Daily Express and saw Digby Brown’s name that he decided to get in touch.

“It was night and day, Digby Brown were absolutely fantastic and really helpful. Everything was far superior, they explained everything much better and got it all sorted.”

Jillian Walker, Associate solicitor in our Industrial and Asbestos Disease team in Glasgow, was able to trace his previous employers to an active company and hold them to account.

In the end, we achieved £8,500 in full and final damages for our client.

“I wasn’t expecting anything, and was very pleased with what Digby Brown got me.

“I just take things day by day and get on with it. Hopefully I can get out a little more and start becoming a little more mobile.

“I would recommend anyone who found themselves in my position to contact Digby Brown without hesitation.”

Are the dangers of drink driving getting through?

One in every 15 drivers breathalysed by police over the festive period were found to be over the limit - almost double the number from the year before.

Police Scotland ran their annual Festive Road Safety Campaign from 1st December 2018 to 2nd January 2019 with over 8,000 drivers stopped and breathalysed.

They caught 565 people for drink/drug driving offences, 23 of those were driving the morning after drinking.

In North East Fife, a driver who was over four times the limit, crashed his car and was lucky not to be very seriously injured.

Why is the message not getting through?

As we all know, the drink-driving limit was lowered in 2014 which put an end to those legally having one drink and then driving home. The lower limit makes it impossible to really know whether one drink would tip you over the limit, meaning it is safer not to drink at all if you are driving.

However, people are clearly still taking the risk and getting behind the wheel after one or more drinks. This poses not only a danger to the driver and passengers, but to others on the road.

Alcohol and drugs affect your ability to process information and react to hazards. It also impairs your decision-making meaning you are more likely to take risks on the road like driving too fast.

All of these factors combined means you are far more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

How do you know if you can drive the morning after?

On average, it takes about one hour for your body to break down one unit of alcohol.

So, if you drink a large glass of wine (250ml) for example, it can take about three hours for this to leave your system. For one pint of beer, this can take about two hours.

However, this varies from person to person depending on factors such as gender, weight, your age, how much you have eaten, the type of alcohol you have consumed and any medication you are taking. You can find more information on the NHS website.

It is vital that you give yourself enough time before you drive the next day to make sure you are not over the limit. 

Real life consequences of drink driving

From a previous post about drink driving, we received comments on social media from members of the public saying:

“Zero is the only answer imagine living with the thought somebody died because you couldn't say no to a drink.”

“Don't drink if you're going to be driving. That car is a lethal weapon if you’re drunk. Be sensible all year round!!!”

We see first-hand the serious impact that drink driving can have and the harm caused by reckless behaviour.

Our client Mr Conway was injured when he was a passenger in a car accident. The driver was under the influence of alcohol and was speeding along an icy rural road, before losing control and hitting a tree. You can read the full story Passenger injured after speeding driver hits tree.

Drivers need to remember the very real and life changing consequences for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It is not just their safety at risk.

Fife man suffers chemical burns after given the wrong boots

Mr Aitken, a 43-year-old man from Fife, suffered chemical burns at work when he was handling corrosive chemicals.  He was a chemical HGV lorry driver and this involved transporting large quantities of chemicals.

It was a new job and he was provided with brief training and told that he would be given adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to allow him to safely carry out his work.

On the day of his accident, he was wearing wellington boots provided by his employer. However, as Mr Aitken began connecting a pipe to move caustic soda from his HGV, a large quantity of it began leaking onto his boots. He managed to stop it as quickly as possible but it was too late. He suffered chemical burns to his right foot.

As far as he was aware, his employer had provided him with the correct PPE to carry out his job. However, it emerged later that his employer had negligently issued him with standard wellington boots and not chemical resistant boots as they should have done.

As a result of his employers negligence, Mr Aitken had to seek immediate medical attention and still suffers from pain and discomfort in his foot.  He has also been left with permanent scarring.

“It was very painful and upsetting what happened. I was in my first year in the chemical industry and I was really excited about progressing within the trade but after everything that happened, I’ve moved out that industry entirely.

“It has opened up my eyes about the dangers and what could happen. I’m angry that they allowed me to carry out a life threatening job without the right equipment and training and that they still didn’t seem to learn from the accident.”

Mr Aitken decided to contact Digby Brown to see if he had a case for personal injury against his employer.

“I wanted my employer to recognise they were at fault for my accident, take responsibility and learn from what happened to make sure it never happened to anyone else.”

Solicitor Fiona Bisset, who specialises in personal injury in our Kirkcaldy office, carried out investigations into the circumstances of accident. She found that the Health and Safety Executive had identified significant violations of health and safety law.

Our team had to prove that Mr Aitken’s employer had been at fault for his accident. Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, the employer ought to have ensured that his exposure to hazardous substances was prevented or adequately controlled. They failed to do so.  The employer also failed to provide suitable PPE under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

Our Kirkcaldy solicitors were able to persuade the employer’s insurers to admit liability for the accident and subsequent injuries.

They also arranged for Mr Aitken to be examined by a specialist medical expert to find out if any treatment would be beneficial for his recovery. The costs of this was included in his claim and in the end, the case settled for £9,000.

“My life has changed completely because of the accident. It has affected the way I think about things and how I view employers now. I still think about it every day, but I’ve had to put it behind me so I can move forward.

“Digby Brown did a fantastic job and did everything they could for me. They were very friendly and answered any questions I had and they knew exactly how to deal with things as they came up. It was clear they knew what they were doing.”

Compensation doesn’t allow us to turn back time and stop an accident but it can go some way to put right what happened and hold an employer to account

Justyna Rompca

Aplikant na Radce Prawnego

Specjalizacja: Prawo Miedzynarodowe oraz Podroze

Lokalizacja: Edynburg

Justyna.Rompca@digbybrown.co.uk

0131 662 3003

Pochodzaca z Polski Justyna Rompca jest absolwentka Wydzialu Prawa Uniwersytetu Gdanskiego, ktory ukonczyla w 2009 roku. Justyna dolaczyla do zespolu DigbyBrown w 2012 jako asystemt prawny (paralegal). W kolejnym roku otrzymala dyplom ukonczenia  studiow prawniczych na Uniwersytecie Edynburskim (LLB). W 2014 roku Justyna ukonczyla studia podyplomowe Diploma in Legal Practice na Uniwersytecie w Glasgow.

Obecnie Justyna jest na drugim roku aplikacji radcowskiej. Pracuje w dziale Foreign and Travel Law i prowadzi sprawy dotyczące wypadków w miejscu pracy, wypadków drogowych, wypadkow za granica, wypadkow w pracy  a także wszelkich wypadków o międzynarodowym aspekcie. Pracuje w oddziale firmy w Edynburgu.

It matters that your motorcycle is fit for purpose

As the days start getting longer and the sky gets brighter many bikers will be itching to open up the garage, pull back the covers that have protected their beloved bike from the winter cold and hear the engine roar once again.

However, before tearing up country roads on that first ride of the year, take the time to ensure your bike is roadworthy and ready to hit the open roads to reduce the risk of injury in an accident.

In any accident involving a motorcycle, the condition of the machine is always a crucial factor in determining its causes. The roadworthiness of any motorcycle will always be considered carefully by the Police in any investigation they need to carry out.

Before heading out for a spin, consider using the POWDERSS checklist to help ensure that your bike is in tip-top condition:

Petrol

This may seem obvious to both car users and riders alike but always ensure there is sufficient fuel in the tank for the journey – there is always people caught out. Motorcycles hold less fuel than cars so if you are heading out on a long trip make sure you plan ahead and know where you can top up the tank.

Oil

Always ensure that the engine oil is topped up as well as the fluid for the break and clutch. If the oil is black it usually means that the oil has become contaminated with dirt. If that is the case, your oil needs to be changed.

If the oil has a milky white colour this could indicate that coolant has mixed with the oil. This may be caused by a more serious problem such as a blown head gasket or a major engine problem.

If, all of a sudden, the engine begins burning oil, this could mean that the bike is suffering from piston ring problems. Issues such as these need to be assessed by a suitably qualified mechanic.

Water

Be sure to check that the radiator is topped up with enough coolant. In addition, always check the hoses and connections for signs of damage or leakage.

Should you find any ensure that it is repaired as soon as possible. Many newer motorcycles are cooled by oil and or air and so do not have a traditional radiator.

Damage

Always check your machine for obvious signs of damage. Check that the side panels and fairings are properly secured to the body of the bike.

Also carry out a visual check for obvious signs of damage to the drive chain, the break discs, the wheels and the sprockets. Again, should you spot any obvious damage, have it repaired immediately.

Electrics

Before every journey, ensure that the headlights, indicator lights, break lights and rear lights are all in proper working order and are bright enough to be seen.

Remember, motorcycles are generally smaller than cars and have a much smaller profile on the road.

Make sure that you do as much as possible to be seen in the dark to avoid the risk of being involved in an accident.

Rubber

Regularly check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread.

‘Bald’ tyres are not only illegal but significantly reduce the friction between the motorcycle and road surface making it far more likely that you will lose control while cornering or on a bend. The risk increases still further when riding in wet conditions.

Don’t risk it! Being caught with tyres without a sufficient tread depth could see you end up with three points on your licence and a £2,500 fine per tyre!

Steering/Suspension

Again, this may sound obvious but it is vitally important that your machine responds correctly to your control inputs.

Before heading out, check that the headrace bearings are free from movement and are self centring. Check the suspension settings and that all pillion/luggage adjustments have been made.

These simple checks could be the difference between a safe enjoyable ride and being involved in a serious accident.

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.

New drug driving limits to be introduced in Scotland

The Scottish Government is proposing new laws for a zero tolerance approach in relation to people driving under the influence of drugs in a bid to improve road safety. If passed by MSPs the new law is set to come into force in October this year.

It is already illegal to drive a vehicle if your driving is impaired because of drugs, regardless of whether these are prescription or illegal drugs such as cannabis.

If convicted, penalties include a minimum 1-year driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000, up to six months in prison and of course, a criminal record.

Limits are expected to be introduced for eight illegal drugs, namely cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, cannabis, LSD, heroin, methylamphetamine and benzoylecgonine. The limits set will be very close to zero to eliminate any cases of accidental exposure.

Other prescribed drugs used for medical reasons such as methadone, diazepam and morphine will also have limits in place based on their impact on driving ability.

If you are taking medication prescribed by your doctor, it is important to check the potential impact these may have on your driving ability to make sure you are not a danger on the road.

Currently, prosecutors must prove that a person’s driving ability was impaired due to that person having drugs in their system.

However, the new law being proposed will enable drivers to be prosecuted if they are over the drug limit whilst driving a vehicle, similar to drink driving.

We see far too often people injured in road traffic accidents which could have been prevented and welcome changes that could improve road safety in Scotland.

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

Digby Brown shortlisted again for Scottish Legal Awards

Digby Brown Solicitors is delighted to have been shortlisted for three prestigious awards.

We have been nominated for the Firm of the Year, Litigation Team of the Year and Community Contribution titles for next month’s 2019 Scottish Legal Awards.

The Firm of the Year and Community Contribution awards acknowledge Digby Brown’s reputation as a successful business and the efforts of our legal staff and their dedicated charity work - such as engaging in gruelling marathons and cross-country cycling feats to support those affected by issues from brain or spinal injuries to homelessness.

We are also grateful that our field-leading clinical negligence department has had their legal expertise formally recognised in the form of their nomination for Litigation Team of the Year.

Digby Brown does not work in the hope of awards - we do it because every single member of staff is passionate about helping the thousands of individuals who reach out to us every year.

It’s the hard work of our staff and, more importantly, the trust of our ever-growing client base that earned us a place on these shortlists and for that we feel proud and privileged.

Finalist in Scottish Legal Awards 2019

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Isra Ali
Paralegal
Specialisms: Accident at Work, Accidents in Public Places, Road Traffic Accident
Location: Glasgow
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0141 566 9220
Isra Ali

Pleural plaques compensation for retired joiner

Archie Dickson, a 75-year-old man from Glasgow, was exposed to asbestos in the mid-1960s when he worked at Barclay Curle & Co Limited as a joiner in their shipyard.

“We were cutting the asbestos sheets with a saw for the new power station and the dust was everywhere but we thought nothing of it at the time.

"We were offered no protection, never given any instructions about how to handle it, we were never told about the damage it could cause."

Pleural plaques discovered 50 years later…

Mr Dickson inhaled large quantities of asbestos dust and particles, which led to him being diagnosed with Pleural Plaques in June 2017, over 50 years later.

“When myself and my wife Elizabeth were first told we were both completely shocked. The way they told us I think they assumed we knew.

“The consultant explained it was a minor asbestos disease and he didn’t think it would lead to anything further but I do worry.

“We know people who have went through something similar and have went on to develop something more serious. My friend died three years ago from an asbestos disease so it is always there at the back of my mind that it could get worse.

“But it is there and we just have to just live with it. There’s nothing we can do to change it now.”

Only three years to raise a pleural plaques claim

Mr Dickson’s consultant advised him that he was eligible to claim compensation from his former employer and his local lawyer put him in touch with specialist solicitors at Digby Brown.

“We were aware there were time limits in place to bring a claim forward so decided we better do it now to see if there’s a possibility for compensation.”

If Mr Dickson had not raised a claim for pleural plaques within three years, he would have lost his right to compensation, not just for pleural plaques, but for any more serious asbestos-related condition he may have gone on to develop.

Digby Brown legal process

Fraser Simpson, Partner and Head of Industrial Disease at Digby Brown, acted on behalf of Mr Dickson.

“I thought Digby Brown were excellent. We had never done anything like this before but they explained everything so carefully and took time with us and gave us time to think things over, very impressed with the service.

“You know, it wasn’t a million pound case, but we were treated so well and no differently, it wasn’t like ‘this is a minor case and doesn’t’ matter.”

Proving pleural plaques caused by work

Our expert asbestos disease solicitors went through Mr Dickson’s work records and arranged for an independent medical consultant to review his medical history.

“They were very professional and thorough building my case, making sure they had all the evidence they needed to prove my employer was at fault.

“There was a possibility that we may have had to go to court in order to settle the case, but the other side made a fair offer before this happened which was a bit of a relief.

“God forbid anything should happen in the future, but if it did, we would speak to someone at Digby Brown and would recommend them to anyone who found themselves in a similar situation.”

By securing provisional compensation for pleural plaques, Mr Dickson has protected his legal right to future compensation if he develops a more serious asbestos disease such as mesothelioma.

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease, it is essential that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

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Saima Ali
Solicitor
Specialisms: Network
Location: Ayr
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01292 438 593
Saima Ali

Saima graduated from the University of Dundee in 2015 with an LLB (Hons) Dual Qualifying in Scots and English Law and thereafter completing her Diploma in Professional Legal Practice. She completed her traineeship in Dundee qualifying as a Solicitor in 2017. Saima is also a Notary Public.

Saima joined Digby Brown's Network Department in 2019 and is based in the Ayr office. She deals with a variety of personal injury claims such as workplace accident claims, occupier's liability claims, public liability claims and road traffic claims.

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Justyna Rompca
Trainee
Specialisms: Foreign and Travel
Location: Edinburgh
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0131 662 3003
Justyna Rompca

Driver tries to blame injured pedestrian for road accident

Graham Urquhart, a 55-year-old man from Edinburgh, was struck by a private taxi on Hogmanay as he was crossing the road at the east junction of Hillside Crescent and London Road.

“It was about 3 in the afternoon and I was crossing the road when the next minute I was on my back and a woman was phoning for an ambulance. There was nothing I could do to prevent it, I had looked before crossing the road but nothing was coming.”

He was taken to hospital and released later than evening. He suffered a fractured elbow. 

“It was horrendous. It was my right elbow which was fractured and I’m right handed, I couldn’t use it for about four months so I had to rely on everyone else to help me.”

Mr Urquhart decided to get in touch with Digby Brown after a colleague at work recommended the firm. We agreed to take on his case and Catriona Headley, Associate Solicitor in our Edinburgh office, acted on his behalf.

“I was dubious and very sceptical about the whole thing to be honest, I was always receiving cold calls about being in an accident even before I was so in one so I wasn’t entirely convinced about the whole thing.

“However, from the very initial meeting, I was really impressed. Catriona came across completely professionally and she went over everything with me. When she routed my walk on the computer I was gobsmacked.

“From day one, she took care of everything and I didn’t need to do a thing. The service was 100% perfection.”

When Catriona Headley intimated the injury claim against the driver he threatened a 'counter claim' against Mr Urquhart. He said that his insurers’ solicitors had been instructed that he would not accept any fault. 

We raised court proceedings but the insurers solicitors denied liability throughout. From the police records, we could see the driver had told the police at the scene that Mr Urquhart had stepped off the opposite pavement than in fact he had. He gave a very detailed account to the police which turned out was a total fabrication.

His solicitors in the court documents admitted that our client Mr Urquhart was walking in the direction he said he was, contradicting the statement the driver had given to the police at the time. We had made it clear to the defender solicitors that we would be raising this in court.

A month before the case was due to be heard in court, they made an offer. After negotiations, the injury claim settled for the full value at £8,500.

“I didn’t know how it all worked but Digby Brown knew what they were doing. I trusted the advice from Catriona and when an offer came in for £6,500 I was advised this was too low. I was happy to accept the advice and within an hour, the other side had upped their offer to £8,500.

“I can’t stress enough the help I got. I would have no hesitation to tell anyone who was caught up in something similar to give you a call.”

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Stephen Duff
Senior Solicitor
Specialisms: Foreign and Travel
Location: Glasgow
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0141 352 6216
Stephen Duff

Stephen joined the firm in 2012 having graduated from the University of Stirling with a Bachelor of Arts in Law, an accelerated LLB and a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice. Stephen has a background in Industrial Disease Litigation and has pursued personal injury actions throughout Scotland. He has experience in both the Sheriff Court and the Court of Session.

Working within the Foreign and Travel Law department Stephen now deals with a broad range of cases including accidents abroad, travel sickness claims and road traffic accidents. He is based at Digby Brown's Glasgow office.

Stephen is also a Notary Public.

Driver blames injured biker for North Coast 500 accident

The North Coast 500 is a 500-mile stretch, following the coastline around the Highlands. A stunning route, which is increasingly popular for those on two wheels. It was for this very reason that Mr S planned and made the trip from England to bike the route.

His trip was going well until his approach to Brora. As he was riding behind a Nissan car, the Nissan slowed down and moved to the left of the road. With nothing oncoming, and with the Nissan almost stationary, Mr S overtook the car. As he did so, with no warning the driver attempted to make a u-turn.  The car crashed into his bike knocking him to the ground.

The insurance company for the other vehicle involved in the motorcycle accident denied liability. Our Digby Brown Inverness office raised a court action against the driver of the vehicle to obtain Mr S compensation for his injuries and losses.

The insurers denied liability on the basis that their client was intending to turn right at the time of the accident, claiming that the rider attempted to overtake his car, causing the crash.

As this was contrary to our client’s version of events, we needed additional evidence to support the injury case.  Our solicitors took a statement from a witness, who was part of the tour and travelling behind our client in the line of traffic who confirmed that the driver had indeed made a u-turn without any indication.

Mr S was self-employed as a bricklayer and was off work for several months, losing earnings, following the accident because of his injuries.  Our solicitors used Mr S’s previous pay slips to provide evidence of this loss and the employer he was working for at the time confirmed this was the case.

We were also able to incorporate the help Mr S needed following the accident into his claim using Section 8 of the Administration of Justice (Scotland) Act 1982. This compensated his family for the time they spent providing necessary care and assistance.

Mr S’s jacket and helmet were also damaged in the accident and needed to be replaced, at a cost to our client.  We were able to incorporate this into his personal injury action and recover compensation so he could replace these items without having to sustain the loss of doing so himself.

After initially denying liability, the driver’s insurers made an offer of £10,475 to settle Mr S’s personal injury case.  Our Inverness solicitors provided their expert advice on this offer and advised this would be under-settling his claim if he chose to accept the offer.  Mr S was happy to take Digby Brown’s advice and instructed them to reject the offer.

The driver’s insurers were unwilling to accept Mr S’s loss of earnings claim without bank statements. They wanted to confirm that he hadn’t received earnings from any other employer. Despite the medical evidence that he could not work, and the evidence that he was not working elsewhere, the insurers’ solicitors demanded sight of the wage records. Our solicitors knew this was unnecessary, but provided them with the bank statements.

They then lodged a second offer of £13,275, over 25% more than their previous offer, which our client happily accepted.

Following the settlement, the insurers solicitors sought to restrict our client’s reasonable expenses – they alleged that until the bank statements were provided, they were unable to confirm he was not working elsewhere.

This frivolous position further highlighted the insurance industry approach of treating everyone as fraudulent, until proven otherwise. However, this opposition was defeated by Digby Brown, with the full expenses recovered.

What should have been a holiday along the incredible NC500 turned sour through no fault of his own, but through the work of Digby Brown Inverness, Mr S was compensated for all his losses in full.

“Digby Brown were relentless in pursuing my claim and I would be more than happy to recommend their service to anyone in a similar situation as me.

“I would like to say thank you to my solicitor David McGowan for all his efforts on my case, I really appreciate all he did for me and I look forward to returning to Scotland to enjoy the fantastic roads and scenery on my bike.”

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Michael Dyson
Paralegal
Specialisms: Accident at Work, Accidents in Public Places, Road Traffic Accident
Location: Dundee
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01382 205 923
Michael Dyson

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.

Is the lower drink driving limit working in Scotland?

In December 2014, the Scottish Government reduced the drink driving limit in an attempt to reduce road traffic accidents and the number of fatal injuries on our roads.

The limit was lowered in Scotland only from 80mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres to 50mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the limit remains at 80mg.

Studies from other European countries that introduced a lower drink driving limit witnessed a reduction in the number of road traffic accidents and it was thought similar results would be seen in Scotland.

Has it worked?

A recent two-year study from Glasgow University’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing shows the number of road traffic accidents and fatal injuries have actually seen a slight increase since the lower drink driving limit was brought into force.

Throughout 2016 there were 6,070 road accidents which involved drink driving, costing the Scottish economy around £80million.

It is believed that the lack of positive change is due to inadequate police enforcement and media campaigning.

Festive crackdown on drink driving

Earlier this month, Police Scotland launched its annual festive Drink Driving campaign, warning of the serious consequences of drink-driving.

They will be increasing the number of drivers pulled over and breathalysed. Last year, 567 drivers failed breath tests across the festive season.

Why should you comply with the lower drink driving limit?

There are serious consequences for those that choose to drink and drive. Alcohol slows down the brain, which in turn can lead to numerous issues. These include:

  • Taking longer to receive messages from the eye
  • Processing information becomes difficult
  • Instructions to muscles are delayed resulting in slower reaction times.

You are also at risk of double vision making it harder to see hazards on the road, and are more likely to take risks, making the chances of being in an accident much greater. You risk causing serious injury to yourself, and others, in the event of an accident.

If you are caught drink driving, you may lose your license, receive a criminal record or be sentenced to prison. All of these have far-reaching consequences – for example, you could struggle to find a new job, especially if it involves driving or face difficulty travelling abroad.

For more information, read our blog Is driving after one drink worth the risk?

Aberdeen solicitors supporting Mission Christmas 2018

Our Aberdeen office have been busy supporting their charity partner Cash for Kids with their Mission Christmas appeal.

Cash for Kids work closely with organisations across the UK to support disadvantaged children from birth to 18 years old. Their Mission Christmas appeal aims to make sure every child wakes up to a present on Christmas Day.

The Northsound Mission Christmas campaign asks people to buy and donate an extra present to give to disadvantaged children in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area.

This is the second year our Aberdeen office was a registered drop off point for the Mission Christmas appeal and we received even more donations this year. The office themselves were busy buying gifts for children of all ages and had gifts ranging from hand knitted cardigans, magic sets, Barbie dolls to handbags.

On top of this, trainee solicitors Kimberley MacLennan and Kerry Whyte went along to the Mission Christmas warehouse, where they helped sort the presents into different age categories so they were all ready to be specially delivered to kids around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Solicitors from our Aberdeen office help at Mission Christmas HQ.

Our Aberdeen Office said: “We really enjoy supporting Mission Christmas and would like to say thank you to everyone who came to our office and donated a gift – we were really moved by everyone’s generosity.

“It was incredible visiting the warehouse and seeing just how many donations have been made by people, especially with this time of year being so expensive.

“These donations really go a long way to make what would be a difficult time of year more special for children in the area.”

Gift donations for Mission Christmas are now closed to give enough time for presents to be delivered to children in time for Christmas. Any late gift donations will be used for emergency grants or kept in storage until next year’s Mission Christmas appeal.

If you would still like to get involved, you can donate online or by text. Find more information at Mission Christmas Northsound.

Challenges to liability in motorcycle accidents

Any specialist motorcycle lawyer will likely, at one point or another, have faced a challenge to liability in a personal injury case where their gut will tell them that if the client had been driving a car, the issue simply wouldn’t have been raised.

We know that the injuries suffered by motorcyclists tend to be more serious than those of other road users, and so in an effort to keep the amount of any settlement down, insurers regularly try to shift the blame.

Other drivers often forget that motorcyclists are vulnerable road users. Despite making up only 1% of the traffic on the road, bikers account for between 20-25% of serious or fatal road accidents.

We know that two wheels are less stable than four, and an emergency braking situation for a motorcyclist can be catastrophic on a bend or an overtake.

Helmet cameras and on bike cameras are becoming increasingly popular, and can be very useful in showing ‘what happened’. Sometimes, witnesses volunteer their own dash-cam footage. These are very helpful in persuading the courts and insurers that the rider is not at fault.

Because only a small percentage of the population ride motorcycles, they are not on the look out for bikes on the road. We can all play our part here – the “think bike” campaign is helping to raise awareness. In winter when there are fewer bikes in the road, drivers do not always expect to see their two-wheeled friends.

It is not unusual to have witnesses talk of bikes “coming out of nowhere” – because the witness hasn’t been aware of the bike.  Bikes have greater manoeuvrability than cars, and can come through stationary or slow moving traffic.

Drivers and passengers in cars with radios on, engrossed in conversation, sometimes won’t even be aware of a bike passing them until it’s ahead and passing the next car, if they notice at all.  Some riders choose to modify their exhausts (or ‘cans’) to make others aware of their presence. That can come with their own problem though, as some are illegal modifications and can exceed noise restrictions.

Some witnesses regularly talk about the motorcycle ‘flying by’, whereas there is little or no evidence of the motorcycle travelling at speed. Recent research on the perceived speed of large moving objects, compared to smaller moving objects, has revealed the presence of a size-speed illusion. This illusion, where a large object seems to be moving more slowly than a small object travelling at the same speed may account for some of the discrepancies in reports of speed.

Those used to seeing bikes or other riders can more readily assess speed, than those who are used to slow moving vehicles, or those who look up and have to quickly assess the speed of a small (compared to a large car) motorcycle.

Sometimes, however, speed is an issue. Bikes have much greater torque and acceleration than cars, vans or lorries, due to their weight to power ratio. That can take motorists by surprise. Inexperienced riders can have difficulty controlling the acceleration of large or powerful machines. If there is a ‘wobble’ on a bike, then the gyroscopic effect can cause the bike to become unstable, and the rider to lose control. The difficulty is in proving to a court that the resultant loss of control was cause by the rider reacting to someone else’s negligence or fault, particularly when faced with seemingly unhelpful witness evidence.

What can you do to help make sure your injury case is successful?

Make sure you are ‘doing everything right’, not only so that the insurers can’t try to blame you, but to avoid the accident in the first place.

What are you wearing? Are you visible? Are your lights clean? Is your bike well maintained? Do your brakes work? Are your tyres legal?

These sound like very basic questions, and they’re meant to be. At a very basic level, we all have a duty to take care for our own safety.

We can’t control what other road users do, and we need to be able to respond to changing situations.

Give yourself a fighting chance of being seen, and being able to ride your way out of an emergency.

If you’ve done everything right, and are dressed appropriately, and riding carefully, your chances of being involved in a motorcycle accident are reduced.

Despite that, things can still go wrong and accidents happen.

Choosing a specialist motorcycle lawyer is a good start. The arguments we face regularly from insurers such as who was at fault can often be overcome. No matter how experienced your lawyer is after an accident, prevention is better than cure.

Lianda Barnes, Partner

Lianda Barnes,

Partner

Farm try to blame delivery driver for his injuries

Mr X was making a delivery to a farm when he slipped down some internal concrete stairs and badly dislocated his shoulder.

“I lost my footing on the way down the stairs, they were so slippy. I knew I’d done something really bad to my shoulder as I was in agony.

“I was almost on my knees with the pain. The nurses in the hospital thought I was having a heart attack because of the pain I was in.”

As he wasn’t able to drive after the accident, he was unable to work.

“I knew straight away that my arm was going to be out of use for a while and that was going to be a problem. It was my right arm that was injured and I’m right handed.”

Mr X decided to investigate his options for making an injury claim, contacting solicitors to find out where he stood.

“As soon as I spoke to Digby Brown I was put completely at ease. I’d spoken to other lawyers and they didn’t make me feel the same.”

When Damian White, Partner and Head of our Ayr office, contacted the farm they were adamant that railings had been in place and that Mr X had been wearing inappropriate footwear for being on the farm. They denied all liability for the accident.

“It was a kick in the teeth when I found out that the farm were saying that there were railings there and that I’d changed my boots before going to hospital. If the railings had been there I’d have been able to stop myself.

“I wasn’t sure I wanted to go down the route of using a lawyer because I knew that it would cause an impact with my work and the farm, but as soon as I found out they were lying I didn’t care anymore.”

Our Ayr solicitors had to investigate the claims made by the farm and took a number of witness statements, including some from Mr X’s colleagues who had also made deliveries to the same farm. It became apparent very quickly that the railings had not been in place prior to Mr X’s accident and that the railings, which were now in place, were installed after his accident happened.

The owner of the farm still denied liability and our solicitors were forced to raise the case in court.

“I felt nervous even though I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. If they had lied about the railings, I was worried about what else they might try to lie about. Once the witness statements were taken I felt so much more at ease because I knew that the truth was out and that was all that mattered.”

Once court proceedings had been raised, an offer was made to Mr X to settle his case which our solicitors felt this was not enough to fairly compensate him. His injuries had not improved leaving him unable to return to the job he was doing before. His work had tried to accommodate him as much as possible but due to the impact his injuries had had on what he was able to do, they had to let him go.

“I was a mess, I didn’t know what the future held anymore. Damian really helped  put me back on track and arranged support for me.”

After he lost his job, we had to take into account the loss of earnings that were now faced by Mr X because of the injuries that he had suffered. We arranged for Mr X to meet with employment and pension experts who submitted reports to the other side. Before the case was due to appear in court the  other side made an increased six figure offer almost five times the original offer.

“I was very happy with the outcome. I wasn’t jumping for joy because I realised that I was going to be living with my damaged shoulder forever, but it really meant that I would be able to get on with my life now.

“I don’t know where I would have been without Damian and his team, I am so grateful for all their help. When the offers were coming in, I was really considered just accepting the lower offer to end the whole thing but I’m so glad I listened to Damian’s advice.

“To anyone who ever finds themselves in this position, don’t give up and listen to your solicitor.”

At Digby Brown, our solicitors are specialists in personal injury law. This means we have the expert knowledge and funding to secure the compensation our clients are legally entitled to.

Read more about clients we have helped in Ayr.

Worker awarded eight times the first compensation offer

A 46-year-old man was involved in a workplace accident when he was working for a local authority. He was unloading the back of a van at work when he fell backwards and broke his elbow and wrist.

His injuries did not heal as expected and he was left with long standing injuries. He needed surgery but his injuries were complicated by a pre-existing injury to his wrist and another fall.

He also suffered psychological injuries from the accident and the impact his injuries had on his daily life. He used to enjoy getting out and going fishing, kayaking and archery but instead he was left reliant on his family for simple everyday tasks.

He was unable to work for a long period of time which also had a detrimental impact on his mental health.

The local authority completely denied any responsibility for the accident. Our personal injury lawyers in Glasgow held their position that the system of work was unsafe and the local authority failed to risk assess the task.

Our client was not protected by his employers whilst he was working for them.

They eventually made a number of settlement offers but these were rejected as they did not fairly compensate our client for his injuries and losses.

Ultimately, the case settled for 8 times the original settlement offer shortly before it was due in court after a hard fought dispute with the local authority.

The local authority hoped to buy off the claim cheaply but our solicitors were committed to getting the best result for our client and carried out all investigations necessary.

“Digby Brown were recommended to me by a work colleague. At every meeting with them, I was made to feel very welcome and relaxed.

“Their dedication and hard work got me more compensation that I expected and I would recommend them to anyone."

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.”

Winners announced for 2019 Christmas Card and Calendar Competition

For the fifth year, we have invited people living with a brain injury to submit a piece of creative work to be used in our 2019 calendar which is distributed to hospital, clinics and groups that deliver vital services to those with acquired brain injury. A separate piece was also chosen for our 2018 Christmas card.

We were stunned to receive over 150 entries from 20 brain injury groups across Scotland. It made it extremely difficult for our judges to choose which 12 pieces would be part of the 2019 calendar.

These well deserved winners were given a certificate and £50 gift voucher, as well as a cheque for £200 being donated to their local support group, at an awards ceremony on Tuesday 11th December at the DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central.

Winners of the 2019 Calendar and Christmas Card competition.

Full details of the winning entries are below.

Christmas Card – Issy Robertson, Headway Dundee and Angus

Front Cover – Charlene Wood, Headway East Lothian

Calendar cover by Charlene Wood from Headway East Lothian

January – Brian Duncan, Brain Injury Grampian (B.I.G.) Group

February – Suzanne MacKenzie, Headway Highland

March – Stuart Shaw, Headway Falkirk

April – Eddie Malone, Headway Ayrshire

Picture for April by Eddie Malone from Headway Ayrshire

May – Laurance Coll, Quarriers Sunshine Club and Irene Burns, Compass BISL

June – Colin Fortune, Edinburgh Headway Group

July – Kirsty Lockhart, Headway Glasgow and Scott Rhodie, Headway Glasgow

August – Una coombs, Astley Ainslie Hospital

September – Hartley Neal, Centre for Brain Injury Rehabilitation

October – Elinor Mather, Headway South Lanarkshire

November – Samantha Ward, BIEN Group

December – Grace Porter, Headway East Lothian

Picture for December by Grace Porter from Headway East Lothian

Kirsten Smith, CSR Manager at Digby Brown said: "For many individuals who have suffered a brain injury, the activities and social contact they get from their local group is a life-line with art often playing its part as a therapeutic activity.

"We are proud to co-ordinate an event that encourages those with brain injuries to express themselves through art and celebrate their incredible talents."

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Wendy Quinn
Director of HR
Location: Edinburgh
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0141 566 2217
Wendy Quinn

Having recently joined Digby Brown as HR Director, Wendy is a member of the management team here at Digby Brown.

Wendy is CIPD qualified and joined the firm with over 20 years HR experience primarily gained across professional services firms in London and Scotland.

Wendy’s role at Digby Brown encompasses all aspects of the talent agenda including salary review, bonus, recruitment and project led initiatives.

Staying safe when driving in bad weather

The weather in Scotland can be unpredictable at the best of times. On a bad day, there is always the chance that you could experience all four seasons in just one day. But when you are behind the wheel of a car you need to be prepared whatever the weather to ensure your safety, the safety of your passengers and other road users.

By taking some simple steps you can make your journey safer and less stressful during severe weather.

How to drive safely through snow and ice

Driving in snow and ice increases normal stopping distances by ten times.

With this in mind, it is important to drive at a slow speed in a high gear, instead of braking suddenly which can cause your wheels to lock and the car to skid, use your gears to slow your car down.

Icy roads are not always noticeable so look for indicators such as icy pavements, ice on your windscreen, or the temperature gauge in your car telling you the temperature outside is freezing.

If you have any snow on the roof of your vehicle make sure that you remove it before setting off, as you don’t want the snow to slide down your windscreen and obstruct your view.

To read more tips on driving in winter weather you can read our blogs Winter is coming – Driving safety tips and Tips for driving in snow and icy road conditions.

How to drive safely in the darker evenings and mornings

At this time of year the darker mornings and evenings mean that most of us are spending some, if not all, of our commute in darkness.

We recommend that you use dipped headlights lights as soon as it begins to get dark and use full beam lights on more rural roads but remember to dip them for oncoming vehicles.

Pedestrians can be particularly difficult to spot in the dark, so be extra vigilant, especially when driving in residential areas or near schools.

How to drive safely in the rain

As with snow and ice, rain impacts on normal stopping distances, increasing it two fold. Make sure you slow down and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

Heavy rain effects visibility too, making hazards harder to spot. Make sure your windscreen wipers are working properly and if not, replace them as soon as possible.

Heavy rain can also lead to surface water, which if deep enough can cause a car to aquaplane. This is when the front tyres lose contact with the road surface and can feel like there is no control over the car.

If you experience this, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down, avoid steering or braking as it could cause the car to skid.

How to drive safely in flood conditions

It might sound obvious but try and avoid driving through deep water as this could flood the engine of a car.

If there is no other option and you do have to drive through a flood, drive slowly in first gear, keep moving forward to avoid stalling and keep the engine revving at a high rate. Please be aware that the deepest water is near the kerb. 

Once you are through flooded water make sure you remember to test your brakes to ensure they are still working correctly.

How to drive safely in windy weather

We tend to think of high-sided vehicles when there is a weather warning about strong winds. Yet wind affects all sizes of vehicle.

A sudden gust of wind can cause smaller vehicles and motorcyclists to veer of course, so be aware of vehicles travelling around you. 

As a driver you should also be aware of any debris that may unexpectedly be blown into your pathway. Be ready to react to keep safe.

How to drive safely in fog

Drive slowly using dipped headlights to enable other drivers to see you. However, if your visibility is less than 100m then you must put your fog lights and rear high intensity lights on. When visibility improves then you must switch your fog lights back off.

Make sure you keep a safe distance from any vehicles travelling in front of you. Whilst it may give you a feeling of comfort to stay close to the tail-lights ahead, the fog could distort how close you are actually driving to the vehicle and you could be driving far too close. Not to mention it could make the driver in front nervous. Remember you need to give yourself enough distance from the vehicle in front to allow yourself time to react.

Fog tends to be patchy. As visibility improves don’t hare off trying to make up for lost time as you could find yourself right back in another patch of fog.

How to deal with low sun

Even in the winter you can be caught out by low sun while driving. Sun glare can be very dangerous and make it almost impossible to see what is coming up ahead.

Always keep a pair of sunglasses in the car to avoid sun glare and keep your windscreen clear.

Be prepared

If you have to travel in bad weather, it is essential that you are prepared.

Before setting out make sure there are no police travel warnings which may impact your journey, details for these as well as any up to date disruptions can be found at trafficscotland.org.

Ensure that the weather forecast and the predicted conditions for your journey are safe before setting off.

Make sure, particularly in winter, that your car is safe for the journey ahead. More details on this can be read in our blog Winter is coming – but is your car ready for winter?.

And if you do get stuck, make sure you have an emergency kit in your car like a warm blanket and some food and water.

And finally, if the weather is bad and you do need to travel consider if you need to travel right now? Or is there an alternative route you could take that would be safer?

Police Scotland launch festive Drink Driving Campaign

Police Scotland launched a festive drink driving campaign which commenced on Saturday 1st December.

Drivers are being warned of the serious consequences of drink driving. Last year, 567 drivers failed breath tests across the festive season.

New research has shown that Scottish people considered the top three repercussions of being convicted of drink-driving were:

  1. Losing your licence (81%)
  2. Getting a criminal record (80%)
  3. Getting points on your licence (80%)

People did not seem to consider the possibility of receiving a prison sentence (64%), having your car taken away (47%) or losing your job (50%) were as likely.

Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham, Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC and Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams launched the campaign in Edinburgh on 28th November to stress both the criminal and personal repercussions of being found guilty of drink-driving.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC has teamed up with the police and ministers stating:

“My message is very clear: you can expect to be caught and when you are, you will face the full force of the law”.

"Not only could you lose your vehicle but you will receive an automatic ban of at least 12 months, a criminal record and a potentially unlimited fine. It is absolutely not worth taking the risk."

On top of this of course, there is the very risk to human life to consider. We often see families torn apart because a drunk driver killed or seriously injured their loved one, changing all of their lives forever.

Every month, over 20,000 Scottish drivers are stopped by the police and the focus on drink driving will only heighten in the run-up to Christmas, making it more likely that those driving after a drink will be caught.

In 2014, the drink driving limit in Scotland was lowered from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood. Many people still don’t know whether or not they can legally have one drink and drive but the truth is there is no blanket answer for this. One alcoholic drink will impact on people differently depending on a number of factors such as what they ate that day, how fast their metabolism is and what age they are to name just a few.

The safest option is to simply not drink and drive and this is very much the message of the campaign. Even those found slightly over the drink driving limit will be deemed a drunk driver according to the law.

The lifelong consequences from drink driving are not worth the risk to you – or others.

Learn more about the drink driving limit in Scotland.

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Charlotte Anderson
Paralegal
Specialisms: Accident at Work, Accidents in Public Places, Road Traffic Accident
Location: Glasgow
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0141 566 9576
Charlotte Anderson

Supporting the launch of Headway Dundee & Angus

Digby Brown were delighted to sponsor the launch of new charity Headway Dundee & Angus, supporting people with a brain injury across the area.

The launch event was held on Wednesday 28th November at The steeple Church in Dundee from 10am until 2pm.

It kicked off with Chris Stewart, Partner at Digby Brown Solicitors and Head of the Serious Injury department, who welcomed over 80 attendees that came along.

Speakers from the charity included Colin Robertson and Issy Robertson giving a background about the work of the charity and what it means to members.

Other speakers included Ruth Waugh from the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership about services in Angus for people with acquired brain injury and Dr Lorna Langrell and Alison Hewitt from the Robert Ferguson Unit shared their knowledge about the impact of brain injury and the need for adjustment.

The charity then officially opened in a ribbon cutting ceremony by Colin Robertson from Headway Dundee & Angus and Baillie Helen Wright from Dundee City Council.

Colin Robertson, Chairman at Headway Dundee & Angus said: “The impact of brain injury can be severe and, in some cases, lifelong. It can mean losing both the life you once lived and the person you once were.

“But we know that with the right support, at the right time, there can be life after brain injury.

“We will be working hard to make sure brain injury survivors and their families get the support they need in this community.”

Chris Stewart said: “We firmly believe in the importance of giving something back to the community which is why we support Headway.

“Every day we see the benefit that comes from the charity and its volunteers through the irreplaceable support they provide brain injury survivors.”

Headway Dundee & Angus will meet every two weeks at Steeple Church to offer advice and support to those with brain injury, their families and carers. You can read more about the launch of the charity at The Courier.

Digby Brown guided us through the legal adoption process

“We could not be happier. We adopted three siblings aged two, three and five and although life has never been the same since, it all felt right from the first introduction and our wee family feels as if we’ve always been together. We feel very lucky.”

A couple contacted Digby Brown’s Family Law solicitors to legally adopt three young siblings. They had already been approved by the adoption agency’s panel and matched with three young children.

“We looked about before choosing an adoption solicitor and received numerous recommendations for Digby Brown from people in the community.

“We were not disappointed. Digby Brown’s experience in adoption meant they were able to make the process easier and we could relax as we knew we were in good hands.”

Roger Mackenzie, Head of Family Law at Digby Brown, handled the petition from start to finish and guided the family through the legal adoption process.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better person to deal with the adoption. Roger was excellent, he made things very simple and easy and was always on hand be it late at night or a weekend, he always made time for us.”

By the time the adoption legal process began, the local authority panel had made the introductions and the children moved into their new home with the couple in a foster care arrangement.

“This was the first time all the siblings had lived together and they adapted really quickly. Each day we were becoming more and more emotionally invested and seeing how they responded and developed with us was wonderful.

“Roger would involve us only when needed so we could get on with focusing on the children and becoming a family. He always said ‘you keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll do what I need to do.'

“It was a worrying time though as there is no certainty in the outcome but he was there the whole time, offering reassurance.

“He had the ability to explain exactly what was happening and what it all meant. It was tremendously valuable as he was able to explain things so it all made sense and took away the worry.”

The court decided that it was in the children’s best interests to be placed with the couple and the adoption order was granted. We arranged for new birth certificates for the children reflecting the adoptive couple as their parents and their name post-adoption.

“There is nothing more life enriching than adoption and nowadays adoption is open to anyone from single people to same sex families.

“It is definitely the best decision we have ever made. It’s impossible to think of life before them, this is our life now and we’re very happy.

“I would tell anyone thinking about adopting to be patient, work with an agency that will support you before and after adoption and find an experienced lawyer who can navigate the complexities with ease - you will have enough on your plate!"

Adoption was the best thing I ever did

“I think people should adopt to give a child that desperately needs security and stability a loving home. The thing that my child absolutely desired most was to have a  mummy forever - just like all the other kids have. It is heart-breaking to know that there are so many kids in such dire need of parents.”

Legally adopting a child

A client shares her journey of adopting a child with legal help from Emma Letham, senior solicitor, in our Family Law team at Digby Brown.

“My solicitor, Emma Letham, was fantastic. She was so personable and supportive and kept me informed every step of the way.”

Making the decision to adopt a child is no small feat and there are checks and balances in place to safeguard children.

In this case, it was more complicated as the birth parents contested the adoption which meant further legal reports and work needed to be undertaken to demonstrate what was in the child’s best interests.

“The team at Digby Brown did all they could to get the right result for my child. I am very grateful to them for the way they handled our particular situation, their compassion and professionalism was excellent.”

Read more at ‘What is the legal adoption process?

“The best thing I did”

“Adoption is probably both the best thing and the hardest thing I have ever done. I am so grateful to have this little person in my life, I love my child so much but there are times it was completely overwhelming and exhausting.”

Window cleaner finally gets compensation after fall from ladder

Our client, a window cleaner, was involved in a serious accident at work when the ladder provided by his employer slipped and fell to the ground.

The ladder was unsecured and was not suitable for the task our client was undertaking.

As a result of the fall, our client was unable to return to work and needed to take up alternative employment.

Our client originally contacted another firm of solicitors to deal with his case. However his employers insurers denied liability for the accident saying they were not responsible.

Upon receiving the denial of liability, the original solicitor advised our client that they would be unable to take the case any further and closed his case.

He then came to Digby Brown to see whether we would be able to help him recover compensation for his injury and loss of earnings.

Having reviewed the file, we were confident that our client’s employer would be held liable for the accident and that we would be able to recover compensation him.

It was clear there were other measures that could have been taken by his employer to eliminate the risk of injury. For example, providing a reach pole or ensuring that the ladder was properly secured and footed.

There was also the lack of training provided to our client about safely working at height. Had his employer undertaken a suitable risk assessment, they would have identified such measures that would have reduced the risk of injury.

Our expert personal injury solicitors in Glasgow obtained medical evidence in support of our client’s injuries and raised court proceedings against his employer using our no win no fee funding model Compensate.

Shortly prior to the case proceeding to court, his employers insurers made a five figure offer to settle the personal injury case. 

Had the client failed to contact Digby Brown for a second opinion, he would have lost his legal right to claim compensation all because his original solicitors failed to take his case any further after the insurer denied responsibility for the accident. 

We would advise anyone who found themselves in a similar situation, to seek a second legal opinion.

At Digby Brown, we are the only law firm in Scotland to be rated number one in personal injury. We have a wealth of experience in this specialist area of law and you never know until you speak to us - we may be able to help where others have failed to do so.

What is the legal adoption process?

The first step of the legal adoption process is simply to arrange an initial meeting with one of our adoption solicitors at one of our seven offices across the country.

Do I need to bring anything when I meet my adoption solicitor?

Yes. We require proof of your own ID and you should bring a passport/driving licence and a utility bill (which shows your name and address and is not more than three months old).

You will also need to bring the current birth certificate of the child you wish to adopt (if you have this – sometimes the Local Authority will hold the birth certificate), your marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable), and any previous divorce decrees.

This appointment usually lasts around 45 minutes and your solicitor will explain the next steps of the legal process to you and answer any questions you may have.

The first step of the adoption court process

After an initial meeting with an adoption solicitor, the first stage of the legal process is to prepare a document known as the “Petition”. This document is considered an application to the Court by the prospective adopters for an Adoption Order in respect of the child.

This notifies the Court of various important details, most notably: details of the prospective adopters; details of the child to be adopted; and details of the child’s birth parents (which will be supplied by the Local Authority).

This document is then sent to your local Sheriff Court. Lodging the Petition with the Court starts your process of formally adopting the child.

What happens once the Petition is lodged?

Two things happen – and it generally depends on whether or not there is a “Permanence Order with Authority to Adopt” (“POA”) in place. This is a type of legal order.

If a POA is in place in respect of the child, this means that the child’s birth parents no longer have parental rights and responsibilities in respect of the child. The local authority then usually hold these rights and responsibilities for the child.

If there is no POA in place then the birth parents will generally still have parental rights and responsibilities in respect of the child and can potentially challenge the adoption.

How do I know if there is a POA in place?

The Local Authority will provide this information to you and the Adoption Agency when you have expressed an interest in a child.

If a POA is in place

After the Petition is lodged, you will be given the date for a court hearing which is known as a “Preliminary Hearing”.

This usually takes place six to eight weeks after the Petition has been lodged with the Court. The Court will appoint someone known as a “Curator” to visit you at your home (with the child present) to prepare a report for the Court.

This report makes a recommendation in relation to the Adoption Order being granted having regards to the child’s best interests. Provided there are no issues, the Adoption Order for the child can be granted at the Preliminary hearing.

If a POA is not in place

A hearing date is still provided and a Curator still goes through the same process described above with the prospective adopters and the child.

However, another person is also appointed by the Court - known as a “Reporting Officer”. The Reporting Officer’s role is to try and speak with the birth parents and find out their views on the adoption application.

The Reporting Officer will then, if successful in speaking with the birth parents, prepare a report to the Court detailing the views of the birth parents.

The Preliminary hearing then takes place and if the birth parents do not oppose the adoption, and provided the Court is happy with the Curator’s report, then the Adoption Order may be granted at the Preliminary hearing.

If, however, the birth parents contest the adoption, then further reports may be required and further work will require to be undertaken before going to a final hearing which is known as a ‘Proof’.

A Proof is where a Sheriff will listen to evidence from the adopters, birth parents and other witnesses, such as the child’s social worker, to make an informed decision on what is in the best interests of the child.

The Sheriff can then either make their decision at the end of the Proof or take some time to review all the evidence and provide a written judgement within 28 days.

If the Sheriff makes a decision to grant the Adoption Order, the birth parents have 28 days to appeal this decision, however this is very rare indeed.

If no appeal is made within the 28 days, then the judgement is final and the Adoption Order is granted.

What happens once the Adoption Order has been granted?

We contact the National Records for Scotland and request a new birth certificate for the child. The new birth certificate will reflect the child’s name post-adoption and will name you as the child’s parent(s).

We will then send you the new birth certificate by recorded delivery along with any documents returned form the court, such as your marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate.

Once these matters are completed, the legal process comes to a close and you can continue your family’s journey.

Does the court tell the birth parents their child is being adopted even if there’s a POA in place?

The approach varies from court to court. We will advise you of the likely approach of the court where you live. If there is no POA in place and the birth parents still have parental rights, then the court informs them of the intent to adopt.

If the birth parents are notified, will my identity be revealed to them?

We can take steps as part of the court process to make sure your name and address remain anonymous.

Who covers the cost for the adoption legal process?

In most adoption applications we deal with, support for funding your reasonable legal costs is available from the Local Authority which has the responsibility for the child who is being adopted. In some circumstances adopters may be eligible for legal aid to assist with meeting legal fees.

Are you thinking about adoption? Things you may not know

When it comes to deciding to adopt a child, or children, you may not know where to start and have many questions about the adoption process.

There are many misconceptions surrounding adoption and we thought with it being Adoption Week in Scotland, it would be timely to discuss some of the questions our Family Law solicitors hear time and time again.

Do you have to be married to adopt?

No, unmarried couples can also adopt so long as they are living in what is described as an “enduring family relationship”.

There are certain conditions that apply to people wishing to adopt. Each member of the couple must be over 21 years old, neither must already be a parent of the child and they must have lived in the UK for at least a year.

Can a single person adopt?

A single person can adopt a child. However, they must be over 21 years old.

Can a same sex couple adopt?

Yes, adoption is very popular with same sex couples. The number of same sex couples increases year by year. It is not a requirement for same sex couples to be married or in a civil partnership - provided they are living together as if civil partners in an enduring family relationship.

Do you have to foster first before adopting?

Some foster carers do go on to adopt their foster children, but it is not a requirement for you to foster before you can adopt.

However, after adopter(s) have been approved by their Agency’s Panel and a suitable match has been made, the child(ren) must stay with the adopter(s) continuously for at least 13 weeks before the Adoption Order can be granted.

How can you adopt a child?

To adopt a child, you must first be approved as an adoptive parent, whether that be on your own, with your husband, wife, civil partner or partner.

You will have undergone preparation groups, a home-study assessment and then you will be taken to the Adoption Agency’s Panel. Your assessment will be presented to the Panel, which they will consider and then recommend whether you (and your significant other where applicable) should be approved as adoptive parent(s).

If you are approved by the Panel, then the “family-finding” begins and options for adoptive parent(s) and children to be adopted are explored.

Interest can be expressed by the adoptive parent(s) or the Local Authority placing the child(ren) and, where the interest is mutual, a meeting would be arranged to discuss matters further.

If both the prospective adopter(s) and the Local Authority are happy with the potential match then a “Linking meeting” and “Matching meeting” would follow.

If the match is recommended by the Local Authority Panel then plans would be made for introductions and for the child(ren) to move to their new home with the prospective adopter(s).

Find out more about the legal process of adoption.

How much does it cost to adopt?

In most cases we deal with, support for funding is available from the Local Authority and some adopters may be eligible for legal aid to help with legal fees.

Where do you go to adopt?

There are a number of places you can go to learn more about adoption and begin the process. These include:

  • Your Local Authority
  • Scottish Adoption
  • Barnardos
  • Adoption UK Scotland
  • St. Andrews Children Society
  • St. Margaret’s Children & Family Care Society

Legal advice about adoption

For legal advice about adoption, please call us on 0333 200 5925 or email familylaw@digbybrown.co.uk.

Lucky square raffle raises £520 for Ayrshire Cancer Support

Our solicitors in Ayr have been holding a Lucky Square Wine Raffle to raise funds for thier local charity Ayrshire Cancer Support.

With three chances to win, the team managed to raise an amazing £520 by selling each square for £5 for the charity.

The prizes available were:

  • First place: A Magnum bottle of Ruinart Champagne with Darlington crystal wine glasses kindly donated by Ayr Therapy & Consultancy Service
  • Second place: A Magnum of Pianer Le Colture Prosecco
  • Third place: Il Barroccio red and white wine

Prizes for the Digby Brown Ayr office square raffle.

The lucky winners were announced last Friday. The winner of the Champagne and glasses was John McGill, the winner of the Prosecco was Keir Murray and the winner of the bottles of wine was Jai McDowall. All were delighted to have an extra treat just in time for the festive season.

Damian White, Partner and Head of the Ayr office said: “We are so pleased to be supporting Ayrshire Cancer Support again this year as the work they do for the local community in Ayrshire is incredible.

“Most people are affected by cancer in some way and the work done by Ayrshire Cancer Support helps those who suffer from the disease along with their families and friends.

“We are delighted to have raised such a fantastic amount this year with the Lucky Square Raffle and are sure that the winners will enjoy their prizes.”

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Molly Somerville
Paralegal
Specialisms: Serious Injury
Location: Glasgow
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
0141 352 6210
Molly Somerville


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