Action for Brain Injury Week

Every 90 seconds somebody in the UK is admitted to hospital with a brain injury. The long term effect of a brain injury can alter how a person walks, thinks, talks and feels and can be devastating for the injured person and their loved ones.

Action for Brain Injury Week


Emma Wilson
Emma Wilson
Solicitor - Health & Injury

Action for Brain Injury Week is an annual week-long awareness raising event that this year takes place between 14th and 20th May. The event is organised by Headway, a leading charity dedicated to promoting and understanding of all aspects of brain injury.

This year, the theme of Action for Brain Injury Week is You, Me and Brain Injury. The aim of the week is to highlight the fact that a brain injury doesn’t just affect the individual, but also their  family, friends, work colleagues, and wider network. It is often the care and support provided by their friends and family that helps a person with a brain injury to adapt to the life-changing effect of their injury.

As lawyers, working with individuals who have suffered a brain injury, the specialist team at McMillan Williams put the injured person and their family at the heart of what we do.  We work hard to ensure they receive the appropriate level of compensation to assist them and their loved ones to rebuild their lives but we also ensure they are provided with the right support and advice throughout the process.

We understand the need to secure early interim payments and private rehabilitation to supplement or take the place of the care already provided by the NHS. We aim to secure funding from the party at fault to put a programme of rehabilitation in place as early as possible. We work closely with Case Managers specialising in brain injury rehabilitation who work with the individual and family to provide a comprehensive package of support.  Our Private Client Team are also able to help by appointing a Deputy if a client lacks the capacity to manage their own affairs.

We have close working relationships with private rehabilitation providers and charities such as Headway Guildford, UKABIF and The Silverlining Charity for our work with brain injury survivors and we strive to ensure our clients are able to regain their confidence and independence as far as possible and reach their optimum level of recovery, with our help and the support of their family and friends.

Hats For Headway - 18th May 2018

On Friday 18th May, the team at MW will once again be taking part in Hats for Headway Day – a fundraising event which takes place during Action for Brain Injury Week. Our team will be sporting our most outrageous, weird and wonderful headgear on social media to help raise money and awareness for the charity.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin or through the hashtag #HatsForHeadway.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have suffered an Acquired Brian Injury.  We will arrange a specialist Brain Injury Case Manager to help plan and implement a rehabilitation package which can incorporate your health, psychological, educational or occupational needs.   We will work with medical, clinical and other experts to value your past and most importantly, future needs, such as personal and medical care, income, accommodation and transport.

Where possible we will secure interim payments to assist with day to day and rehabilitation needs throughout the course of your claim.

If you would like to speak to our team of specialist Personal Injury Solicitors to discuss your case, call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

My name is Helen Clifford, I am a solicitor & I specialise in acting for the victims of work incidents. I am an elected officer of the Construction Safety Campaign, Trustee of the London Hazards Centre, and legal adviser to Families Against Corporate Killers. My father was a founding member of the Construction Safety Campaign & I am proud to be carrying on his work. Together these organisations fight to make our workplaces safer for each & every one of us.

Helen Clifford addresses the International Workers Memorial Day event
Helen Clifford addresses the International Workers Memorial Day

There has been an enlightened understanding since the time of Cicero that the primary duty of any government is to prevent the premature death of every member of the population it governs without fear or favour. The unavoidable corollary of this understanding is that any government which disregards that primary duty threatens the well-being of less-favoured members of the population it governs.

This enlightened understanding underpinned the 1833 Factory Act to prevent unscrupulous employers from exploiting children.  However, self-employed workers were not protected by the law until the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 introduced by the Secretary of State for Employment at the time Michael Foot.

The negation of Michael Foot’s legislation gathered pace in January 2012 when prime minister David Cameron pledged to “kill off the health and safety culture for good”. Since then, many UK local authorities have followed the example of unscrupulous contractors and employers, by hiring consultants and lawyers who specialise in exploiting legal loopholes to avoid taking responsibility for the harm they cause.

Some local authority leaders have gone so far as to denigrate critics of this reckless disregard of their primary duty. This was epitomised in the well-known prelude to the Grenfell Tower catastrophe, in the wake of Southwark council’s 2017 guilty plea to four counts of breaking fire safety regulations in Lakanal House, a similar high-rise tower-block fire in 2009 which killed 6 people.

The HSE’s annual figure of 137 deaths at work only covers those reported to the HSE and local authorities. The Hazards Campaign estimates that 1,477 people are killed in work related incidents each year & those dying of work illnesses is 50,000 per year. That is around 140 people dying from work per day or 1 person every 10 mins.  These are truly shocking numbers.

The ITUC says that “Union organisation is the antidote”. A large body of evidence shows that unionised workplaces are happier and safer workplaces. Trade union organisation is linked to up to 50% less injuries & also significantly less ill-health related work. Unions save lives & health, they also save money for employers & the economy.

Yet time & time again we see employers opposing union presence in the workplace, we see those who raise health & safety concerns blacklisted, spied on & prevented from working. Legal claims against major construction companies highlighted these practices but it is still going on & we have seen this for example on Crossrail.

Frank Morris raised health & safety concerns. Had he been listened to rather than sacked, would Rene Tkacik have been killed? Rene was killed on 7 March 2014 on Crossrail when he was crushed to death by 1 ton of shotcrete which fell on him when he was ordered to work in the exclusion zone. The inquest & the HSE prosecution which followed Rene’s death highlighted the obstacles that families face when trying to secure justice. Relevant evidence from a whistleblower, was excluded from both proceedings. Why?

Today, in this country and all over the world, families are remembering their loved ones who died as a result of the negligence of their employers. Families like Rene’s. Families like Mark Seward’s. Mark was killed 27 May 2015 because him employer did not realise that pressure testing was a dangerous activity so had undertaken no risk assessment of the work they told him to do. Families like those of the 1,134 people killed at Rana Plaza on 24 April 2013.

We must use our voices to increase a chorus of disapproval aimed at seeking an end to this era of de-regulation, in which health & safety protections have been undermined & preventative enforcement has been slashed.

In 2018 we are celebrating 40 years of the Safety Committee Regulations & 150 years since the birth of the TUC. Now more than ever we must encourage workers to join unions, to stand together, to raise their voices in order to protect ourselves from preventable work-related death, injury & illness. The aim of International Workers’ Memorial Day is to “remember the dead” & “fight for the living”. We must not stop that fight until there are no more empty boots & every worker returns home safely to their loved ones.

Breast Screening

 

Many women between the ages of 68 and 71 will be waking up to the news that they might be a victim to the NHS computer system which failed to call women for their final breast cancer screening scan.

Screening in the UK starts at the age of 50 and carries on until the age of 71, with scans being undertaken every 3 years to catch any suspicious changes early and to give patients the best chance of a good outcome following a breast cancer diagnosis.  For many the system has not worked and an IT error has resulted in the screening not being carried out as it should have been.

The stories and numbers that are in the press are alarming and it is reported that 450,000 women missed out on the screening between 2009 and this year and of those women, 309,000 are still alive. It is very sad to hear that this means some 41,000 women may have died as a result and gives rise to a serious concern that some of these deaths might have been avoided if screening had taken place.

This is a lot of information and will no doubt be distressing to those who may be affected, someone who thinks that they have missed a screening, a family member who has lost a loved to breast cancer or someone who in the coming days receives an NHS recall letter. 

The NHS have assured the public that they will act quickly and remedy the situation where it is possible to do so.  While we wait for further information to emerge, MW Solicitors encourages those who suspect that they may be affected to use the NHS helpline to seek answers to any queries they may have.

We also encourage patients to seek legal advice as they may be able to seek compensation for any harm that has come to them as a result of a delayed diagnosis.

We Can Help


Nisha Sharma
Nisha Sharma
Partner - Health & Injury

At MW Solicitors, Our Mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who have been affected by the failure of the NHS Breast Screening Programme.

Nisha Sharma is a specialist Clinical Negligence solicitor with a wealth of experience in this area and has previously acted for many women in breast cancer claims, most notably in the Ian Paterson litigation.  Nisha can travel to see her clients wherever they may be based in the UK.   

If you feel you may be a patient affected by this failure of the Breast Screening Programme, contact us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

Coroner's Court

Clare Evans of MW’s specialist inquest team represents the bereaved family of Robin Richards. The lengthy inquest into Robin’s death concluded on 9th March 2015.


Clare Evans
Clare Evans
Solicitor - Civil Litigation

Robin’s death highlights the lack of provision in the community for those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. The ongoing concern gave rise to the Coroner’s decision on 9th March 2015 to prepare a ‘Report to Prevent Future Deaths’, which will be sent to the Department of Health to respond to.

The Coroner will also send a report to Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust arising out of the concerns highlighted at this inquest.

The jury at Somerset Coroner’s Court found that the following factors contributed to Robin’s death:

  • Communication
  • Training
  • Information-sharing
  • Discharge planning
  • Care planning
  • Risk assessment

Robin died on 3rd July 2015, aged 33, further to hanging himself from a staircase at Highbridge Court in Somerset, on 29th June 2015. Highbridge Court is a private Care Home run by Tracscare (now re-branded ‘Accomplish’), which at the time, advertised itself as a specialised forensic Mental Health service.

Robin was transferred to Highbridge Court on 15th June 2015, followed a prolonged in-patient stay - initially detained under the Mental Health Act before becoming a voluntary in-patient - on a psychiatric ward at Wellsprings Hospital, Taunton.

It is well-documented that the transition from in-patient care to the community is a time of high-risk of suicidality, particularly in the first two weeks after hospital discharge.

In spite of this, when Robin was transferred to Highbridge Court, independent expert evidence confirmed the view Robin’s discharge was not adequately planned for, and staff at Highbridge Court had not been informed by staff of Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, of the potential risk of harm from Robin, to himself.

The incident on 29th June followed a 2 week period in which Robin regularly expressed suicidal thoughts, and had started to act upon his thoughts by harming himself, including walking in front of moving traffic.

The inquest heard evidence of

  • failings in risk assessment and management;
  • Robin’s family being left out of key discussions and meetings around his care, discharge and risk management;
  • Highbridge Court failing to communicate the full breadth of Robin’s self-harming behaviours to the family or the Trust’s Community Mental Health and Crisis teams;
  • lack of training of care home staff regarding Asperger’s and what to do if someone was found hanging

Details of the Preventing Future Deaths Reports to the Department of Health and Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are eagerly awaited. The family hope that lessons will be learned from Robin’s tragic death, so that others with similar presentations will not have to suffer the same fate.

This inquest is timely given the recent Guardian article which reveals fundamental shortcomings in mental health care provision, which puts lives at risk. For example, failures in training, flawed processes and errors in judgement (link to article below).

Further, it is understood there are ongoing concerns in relation to other Tracscare Homes in England and Wales, linking into the broader national concern as to the increasing use of private care homes for the purpose of mental health care provision. It is of note that under the Human Rights Act, private care homes can be ‘public authorities’ and, therefore, obliged to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.

We Can Help

At MW Our Mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have lost loved ones whilst in care.  Our experienced and expert Lawyers will represent you at every step of the way.  From Inquest to prosecution and if applicable, in a claim for compensation.  We will be on hand to ensure that you get the access to Justice that you deserve.

If you or your family have suffered an accident at work and would like to speak to one of our expert injury solicitors, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

Media Coverage

doctor

Sarah Corbett of MW Solicitors Clinical Negligence team acted for a woman who has been awarded damages of £5.8 million after St George’s Hospital in Tooting failed to make a timely diagnosis of meningitis. 

Events Surrounding the Claim

Our client, who was pregnant at the time, attended St George’s hospital in Tooting in January 2011 as she was feeling unwell.  She was admitted to the maternity unit but despite clear symptoms of meningitis, including the classic rash the hospital failed to diagnose meningitis in good time.  As a result of the delay in diagnosis she developed severe sepsis causing gangrene.  Her unborn son was stillborn, her legs were amputated below the knee, she had partial amputations of 3 of her fingers, sustained partial hearing loss and had to come to terms with what had happened to her. 

Sarah Corbett, Partner and Clinical Negligence Lawyer in our Guildford office said of the settlement:

“Meningitis can affect anyone and is very serious if not treated quickly.  I am delighted to achieve this £5.8 million settlement for my client but hope that the NHS learns from this error.  It is unacceptable that the hospital failed to diagnose such a well known condition when the classic signs were exhibited.  Had she been treated in time she would not have lost her unborn son, her lower legs, parts of 3 of her fingers or suffered partial hearing loss.  No amount of money can compensate for what my client has gone through but the compensation will be used to provide her with the equipment, care and assistance she needs for the rest of her life as a result of her injuries.” 

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have been let down by the medical profession or have suffered clinical negligence.  Our team of dedicated and experienced Medical Negligence Solicitors offer a free initial assessment and can discuss your case to see if you might have a valid claim.

Our dedicated professionals can help you progress your claim and help you get the support you need.  If you think that you have a claim for Medical Negligence and need a Clinical Negligence Lawyer, don't delay, call us on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk 

NHS

The Clinical Negligence team at McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited acted for a woman who has been awarded damages of £1.1 million after complications from vaginal mesh surgery performed by Miss Jayne Cockburn, Consultant Gynaecologist, at Frimley Park Hospital in July 2010. She has been left with severe and life changing complications due to unnecessary surgery.


Andrew Bentham
Andrew Bentham
Solicitor - Health & Injury

Following surgery, our client experienced mesh related complications and underwent mesh revision surgery in October 2010.  Unfortunately, after this operation our client reported severe groin and vaginal pain.  Miss Cockburn examined the client and recommended further surgery for mesh removal.  In February 2011 our client received a letter from Frimley Park Hospital, stating that Miss Cockburn would be unable to perform the planned surgery and her care was transferred to an alternative Consultant Gynaecologist. Following a review her treatment plan was changed and in May 2011 and July 2013 our client underwent further surgery in an attempt to resolve her condition.  Sadly, these operations were unsuccessful and our client has been left with severe and life changing complications as a result of the unnecessary and extensive surgery performed by Miss Cockburn. 

Miss Jayne Cockburn

Miss Cockburn practiced as a Consultant Gynaecologist at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey until she was suspended in 2011 and resigned from the Trust in December 2014. During 2014 Frimley Park Hospital carried out a review of Miss Cockburn’s cases and wrote to over 100 patients offering them the opportunity to be seen by an alternative Consultant Gynaecologist and to have their care reviewed.

As a result, a significant number of Miss Cockburn’s patients were found to have undergone extensive and unnecessary surgery, with conservative management options, such as physiotherapy, not being considered. It was also noted that Miss Cockburn had often failed to obtain the patient’s informed consent for the procedures performed.

General Medical Council Investigation

The General Medical Council investigated the treatment provided by Miss Cockburn. It is understood that, following their investigation, Miss Cockburn has been allowed to return to work, and is currently practicing in the South East but with 16 undertakings on her registration.

Mr Andrew Bentham, from McMillan Williams Solicitors in Fulham said of the settlement:

“We are pleased to achieve this £1.1 million settlement for our client, however no amount of money can compensate for the severe and life changing complications she has experienced due to the unnecessary surgery performed by Miss Cockburn.  The care that our client received at Frimley Park Hospital was completely unacceptable.  As a result, our client has suffered ongoing loss of sexual function, ongoing bowel and bladder incontinence, nerve damage and chronic pain in the vagina, pelvis and back. She has also been diagnosed with a persistent depressive episode and is at risk of further mesh erosion in the future.  The compensation obtained will be used to provide our client with the care and assistance she desperately needs, and to enrol her on a pain management programme which we hope will provide her with some respite from the pain”.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have been let down by the medical profession or have suffered clinical negligence.

Our team of dedicated and experienced Medical Negligence Solicitors can help you progress your claim and help you get the support you need.  For a free initial assessment of whether you might have a valid claim, or to discuss your case with one of our dedicated professionals call us on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

We continue to act for Miss Sheen, who was referred to us by Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA). We were instructed to investigate the standard of treatment Morgan Sheen received from Dr Amali Subesinghe on the 5th November 2013 at Queens Road Surgery.  The claim arose from the failure to prescribe the correct inhaler on the 5th November 2013, following which Morgan suffered a deterioration in his asthmatic condition on the 12th November 2013, which resulted in his death on the 13th November 2013. 

The Coroner's Verdict

An inquest was held on the 5th and 6th May 2015.  The Coroner’s narrative verdict was as follows:

Morgan Sheen who was seven, had brittle asthma using bronchodilators and steroids, and after an unplanned move of home, ran out of his usual inhalers and became wheezy. At a consultation to seek a repeat prescription at a new general practice on 5.11.13, he was unintentionally prescribed bronchodilator salmeterol, instead of seretide, which contains both bronchodilator and steroid. He became restless due to hypoxia and collapsed with cardiorespiratory arrest in the car taking him to hospital. Despite prompt attendance and appropriate resuscitation by LAS (London Ambulance Service), he died of status asthmaticus at 02.24 on 13.11.13 at KCH (King’s College Hospital). The unintentional change of prescription and failure to ensure he returned for an early consultation and review by a doctor contributed to his death.

A claim was successfully pursued against Dr Subesinghe on behalf of Morgan’s estate under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 and the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. 

We were instructed by Miss Sheen to pursue a nervous shock claim against Dr Subesinghe.  Following several Court of Appeal and High Court authorities in the past 3 years (Taylor v Novo, Ronayne v Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Shorter v Surrey), it has become increasingly difficult for a Claimant to succeed with a nervous shock claim. 

Proceedings were served on the 8th March 2017.  The Defence acknowledged that the Defendant was in breach of the duty of care owed in mistakenly prescribing the wrong inhaler and that this error materially contributed to Morgan’s death.  However, the Defence also positively asserted that Miss Sheen did not satisfy all of the Alcock criteria necessary for the recovery of damages for a psychiatric injury as a secondary victim. 

The Defendant served an Application to strike out the claim pursuant to CPR 3.4(2)(a) and 3.4(2)(b).  The Defendant’s Application was founded on the argument that Miss Sheen failed to meet the Alcock criteria, primarily because there was no proximity in time and space between the breach of duty on 5th November 2013 in prescribing the incorrect inhaler which caused the injury to Morgan and the psychiatric injury to Miss Sheen on the 12th and 13th November 2013. 

The hearing of the Defendant’s Application was heard before Master Eastman on Monday 11th December 2017.  Miss Sheen was represented at the hearing by Mr John de Bono QC.  Master Eastman declined to strike out Miss Sheen’s secondary victim claim.  This was the second failed strike out application for a nervous shock claim before the Queen’s Bench Masters in 2017, following on from Master Robert’s decision in Werb v Solent NHS Trust on the 15th March 2017.

In Sheen v Subesinghe the Defendant submitted that proximity was required to the breach of duty.  Mr John de Bono QC argued that proximity was required to the ‘event’ and that this was the fact and consequence of the breach of duty rather than the breach of duty itself.  Mr de Bono noted that there was no authority which definitively ruled on whether proximity was required to the breach of duty or only to its consequences.  This argument is of particular importance in clinical negligence cases where it is common to have a material gap between the breach of duty and the moment of physical harm. 

The Law Relating to Nervous Shock Claims

Currently, the law relating to nervous shock claims remains unclear in relation to the position, as in this case, where there is a delay between the breach of duty and the primary victim suffering an injury.  It has been assumed by many, primarily due to the decision in Taylor v Novo, that cases of delayed injury lack the proximity required to succeed.  It should be noted that there is no authority for the argument that there must be proximity to the breach of duty.  Proximity must be to the ‘event’.  It would be a strange situation where a breach of duty alone, without any damage, could give rise to a claim in tort.  It is logical therefore, that no cause of action for nervous shock can accrue until damage has been caused to the primary victim.

Mr John de Bono QC

Mr John de Bono QC has lectured and written widely on nervous shock claims and is a specialist in this area.  Please find below a link to John de Bono’s recent article on nervous shock claims in which he has considered the position where there has been a delayed injury to the primary victim.

http://www.ukhealthcarelawblog.co.uk/rss-feed/91-nervous-shock-and-delayed-injury 

We Can Help

The Personal Injury team at McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited has been instructed on a number of personal injury and clinical negligence nervous shock claims. 

At MW, our mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have suffered the trauma of nervous shock.  If you would like to speak to a specialist to discuss your case call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence Law Firm of the Year

MW Solicitors are delighted to announce that its Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence teams have been named UK Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Law Firm of the Year at the 2017 Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards.

Experts in Personal Injury Law


Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner & Head of Personal Injury

Lauren Phillips
Lauren Phillips
Partner & Head of Clinical Negligence

Head of MW’s Personal Injury Department, Helen Clifford said:

“We are extremely proud to have received this award which recognises the hard work and achievements of every member of the department. Our focus is on providing the best possible service to our clients whilst obtaining the highest possible level of damages. ”

Experts in Clinical Negligence Law

The Awards recognise the achievements of the most knowledgeable and solution-orientated lawyers in the profession today, with a primary focus on their achievements over the past 12 months.  Over several months, the Lawyer Monthly research team collect and collate nominations through an online voting system. Each nominee was compared against a strict set of measurable criteria which were combined with additional industry research to help produce the list of winners.

To read more about the Awards, please click here.

About MW Solicitors

Over the last 35 years and through our network of more than 25 High Street offices we have helped hundreds of clients recover compensation for catastrophic or life changing accidents.  We have particular expertise in dealing with claims of maximum severity, be they as a result of medical accidents, incidents in the workplace, industrial disease, accidents in a public place or road traffic accidents.

Our priority is to achieve the maximum amount of compensation for clients whilst ensuring that they are provided with appropriate rehabilitation, accommodation, care and equipment to meet their needs.

In the last 12 months we have recovered damages in excess of £26m for our clients.  We are currently acting for more than 20 survivors of the Croydon Tram Crash.  We regularly deal with complex high profile cases and have recently settled a claim arising from vaginal mesh surgery.

We are members of Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and are recognised as experts in our field.

We strongly support the work of organisations such as the BackUp Trust, the Spinal Injuries Association, Headway and the UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum who do so much vital work in helping rehabilitate those who suffer serious and life changing personal injuries.

Our Solicitors are professional and highly regarded.  We feel honoured to have been recognised by Chambers, the Legal 500, Super Lawyers, the Black Solicitors Network, Modern Claims, Lawyer Monthly and The Law Society for the work we do for our clients.

We believe that Justice is a Birthright and we are proud of our commitment to Diversity.  We have one of the most diverse workforces in the legal world, taking people directly from the communities in which we operate.  At all levels and in all areas we are recognised as an equal opportunity employer and invest in our people and their community.

We are proud to be supported by the Business Growth Fund (BGF), an investments firm who back fast growing British businesses.  We are the largest provider of legally aided services to attract such a backer, and are excited by the opportunities to service more clients in more areas that BGF's backing provides.

Pothole

Recent articles in The Times (“New pothole policy is deathtrap for cyclists’” and “Pothole Loopholes”) highlight the dangers and risks faced by cyclists from potholes and road defects present to cyclists every day.


Philip Scarles
Philip Scarles
Solicitor - Health & Injury

A cyclist who hits a pothole or swerves to avoid one could fall and collide with another road user such as a car or worse. The consequences of such an accident could be serious injury or even fatal.

Who is to Blame?

Should such an accident occur, a personal injury or fatal accident claim can be commenced against the Highway Authority responsible for the maintenance of the highway. For the claim to be successful it has to be established that:

  1. the highway authority did not maintain the highway as required by section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, and

  2. the accident was caused by a failure to maintain that highway. A highway is not maintained if it was in a condition that exposed danger to those using the highway in an ordinary way.

However, even if the above conditions can be established, section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 provides a defence to any claim made under section 41.

To raise this defence the authority has to show that it had taken such care in all the circumstances as was reasonably required to secure the relevant part of the highway in a way so that it was not dangerous for traffic.

Evidence is Vital

In view of the requirements of the Highways Act, such claims are not straightforward. Evidence is all important, and if you are involved in such an accident, the first thing to do is to obtain good quality photographs and, if possible, a video of the road and potholes where the accident occurred. Try to obtain these from the direction of travel of the cyclist and at the same time of day that the accident occurred. The photographs and video should include measurements of the potholes.

We Can Help

Obtaining evidence is a key part of the work we do at MW Solicitors.  When investigating and acting in these types of cases we will make immediate site visits, cycling the road if appropriate. We will obtain evidence from the police and ambulance services and interview police officers and paramedics, if required.  We will also investigate any CCTV footage of the locality and we will investigate the history of accidents of the road.  We can also engage cycling and engineering experts.  Our dedicated cyclist injury specialist, Philip Scarles, is a keen cyclist of many years giving him a particular interest and advantage when acting for cyclists who have suffered serious injuries in such accidents.

If you or a loved one have been injured in such an accident, do not delay, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.  The earlier you contact us the better chance we have of gathering the evidence to fight your case before any potholes are filled in, records are destroyed or memories have faded.

Croydon Tram

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Croydon Tram Disaster which occured at Sandilands Junction on 9th November 2016.

Memorial Service

A permanent memorial to the victims will be unveiled at a memorial service at Central Parade, New Addington, starting at 10.30am 

Where are We Now?

7 people tragically lost their lives, with a further 51 people injured, 16 of them with very serious life changing injurues. 


Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner & Head of Personal Injury

The driver of the tram was arrested at the scene and has since been bailed twice. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) are continuing their investigations with the final report hopefully being published by the end of 2017.

British Transport Police’s investigations are ongoing and the Coroner’s enquiries will recommence once the outcome of the police investigations are known.

Despite civil liability for the accident being admitted by Transport for London / Tram Operations Limited in March 2017, the cause of the accident is still not known which has lead to many continuing to demand answers. Unfortunately investigations into this type of incident are often lengthy and due process must be followed. That is however of little assistance to the victims, many of whom suffered significant psychological trauma.

There have been many suggestions about what happened but at present all we know is that the tram entered the curved part of the track between the Sandilands Tunnels and Sandilands Junction at 46 mph, some 30 mph greater than the imposed speed limit. This excessive speed would seem to have been the root cause of the derailment.

The reason for the excessive speed cannot yet be fully understood and it would be wrong to speculate while the investigations are ongoing.

MW Solicitors Supporting Victims and Survivors


Timothy Pyant
Timothy Pyant
Executive - Health & Injury

McMillan Williams in New Addington have been instructed by over 20 victims of this accident and are working closely with Transport for London’s representatives to ensure that the victim’s rehabilitation needs are met.

Many of the victims have suffered both physical and psychological injuries which have prevented them from returning to work which in turn has caused financial pressures on them and their families.

We have been able to successfully agree regular interim payments for victims from Transport for London’s representatives, which has helped to soften the financial burden.

It is vital that this support continues.

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