Who is at fault if a driverless car has an accident?

Who is at fault if a driverless car has an accident? With technology companies like Google, Uber, Tesla and Intel working on driverless cars, and manufacturers like Nissan currently testing them on UK roads, it feels like it is now inevitable that sometime in the not-too-distant future our roads will be dominated by self-driving cars. A recent survey has also found that UK drivers are becoming more welcoming of driverless cars, but despite the ongoing work to develop the technology there is one question that still needs to be answered: who is at fault if a driverless car has an accident? A Google self-driving car in action One of the apparent advantages of self-driving cars is that they would be a ‘safer’ option, and so far the statistics bear that out. However, accidents will never be completely eradicated from our roads – and as if to prove that point one of Google’s driverless cars had an accident just last month. The accident happened in California, US, and involved the self-driving car pulling out in front of a bus that was travelling at 15mph. As a road traffic accident it is pretty unremarkable, but because it involved a self-driving car it does…

Owners of Liverpool care home criticised for rooms like ‘prison cells’ handed fine of over £80,000

Owners of Liverpool care home criticised for rooms like ‘prison cells’ handed fine of over £80,000 The owners of a care home in Liverpool that was deemed dangerous have been fined more than £80,000. Two brothers, Amjad and Amer Latif admitted a total of 14 offences following investigations by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2015 which highlighted issues like residents were not being bathed and were being kept in rooms like ‘prison cells’. The CQC investigation led to a court order to close the Mossley Manor Care Home in Mossley Hill, which charged a minimum fee of £1,000 per month for its 43 permanent residents, after finding conditions to be, in the prosecutions words,  “depressing, unhygienic and unsafe.” The investigation was sparked after a woman called in the CQC after removing her mother from the care home just two hours after arriving due to the poor conditions. The inspectors found that there was no hot water at the care home, the toilets were dirty and there was a high risk of infections spreading. They also found that there was not enough staff on hand, a lack of suitably trained staff and some employees who were looking after vulnerable elderly…

Car dooring: Police propose adoption of ‘Dutch reach’ to help protect cyclists

Car dooring: Police propose adoption of ‘Dutch reach’ to help protect cyclists To make a personal injury compensation claim, contact CL Legal today on 0800 010 60 66 or fill out our quick claim form. We work on a No Win No Fee basis to help you get the compensation you are entitled to. Police have called on UK motorists to adopt a new way of opening their car doors in order to reduce the amount of injured cyclists on our roads. The door opening method is called the ‘Dutch reach’ and involves drivers opening their door with their left hand – meaning they are forced to turn round completely and check their blind spots before opening the door. The same can apply for car passengers, who by opening their door with their right hand will ensure they fully check their blind spots for cyclists and other vulnerable road users before opening their door. The proposals are designed to reduce the instances of ‘car dooring’ cyclists – the term given when someone opens a car door directly into the path of a cyclist. Currently ‘car dooring’ is treated as a minor offence and carries a maximum fine of just £1,000.…

New research finds link between heading footballs and brain injuries

New research finds link between heading footballs and brain injuries University College London scientists have called for ‘urgent’ research as study finds that years of heading footballs can lead to increased risk of dementia in later life. Researchers have found evidence linking the repeated heading of footballs to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition know to cause dementia. The link was found after conducting post-mortem examinations on the brains of five professional footballers and one amateur player – all of whom had suffered from dementia and all had played football for an average of 26 years. The research findings is expected to strengthen the calls of many campaigners who want the Football Association (The FA) to put more resources and focus into the dangers of heading the ball. There is a clearly established duty of care when it comes to players injured during sporting activity. When participating in contact sports, a certain level of risk is to be expected, but if an inherent risk has been identified then a sports body/team/organisation has a duty of care to take measures to minimise the risk. If this duty of care is neglected then they could be found liable for any treatment, rehabilitation or…

Heart surgeon in Leeds struck off for ‘serious shortcomings’

Heart surgeon in Leeds struck off for ‘serious shortcomings’ A children’s heart surgeon at Leeds General Infirmary has been struck off following “serious” and “long-standing shortcomings” in patient safety. After a review of paediatric car services and standards at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the surgeon Nihal Weerasena was referred to the General Medical Council. A tribunal then ruled that he was at fault for medical negligence failures involving six patients. The Trust had previously postponed children’s heart operations for a fortnight following safety concerns, and the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) ruled that Mr Weerasena’s treatment of four out of the six patients – one adult and three children – was seriously below the standard reasonably expected of a competent surgeon. The treatment administered by Mr Weerasena included carrying out what the tribunal described as a “complex” surgical procedure on a seven-year-old which posed a “significant risk”. Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust should be commended for the way it has handled these incidents of clinical negligence. Unfortunately we see health complications and injuries occurring following hospital visits all too often – which tend to be as a direct result of health care providers not learning and taking action after…

APIL – proposed changes to small claims limits treats whiplash sufferers as an ‘inconvenience’

APIL – proposed changes to small claims limits treats whiplash sufferers as an ‘inconvenience’ Personal injury solicitors have launched a final attack on the government’s proposed plans to increase small claims limits following the recently completed consultation period. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) described the proposals as being based on a flawed premise which are supported by scant evidence and will do little to achieve the proposed aims of countering fraud within the claims process. APIL also claim that it is extremely doubtful that motor insurers will pass on any savings they make to consumers. APIL claim that the proposed removal of general damages for all minor road traffic accident-related soft tissue injuries is actually unlawful, and described the £25 payment for psychological harm as ‘derisory’. The outcome of increasing the personal injury small claims limit to £5,000 would therefore restrict access to justice and have no affect on the levels of fraud, according to APIL. President of APIL, Neil Sugarman, said: “It’s as if people with injuries should never have happened in the first place are just an inconvenience which can casually be brushed aside.” He also stated that the plans would force whiplash claimants to jump through…

Lawyers make final plea to Lord Chancellor ahead of whiplash reforms deadline

Lawyers make final plea to Lord Chancellor ahead of whiplash reforms deadline Personal injury solicitors and law firms have rallied round to urge the Lord Chancellor to rethink the proposed changes to small claims limits. The period to hear responses to the proposals ends on 6 January 2017, with the full announcement of the new legislation due in April. Ahead of the deadline this week, personal injury solicitors have called on the Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss, to rethink the controversial proposals. The changes proposed by the government will increase the ‘small claim limit’ from the current level of £1,000 to £5,000. This means that any claim with damages expected to be below the £5,000 will be heard in the small claims court, which does not allow the Claimant to reclaim their legal fees. Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor The government says that this will save an average of £40 on every motor insurance policy, due to the amount of whiplash claims that are currently made, but personal injury solicitors across the UK have debunked this – with some even setting up a campaign to challenge the government’s position on whiplash claims. As the consultation deadline approaches, lawyers…

New campaign launched to stop government increasing small claims limit

New campaign launched to stop government increasing small claims limit A new campaign was launched this week that aims to raise awareness and ultimately prevent the UK government from going through with the planned increase of the small claims limit. Currently, the small claims limit is £1,000 – so any claim with losses predicted to be less than £1,000 is heard in the small claims court, which means the Claimant’s cannot recover legal costs. The government plans to increase this limit to £5,000, which would mean a lot of personal injury cases would have to be heard in the small claims court and result in more Claimant’s having to represent themselves rather than enlist the help of a professional lawyer on a No Win No Fee basis. The campaign, called #FeedingFatCats, is highlighting the fact that this change would dramatically reduce the amount of personal injury payouts insurance companies have to make as more injured people would be unable to pursue a claim without being able to recover their legal costs. The campaign estimates that four insurance companies in particular would benefit to the tune of £200 million a year. #FeedingFatCats, which was set up by Thompson’s Solicitors, has the backing of…

Is the new birth injury claims scheme a mark of progress or a step backwards?

Is the new birth injury claims scheme a mark of progress or a step backwards? The Department of Health launched their Safer Maternity Care scheme back in October, which aims to help reach the government’s rather ambitious target of halving the amount of stillbirths, maternal and neonatal deaths and brain injuries during childbirth by the year 2030. The Safer Maternity Care action plan sets out the measures that will be put in place to make NHS maternity care safer in the UK, and includes extra funding for maternity safety training as well as new initiatives to help improve the level of care. Also included is a plan for the Rapid Resolution and Redress (RRR) scheme, with the government planning to utilise such a scheme for ‘cases where “avoidable harm” has occurred during the labour or delivery process’. The RRR part of the Safer Maternity Care scheme states that it will investigate ‘how to change the litigation culture, which can prevent openness and transparency, by taking views on a new voluntary compensation scheme as an alternative to costly legal processes’. As always, legal practitioners on the front-line of handling medical negligence claims on behalf of Claimants are wary of any government…

Amnesty calls for review of LASPO as civil justice system ‘closed to the poorest’

Amnesty calls for review of LASPO as civil justice system ‘closed to the poorest’ In a new report into LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012), Amnesty International have claimed that thousands of vulnerable people have been left without essential legal aid, advice and support due to cuts to civil legal aid. Amnesty’s report, titled Cuts that Hurt: The impact of legal aid cuts on access to justice, demonstrates the negative impact that the controversial legislation has had on civil legal aid in England and Wales. In the report Amnesty show the disproportionate impact the legislation has had on marginalised groups,  as well as highlighting the emergence of what it calls ‘advice deserts’ in parts of the Midlands, the South West and the North of England and documents how the ‘exceptional case funding safety net’ implemented by the government is currently failing to protect the most vulnerable people in society. According to the research there were a total of 925,000 cases in the year before LASPO was introduced that were granted legal aid. Following the introduction of LASPO that figure dropped by a massive 46% to a total of 497,000 cases. In announcing the group’s findings, Amnesty…

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