Lauren Tighe | Trainee Solicitor

The 12 Day-ngers of Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching and us all trying to stay safe and adhere to the latest Covid-19 rules, it is easy to forget some of the more common problems facing us this Christmas.  Here is a little Jackson Boyd Christmas Carol to refresh our memories:

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

12 Bulbs a Blowing

A survey by National Accident Helpline discovered that more than 1 in 40 (2.7%) people have suffered an electric shock due to badly wired Christmas lights.  If you have purchased goods, such as Christmas lights, that are faulty and have suffered an injury as a result then you could be entitled to compensation.  The Consumer Protection Act 1987 states that if a product causes personal injury and the injury was not caused by misuse, you have the right to claim compensation against either the manufacturer or retailer responsible.

11 Dogs a Biting

A puppy is for life and not just for Christmas. The case of Karen Rafiq v Inspector Alan Folkes involves a woman who had gone to a petrol station shop to purchase a Christmas tree when she was bitten by the shop keeper’s dog. She was successful in her claim for damages against the dog owner.

Section 3(1) of The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 states that:

“If a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place

(a)  the owner; and

(b)  if different, the person for the time being in charge of the dog, is guilty of an offence, or, if the dog whilst so out of control injures any person, an aggravated offence, under this subsection.”

In this case it was held that the dog was found to be in a public place and the fact the dog attacked without prior warning was enough to establish whether a dog acted in such a way as to give grounds for reasonable apprehension that it would cause injury to someone.

If you have been attacked and injured by a dog then please call Jackson Boyd Lawyers.

10 Offices a Partying

The dreaded office Christmas party always gives rise to potential claims against employers for the actions of their employees.

The case of Shelbourne v Cancer Research UK held that an employer was not liable for the injuries sustained by one of its employees at a works Christmas party. The injuries had been caused by the actions of an inebriated partygoer, and the employer had neither been negligent in its pre-party risk assessment and organisational arrangements, and nor was it vicariously liable for the actions of the partygoer

9 Roads a Raging

Whilst the roads may still be quieter than normal with travel restrictions in place and many still working from home, driving at Christmas can be stressful and with ice on the roads and the dark nights, road traffic accidents in December are all too popular.

Advice for cyclists:
  • Ensure that you and your bike are visible to other road users by using a good set of front and rear lights. Wear bright clothes and light reflective items.
  • Obey road signs and markings, particularly red lights.
  • Be mindful of the effects poor weather can have on other road users and be alert to possible dangers around about you.
Advice for drivers:
  • Ensure your car is winter ready. Make sure your tyres, brakes, windscreens, wiper blades and windows are clean and free from defects.
  • Drive to the road conditions.  Road conditions can change suddenly and stopping distances will be affected by the weather.
  • When the roads are icy, drive at a slow speed in as high a gear as possible, and accelerate and brake very gently.
  • Driving can be challenging in winter conditions. Driving distracted can cause additional stress and endangers yourself, passengers and other road users.

If you have been injured as a result of a road traffic accident which was not your fault within the last three years then contact Jackson Boyd Lawyers today!

8 Icicles a Dangling

The case of Dufosse v Melbry Events Ltd held that an event management company was in breach of its duty to a visitor who suffered a leg injury after tripping and falling over a plastic icicle during a visit to Santa’s grotto. Although a safe system had been devised for checking the floor of the grotto, it had failed on that occasion.

7 Delaying Deliveries

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 apply to items purchased over the telephone, by post or online.  These state that consumers have up to 14 days after receiving a delivery ordered through one of these methods to inform the trader that they wish to return the item(s) due to a change of mind. This applies to unwanted goods, and not just goods that are faulty or damaged. After the seller is notified, consumers then have an additional 14 days to return the items in the unopened packaging that it arrived in.

Once received by the seller, they should process the refund within 14 days. This should be for the full amount, including the amount paid to have the item delivered.

If you have waited more than 30 days on a delivery arriving, then you are legally entitled to cancel the order / contract and receive a refund, whether the item has been purchased in store or online.

It may be possible to cancel orders that have been made online before they arrive, even if you have waited for less than 30 days on the item(s) coming. Reference should always be made to individual seller’s terms and conditions, which can usually be found outlined in the applicable section of their website. If this is not clearly stated, you can contact the seller directly to confirm their policy.

For items ordered in store, the rules are slightly different. You can ask for delivery by a specific date at the point of sale, and if the seller agrees to this, you will be able to cancel the order and request a refund. This has to be agreed with the retailer when the order is made and is difficult to enforce unless there is evidence that this was the case

6 Paths a Perilous

It’s not just drivers that are at risk on untreated roads; pedestrians must also take care on untreated footpaths and roads during the festive period. Whilst local authorities will only be held liable for failure to treat certain footpaths if it can be proven that they failed to adhere to their winter maintenance policies, at Jackson Boyd we extensive experience in claims such as these. If you have been injured by slipping on an untreated footpath then get in touch with the team today!

5 Licence Points!!!

More than 8500 drivers were stopped by the police on Scotland’s roads during the festive ‘Drink & Drug Drive’ campaign between December 1st 2019 and January 2nd 2020, with one in five drivers were found to be under the influence of drink or drugs.

The drink driving limit in Scotland is different from England & Wales.  The current limit in Scotland is:

  • 22 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath (the ‘breath limit’)
  • 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood (the ‘blood limit’)
  • 67 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of urine (the ‘urine limit’)

During the same period, 29 drivers were found to be still over the limit the following morning, with 16 required to drive as part of their employment and facing losing their jobs.

Whether you are ok drive the next morning depends on how much you’ve drunk, and if you have allowed enough time for your body to get rid of the alcohol. The amount of alcohol in your bloodstream depends on three things: the amount of alcohol you have had,, over what period of time and the speed at which your body gets rid of it.

In general, alcohol is removed from the blood at the rate of about one unit per hour, but this depends on a variety of factors such as your size, gender, how much food you’ve eaten; the state of your liver, and your metabolism. The best advice, if you don’t want to put yourself and others in danger, and break the law, is to avoid alcohol altogether the night before you have to drive.

4 Boxers Boxing

A Christmas party without a happy ending was the story of  Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Ltd when the company was held to be vicariously liable for an assault committed by its managing director on an employee after a Christmas party. Although the assault occurred at a separate drinking session after the actual Christmas party, the wrongdoer was not present merely as a fellow reveller but as managing director. There was sufficient connection between the position in which he was employed and his wrongful conduct so as to make the employer liable under the principle of social justice.

The doctrine of Vicarious Liability means that an employer can be held liable for the acts and/or omissions of their employees.  If you have been injured as a result of the actions of an employee then contact Jackson Boyd Lawyers today!

3 Ankles Snapping

Slips in bars & nightclubs give rise to personal injury claims all year round but in the case of  Lowe v Cairnstar Ltd the fateful act occurred on Christmas Day. Damages were awarded to a customer who slipped on a nightclub toilet floor and fractured her ankle. It was held that the nightclub owners and occupiers had installed flooring which was dangerously slippery when wet, which it was likely to become due to its location, the defenders were aware of the hazard, it would have been reasonably practicable for them to have installed flooring with a slip resistance of an appropriate standard, in which case the pursuer would not have slipped, and they had breached their duty of care to the pursuer at common law and under the Occupiers Liability Act 1960.

At Jackson Boyd Lawyers, we regularly instruct slip testing of floor surfaces in Occupiers Liability cases resulting in successful claims for our clients.

2 Spouses Fighting

Domestic abuse is not a matter to ever be taken lightly but the harsh reality is that domestic violence will be on the rise over the festive period due to the stresses of Christmas, financial worries, alcohol increase and for 2020 in particular, Covid-19 resulting in many couples spending more time at home together and victims unable to seek refuge from their attackers.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority seeks to award damages to victims of domestic abuse and at Jackson Boyd Lawyers we can help you with your claim.

And food poisoning from an undercooked Turkey!

If you have suffered food poisoning after eating at a restaurant or café, you may be entitled to compensation. The Consumer Rights Act requires restaurants in Scotland to provide food that is of “satisfactory quality”. If a customer is ill as a result of their failure, they can claim against the restaurant.

Understandably these claims are difficulty to prove, as it can be difficult to prove one particular piece of food has caused you to be ill, other than a variety of other factors. Things to consider are:

  • How exactly was the food not of ‘satisfactory quality’?
  • Where, what & when had you eaten prior to becoming ill?
  • Did anyone else in your party fall ill form eating the same food?

At Jackson Boyd Lawyers we deal with food poisoning & illness claims, both home and abroad, so if you have fallen ill after eating out in the last three years then contact a member of the team today.

STAY SAFE & MERRY CHRISTMAS

Lauren Tighe

Lauren Tighe

Personal Injury Team

'I have a natural instinct to want to help people and for me this job is about helping my client’s get the result they deserve as best as I can and providing them the advice they need. To be able to help someone at a time of need, for me, is very rewarding.'

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