New Driver Here's our Top Tips to Staying Safe on the Roads

New Driver? Here’s our Top Tips to Staying Safe on the Roads

Both driving lessons and driving tests have been undeniably affected by COVID-19 over the last 18 months however, with restrictions lifting over the summer in Scotland and throughout the UK, they have thankfully been allowed to re-start. As an unfortunate result, it has been reported by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that there is a significant backlog with many test centres fully booked through till December 2021.

For those who’ve been lucky enough to secure a slot and have recently gained their driver’s license, or for those who have perhaps passed at some time in the last 18 months and haven’t had much driving experience since we understand that journeys as a new driver can be nerve-wracking. Especially if it’s your first time in the car without an instructor or another driver.

Brake, the road safety charity, recently reported that road traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death amongst young people, and the main cause of death among those aged 15–29 years. As such, it’s vital that new drivers know the steps they can take to stay safe on the roads, and what their options are for compensation claims if they are injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault.

At Bonnar Accident Law we have significant experience handling road accident claims so get in touch today if you have any questions or keep reading for our top tips on how new drivers can feel at ease on the roads.  

The Risks to New Drivers

  • Driving at Night

In 2019, 37% of young driver fatalities and serious injuries occurred in the nine-hour period between 9 pm and 6 am, despite roads being relatively quiet during this period. Nighttime driving can be considered particularly risky for all drivers, no matter their age or level of confidence, due to the lack of light, decreased visibility of hazards and likelihood of drivers being more tired with diminished concentration levels. However, it’s deemed to be even risker for young new drivers as they may be more likely to take risks from peer pressure, to drive under the influence or to be distracted by passengers who are intoxicated.

  • Over-Confidence and Speeding

There’s a fine line when driving between confidence and arrogance, and it’s natural for young drivers to feel they have mastered the ability to drive once they’ve passed their test and have gained more driving experience. However, over-confidence can be a recipe for disaster and cause drivers to overestimate their ability to respond to hazards, whilst underestimating the risks associated with factors such as speeding. Excessive speed is a key contributor to road traffic accidents throughout the UK as young drivers often don’t have the experience or know-how to react appropriately to a dangerous situation.

  • Peer Pressure

It goes without saying that young people are subject to peer pressure in many areas of their life, and as a result, may show off to achieve a favourable status amongst their friends. Research has shown that newly qualified drivers with a car full of passengers of a similar age are four times more likely to be in a fatal crash, compared to when they’re driving alone. However, when carrying older adult passengers, young drivers are less likely to crash, which indicates that these accidents are caused by peer pressure rather than simply the presence of passengers.

 

Tips for New Drivers to Stay Safe

  • Plan Ahead for New or Long Journeys

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time if you’re driving a new route and familiarise yourself with the route beforehand to help build up your confidence. On the day, utilise Sat Nav or GPS devices to help guide you and schedule comfort breaks at least every 2 hours on longer journeys.

  • Be Responsible

If you have passengers in the car with you, treat them as your responsibility and avoid doing anything that would put you, or them, at risk. This includes showing off by driving faster or taking risks, giving into peer pressure and not becoming distracted by your mobile phone or excessively loud music.

  • Keep Calm

If you experience any aggressive behaviour on the roads, the best course of action is to stay calm, maintain a steady speed and avoid any confrontation. If you do give in to road rage and feel shaken at all, pull over at the next safe place to stop and allow yourself time to calm down and gather your thoughts before you continue your journey.

  • Know Your Car

Make sure you know the warning signs on your car and have at least a basic knowledge of car maintenance in case something does go wrong on the road. Emergency car kits including de-icer, jump leads, phone chargers and even a spare tyre can a lifesaver, especially in the winter. And whilst it may seem obvious, keep an eye on your fuel throughout your trip and don’t leave filling up until the last minute.

  • Take Your Time

Don’t feel pressured by other drivers if you are on a road or at a junction you don’t feel sure of. It’s far better to take your time and only go when you feel it’s safe to do so. If you’re driving at night, be extra cautious and avoid the temptation to speed when the roads are quieter. Lastly, as a new driver, you will feel tired quicker as driving takes up a lot of energy and concentration so don’t stress about not getting to your destination quickly and make sure you pull over for a rest break if you start to feel sleepy on the roads.

 

What do I do if I am involved in a Road Traffic Accident?

We completely understand how distressing being in an accident will be as a new driver. If you’re taking shaken at the time to clearly identify who was at fault, do not admit liability or responsibility, rather just stay calm and try to remember as many details as possible to help support your Road Traffic Accident compensation claim.

It’s important you gather as much information and evidence as you can at the time. This includes the registration, make and model of the vehicle as well as the other name, address, contact details and insurance details of the other driver involved. If it’s possible take videos or photographs of the scene and the contact details of any witnesses. Most importantly, seek medical attention as soon as possible if required and report to your GP following any hospital admissions, and always report the accident to the police.

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

Back to School: Road Safety

As children across Scotland get ready for their first day back at school, many parents will be breathing a sigh of relief that their kids will finally be back in the classroom after a tumultuous year, and they can hang up their ‘teacher’ hats after intense periods of homeschooling.

However, whilst we inch closer towards normality and away from the risks of COVID-19, there’s a considerable risk to children that remains ever-present – the risk of road traffic accidents.

The RAC Foundation recently reported that child fatalities from road traffic accidents actually increased in 2020 to 52 reported child casualties, an increase from 49 casualties in 2019. A cause for even more concern is that almost half of all accidents on UK roads take place during the school run. In a study conducted by Admiral, they found that 43% of road traffic accidents throughout the UK occur during 8am and 9am and 5pm and 6pm. The increase of traffic during peak rush hour times, resulting in more stressed drivers on the road, can be a deadly combination for children walking to school especially in urban locations.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we understand the worry that parents will have over their child’s safety. If your child has suffered an injury that wasn’t their fault, you could raise a personal injury claim on their behalf. We have significant experience handling these types of claims and will work tirelessly to obtain your child the highest compensation possible. If you have any questions, get in touch today, or keep reading for our top road safety tips to make the school run that much safer.

 

Walking to School Safety Tips

  • Walk to school with your children until you are confident that they can do so safely by themselves
  • Make sure your children are familiar with the safest route possible, and encourage them to walk with friends so they’re not alone
  • Encourage your children, especially during the darker nights in winter, to wear something bright or fluorescent when walking to or from school, to make sure drivers can see them
  • Advise your children to only use the pedestrian crossings to cross the road and to only walk on the pavements and footpaths
  • Stop Look and Listen – make sure road safety is a conversation with your children and teach them how to crossroads safety and what hazards they should look out for

 

Driving Road Safety Tips

  • Make sure your children are wearing seatbelts and are sat in the appropriate child seat if necessary
  • Keep an eye out for school zone signs and reduce your speed the minute you approach the area surrounding a school
  • Be sure to obey any lollipop men or women who may be helping children cross the road
  • Be hyper vigilant as children may cross the road at an inconvenient time or in an unexpected place, due to a lack of road awareness
  • Reduce your speed, no matter how much of a rush you might be in and be aware of both the speed limit and any speed bumps

 

If your child has been injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

How to Avoid Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

How to Avoid Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

How to Avoid Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

As many of us throughout the UK make our way back into the office for the first time in over a year, there’s a sense of excitement to be reunited with our colleagues, to have meetings face-to-face and to enjoy some gossip over a morning coffee.

Working from somewhere other than our living rooms for the first time in a long time can be a shock to the system, so we need to allow ourselves time to readjust to our workplace surroundings and familiarise ourselves to any potential workplace hazards.

It’s unavoidable, even in adult life, that we’ll often slip, trip or fall. Most of the time, we can just get right back up and brush ourselves off. However, in the workplace, slips and trips can be much more serious. Even relatively modest accidents can result in injury, loss of earnings and other damages. That’s why any accident in a workplace environment should be dealt with immediately.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we understand the concerns you’ll have following a workplace accident. We have significant experience handling these types of claims so if you are injured in an accident at work that wasn’t your fault, get in touch today, or keep reading to find out more.

 

The Dangers Of Slips, Trips, and Falls

Whilst they may not seem like the most critical of accidents, slips, trips and falls are the single most common cause of injures at work, accounting for a third of all reported major injuries. The Health and Safety Executive estimates that these types of incidents cost employers more than £512 million a year from lost production and other costs.

They can happen anytime anywhere, from offices to industrial settings, and can result in anything from a skinned knee to a broken bone to a long-lasting disability that could prevent you from working for an extended period of time.

It’s important to remember that slips, trips, and falls rarely happen on their own – there is usually a way to avoid them and ensure that you can go about your day-to-day working as safely as possible.

 

Our Top Tips to Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls

  1. Prevention, Not Cure

It’s far better to identify the potential causes of falls, slips and trips in the workplace and rectify these prior to any accidents taking place. Inspect your premises for uneven floor surfaces, trailing cables, wet floors and poor lighting and take the necessary action to remove these risks.

 

  1. See It, Sort It

If you identify any risks whether it be a spillage, an obstruction in a hallway or stairwell, or an ineffective or broken light, take action right away. Whether you’re the employer or employee, make sure the appropriate member of management has been notified and swift action is taken to reduce the risk of an accident.

 

  1. Be Organised

By ensuring your workplace has an effective strategy to maintaining a safe work environment, can help to avoid numerous injuries and accidents. Make sure firstly to plan ahead, by identifying any potential risks, assign responsibilities so there are key members of staff committed to the upkeep of safety in the workplace and regularly review your workplace safety standards to ensure you’re adhering to regulations.

 

Can I Make a Claim If I’m Injured from a Slip, Trip or Fall in my Workplace?

If your employer fails to provide a safe working environment and you are injured as a result, you can and should make a claim for compensation both for the injury as well as any loss of work or earnings. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), all employees have a right to be kept safe from any harm in the workplace

Whether the accident happened in your workplace or if you were carrying out work for your employer in a different location, whether you’re employed full or part-time, and no matter the size of the business, none of these factors affect your eligibility to make a claim. Even if your accident was caused by a visiting member of the public or the actions of a colleague, your employer is ultimately responsible for keeping you from harm in your workplace.

Typically, in the UK you have three years from the date of your accident to make a claim. There are exceptions to this rule however, we recommend if you have been injured in an accident at work, that you get in touch with us as soon as possible to ensure your claim is filed well within the time limit.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

 

Rear-End Shunts: Who’s Fault Was It?

Hundreds of thousands of road traffic accidents occur on UK roads every single year and research from various insurance bodies has estimated that rear-end shunts account for 1 in 4 of all road traffic accidents. When it comes to rear-end collisions, there is a strong assumption that the rear vehicle is at fault, regardless of whether or not the driver of the front vehicle drove in a manner which may have contributed to the accident.  

This is because motorists are expected to allow sufficient distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them, so to avoid a collision if the vehicle in front were to suddenly stop. Rule 126 of the Highway Code states: “Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can pull up safely if it suddenly stops. The safe rule is never to get closer than the overall stopping distance.”

However, we understand that no two accidents are ever the same and it always depends on the individual circumstances. As with all personal injury claims, you need to show negligence on the part of the other driver or drivers, involved in the accident.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we have significant experience handling these types of claims so if you are injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, get in touch today or keep reading to find out exactly what a rear-end shunt is, how to determine who is at fault and the steps you should take if you are injured.

 

What is a Rear-End Shunt?

A rear-end shunt is when one vehicle collides into the back of a vehicle in front. This might be when the car in front is stationary, for example at a junction, roundabout or traffic lights, or when congested traffic is moving slowly. Accidents such as these are common when the driver of the rear vehicle has a momentary loss of concentration or when they’re perhaps travelling too close to the vehicle in front. Multiple rear-end shunts can also be common in lines of queuing traffic and can create a ‘domino effect’, where the impact of a car hitting the end of a queue can push other cars forward into the back of the cars in front of them.

 

Who is at Fault?

The reason most rear-end shunts are the fault of the rear driver is because they can see what is ahead and take the necessary measures to prevent the crash. Whether it’s by paying attention to the weather conditions, the road conditions, or the traffic ahead, it’s our responsibility as motorists to stay alert and keep a safe distance between ourselves and the vehicle in front of us, so we can stop in time in the event of an accident. The driver of the vehicle in front should be taking these same steps, and therefore, may be unaware of the accident that might be about to occur behind them or have no way of preventing the rear driver from hitting their car. This is especially true when the front driver is stationary at traffic lights or a junction.

With that said, there are occasions when the actions of the front driver may make it impossible for a rear driver to stop in time and in those circumstances, the front driver may be at fault for the accident. For example, if the driver in front comes to a sudden and abrupt stop, at a time and in a location that couldn’t be foreseeable or if the front driver’s tail lights aren’t working.

 

What do I do if I am Involved in a Rear-End Shunt?

We completely understand that at the time of the accident you may be too shaken to clearly identify who was at fault. If you aren’t sure, then do not admit liability or responsibility for the accident. Rather just stay calm and try to remember as many of the details as you can as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Especially in the case of rear-end shunts, evidence retrieved from dashcam footage or witness accounts can hugely back up your claim. Other details you should obtain at the time include:

  • The other driver’s name, address, contact details and insurance details
  • Videos or photographs of the scene and of any damage to your car if possible
  • The contact details of any witnesses
  • The registration, make and model of the vehicle
  • The date, time and location of the accident

If required, make sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any admission to the hospital. And as ever, always report the accident to the police.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

Our Guide to Making a Claim if You’ve Been Injured During Your Scottish Staycation

As we are slowly making our way out of lockdown in Scotland and with the vaccines providing us with the hope that we’re on our path back to some semblance of normality, the tourism industry has been reopening its doors for the first time this year.

However, with the continued uncertainty of the traffic light system and the various rules when it comes to travelling abroad, it’s understandable that many people in Scotland will be choosing to enjoy a holiday closer to home in the form of a ‘staycation’. This was echoed in a recent study by Travelodge, which suggested that 4 in 5 people across the UK are planning a ‘staycation’ holiday this summer rather than leaving the country in search of warmer climates.

With the beauty of the Scottish Highlands, the white beaches of the Outer Hebrides, and the rich history of the Capital city, travelling around Scotland is the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and take a break from the stresses of daily life. Unfortunately, no matter what safety precautions you may take, accidents, injuries and illnesses can and do happen while you are on holiday.

Unfortunately getting injured or falling ill may mean you have to cut your holiday short and return home. However, if this wasn’t your fault you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim for compensation. In this blog we’ll explore the circumstances under which you could make a claim, and the steps you can take to support your case.

 

What Can I Claim For?

There are many different accidents and injuries you may be able to claim compensation for, if you were to fall ill or be injured whilst on your staycation. Here’s just a few examples:

  • An injury sustained in the hotel premises such as a slip, trip or fall caused by defective flooring or poorly maintained grounds
  • You slip and injure yourself on any type of spillage or leak within the hotel grounds
  • You contract food poisoning after eating or drinking in the hotel restaurant, particularly if other guests also suffer from the same food poisoning
  • You injure yourself during any recreational or sports activities, organised by the hotel or tour operator
  • You sustain an injury in a road traffic accident, whilst on a day trip organised by the hotel or tour operator

 

What Can I Do To Support My Claim?

In order to support any claim, the most important factor is to be able to prove the illness or injury was in no way your own fault and was caused by the negligence of a third party (such as your accommodation provider, tour operator or the hotel staff).  There are some other steps we’d highly recommend you take, to ensure your claim for compensation has the best chance of success:

  • Report the illness or injury to the hotel staff, tour operator or your travel company straight away at the time of the incident itself.
  • Make sure this is noted within the hotel’s accident book, this will ensure there is a date/time record of the incident occurring. It should also detail whom you reported the incident to, the circumstances surrounding it and the deals of any witnesses. Make sure you check this has been accurately recorded.
  • Keep receipts of any and all expenses you may have an incurred, as a direct result of your accident or illness.
  • If you’ve had to seek medical advice or visit the hospital, be sure to maintain all medical records. Once you’ve returned from your staycation, report to your GP as soon as possible.

All of these points will go a long way to strengthen your claim, to make sure you’re awarded a fair compensation sum to cover all of your medical and travel expenses that may have left you out of pocket, as well as for the hardship caused.

 

How Can We Help?

We understand how distressing it can be when you’ve had an accident or sustained an injury of any type whilst on holiday. It can be difficult to know where to turn to next, as even if you’re holidaying at home in Scotland, you are still likely to be far from your own home and removed from your familiar surroundings.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we have significant experience handling these types of claims, so if you feel your hotel or holiday company compromised yours and your family’s safety and caused an injury or illness, then don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’ll take your case on a No Win No Fee basis, covering all the upfront costs to ensure that your claim the best chance of success.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.