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The Personal Injury Horrors of Halloween How to Stay Safe

The Personal Injury Horrors of Halloween: How to Stay Safe

It’s that time of year again when the nights get darker, the air gets crisp, and the leaves turn a golden brown. Halloween is a night of spooks and scares filled with pumpkin carving, silly costumes and far too many sweets. However, with more people out and about over Halloween heading to fancy dress parties or out trick-or-treating, the various hazards could turn your night into a real-life horror movie.

According to data analysed by Churchill Car Insurance, the risk for young trick-or-treaters being hit by a car greatly increases during the Halloween period. October 31st sees a higher number of children aged 10 and under being hit by cars on Britain’s roads than at any other point during the four-week period around Halloween.

Tragically, road traffic incidents increase by 75% compared to the rest of the month, with 49 child pedestrians involved in road traffic accidents on Halloween in 2019.  This is near twice the average number for the two weeks before and after Halloween (17th October to 14th November).

We would advise parents to be extra vigilant when letting their children go trick-or-treating and to ensure that they are always accompanied, especially when leaving the house after dark. It is not just children who are at risk on Halloween either, as there is an average of 295 accidents involving adults on this day every year, which is 12 per cent higher than the annual average.

Although it’s the scariest night of the year, it’s not all doom and gloom and there are steps you can take to keep yourself and your family safe this Halloween. Get in touch today if you would like more information and advice or keep reading to find out our top tips for staying safe during the spooky season.

What are some of the most common personal injury dangers around Halloween?

There’s not one specific cause for the increased risk of injury around Halloween, rather it’s a dangerous combination of the darker nights, the higher number of children out and about, and unfortunately, the increased likelihood of drink driving from adults attending parties.

Some of the most common personal injury dangers around Halloween season include:

  • Pedestrian related road accidents when trick-or-treating
  • Road crash accidents involving drunk drivers
  • Chemical burns from fake blood and/or novelty products
  • Slips, trips and falls from Halloween displays

 

Am I liable if a child gets injured whilst trick-or-treating on my property?

If you’re stocking up on sweets ahead of Halloween night for any visiting trick-or-treaters, just remember that as a homeowner or an occupier of a property, you owe a duty of care to any visitors and you may find yourself liable if any accidents are caused by the dangerous condition of your property. This duty of care is a legal requirement under The Occupier’s Liability (Scotland) Act 1960 to ensure that your property is reasonably safe.

Make sure the outside of your property is sufficiently well-lit, so any visiting trick-or-treaters can identify and avoid any potential hazards such as raised slabs that they could trip over, or soggy leaves that could cause someone to slip and fall. Make sure to keep your pathway and any steps clear from both decorations and debris. If there are any defects you’re concerned about, it could be worth fencing this area off or displaying a clear warning notice.

How can I stay safe this Halloween?

With Halloween just around the corner, we want to make you and your family enjoy this time and keep yourselves as safe as possible during this spooky period. To stay safe, keep our top tips below in mind:

Top Tips for Drivers

  • Drivers should enter and exit driveways slowly.
  • Never drive under when tired or under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
  • Take extra care when driving in and around residential areas and keep a close eye out for children walking on the roads.

Top Tips for Trick-or-Treating

  • Make sure kids are accompanied by a responsible adult, especially when it’s dark.
  • Plan your route in advance so you’re comfortable with which houses you’ll be visiting. It’s best to stick to your own neighbourhood.
  • Stay in well-lit areas if possible but if not, make sure children have a flashlight or reflective clothing to increase their visibility.
  • Advise children to always look both ways before crossing the road.

Top Tips for Costumes

  • Be sure to choose fire-resistant costumes and wigs.
  • Make sure all face paint for Halloween is non-toxic and child safe.
  • Make sure that your child’s costume doesn’t create a tripping hazard and prevent them from being able to walk without risk of injury.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a Happy Halloween and we hope you have a safe and fun-filled night.

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.

Road Traffic Accidents in Scotland Top 10 Most Dangerous Roads

Road Traffic Accidents in Scotland: Top 10 Most Dangerous Roads

Considering the vast number of cars on the road at any given time across the UK, it isn’t surprising that road traffic accidents occur on a daily basis up and down the country. Yet their frequency doesn’t negate from their seriousness, and we understand the devastation and disruption that these accidents can have on your life.

It isn’t of course an even picture across the UK, and tragically, Scotland has some of the worst injury and casualty rates from road traffic accidents. In fact, those living in the North-East of Scotland are the most likely in Britain to suffer a serious or fatal injury in a road traffic accident, with residents in the rural area of Banff and Buchan, more than twice as likely to be killed than the national average.

It is a worrying trend that is consistent throughout Scotland and although the rate of minor injuries is roughly the same as those of England and Wales, new statistics have shown that the rate of serious and fatal injuries is overall higher in Scotland. Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we deal with more road traffic crashes than any other form of accident. We have years of experience and the relevant expertise to fully understand your case. Get in touch today if you would like more information and advice or keep reading to find out some of the most hazardous stretches of road in Scotland.

 

Why are the road traffic accident rates in Scotland higher?

Whilst there are many factors that can contribute to or cause road traffic accidents, from a general lack of concentration all the way to drink driving, there are factors specific to Scotland that are likely the reason for the higher accident and casualty rates.

Scotland is home to many rural roads, especially in the North and whilst many may assume that rural roads are safer because they are quieter, they’re forgetting the many unseen hazards that muddy, windy and narrow rural roads can present. In fact, the Department for Transport’s figures shows that across all age groups, 57% of all fatalities occur on rural roads, with this increasing to 71% for young drivers aged between 17-24 years old.

Common causes of car accidents on rural roads include failure to look, loss of control, travelling too fast for the conditions and unmanaged accident blackspots. These blackspots are prevalent across Scotland and account for a higher-than-average number of road accidents, due to factors such as hidden or poorly signposted junctions, hidden dips in the road, and unexpected sharp bends on fast roads.

 

What are the most dangerous roads in Scotland?

Up to date statistics on the number of road traffic accidents which cause serious injury or fatality, were recently unveiled by the Scottish Government. The figures show that between the start of 2017 and the summer of 2019, there were 785 serious or fatal accidents on Scotland’s trunk roads. At least one person lost their life in 137 of these. The most dangerous road in Scotland, the A82, heads up the top 10 list. See the rest below:

  1. A82 (Glasgow to Inverness via Fort William)

  2. A9 (Falkirk to Thurso)

  3. A90 (Edinburgh to Fraserburgh via Dundee and Aberdeen)

  4. A77 (Glasgow to Portpatrick)

  5. A96 (Aberdeen to Inverness)

  6. M8 (Edinburgh to Glasgow)

  7. M74 (A74(M)) (Gretna to Glasgow)

  8. A85 (Perth to Oban)

  9. A92 (Dunfermline to Aberdeen)

  10. A83 (Argyll)

An accident hotspot that’s a little closer to home, is the Shawhead flyover in Coatbridge, on the doorstep of our Airdrie office. Installed as part of the M8/A8 improvement project, the flyover consists of crossroads with traffic lights, replacing the previously existing roundabouts. However, it has been branded a ‘death trap’ by many local residents and MSP’s due to the numerous accidents since its installation in 2019, the most recent of which occurred in March 2021.

 

What do I do if I’m injured in a road traffic accident in Scotland that wasn’t my fault?

We completely understand how distressing it is to be involved in a road traffic accident. Just try your best to stay calm and remember as many details as you can, as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Try to record the following:

  • Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
  • Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
  • Accident date and time
  • Accident location
  • Full contact details of any witnesses

Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to 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.

Passenger Compensation Claims

Passenger Compensation Claims

Passengers involved in road traffic accidents often don’t realise they have the same rights to claim compensation as drivers do. It’s tragically the case that you may just be in the wrong seat, in the wrong place at the wrong time and now you’re nursing serious injuries that aren’t your fault.

The latest Government statistics show that of the UK’s 89,331 road casualties injured in 2019, approximately 30% were passengers. Unlike drivers, however, passengers are almost never liable for the cause of the road accident. Regardless of whether you were travelling via public transport such as a bus, a car or even a taxi, more often than not you can pursue passenger injury claims if you have been hurt through no fault of your own.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we understand that claims of this nature can get a little complicated. However, you can rest assured that we have significant experience in this area. Get in touch today if you would like more information and advice or keep reading for our guide to passenger compensation claims.

 

Am I Eligible To Make A Passenger Accident Claim?

In order to be eligible to claim compensation as a passenger in a road traffic accident, most people will need to satisfy a few simple criteria. The most crucial of these are;

  • The accident happened in the last three years, or your injury became apparent within the last three years.
  • Another party was to blame, whether this is the driver of the vehicle you were in (whether that be a car, taxi or bus), another road user, a pedestrian, or any other party.
  • You were owed a duty of care by the party who caused the accident.

What we mean by a ‘duty of care is that legally, the driver or operator of any type of motor vehicle has an obligation to drive carefully and safely – to prevent injuring their passengers and to minimise the risk of hitting other road users. If the driver fails to show due care for their passengers’ safety, and this reckless or negligent driving results in a serious injury, the passenger then has the right to claim for any damages which were a direct result of their injuries or loss. This right extends to the driver of another vehicle if they were responsible.

 

Claiming Against Family or Friends

If the driver responsible for causing you an injury is a friend or relative, you may understandably be hesitant to claim compensation out of concern the person you know will have to cover all costs. However, the claim is against their insurer and any compensation pay-out will come from them. If the responsible party is uninsured, your compensation will be paid by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). Compensation is vital to support you through any physical or mental rehabilitation, and to cover any expenses such as loss of earnings, so whilst we understand if may be uncomfortable to do so, please don’t refrain from filing a claim if you do know the driver.

 

Debunking the Common Myths Surrounding Passenger Compensation Claims

Be rest assured that even if you were in the vehicle that caused the accident, you can still make a claim. If the driver is claiming against another party who they feel was at fault, as a passenger you still have the right to claim for any injury or loss of earnings you may have experienced. As with any compensation claim, cases are taken on an induvial basis and the first step is proving that the accident was someone else’s fault. Consequently, it’s often much easier for a passenger to claim compensation after a road traffic accident than a driver as it’s highly unlikely that they’d ever been at fault.

 

What Evidence Do I Need to Make a Claim?

It’s important to gather as much specific information and evidence as you can at the time. Try to record the following:

  • Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
  • Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
  • Accident date and time
  • Accident location
  • Full contact details of any witnesses

Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to 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.

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.