Personal injury is an umbrella term for injuries that have been suffered to the body or the mind. From a legal perspective, there doesn’t have to be any visual evidence of personal injury and if it can be proved it has caused emotional or physical damage, the victim may have a case. Personal injury is usually caused by the negligence or recklessness of a third party, however could be caused by intent, making their case a lot stronger.
The most common types of personal injury cases are suffered either in the workplace, otherwise known as industrial disease, or on the road. There are many types of injuries that can be suffered due to working conditions, from vibration white finger to chronic bronchitis and they will usually depend on the area of work.
However, the common cause of road traffic accidents is the negligence of other road users and recently there have been proposals of harsher penalties for those who don’t follow the rules of the road. We have seen an increase in road traffic accidents, which has led to an upsurge in whiplash claims. As further control over bogus personal injury claims being made, the Government are thought to be introducing further legislation to target the problem.
Motorists who are found to be sitting in the middle lane, tailgating or using the wrong lane at a roundabout could face serious fines and three points on their licence. It is hoped that the new laws will make people think more about their driving etiquette, reducing the amount of accidents we see on the roads.
At present, a police officer could pull over anyone who is driving carelessly or recklessly, however they would only give a warning. The new laws will allow police officers more control over the penalties they give and will be able to enforce harsher punishments. Police officers are the only ones who can enforce the rule and cameras will not be used, as it could be difficult to control.
Tailgating is just one of the offences that will be penalised and ignoring signs, driving too fast on the road for the weather conditions and poor lane discipline are other offences that will bring repercussions. There are also talks of introducing harsher regulations when it comes to using a mobile phone with the fine rising to £90 as well as the three driving license points. Failing to wear a seat belt will also bring harsher penalties.
Careless driving is a blurry issue and while there are clear cut rules for offences such as speeding and using a mobile phone, not many people are aware of the fines they could face when it comes to these bad habits. While they can cause frustration with other drivers, there has previously been no rules to control the behaviour, meaning the new laws will probably be met with a lot of praise from road users.
It has been said that the legislation will be monitored appropriately and police officers will have to make reasonable judgements. Anyone can make a small mistake and there is worry that the situation will be misjudged and those who don’t have the intent of causing problems will be reprimanded. However, action does need to be taken and as long as the situation is controlled accordingly, it is likely that the amount of personal injury claims will be significantly reduced over a short period of time.
Phoebe Willan, writing on behalf of Walker Prestons, a solicitors firm based in Blackburn, Lancashire.