The George Ide LLP Blog specialises in providing a host of information regarding personal injury claims, what to do in the event of medical negligence, personal grievances and a wide range of other legal matters. From wills and probate to why you should consider an insurance policy, the George Ide blog is designed to provide helpful advice and insight into a number of legal situations.
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Many of us know that, if we have an accident in the UK that to some extent was the fault of another driver, we may be able to make a claim against the insurer of... The post Brexit and accidents abroad appeared first on George Ide.
Many of us know that, if we have an accident in the UK that to some extent was the fault of another driver, we may be able to make a claim against the insurer of that vehicle or driver. But what is the current process for making such a claim, and will that change if we leave the EU as planned on 31 October?
Currently, if you have an accident in another EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country and wish to make claim, you can do so in the UK, under English law. If or when the UK leaves the EU on 31 October we will almost certainly be withdrawn from the ‘Fourth Directive’, which allows victims of road traffic collisions in EU or EEA countries other than their own country of residence to make compensation claims in their own country and in their own language. If we leave this system, UK victims of accidents abroad may have to approach the foreign insurer directly with any claim; in the event of an accident with an uninsured or hit-and-run driver, they may need to apply directly to the foreign equivalent of UK’s Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB). This would make bringing such claims far more difficult and time-consuming than is currently the case. Each member country obviously has its own laws and, crucially, different time-limits for bringing claims may apply. Understanding those laws and any rules specific to compensation claims is likely to prove difficult.
In some EU and EEA countries the MIB equivalent only pays compensation to its own residents, EU residents or nationals of other EEA countries. To enable continued access to compensation for UK victims, the UK MIB is working to sign agreements with other EU and EEA countries but these will not replace the current system. The agreements require other countries to confirm they will continue to pay compensation to UK residents after the UK leaves the EU. Depending on which countries sign these agreements and the local rules in those countries, access to compensation could vary from country to country.
Anyone thinking of driving abroad after we have left the EU would be well-advised to ensure they understand the prevailing accident claims legislation and any cross-border agreements that are applicable at that time.
For more information and further advice on making claims for road traffic accident compensation please contact the George Ide team on 01243 78668 or email us at email@example.com.
Paul Lewis. Partner and Head of Accident Management
Benjamin Franklin said that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. However, taxes can be minimised with better organisation, the full use of allowances and taking appropriate professional advice. There is a... The post A Taxing Problem appeared first on George...
Benjamin Franklin said that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes.
However, taxes can be minimised with better organisation, the full use of allowances and taking appropriate professional advice.
There is a personal income tax allowance of £12,500 and further allowances against income from shares and savings. Those in a marriage or civil partnership can tax plan effectively for income, capital gains and Inheritance tax by transferring assets between themselves to optimise their respective tax bands.
Most people are also aware that paying into a pension is not only a sensible thing to do for retirement but is also income tax efficient as relief is given on pension contributions.
The rent a room scheme is a useful way to earn up to £7,500 a year tax free.
If you own a business, it pays to take professional advice on the best way to organise your business affairs. The Inland Revenue have sweeping powers to levy penalties for poor record keeping.
Joint owners of capital assets are each entitled to a Capital Gains Tax exemption, currently £12,000. Accordingly, if a second property is sold by joint owners there is a total CGT exemption of £24,000 before tax becomes payable.
Landlords should take advice on the difference between improvements and repairs, which ones are allowable for which taxes and when the relief can be claimed.
For Inheritance Tax everyone is entitled to give away £3,000 each year and carry forward any unused portion for one year. If no gifts were made in the last tax year then £6,000 can be given this year. There are further IHT allowances and exemptions available.
The lifetime Inheritance tax allowance is £325,000 per person. Transfers between spouses or civil partners are exempt so equalisation of assets is sensible planning.
If you wish to pass assets to the next generation but are concerned about security you might consider a Trust, of which there are various types. A Discretionary Trust, where trustees have discretion over distributions from the trust fund, can provide protection of the assets against some of the life problems the beneficiaries may encounter.
Tax need not be a problem, provided you are organised and take good advice.
John Atkinson. Chartered Wealth Manager
The recent trial of a cyclist who faces a £100,000 bill for costs after injuring a pedestrian is one that is of great interest to me, a personal injury lawyer and keen cyclist. Among those... The post As road users, cyclists must expect the unexpected – failure to do so could land you with a hefty bill appeared first on George...
The recent trial of a cyclist who faces a £100,000 bill for costs after injuring a pedestrian is one that is of great interest to me, a personal injury lawyer and keen cyclist.
Among those expressing sympathy for cyclist Robert Hazeldean is broadcaster and safe cycling campaigner Jeremy Vine, who said: “I feel very sorry for this fellow. I haven’t met anyone who thinks he could have done more to avoid hitting the pedestrian.” Well, Mr. Vine has clearly not met District Judge Mauger of the Central London County Court. The judge considered all the evidence and decided that Mr. Hazeldean and the pedestrian, Gemma Brushett, should share the blame equally: the cyclist for not allowing the pedestrian to cross safely in front of him, and the pedestrian for not paying attention and looking at her phone as she walked across the road. As the judge said, cyclists as road users are under a duty to expect the unexpected.
Interestingly, Ms. Brushett’s key witness was another cyclist who, in his evidence, was highly critical of Mr. Hazeldean as he ‘accelerated’ towards a group of pedestrians crossing a busy road in the evening rush hour. Three other pedestrians gave statements to the police and all put the blame squarely on Ms. Brushett for not looking where she was going.
The following facts were established in court: Mr. Hazeldean rode through a green light and approached the pedestrian crossing at 10-15 miles per hour. He was accelerating slightly uphill. He shouted and sounded his air-horn as he approached pedestrians who were still crossing the road. Ms. Brushett had almost made it across the road when the cyclist crashed into her, having braked only at the last moment. It is unfortunate that when she finally realised the cyclist was approaching he was almost upon her and she was startled into taking a step back, which put her directly in his path. She was knocked out by the impact and sustained a minor concussive head injury.
The case also serves as a stark reminder to all cyclists to ensure they are adequately insured against personal liability, either through household or cycle insurance, and that uninsured defendants should take legal advice before entering a defence – in this case, the cyclist could have counter-claimed for his own injury and loss.
The post As road users, cyclists must expect the unexpected – failure to do so could land you with a hefty bill appeared first on George Ide.
Digital assets are becoming increasingly prominent in our day-to-day lives. We bank with them, shop with them, and even share our lives on them – but a survey by YouGov revealed a rather worrying statistic:... The post Digital Assets – what happens after death? appeared first on George...
Digital assets are becoming increasingly prominent in our day-to-day lives. We bank with them, shop with them, and even share our lives on them – but a survey by YouGov revealed a rather worrying statistic: 52 per cent of those surveyed said that nobody would be able to access their digital assets when they die because they had not provided any arrangements about what should happen.
These assets have financial, social and sentimental values that mean so much to us during our lives, so why are we risking losing them on our death?
Is it because we are detached from them due to their ‘digital’ nature so we do not prioritise protecting them? Are the tech companies at fault for failing to introduce ways of protecting their users? Or does the fault lie with the law? This rapidly evolving area poses difficult questions about privacy, ownership and copyright that we seem reluctant to legislate on, perhaps because of the difficulties in making them conform to our centuries-old legal system.
Whatever the reason, executors of estates that include digital assets are often left in limbo, unable to cash-in their loved one’s assets and in some cases unable to even find out what they had or where the assets are located. We have not even mentioned (nor will we go into) the debacle of administering crypto-currencies or multi-jurisdiction digital assets.
Therefore, the onus is quite clearly on the holders of these digital assets to put procedures in place whilst still alive. Some may perceive this only as a domain of the young. However, research by Ofcom in 2018 found internet usage was at 65 per cent among the 65-74 year olds and 53 per cent among those aged 75 and above.
There are ways to safeguard your financial assets:
What is clear, however, is that the above recommendations will only work if they are updated regularly. Setting time aside in our fast-paced life for ‘life admin’ is often not a priority, but our advice to you is to ensure your record is kept up to date and reviewed at the end of every financial year.
The increasing availability online of all types of advice has undoubtedly encouraged many people to ‘go it alone’ when dealing with a wide variety of issues. As solicitors, all too often we meet with clients... The post Online information is no substitute for expert professional advice appeared first on George...
The increasing availability online of all types of advice has undoubtedly encouraged many people to ‘go it alone’ when dealing with a wide variety of issues.
As solicitors, all too often we meet with clients who need our help to sort out a problem that could have been avoided if professional advice had been heeded at the outset – and it is not unusual for the costs of resolving such issues to exceed by far the costs of seeking timely expert advice.
Examples include clients who decide they would like to alter their professionally-drafted wills. If this is not done correctly the changes may be ineffective or, worse still, render the will invalid. Even if the changes seem to be effective, they may pave the way for future challenges that can result in costly litigation.
It is a common misconception that, by simply marking letters from the court as ‘addressee gone away’ or ‘no longer at this address’ and returning all correspondence, it is possible to avoid court proceedings. The Civil Procedure Rules allow for service at a last-known address and, by such action, you can find yourself with a county court judgement against you. Whilst it may be possible to apply for such a judgement to be set aside, this process can take many months and success is by no means guaranteed. In the meantime, you are likely to suffer from an adverse credit rating, making it very difficult to obtain credit such as a mortgage or a loan.
Even if you have genuinely moved away, it is always prudent to ensure your post is redirected. Failure to do so, especially if you suspect a dispute is likely, may lead to important post not getting through. And spare a thought for cyclist Robert Hazeldean who, although found only partly-responsible for the injuries of a pedestrian, faced a huge bill. Had he been professionally advised and represented the situation could have been very different.
Consulting a solicitor may not be your cheapest option and sometimes the Citizens’ Advice Bureau is a good starting point. It is always a good idea to ask yourself how much time, stress and money it could cost if it goes wrong – the cost of seeing an experienced, independent solicitor might just turn out to be good value and money well spent.
The post Online information is no substitute for expert professional advice appeared first on George Ide.
Earlier this year I read a troubling article in the Law Society Gazette stating one in 15 junior lawyers had suicidal thoughts. This struck me as worrying, especially when coupled with recent Health and Safety... The post Stress in the workplace – why employers should be anxious appeared first on George...
Earlier this year I read a troubling article in the Law Society Gazette stating one in 15 junior lawyers had suicidal thoughts. This struck me as worrying, especially when coupled with recent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics indicating work-related stress was the leading cause of work-related ill health in 2018. With more than 15.4 million working days lost and one in 15 junior lawyers experiencing suicidal thoughts, surely this trend is something employers need to be concerned about.
The HSE defines stress as an ‘adverse reaction’ to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on an individual. It is a fairly broad definition. Stress, particularly in law, is not uncommon and I would challenge lawyers who say they have never experienced some form of stress at work. The issue is complex and stress is not always a negative thing – working to a deadline could qualify as stressful, but would this give rise to a claim?
When claiming negligence, it is accepted that employers have a duty of care to their employees. Given this duty, the hurdle to overcome is whether the conduct of an employer has amounted to a breach of their duty, for example in creating a hostile working environment, failing to provide adequate support, or exhibiting unfair and arbitrary treatment of their employees. However, if you can prove a breach of duty, you are not necessarily home and dry. For a negligence claim to be successful it must also be shown that you have suffered a recognised psychiatric injury that would have been foreseeable to the employer – and it is worth noting that the psychiatric injury must have been caused specifically as a result of the circumstances at work.
Returning to the Gazette article’s statement that one in 15 junior lawyers had suicidal thoughts, I think employers should be more worried now than ever before. If employers do not ensure the mental well-being of their employees, and that failure leads to an employee committing suicide, they could be held liable for significant negligence claims. With articles such as the Gazette’s increasingly shining a light on this troubling area, there is no excuse for firms and businesses not to think about the mental well-being of their staff – it is essential to start taking action before it is too late.
James Knight. Personal Injury department.
The post Stress in the workplace – why employers should be anxious appeared first on George Ide.
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