Personal Accidents

E-Cigarette Fire Spurs Compensation Claim

An economic consultant from Manchester, who was seriously burned after an e-cigarette fire, has sought legal advice for his injuries.

The victim, Colin Crow from Levenshulme in Manchester, was injured whilst on a night out with his friends in Sheffield last January. The thirty-two year-old had kept his e-cigarette in his back pocket, but it suddenly exploded, with flames likened to a firework by one on looker.

Colin received immediate first aid from staff members in the bar before an ambulance arrived to bring him to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital. There, Colin was transferred to the burns unit and received treatment for the burns along his left leg and arm, which had been damaged as he tried to put out the flame.

The injuries prevented Colin, an economic consultant, from returning to work for a period after his accident. He also suffered from a temporary loss of mobility, and still endures considerable pain when he walks. Since his accident, Colin has sought legal counsel concerning compensation for the fire.

Though any lithium battery could potentially catch fire if it is overheated, the risk of fire substantially increases if the battery is of poor quality. If it can be proven that the battery posed a risk to Colin when it was sold to him, he could claim compensation under the Consumer Protection Act 2987 or the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
When speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Colin’s solicitor commented that  “This is the latest is a series of incidents in which e-cigarettes have caused extensive burns after exploding in people’s pockets and it is clear that an urgent investigation is needed to determine if more should be done to protect the users. We are now investigating exactly what caused his device to explode as we seek to help him overcome what happened”.

Family to Make Claim after Hoverboard Fire

A family have sought legal counsel after a hoverboard purchased at Costco caused a property fire.

The accident occurred in January 2015 when Vinh Hung Chiem and Thu Tram from Wyke, near Bradford, purchased their two children hoverboards from Costco as Christmas gifts. However, when the appliances had been plugged into an electrical socket such that the battery could be charged, the hoverboard caught fire and set light to the family’s home.

A friend of the family, Jibril Fairs – aged eleven – saw the fire and alerted the adults. The and Hung’s children managed to leave the property with only minor burns, after which they were taken to hospital by Thu (who was also in the house when the fire started).

Though the fire did not cause many physical injuries, it did destroy the family’s home. Thu also claims that the children suffer nightmares, telling the BBC that  “The kids could have been killed. They all believed they were going to die in the fire. Everything was ruined in the fire… it’s turned our lives upside down”.

An investigation into the accident was carried out by the West Yorkshire Fire Service, which confirmed that the fire had been started by the hoverboard. A spokesperson for the service added that it was probably the lithium batteries used in the hoverboards that caused it to overheat and ignite.

The family has since sought legal advice to investigate whether or not they can make a claim against Costco for product liability. Thu said: “We thought we bought a reliable product from a trusted retailer and we want to know how something with so much potential to cause this type of devastation was sold to us.”

The family’s solicitor commented that the family should be able to make a claim under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. “This is a terrible tragedy and we are looking into this matter but we have no comment at this time.”

Judge Divides Liability for Taxi Injury

A judge in London’s High Court has split the liability for a taxi accident that came about because the taxi driver believed that his passenger was trying to avoid paying the fare.

The accident occurred in November 2010 when Kristopher Hicks was travelling home from an evening out with his girlfriend, Abigail Noad. The couple took a taxi, driven by Michael Young, together from the Abbey Taxi Rank in Bath.

Upon their arrival in Queen’s Drive, where they live, Abigail alighted from the care. However, before Kristopher could also get out, Young began to drive away. Later, he explained that this was because he believed that the couple were going to “do a runner” and avoid paying his fare.

Young had driven for less than a mile before Kristopher jumped from the vehicle as it was moving. However, as a consequence of his collision with the road, he sustained severe injuries to his head and is now reliant on full-time care. Kristopher will never be able to be independent again.

Due to the nature of his disabilities, Kristopher was unable to represent himself in legal proceedings. As such, his mother – Jill Hicks, who also acts as Kristopher’s full-time carer – made a claim for compensation on his behalf against Young. In the claim, she alleged that Kristopher jumped from the taxi as he thought that he was being abducted by Young, considering that he was a strange man and it was late in the evening.

However, these allegations were disputed by Young, who said that Kristopher alone was to blame for his injuries as he had made the decision to jump from the taxi as it was moving. A police investigation into the taxi driver determined that he had a “militant approach” to those avoiding fares, and even had an illegal CS gas canister to deal with such cases.

The case proceeded to London’s High Court such that Mr Justice Edis could determine liability. The judge agreed that Kristopher was “substantially to blame for his own misfortune”, though also commented that there was little doubt that Young had acted illegally by detaining his passenger. Judge Edis then ruled that there should be a fifty-fifty split in liability, and proceeded to adjourn the case such that an assessment of damages could be conducted.

Pet-Owner Compensated for Dog Bite Injuries

A woman has been compensated £15,000 for injuries she sustained after a vicious dog attacked her and her two small dogs whilst they were walking in a public area.

When Rebecca Lambert, aged forty-one of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, was out walking her two small dogs near her house she was approached by a bull terrier that was off its lead. The dog’s owner called out to Ms Lambert that his pet was potentially dangerous, but this did not grant Ms Lambert ample time to lift up her own dogs – a pug-beagle hybrid (“puggle”) and a West Highland white terrier – to safety.

The bull terrier proceeded to bite the young puggle pup, and Ms Lambert struggled to free her dog. Whilst she was trying to protect her own pets, she sustained several bites and scratches to her own arms, thighs and face, including some puncture wounds.

After fifteen minutes, the bull terrier’s owner managed to break up the attack by breaking a stick of his own dog’s back. This allowed Ms Lambert to free her dogs, but the bull terrier’s owner then fled the scene.

The police and ambulance services were called to the scene, and a passerby managed to revive the puggle pup. It was then taken to a veterinary practice for immediate emergency surgery, which it survived. The police tracked down the bull terrier and its owner, and the owner was charged under the Animals Act 1971. The dog was then put down.

Ms Lambert sought legal counsel and then made a compensation claim against the bull terrier’s owner. She claimed that he knew that his dog could have been dangerous, but still made no efforts to restrain it or prevent it from attacking others. The man admitted liability for the injuries sustained by Ms Lambert, and negotiations procured a settlement that accounted for Ms Lambert’s injuries, psychological trauma and veterinary bills.

Each year, over 6,000 are injured by dogs, though few know that they can make a compensation claim. This even applies if the injury occurs in the dog owner’s home.