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Spencers Solicitors participate in APIL’s Injury Prevention Day

August 18, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Each year, APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) mark the third Wednesday in August as Injury Prevention Day.

Injury Prevention Day is designed to raise safety awareness for all members of the public and consider what can be done to minimise the risk of needless injury. APIL kicked the day off by providing a number of helpful steps to keep in mind when planning a trip to the countryside.

Naturally, Spencers’ employees were keen to participate and to help support the event, the firm’s most accident-prone double act; Colin Walton and Andrea Ribchester-Hodgson took matters into their own hands.

The pair were found Wednesday morning fulfilling their daily responsibilities both sporting some rather outlandish outfits to stress the importance of office safety. Both Colin and Andrea donned bubble wrap body suits and fluorescent waistcoats to ensure that resident colleagues were aware of their location at all times and to prevent a visit to the accident report book.

For more pictures of the day, please visit our Pinterest board.

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Keeping our postmen and women safe in line with new microchip regulations

August 10, 2016 at 9:00 AM

From 2016, every dog owner must micro chip their dogs under plans to cut a rise in strays. If dog owners fail to have their dogs chipped then this could lead to facing fines of up to £500. The RSPCA welcomed the proposal but said micro chipping alone would not necessarily make owners more responsible or ensure that fewer dogs bite people.

Currently some animal charities do offer a free micro chipping service to dog owners or the procedure can cost between £20-£30 at a private veterinary clinic.

In the last four years there has been a 26% rise in the number of dog bites requiring hospitalisation.

With the number of dog bite claims on the rise it is no surprise that the law has had to extend the legal boundaries in this area. New legislation has no come into force under amendments made to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 meaning that dog owners can now be prosecuted for attacks that take place on private property as well as in public places.

The change comes after more than 3,300 attacks on postmen and women were recorded in the last year. This figure represents an eight percent increase which most would agree is unreasonably high. The chairman of the Royal Mail Donald Brydon said ‘we know that most dogs are not inherently dangerous, however, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels its territory is being threatened.’

Royal Mail Lorry

The new measures are thought to encourage the responsible ownership of dogs and therefore result in reducing the chances of bad behaviour escalating into biting and fatal attacks. The new amendments mean that owners whose animals maul people or intimidate people even on private property such as their own garden or house can now face criminal prosecution for the first time. Previously in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 there was a loophole where there was legal redress for people who were attacked on private property.

Dog owners should be aware that the new legislation means tougher penalties can now be imposed:

•  You can be fined up to £20,000 or sent to prison for up to six months (or both) if your dog is dangerously out of control.

•  You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.

•  If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to five years or fined (or both).

It is important to remember that a dog does not have to bite to be deemed as dangerous in the eyes of the law. If a dog does bite a person, it will be presumed to have been ‘dangerously out of control’ however even in circumstances where the dog does not bite but gives a person grounds to feel that the dog may cause them some injury, then the law still applies.

External Letterbox

To avoid prosecution the Royal Mail have created the following tips to help dog owners when the postmen and women enter the premises:

1.   Ensure your dog is out the way before the postman or woman arrives. Place your pet either in the garden or in a faraway room.

2.   Give your dog some food or a toy to occupy him while your mail is being delivered.

3.   Wait ten minutes after your mail has arrived to let you pet back into the hallway and keep everything as calm and low key as possible.

4.   Invest in a wire letter receptacle or an external letterbox.

If you have any further concerns then you may speak to the local delivery office about alternate delivery points, including putting up an external letterbox.

In addition to the above it is also now an offence for your dog to attack an assistant dog such a guide dog or hearing dog. Police or an appointed local authority now have powers to seize a dangerously out of control dog in a private place as well as a public area.

There are a number of animal organisations and politicians working closely with the Royal Mail and CWU to raise awareness of this important issue and encourage responsible dog ownership.

We at Spencers Solicitors hope that with greater public awareness and stricter legal protections we see a significant reduction in the number of incidents in the future. We hope that our postmen and women that work in the community on a daily basis are no longer at such great risk of these kind of attacks.

About the author

Arandeep Lally Photo Arandeep Lally is a Solicitor within Spencers Solicitors' mixed liability team. Arandeep manages an extensive case load ranging from public liability to criminal injury claims.

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Pokémania – How to (responsibly) catch ‘em all

August 3, 2016 at 10:15 AM

As an avid player of the Pokémon series, I fondly remember Christmas morning of 1999, receiving my very own Game Boy Colour and a copy of Pokémon Red.

The original game allowed me to experience many adventures during my childhood as I was able to trade my pocket monsters with friends as well as battle with them to see who was the very best (coincidentally, this was always me).

Fast-forward 17 years later to the completion of my 7th Pokémon game – Alpha Sapphire for those interested – from the illustrious series.

On the countdown to the 20th Anniversary of the series, fans have been treated to a whole new kind of Pokémon game. This of course, being the ‘social media phenomenon’ which has taken over the globe, Pokémon GO.

Pikachu amiibo

The latest addition to the renowned series is a free-to-play, augmented reality (AR) game available across Android and iOS devices. The objective of the game is simple; players walk around their surroundings on the search for the recently discovered batch of Pokémon found to be wandering Planet Earth.

“Gotta break ‘em all!”

As a registered Pokémon Trainer on the app since 14th July 2016, I was initially doubtful whether the app would catch on with mobile users as this isn’t your ‘typical’ Pokémon game – How wrong I was.

With an estimated total of 75 million downloads across all available app stores since release, Pokémon GO has shattered records and statistics in a very short period of time.

•  The app was downloaded more times in it’s first week of release than any other app in history on the Apple App Store

•  The app was downloaded 50 million times over a 19 day period (Popular apps like Fortafy Games’ Colour Switch reached 50 million over a 77 day period)

With these impressive statistics, perhaps the greatest of them all is that the app was only released on the 6th July 2016 – a mere 20 days of this writing.

Essential tips that every Pokémon Trainer needs to know

As a regular player of Pokémon GO, I have been able to spend a handful of lunch breaks and weekends wandering around local areas visiting Pokéstops, Gyms and expanding my ever-growing collection of pocket monsters.

Pokemon Trainer

Using my experiences with Pokémon GO and other titles, I’ve created a short Trainer Handbook to help all fellow trainers make the most out of their adventures and most importantly, stay safe.

•  Stay in your elements

Rule #1 is simple. Always stick to areas you are familiar with.

Pokéstops and Pokémon Gyms will usually be landmarks and other various points of interests. Pokémon themselves however, will appear in any random location.

When looking for pocket monsters, it is advised that you stick to areas you are familiar with.

If you wouldn’t go there without Pokémon GO – Why would you go with it?

•  Be aware of your surroundings

Rule #2 is to ensure the safety and wellbeing for all Trainers.

When using the app, you do not need to always look at your device. There are many options available in the app to setup notifications via sound or vibration when Pokémon appear so that you can enjoy your journeys without needing to look at your device constantly.

You may also want to invest in the Pokémon GO Plus wearable which alerts Trainers when Pokémon are nearby.

•  Explore with Others

Rule #3 in the Trainer’s Handbook is to bring others on your adventures.

Not only will you have a lot more fun and adventures when searching for pocket monsters with your friends, you’ll also be a lot safer when travelling in numbers.

•  Have Supplies Available

Rule #4 is to ensure that all trainers are supplied for adventure.

In the Pokémon games, trainers would always travel with a bag full of different items in the event of an emergency (i.e. injured Pokémon).

If travelling long distances with Pokémon GO, players should look to carry supplies such as water and snacks. Players should also take regular breaks if walking long distances.

•  Keep Valuables Secure & In Sight

Rule #5 is to remind Trainers to keep an eye on their belongings.

When you go to Pokéstops or Gyms, trainers will normally spend an extended period of time there so they can stock on items before their next journey.

If you decide to place any of your backpacks or items down around a group of people, be aware of their location at all times.

Hopefully, by using the Trainer Handbook, all players can contribute towards a safe and fun environment when playing Pokémon GO.

 

All in all, Pokémon GO is without question a trailblazer for AR and I’m eager to see what the future holds for augmented reality.

Please leave your top trainer tips and Pokémon catches in the comments.

About the Author

Ryan Jackson Photo Ryan Jackson is a Software Developer / Pokémon Trainer within Spencers Solicitors’ in-house IT department and is responsible for the creation of new legal applications and processes.

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