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#PurpleDay - Raising Awareness for Epilepsy

February 6, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Epilepsy is a term I have heard in the past and one that I am hearing more often, most recently after a friend lost a loved one following an epileptic seizure.

My serious injury colleagues at Spencers also come across this condition when representing clients who have suffered life changing head injuries and because of what I have learned about epilepsy, this year on 26 March I will be wearing purple along with people all around the world to raise awareness and help Epilepsy Action “bring epilepsy out of the shadows”.

Purple Day - Supporting Epilepsy Around The World

What is epilepsy?

•  Everyday 87 people in the UK are diagnosed with epilepsy and there are more than 500,000 affected by the condition, that equates to one person out of 100

•  Epilepsy is a neurological condition caused by malfunctioning nerve cell activity in the brain, these malfunctions cause episodes known as seizures

•  The severity of a seizure can vary from person to person and symptoms can range from staring blankly for seconds or minutes, to a loss of consciousness or even uncontrollable shaking

•  It can start at any age but is usually diagnosed in people under 20 or over 65, this is thought to be due to some causes of epilepsy being more common in these age groups

•  One in 20 people will have a seizure in their life but this does not mean they have epilepsy

•  One in 50 people will have epilepsy at some time but not everyone with epilepsy will have it for life.

•  Epilepsy is most commonly treated with medication called anti-epileptic drugs (AED's) which aim to stop seizures happening.

Types of epilepsy

There are thought to be around 40 different types of seizure and a person may have more than one type. Seizures are commonly divided into two groups and each group is then sub categorised. There is so much information about the types of epilepsy and I want to share this in more detail in the run up to #PurpleDay so look out for further information in future blogs.

Causes of epilepsy

Different epilepsies can have different underlying causes which may be complex or difficult to identify. A person may start having seizures because of one or more of the following:

•  A genetic tendency, passed down from one or both parents (inherited)

•  A genetic tendency that is not inherited, but is a new change in the person's genes

•  A structural or symptomatic change in the brain, such as the brain not developing properly, or damage caused by a brain injury, infections like meningitis, a stroke or tumour

•  A structural change due to genetic conditions such as tuberous sclerosis (a condition that causes growths in organs including the brain which can cause epilepsy) or neurofibromatosis (a condition that causes benign tumours to grow on the covering of nerves which can cause epilepsy)

Epileptic seizure triggers

Triggers are situations that can bring on a seizure in some people with epilepsy. As with severity, triggers can vary from person to person but common triggers include tiredness and lack of sleep, stress, alcohol and not taking medication. Flashing lights may cause a seizure if a person has photosensitive epilepsy, this is thought to be less than 5% of people with epilepsy.

Seizure First Aid -  Image reproduced with permission from The Epilepsy Network (TEN)

Epilepsy Action

Epilepsy Action is a charity that improves the lives of everyone affected by epilepsy. They give advice, improve healthcare, fund research and campaign for change. You can find further information regarding epilepsy and the charity by visiting their website www.epilepsy.org.uk or calling 0808 800 5050.

On Purple Day (March 26) Epilepsy Action will be sharing stories from people with epilepsy about their feelings, seizures and how the condition affects their daily lives in the hope that people will understand more about epilepsy and the impact it has on people’s lives.

If you want to help the valuable work of Epilepsy Action there are a number of ways to donate. You can:

•  Call 0113 210 8857

•  Text “ACT NOW” to 70700 to donate £5*

•  Buy a wristband from the Epilepsy Action shop

•  Leave a gift in your will, my colleague Samantha Ibrahim is an expert in Wills and Probate and can offer you advice on this. Samantha can be contacted on 01246 266637

Your donation would improve the lives of people affected by epilepsy when they need it most but, consider helping raising awareness as well. I will be encouraging my friends, family and colleagues to wear purple on 26 March and you can do the same. You can also share this article on social media to spread awareness far and wide.

*Texts cost £5 plus your standard network rate. Epilepsy Action will receive 100 percent of the donation. UK only.

About the Author

Samantha Handley Photo

Samantha Handley is a Litigator within our Loss Recovery Team.

Samantha deals predominantly with corporate fleet clients and in addition to handling her own caseload, Samantha enjoys supporting and training new members of the team.

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Back to Basics: What to do if you are involved in a Road Traffic Accident

December 20, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Sadly you can be involved in an accident at any time during your driving life whether you are 17, 70 or anywhere in between. One thing I hear very often from my clients at the start of a claim is “I didn't know what details to get; I've never had an accident before”.

So, here’s a guide to help drivers after an accident on the road:

1.   Stop - It sounds simple but even if you are involved in a minor collision you should stop to assess if there is any damage to your vehicle, another vehicle or any property.

Failing to stop at the scene of an accident is an offence under Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988

Police Car

2.   Call Emergency services - Assess whether assistance is needed and call 999 if necessary. If the accident causes any injury or damage it must be reported to a Police station within 24 hours. You should note down the log or reference number, the officer's name and PC number and the station details.

Failing to report an accident is also an offence under Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988

3.   Exchange details - After an accident involving another vehicle or property you must provide your details to any party involved.

Failing to provide driver information is an offence under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988

If the accident involved another vehicle you should obtain the following details:

  •   Driver's name, address and telephone number

  •  The company name or registered keeper name, address and telephone number (if the driver is not the vehicle owner)

  •  Vehicle registration

  •  Insurance provider

  •  Policy number

Try not to admit fault or apologise until all the facts are established as this may affect your insurance and later decisions on liability.

4.   Note accident details - Life carries on after an accident and it’s easy to forget the little details. It's a good idea to keep a written account of what happened to be able to confirm and recall at a later date. These details should include the accident time, location and description. A sketch of the scene and vehicle positions might also help.

You might not realise that you are injured at the time of the accident if you are in shock but if an injury becomes apparent for you or a passenger, consider seeing your GP or dialling 111 and keep a records of any treatment and medication received.

5.   Photos - It is all too easy to jot down the other vehicles registration in a hurry but then not know whether that 'C' was meant to be a 'G' or if that quickly scrawled 'U' was actually an 'V'. If you take a picture of the registration with your phone you'll be sure to give your insurers the correct information which saves time when making a claim.

It’s also worth getting photos of the damage caused to all vehicles involved and of the accident location and road markings.

Car Accident Damage

6.   Foreign vehicles - If you are involved in an accident with a vehicle from a foreign country exchanging details may be difficult due to language barriers. You should try to obtain the Green Card details from the driver which will confirm the vehicle insurance details. If the vehicle is a heavy goods lorry the registrations for the cab and trailer will be different so make sure you note and take pictures of both including the country of origin. It would also be useful to take a photo of the signwriting on the vehicle as this may identify the owner.

7.   Witnesses - Even if the accident circumstances seem straight forward or if the other driver apologises to you after the accident, if anyone witnessed the accident ask them if they would provide a statement. If they are willing to do so ask them for their full name, address and telephone number.

8.   Report the accident - If you were driving a company vehicle when the accident occurred you should follow your company’s own procedures but also report the accident to your own insurers as soon as possible even if you do not intend to pursue a claim against the other driver. Failing to report an accident to your insurers could invalidate your policy.

The above steps outline what you should do immediately following an incident but I would suggest that there is one further and ongoing step you should bear in mind.

9.   Keep letters and documents safe - If you are pursuing a claim for damages following an accident you may receive letters from a number of people assisting you including (but not limited to) your insurers, your solicitors, medical agencies or the Police, or from people looking to claim losses from you.

Until the claim is resolved keep copies of all correspondence received as well as the documents that support the losses you have incurred. If you cannot provide proof of a loss then you may be unable to recover it.

Finally, please see the downloadable PDF below which you could print and keep in your vehicle in case you are ever unfortunate enough to be involved in a Road Traffic Accident.


If you have any comments on this guide or there are other details you think should be included within it please comment and don't forget to share the guide with your friends and family on Social Media! Should you require any advice following an accident, please contact Spencers on 08000 93 00 94.

About the Author

Samantha Handley Photo

Samantha Handley is a Litigator within our Loss Recovery Team.

Samantha deals predominantly with corporate fleet clients and in addition to handling her own caseload, Samantha enjoys supporting and training new members of the team.

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