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A Near Miss From an Accident in a Public Place

I cycle through Soho on my way to work. As I do so I have to pass down a pedestrianised alleyway which leads into Brewer Street. At the moment, there is some work being done to one of the buildings, scaffolding is in the course of being erected. This morning I took the view that I would wheel my bicycle under the scaffolding and as I was approaching the end (there was no restriction on my taking this course of action) one of the large scaffolding fixing bolts that hold 2 pipes of scaffolding together either fell or was thrown to the ground.This was a near miss. I was approximately 3 to 4 feet and under the scaffolding when the lump of metal fell to the ground. Had I been of course walking along side the scaffolding there was a fair chance it might have hit me.Had this large lump of metal which probably weighs as much if not more than a big bag of sugar, hit me on the head and caused me to have an accident in a public place it was likely to have caused me some concern and I anticipated a hospital visit would have been required or perhaps even worse…who knows. The point of this blog is not to comment on this particular incident or indeed reiterate what I have said in countless blogs previously, that the risks that face us are there constantly, whether we are walking through the City or indeed driving down a country lane. Although we will try and take as much caution as we possibly can and we should of course look where we are going and be aware of any risks as a driver, cyclist or indeed even as a pedestrian, sometimes those risks are entirely out of our hands.An article was drawn to my attention today which featured in the London edition of The Metro free newspaper. The article referred to a footballer who was knocked unconscious in the North East, around the Middlesborough area. He was playing football when he was struck on the head by a piece of medical equipment which had fallen out of a passing helicopter.The chances of this happening are of course nothing short than a million to one. This footballer was knocked unconscious. There was no indication whether he suffered any head injury save for being knocked unconscious which does unfortunately give rise to a risk of post traumatic epilepsy developing  (the greater the period of unconsciousness that greater the risk) and the footballer will certainly be entitled to bring a claim for the injuries he sustained, supported of course by appropriate medical evidence as one would certainly not expect a piece of equipment to fall from a helicopter which was passing overhead. As it is, it would appear that the equipment escaped from the helicopter as a result of a rear door opening. This is the suggestion and is merely a suggestion and has no doubt been fully investigated by the Air Ambulance Service who ran this helicopter and I have no doubt in addition, by the Air Accidents Investigates Branch who must be informed of any accidents involving air craft which includes a helicopter (properly known as a rotorcraft or rotary wing aircraft). There is no question that some party was at fault at some stage leading to the innocent victim, the footballer being struck on the head.This illustrates once again the duty that we owe each other. We have duty which simply put is for us to act responsibly and reasonably to each other and not to do anything or indeed fail to do anything which might give rise to an accident occurring.Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, or email enquiries@rjw.co.uk and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.

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