FAQs after an accident at work

February 22, 2017By BPS Family LawBlog

Sefton Kwasnik, Partner, Serious Injury/Medical Profession, Defence and Inquests, delivers a guide on FAQs regarding workplace accidents.

Have you had an accident whilst at work? If you have, it’s important to know what your legal rights are regarding compensation and retaining your employment.

Here’s a helpful guide about what you need to know if you’ve been in a work-related accident.

What to do if you’ve been in an accident at work

You should immediately:

  • Make sure you seek medical advice from your GP or hospital at the earliest opportunity, explain to them exactly how you were injured and ensure that the required amount of medical care needed is provided e.g. a trip to the hospital.
  • Try to make sure that the accident has been properly recorded, both by the employer and by you. Make sure the ‘accident book’ or your work’s equivalent recording source is filled in – this should be held by all employers, and will be proof of your accident.
  • For your own purposes, make a note of any witnesses in the area and any equipment or machinery being used at the time.
  • If you are absent from the workplace, ring in and confirm the position by letter or email at the earliest opportunity.

Can you claim for loss of earnings?

All businesses are required to have employee liability insurance in case of an accident, meaning any claim will go through the company’s insurance policy. If a mistake by your employer has happened and you have been injured as a result, you are entitled to receive compensation.

How long do I have to make a claim?

There is a standard limit within the UK of three years when making a work-place accident claim.  If after three years you decide you want to take action, your case may be considered time-barred and you won’t be able to carry through with your claim.

If the accident has happened to a young person (18 or under), you have until the day before their 21st birthday to make a claim.

We would advise making the claim as soon as you are aware that your workplace is the reason behind your accident, as it’s easier to prove the link between the accident and the injury.

At BPS Family Law, we work closely with people who have been in workplace accidents. We offer practical advice along with a compassionate approach. Our aim is to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.

If you’re looking for a lawyer to help you with any of the issues mentioned above, then you can get in touch with Sefton at sefton.kwasnik@bpslaw.co.uk or by telephone on 0161 834 2623 or 078 3663 0889.

How to protect your financial assets is you are going through a divorce

February 22, 2017By BPS Family LawBlog

Caroline Swain, Partner, Matrimonial and Family Law provides a guide on how to protect your assets if you are facing a divorce.

If you are getting a divorce or ending a civil partnership, particularly an acrimonious one, you will need to act fast to ensure your assets are protected. Here’s a helpful guide to ensure you know how to protect your assets when you’re going through a divorce.


If your home is owned in your spouse’s sole name, you can register your interest in the home to make sure it can’t be remortgaged or sold without your knowledge.

If your spouse owns property which is not the family home, you may be able to register a ‘restriction’ at the Land Registry. This is particularly useful if you’re going through a hostile divorce, in which you think your partner may try to sell the property or secure debt against it.

If the property is held in joint names with your spouse as “joint tenants”, you may want to change the way it’s owned. By changing how it is owned you can prevent ownership transferring to your spouse in full should you die before the divorce, or before the dissolution has been finalised.


If you feel like your marriage may be breaking down, make sure you do not transfer assets out of the business, as this will be seen as a strategic move and be detrimental to you. In family court, you’re required by law to make full financial disclosure prior to your divorce settlement. If you’re caught out trying to transfer assets, it could be considered as an attempt to avoid your spouse’s financial claims. The Family Court will not look kindly on this, and you could be held accountable of litigation misconduct. By going through the divorce process legally and fairly, you are in with a much greater chance of achieving a fair and sensible settlement.


Do your homework –  Find out exactly what type of pension(s) you have, and what the laws pertaining to these are. You should make enquiries as to the CETV for each of your pensions at an early stage as it can take many weeks for pension providers to provide this information. It might be useful to get some professional help from a pension advisor if you have one.

What to do if a spouse tries to hide assets

Courts have great powers available to ensure that there is full financial disclosure in every case. If one or both of the parties to a divorce are found to be hiding assets, they can penalised by being ordered to pay the other side’s legal costs.

If it comes to light that all assets were not disclosed, the case can be reopened and a different order can be made. Equally, courts have the power to get assets back after they have been transferred, should the need arise.

If you’d like to find out more about how to protect your assets during a divorce and the options available to you then you can get in touch with Caroline at caroline.swain@bpsfamilylaw.co.uk or by telephone on 0161 926 1430.

Co-Habitation and its Pitfalls

February 10, 2017By BPS Family LawBlog

Living together with your partner is often seen as an alternative to marriage or as a temporary arrangement.

Many couples believe that moving in with your partner creates a common law marriage, giving you the same rights as if you were married- It does not.

It is crucial to understand your legal rights and responsibilities. You may see this as being committed to each other as a married couple however the law doesn’t view it in that way.

Under martial law the courts have to take all the circumstances and history of the relationship into account and decide on a fair division. Cohabiting couples do not have an automatic right to benefit from each other’s retirement plans, or to inherit from each others property regardless of the number of years they have been together. If you both decide to have a child together there are no automatic parental rights. The property that you buy together isn’t automatically divided equally if you decide the relationship isn’t for you.

Perhaps it’s easier to walk away from an unmarried partnership however you don’t have the protections that are built into the divorce process. By the time people realise this, it is often too late- the relationship has broken down or a partner has passed and it is only then they realise they do not have any legal protection.

When cohabiting relationships break down there is very little protection. As a result, some cohabiting families can find themselves facing real difficulties should they split up, particularly when children are involved.

If you’d like to find out more information about the legal issues for cohabiting couples and the options available to you then you can get in touch with Caroline at caroline.swain@bpsfamilylaw.co.uk or by telephone 0161 926 1430.

A guide to handling an inquest after the death of a loved one

February 9, 2017By BPS Family LawBlog

Sefton Kwasnik, Partner, Serious Injury/ Medical Profession, Defence and Inquests, delivers a guide on dealing with an inquest after the death of a loved one.

Death is a difficult situation to deal with and come to terms with, particularly when it’s the death of a very close friend or relative. The loss can affect your emotional and physical well-being, and the occurrence of an inquest could lead to an added feeling of grief, uncertainty, fear or a delayed feeling of grief.

An inquest is opened in roughly 10% of deaths when a coroner has reason to believe that a death has not happened from natural causes.

With this guide we hope to help you through this process.

If you’re reading this because you’re currently dealing with this, then we’re truly sorry to hear of your loss.

What exactly is an inquest?

An inquest is held to find the answers to four main questions:

  • Who the deceased was
  • When and where they died
  • The medical cause of their death
  • How they came by their death

The inquest is not there to place blame on anyone, it is solely used to find out how a person died. The coroner cannot legally deal with any other matter.

What happens at an inquest?

The family of the deceased will need to give a statement to a police coroner officer – the officer will speak to someone who is able to give the necessary information and who feels able to cope with the questions.

Along with the family statement, there may be reports from doctors, police officers or eye witnesses, depending on the nature of the death.

Once these reports are compiled, there will be a hearing. Inquests are held in an open court, so any friends and family that wish to attend can do so – bring as much support as you need.

Also, note that because it’s an open court, you may find journalists and press at the hearing. They may try and ask you questions as you walk to and from the court, however you don’t have to answer them if you don’t want to.

The hearing

The coroner will begin by explaining what an inquest is and what issues they’ll be covering. Witnesses will then be brought forward and go through their statement, normally starting with family members.

Once all the witnesses have given their sworn statements, the coroner will give their conclusion. Depending on the nature and seriousness of the death, there may be a jury who will have the concluding decision.

Inquest hearings last anything from 30 minutes to several days, depending on what issues need to be explored – most inquests last about half a day.

Will I find out if someone is responsible for my loved one’s death?

An inquest is not the same as a trial. You will not find out about guilt, blame or compensation – it’s solely focused on finding out the cause of the death. Any other issues will be dealt with separately in civil or criminal court. There will be no sentencing or penalties given to anyone by the coroner.

How do I prepare for the inquest?

Be ready to find out information that you might not want to hear

Get ready to hear some potentially unpleasant things. An inquest may discover findings that could shock or upset you, so be prepared and make sure you have a good support system around you to help you deal with this. You are entitled to receive advanced notice of the evidence that will be presented, so you should ask for it as soon as possible to enable you to prepare.

Be prepared to feel like your feelings aren’t being taken into consideration

Because an inquest is a fact-finding process, the coroner will be to find out all the information they need to close the case and ascertain the cause of death. You are entitled to ask questions of all the witnesses who attend, and object to statements being read. A coroner’s court can be quite daunting and families may well benefit from taking early professional advice upon all aspects of the matter.

Here at BPS Family Law we work closely with families at inquests. We offer practical advice along with a compassionate approach. We’re not about cashing in on people’s upset, we’re about achieving the best possible outcome for families.

If you’re looking for a lawyer to help you with any of the issues mentioned above, then you can get in touch with Sefton at sefton.kwasnik@bpslaw.co.uk or by telephone on 0161 834 2623 or 078 3663 0889.