The law firm that has made a name for itself as the champion of vulnerable road users, is opening a new specialist service for pedestrians with the support of safety charities.
Road Traffic Accident Law Scotland LLP which operates under the banners of Motorcycle Law Scotland and Cycle Law Scotland is now launching Pedestrian Law Scotland (PLS) to deal with the growing number of cases where pedestrians are killed or seriously injured (KSIs) by motorised vehicles.
It is a fact that Scottish cities already have some of the highest incidents of pedestrian KSIs from road traffic collisions in the UK*, with walking statistically more dangerous than driving a car. And far from minor injuries, the cases coming forward to the new firm involve cars mounting pavements, ignoring pedestrian crossings or travelling too quickly when turning off a main road onto a side road.
Gary Rae, Director of Communications and Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said:
“We welcome this new service from Pedestrian Law Scotland. They recognise, as do we, that people on foot are an especially vulnerable group and we all need to do more to protect and help them – and that starts with drivers looking out for pedestrians and cyclists.”
While Stuart Hay, Director of Living Streets, Scotland added:
“A high number of road traffic incidents involve pedestrians of which many could be avoided. Any initiative that will help to highlight the need for better pedestrian protection in Scotland has to be a good thing.”
Brenda Mitchell, who set up RTALS with Syd Smith of Thompsons, has taken on rising star Jodi Gordon, to take PLS forward. Together they believe that by forming a distinct legal practice for pedestrians, they can create a strong voice to help influence policy – as has been achieved with Cycle Law Scotland - particularly in the inner cities, for lower speed limits and no car zones at the weekend.
RTALS currently supports 20 employees across the three brands.
Brenda, who has more than 28 years’ experience as a Personal Injury Solicitor, said:
“The launch of PLS is a natural extension of our work protecting vulnerable road users. There is an overwhelming perception that the roads ‘belong’ to car drivers, but we all have to share the roads. Children can be unpredictable, the elderly less agile, and the average pedestrian is not protected by a metal box, so there is a dangerous disparity when it comes to any collision, which needs to be addressed. The injuries can also be catastrophic, both psychologically and physically.
“Setting up a specialist legal service provides us with a clear platform to highlight the issues of the vulnerable road users, to help drive better education - and it carries weight when organising support services for our clients.”
Jodi, a law graduate of Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities, specialised in personal injury cases as a trainee and newly qualified solicitor. Working with RTALS for the past 3 years, she has earned the respect of her colleagues for her powers of negotiation with insurers and for the way in which she has supported her clients overcome what can be a life-changing event.
Commenting on Jodi’s appointment, Brenda added:
“The legal profession has to learn to think differently and encourage new ideas, which is exactly why I am delighted that Jodi has taken on the lead role with PLS. She has the skills, expertise and the right mind-set to help evolve and develop a new kind of law practice.”