Here we go again with that old compensation culture argument

Industry news roundup: week ended 16 March 2015:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, that old chestnut of ‘compensation culture’ bankrupting insurers has gotten trotted out once more.

If there’s one thing that drives me absolutely barmy it’s listening to insurance providers whinge on and on about how they’re being victimised by everyone. Every once and a while when they don’t feel they’ve gotten enough attention as of late they’ll begin crying about how ‘compensation culture’ is ruining their injury, pointing to increased personal injury claims and greedy, ambulance chasing personal injury lawyers just draining their coffers dry.

The refrain began again this week, with big-time insurer Aviva saying that even though the number of road accidents has gone down by 30 per cent, personal injury claims are up by 62 per cent. Not only that but the insurer said that a full 96 per cent of road traffic accident claims were brought not directly by injured parties but by personal injury lawyers or claims management companies.

Now I need to interrupt right here. Do these insurers really believe they’re fooling anyone with the idea that people legitimately injured in car accidents should be representing themselves? What man or woman in their wildest flights of fancy would be able to sustain a personal injury case against a deep-pocketed insurer like Aviva, especially if the case involves the kinds of injuries that can leave you without the ability to work for weeks or even months?

In a case like that, there’s only one type of person you should be turning to if you’re injured, and it’s a personal injury solicitor. They’re not bloody ambulance chasers simply because they represent people who can’t represent themselevs; yes, they rely on no win no fee agreements to get paid, but that’s because the majority of their claimants don’t have any damned money because they’ve been unable to work for months and they’re just barely squeaking by on savings – or on the largesse of their family members.

Yes, I suppose that insurance fraud is a problem. I’m sure it always will be. But insurers like Aviva, who want to make it harder for the injured to bring lawsuits against them with the aid of a lawyer, are only protecting their own interests at the detriment of others.

Man punches teen, slapped with accident claim case

Industry news roundup: week ended 29 Dec 2014:

A man who punched a teen so hard that stitches were needed has been slapped with a personal injury claim and ordered to pay £400 in compensation.

Looks like there was a little bit of a dust-up outside a pub in Hinckley – the result was 25 year old David Varley throwing a few punches. The (possibly inebriated) gent took out his rage on a 19 year old, cutting the young man so hard that he had two cuts that needed stitches. Well, the 19 year old has the last laugh, as Varley was just ordered to pay £400 in personal injury compensation. On top of that, the bloke’s got to do 120 hours of unpaid work and is now under 12 months of supervision after his six month jail sentence was suspended for 18 months.

Apparently the incident occurred back in March of 2013, but Varley wasn’t actually nicked for the crime until May of 2014. Apparently he had been out of the country for some time; a tip to police saw the man collared at East Midlands Airport after his return flight.

So this just goes to show you: don’t drink and fight. Better yet, don’t drink, fight, then run away for over a year because you’re hiding from the police and you’re probably embarrassed about the whole thing – likely because you’re a big baby that knows he ended up doing the wrong thing. Honestly this Varley bloke is damned lucky he didn’t end up getting worse off. If a particularly bloodthirsty personal injury lawyer had gotten wind of this case, you can only imagine how much Varley could have been in the hole for. As it is, £400 and 120 hours of unpaid work is getting off damned easy.

Listen, I know that I’ve been in situations where I might have said or done things I regret – but throwing punches? Never been that angry. Or maybe that pissed. Still, a little self control goes a long way, for what it’s worth. And for pity’s sake, act your age – and don’t pick on teenagers, even if they’re saying or doing something bloody stupid!

Brits meet their match when it comes to accident claim fraud

Industry news roundup: week ended 19 May 2014

Whilst Brits certainly can do their worst when it comes to accident claims fraud, they simply have nothing on the rest of the world – especially Americans!

In fact, certainly seems to me, based on the news reports I’ve seen this week, British fraudsters have simply given up trying very hard. You’ve probably heard of how one 26 year old from Omagh got creative in her local Asda, thinking she had the perfect set-up for a slip and trip personal injury claim by purposefully spilling some oil on the floor and then tripping herself only to be caught on CCTV cameras, haven’t you? Truly this is about as bush-league fraud as you can possibly get.

Meanwhile, just this week a truly amazing event occurred. A personal injury compensation claim was made in New York by a 62 year old man who claims he was bitten by a dog on a city bus, suffering enough trauma to sever his middle finger. While that’s not truly all that remarkable in and of itself, the amount of compensation he’s asking for most certainly is – he is looking for $2 decillion in damages.

Now that’s not a figure I just made up – it’s real. I even looked it up in the dictionary. It’s the number 2 followed by thirty-three noughts. Thirty-three, for pity’s sake! The bollocks on this bloke are bloody enormous!

I’m sorry – I’m absolutely floored by what New Yorkers would call this man’s chutzpah. This is the largest amount of compensation ever requested in the history of the human race. Oh and to make things even more bloody hysterical he’s eschewing the help of a personal injury lawyer and is simply representing himself.

I thought someone was taking the piss out of me when I read this story but it’s 100 per cent true. It just goes to show you that us Brits are seriously lagging behind when it comes to fearless fraud. We’ve obviously been letting the side down here across the pond and we’ll need to come back soon with some even more outrageous claims figures if we want to keep our crown as the so-called compensation capital of the world!

One injury solicitor falls flat while another soars

Industry news roundup: week ended 9 Dec 2013:

Sometimes the accident claims community responds well to a personal injury solicitor. Other times, not so much.

That’s exactly what happened this week, as one injury lawyer with lofty goals so his dream of forging an advertising campaign that could ally some 90 solicitor firms together in a claims-sharing scheme that would have supposedly been a benefit to all its members. Porters law firm Paul Roberts had the bright idea to create a vast network throughout both England and Wales, but the man’s brainchild died before it could be even born as other firms throughout the UK were a bit skeptical on whether the whole thing would work – now the whole scheme has been scaled back to just the North West, where Porters does the lion’s share of its personal injury claims work. So much for that idea!

Meanwhile the industry was also buzzing this week how a Scotland-based personal injury solicitor firm has been experiencing an amazing, record-breaking year. Digby Brown LLP saw its turnover increase by more than 11 per cent to just under £20 million. On top of that, Digby Brown said its net profits had hit £6.6 million – an increase of 8.2 per cent.

Apparently whatever Digby Brown is doing north of the border, it looks like Porters should be taking notes. There wouldn’t be any need for these hare-brained advert campaign schemes. Honestly, why bother spending all your time and money building some massive, highly untenable network of solicitors across most of the UK when there’s an obviously well-run law firm just to the north that doesn’t need to go in for any of that bollocks?

Then again let’s keep aware that there are some subtle but real differences between Scottish personal injury law and the laws as they stand in England and Wales. It changes the whole landscape, and it might make it easier for Scottish law firms to rake in the dosh while a law firm in the North West of England feels the need to invent some bizarre claims-sharing scheme in order to maximise their profit margins. Still seems a bit odd to me, but then again I’m not exactly a lawyer now am I?

Landscape gardener in Walsall files work accident claim

A landscape gardener from the town of Walsall in the West Midlands has recently filed a work accident claim against his employers after an accident left him without the use of his sight.

When the accident claim occurred, 25 year old Ashley Brabbin was operating a ride-on mower whilst trimming a verge at Erdington’s Wyrley Birch Allotments.  While Mr Brabbin states that he made sure to check for any debris before begging to mow the lawn, he received a blinding injury to his right eye by a flying piece of metal shortly afterwards.

Due to his injuries, not only has Mr Brabbin been left without sight in his eye but he may need to be fitted with a glass eye as a result of the extensive damage he sustained whilst on the job.

Mr Brabbin’s personal injury claim against his employers is based upon the failure of the green services provider, based in Chorley, to provide for his safety in an adequate manner.  Since his employer failed to provide protective eyewear to Mr Brabbin as he conducted his work-related tasks, he has decided to hold them liable for the incident that may have left him permanently without sight in one eye.

Should Mr Babbin be awarded damages from his compensation claim, the company’s insurance company will be responsible for paying him whatever the courts decide the loss of his vision is worth.

Mr Babbin’s personal injury lawyer commented on the case’s progress by stating that while settlement may still be quite some time in the future, the admittance of liability is a clear step in the right direction.

Industry experts agree that without further knowledge of the facts of the case, it is simply too early to determine Mr Babbin’s chances of reaching a settlement from the green services company that had employed him at the time of the accident.

New campaign hopes to reduce motor accident claims by shock

A new anti-reckless driving campaign hopes to reduce the incidence of car accident claims by shocking its audience in its use of posed pupils in mock-ups of accidents.

In order to highlight how dangerous speeding and parking outside schools can be, several fake accidents were mocked up using real emergency services in the Carmarthenshire town of Llanelli.

The tableaux will be turned into postcards and posters to be left on the windscreens of any cars parked badly nearby area schools as a reminder that the prospect of being contacted by a personal injury lawyer is not the only consequence of a bad car accident.

Organisers of the campaign specifically decided to use pupils local to the area in order to stress that motorists could be more than just risking whiplash from an accident but could be endangering the lives of children they knew personally.

Along with Communities First, the campaign entilted “Don’t let it be you” was organised by Tyisha and Glanymor Communities Action Group.

Pupils from Bigyn Primary, Copperworks Infant, and Coedcae Comprehensive schools all took part in the project.

Llanelli Photographic Society’s Graham Harries snapped images of the children after a professional make-up artist added grisly touches to the children as they laid prone on the road.

Firefighters, paramedics, and police all were on hand to take part in the campaign.  The road safety unit for Carmarthenshire was also in attendance.

In order to stage the accidents, the authorities closed down several roads.

Joanne Yeo, spokeswoman for the action group, stated that issues regarding road safety nearby local schools were a hot-button issue ad several monthly meetings.

The project, Ms Yeo stated, was all about using places and faces easily recognisable to local residents in order to highlight how important a concern road safety is for the community.