Here’s why the idea of a ‘compensation culture’ is bollocks

Industry news roundup: week ended 21 April 2014:

The results are in: not just one but two reports made public this week have revealed that the idea of a ‘compensation culture’ is utter and complete bollocks.

Right, so this is the last time that I really want to discuss how personal injury solicitors aren’t actually robbing the taxpayer blind or pillaging overworked insurance companies by drumming up spurious accident claims: the injured need personal injury compensation to make themselves whole after a particularly nasty accident. One report found that when it comes to loss of earnings due to an accident or injury, a whopping 81 per cent of claimants reported needed those damages awards in order to offset at least a portion of their costs or lost earnings.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a catastrophic injury that changes your life forever either; many times it’s a temporary disability that leads to some time off work without pay. However, with the current economy still being what it is all too many Brits live pay cheque to pay cheque, and even a few weeks’ worth of lost wages can lead to serious financial difficulties. The survey found that nearly 3 out of every 4 people dealing with partial or total loss of income found that they were in even deeper after their personal injury as bills began to pile up and late fees began to accrue, so it’s not like these injured are living high with their feet up on their coffee table and counting their money after their fraudulent whiplash claim.

On top of that, there was even more evidence this week that there’s a serious disparity between those injured and then receiving a compensation award and those who don’t. In fact, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers released figures detailing how more than 8 out of 10 claimants don’t receive even one red cent after a work accident claim.

There’s many reasons why these poor people can’t pursue claims, but the most glaring one is that they simply can’t prove that the negligence of someone at work – most notably their supervisor or employer – was responsible for the injury. Many times there’s an access to justice problem that these poor folk encounter as well, especially with regulatory changes that have limited Legal Aid access for many – and no win no fee solicitors can only go so far.

So yes, that’s it: the lion’s share of injured never make claims, and those that do make claims and win them are in absolute need of the funds to make themselves whole. Does that mean fraud is nonexistent? Of course not – there’ll always be some bastards out there ruining it for the rest of us. But can we stop trying to make it look like every claimant is a blight upon society simply for requesting compensation for the injuries they’ve sustained?