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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Blaming injury victims is becoming an industry

It seems that if you repeat a statement often enough, people will eventually grow to accept it as fact. This is certainly the case with the so called compensation culture. 

It has even been used today in relation to scandalous delays dealing with claims from injured armed forces veterans. One explanation for the delays on behalf of the government has been an alleged - "rising claiming culture" –

I’m not sure whether this statement is meant to suggest that war veterans are submitting claims that are not genuine!

The phrase is now in such common usage that any victim who seeks compensation is marked as being a part of this culture and therefore to be frowned upon. It is apparently of no relevance whether the injury is genuine or serious.

I have said many times that the ‘compensation culture’ is a myth which has been created by politicians and insurers and which has, for some reason, been promoted by the media.

This has been highlighted by a recent YouGov Poll reported in the Law Gazette last week. This revealed that only 25% of people who suffer from personal injuries actually go on to claim compensation. Various reasons are given for this reluctance ranging from those who believe that a condition or injury is not serious enough to those who object in principle to making claims. That is hardly the basis of a ‘culture’ and the report suggests that there has in fact been a reduction in claims.

The reality is that the majority of victims do not claim compensation. This is not a statement that you will ever hear from the government or the media. You will hear the opposite. You will hear that there is a culture that has to be eliminated. You will hear that this ‘culture’ is the fault of lawyers who spend their days chasing ambulances. In fact most lawyers are simply trying to do the best for victims in an increasingly hostile environment –

Yesterday I had a meeting with the mother and financial adviser of a lad that I acted for 15 years ago. He suffered a severe brain injury shortly after he was born, due to the negligence of a local hospital. We recovered several million pounds for him. He will shortly complete his degree and is considering working abroad. This has been achieved by his own intelligence and determination alongside the funds that were recovered for him all those years ago.Would somebody like to tell him or his family that he is part of a compensation culture?

1 comment:

  1. You're absolutely right Steve. I've only been at the PI bar for 3 months now, but I can already see the grip the insurance companies have on the narrative in the public imagination. People have no problem seeing lawyers' earnings reduced in order to lower their premiums, but there's never any mention of that money coming from the insurers' massive profit margins instead. The system is not perfect, and fraudulent claims do exist. But judges are not stupid, and whenever spates of these claims come about, the courts very quickly become Defendant-friendly, and far more amenable to actually finding the Claimants fraudulent and doing them for contempt.