Inter Law – UK compensation claim rates rival Americas

UK compensation claim rates rival Americas

Compensation claims have risen in the last eight years to a level comparable to America.

Research by the Centre for Policy Studies revealed that in America one in six sufferers of personal injury will make a claim. In the United Kingdom the figure is one in seven.

Dr Frank Furedi, compensation commentator, said: ? It’s not the money I care about so much as the suspicion and mistrust this sort of behaviour creates in the workplace and outside.?

?Doctors no longer say ?if I were you I would do such and such’. Instead they give patients a list of options. You don’t get the sort of advice you would like because it might rebound on them,? he added.

This is in light of a Mori poll that revealed 78% of respondents said it was ?socially and morally? acceptable to take court action if an employer caused personal injury.

Health was found to be the primary area where compensation claims were made with employment and personal injury not far behind.

Medical negligence claims are made when someone suffers a mental or physical injury due to the actions or carelessness of a healthcare professional. If medical personnel breach what is called the ?duty of care’, and injury from this can be proved, the sufferer is entitled to make a claim.

?The principle trigger for the rise in compensation cases is the lifting of laws banning solicitors from advertising,? said Mr Furedi.

Other factors adding to the increase in claims are the no-win no-fee type of legal action and the rise in awards that victims receive.

Patrick Allen, vice president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), does not agree a compensation culture exists.

He said: ?There has been no change in the law that allows frivolous claims. If someone has been injured ? which must be proved in a personal injury case ? as a result of someone else’s fault, they are due compensation.?

Furthermore, Martin Bare, also from APIL, said that compensation claim rates are decreasing.

?Where someone is injured through someone else’s fault, however, and may lose out, redress is proper – otherwise we would not be civilised. Compensation is no lottery win,? he added.

Mr Bare also highlights the difficulties that laypeople have in understanding the procedure for making a claim which fuels speculation as to the supposed ease of taking action.

In a no-win no-fee agreement the claimant does not have to pay their costs if they lose the case. However in this instance they would have to pay the legal fees of their opponent. Many people pursue a no-win no-fee contract because legal aid is not normally available in medical negligence claims.

Solicitors advice clients to take out insurance that will cover the costs of their opponents legal fees should the claimant lose the case. This is called ?after-the-event’ insurance’ (ATE) and is sometimes paid by the solicitor.

If the solicitor does not pay the ATE it joins a number of other costs that a claimant pays to pursue legal action. This are referred to as ?disembursements’ and can include court costs and a medical report. These fees can are returned via the opponent if the claimant wins the case and are sometimes covered by the ATE if they lose.

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