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Having spent the majority of the last 8 months living in the Slovak Republic, it has made me notice how much the UK fusses about red tape. Common sense is no longer something that people are assumed to have, but something that is supposedly acquired from following every rule imaginable plus a load you never imagined needed to be written!
In the UK, Compensation can be claimed for everything. For example tripping over a curb, where years ago you would have got up and blamed yourself for not looking where you were going. Yet recently I heard someone claimed £2000 compensation for a stubbed toe!
I was working on a building site on work experience, and we had to make sure we secured a hole in the ground properly 'in case somebody trespasses and falls in the hole, and claims compensation'!!
The 'Compensation Culture' costs the majority of us in the end, with higher insurance costs, and higher taxes. It was recently on the news that the police have paid £19.8 million in the last year in compensation to police officers injured at work, such as an officer who recieved £13,600 after hurting his big toe at a health and safety training session.There is now a multi-million pound industry based around compensation claims, making claiming very easy.
In Slovakia there was recently live electric wires at the side of the pavement, while workmen were working on the lines, without any cordons around them, as it was simply assumed that nobody would touch them. Many times I have noticed events like this, where my first thought it 'that wouldn't be allowed at home', yet the job gets done in half the time!
I believe that the compensation culture, and health and safety red tape has gone too far in the UK!! In some cases, when accidents happen due to negligence, and not a lack of common sense, then I agree compensation is warranted.
Working at a solicitors that specialies in Personal Injury claims and having had a car accident myself I can see this argument from all persepctives.
I do think the compensation culture is a bit crazy and there are some people that are all too quick to make a claim, however, I do feel that most cf the claims made are justified.
In my case, I was hit from behind by an uninsured driver and although I was not seriously injured I was out of pocket as I had to claim on my insurance and, having not had my car much more than a year, felt I lost out on quite a lot of money. I therefore decided to make a claim basically just to cover my losses and to compensate me for the stress I had been through. I really used to enjoy driving and I am now really nervous in a car even though my accident was nearly 3 years ago. I didn't see why I should be out of pocket as an innocent driver when this idiot had crashed into me when he shouldn't have even been on the road!
As to the claims I have seen during the course of my job, there are some people that have accidents at work or rta's that cause them such serious injuries that they can never work again. Why shouldn't they be able to claim for their injuries and loss of earnings? Also, when children are severely injured I think it's only right that their parents should be allowed to claim compensation to pay for specialist equipment they might need or to provide them with money so they can give up work and look after their child.
I do agree that some things have gone too far however it does seem that things are becoming a lot stricter with what you can claim for and things such as small RTA's do seem to be becoming harder to claim for.
I know insurance premiums go up as a result of claims made, however, if you were out of pocket for something that wasn't your fault, wouldn't you rather pay that little bit extra each year to know that you are able to claim should you need to?
I think that compensation claims are necessary in most cases, however, do agree that some people claim to easily for things that they should not do and I think solicitors should not always be so quick to take on these claims.
Britain has gone mad concerning the compensation culture.
It just seems that everyone is willing, without any remorse or guilt, to sue anyone for the slightest of reasons.
In some cases family members are making claims against each other for the simple reason of making easy money.
There are even criminal organisation who are deliberately causing accidents involving motor vehicles, such as removing brake lights and then suddenly stopping in front of another car, then claiming for whiplash and other injuries, then making a claim against the innocent motorist that they have just 'conned'.
There are many similar 'stunts that these criminals use and as it is hard to prove against there claim then the insurance companies simply pay out, thus forcing the companies to raise there premiums for everyone else.
Britain has become a nation of greedy, money grabbing people who are willing to do the least amount of effort to gain the maximum amount of money, (enter the compensation culture).
We can sit and blame everyone for the way the country has gone, from the 'no-win-no-fee' solicitors who advertise there wares on every corner of the planet, to the people who make a living from suing there neighbours.
If we take a look at the solicitors, of which there are hundreds, they know that people will, with a little push, sue their grand mother for a few quid. They are a greedy bunch of solicitors who quickly realised that there was a gap opening up in the British market and promptly stepped in.
More and more of these solicitors are appearing as we speak, waiting at the local hospital, asking the injured party if the accident was there fault? Or the representatives who hang around the shopping centres, "have you had an accident in the past three years" there war cry echoing through he mall as you try to avoid eye contact.
So long as there are people who are willing to blame others for what is simply an accident the there will always be the greedy 'compensation culture' solicitors in the UK.
Don't get me wrong, if a person has an accident which is caused by somebody's negligence and is therefore unable to support themselves and their family, then they are entitled to some form of compensation, but it has got to the point where people can not differentiate between a true accident and neglect.
But we do know something has stepped over the line when the criminal fraternity have realised that it is easier to sue people rather than sell stolen goods...now that is the scariest thought of this culture.
When will the greed stop.?
After reading a number of reviews on compensation culture, I thought I would throw my hat into the ring, primarily from a legal perspective, and moreover my own views; which ultimately is what doo you is about. Working for a law firm dealing in personal injury and employment tribunal representation I hope to give some insight on how this works, as there are a few reviews that talk a good game, and then bring it all down to "my taxpaying money that funds all this." Not necessarily so. I would like to offer my most sincere apologies in advance for what may be deemed as a banal and eye watering boring account of this in legal terms.
Compensation is a vast and open array of legal complexities. For the purposes of the review I will stick to the "no win, no fee", "where there is a blame there is a claim" and my personal favourite; "fast cheques for car wrecks."
The majority of claims for compensation in this country are for Road Traffic Accidents. RTA's account for around 80% of all direct suing, and is literally between a driver and everybody injured as a result of his or her negligence. In fact the term "accident" should not be used. In the eye of the law there is no excuse for crashing a car; there is always somebody at fault. People don't just "come out of nowhere", or even if the driver in front "slams on" then in adherence to our driving lessons and the highway code, we have either been driving too fast, not watching where we are going or need our eyes testing. Now that is not my personal opinion, but it does make you think. How many "accidents" are avoidable?
Now bearing in mind the view of the law on this matter if somebody has driven into the back of you, then you are more than likely thinking, "why should I pay for the damage to my car?" You may have to take a day, a week off or even a year from work with no pay. You may even be paralysed. So your first step is to call your insurance company. And believe me; they cannot wait for that call. Firstly you may have to pay the excess on your vehicle. You will then submit your details about the accident and Mr Insurer is rubbing his hands together, for if you decide to claim he will sell your claim onto a solicitor for a fee of around £500 for your details. Can't be bad can it? So far you have only just crashed your car and your insurer has got at £700 out of the accident.
You may decided not to claim at the outset, but are walking down the high street when we are more or less accosted by a sharp young man in a tie, "have you had an accident in the last three years?" He questions, grinning from ear to ear. (Three years in accordance with the limitation act 1990, children have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to claim.) Yes, I have actually, you reply. And in a total breach of the law, your details are sold on to a solicitor for £500.
If you are to claim, go direct to a solicitor - cut out the middleman and stick with one of the most regulated industries out there; the law.
A point that a few people have made concerns the varying degrees of compensation awarded. E.g. A man beaten up outside his house only received £1200 for a broken jaw, yet the chap across the road who doesn't even work got £3000 for whiplash.
The reason behind this is that acts of a criminal nature such as an assault is paid for by the government through the CICA (criminal compensation authority) we pay this compensation from our taxes, as thugs and terrorists rarely carry brutality insurance, in order to pay their victims. All drivers (if insured) will have their insurance company pay this out, so awards are much higher and not a strain on them.
The same applies to uninsured drivers, due to the increasing number of uninsured on the road insurance comapanies are having to donate 5% of each policy to cover compensation awards for drivers hit by these motorists. The more unisured on the road, the more your policy will increase.
Local councils often have private insurance too, so if claimed against it is not our direct taxpaying that is spent on that. As for the morality of claiming, I don't personally see anything wrong with it - if genuine of course. Part and parcel of this life is that there are many schemers and no good doers, who will take advantage of the system; primarily your insurance company. There is a continuous pot of money here that flows between claimant, insurance companies and the government, and as easy as it is to poke at the compensation scheme we have in this country, I think that we all sleep a little easier knowing if we are severely injured, then we can take care of our family; financially at least.
With the news last year that Maxine Carr, the girlfriend of the Soham killer Ian Huntley, had requested breast enhancements on the NHS to boost her self-esteem, in the same county where one in three women struggle to get breast cancer drugs because they cost too much for that particular trust, isn't about time we got our priorities right when it comes to hand-outs. If I was the ex-girlfriend of one of the countries most notorious killers and given a new identity I certainly wouldn't be walking around sticking out my new pair of 38DDs! This need to please those who have put little into society was systematic of New Labors attitude that those who contribute the least are somehow able to exploit the system the most.
Two social workers took a baby offa mum because they thought the kid was in danger and they would have another Victoria Klimbie. Baby P on their hands if they didn't go against their feeble bosses and act. Well they have both been suspended from their jobs and the unnamed woman from Nottinghamshire is in line for a £20,000 grand payout for damages. The girl had previously ha dkids taken off her because of her heroin abuse.Too many lawyers are scum these days and getting in the way of people that just want to do what's right.
In Northampton we are the proud owners of Abington Park, a beautiful ornamental expanse that 'contained' over 350 different verities of trees when it was opening by royalty a very long time ago. It has a Redwood tree, a Monkey tree and stuff that even Charles Darwin would be surprised to find on an atoll in the Pacific. Although still stunningly British and iridescently stirring as the seasons wash through with all the different colors and varieties of tree and shrub on show, the park is shrinking, the lumberjacks moving in with their thick teethed saws and noisy wood grinders for yet another borough council chainsaw massacre. The council says they are cutting down the trees because of disease, but those who care to ask the woodsman if that is the actual case get a different answer. Yes the trees are diseased, but all trees are when they age is the reply. The clue to why they are really cutting them down is where the mighty trees are located in the park. It's the ones next to the roads that are coming down. It turns out it's not because nearby residents and drive through traffic have complained about damage to their cars when storms sweep through but the councils fear they will complain and sue in the future. To be fair some of the elderly residents had grumbled about recent storms but it wasn't a petition or anything. These are posh people; of course, conkers and pine cones pinging and clanking off their people-movers, one step to far from Mother Nature. They have this beautiful park next door that puts at least 30k on their house prices and all they want to do is get it cut down.
It's not just Northampton where nature is being chainsawed over silly fears over health & safety and insurance claims, over zealous councils across the country ripping out trees in streets and parks because of misguided fears over compensation claims. The chainsaw massacre is resulting in more mature and ancient trees being chopped down than saplings going in to replace them these days, it has become that bad. As with most green issues, the people that rant and rave we should go green are most often the ones that put in the insurance claims because acorns have dented their sunroofs.
Let's get our priorities right here guys. The trees were here first so don't park under them! Seeds and rotten branches fall off them!
An increasing slice of council and health budgets is sadly put aside for compensation claims, greedy lawyers more than happy to feed off those ambulance chasing companies to make a few quid. I'm sure you guys have all been approached by the agents on the streets and some tempted, but what you don't realize is the lawyers take 60% of the no win-no fee and the cases can drag on for up to three years at the lawyers and insurance company's leisure. The more lawyers get a foot hold where these compensation claims go the more the cost will be passed on to you and me, eventually ending up like the ghastly American litigious society where there are over one million practicing lawyers.
We also see this duplicity in schools, a record number of claims made in 2008. If little Johnny takes a tumble, parents seem all to keen to see how much money they can make out of it, regardless of the ripple effect. Schools have no financial means to protect children from every contingency and so we get to this silly over-protection of the children and leave them vulnerable in other ways. Rather hypocritically, the parents growl up to the school gates in their SUVs, horns honking and snarling as square pegs look for rounds holes, little Johnny more likely to go under the wheels of one of these monstrosities than bang his head falling off the slide. We have to accept that kids will be kids and schools are schools.
In some cases claims are legitimate, Terminal Five an example of why we have so many genuine compensation claims these days. The terminal was opened too early because the contractors wanted to earn their bonus for finishing on time and BAA also claimed their bonus from the government for that completion, timed to help aid the bid for a third runways at Heathrow, which was rigged anyway. All concerned knew it wouldn't work and it was unfinished but it's the way business is done these days, no one ever admitting they are to blame, and the lawyers on hand to back that up... The teething problems there were because the terminal could only function in the gray area we all work and live in, the breaking and bending the rules that seem to be the only way that makes everything work these days, the costing of the building centered around that corner cutting culture. It's the same with the hideous anti-terror regulations at Heathrow and the like, the searches not so much about stopping planes being blown up or hijacked by people with sharp objects in the air but really about confiscating all the things at check-in that you can then buy in duty free just through the doors in the departure lounge, or from the trolley dolly on the plane, a broken bottle of scotch just as dangerous as a hand gun.
When I left school I worked for one of the biggest supermarkets and it was common practice to block the fire exits with stock that had nowhere else to go, due to the way they had to fill the shelves at night. If there was a fire at 9am then it would be a disaster. If we didn't do it the whole system would back up and the company loses money. Everyone knew it was dangerous but we also knew it was the only way the store could function and we could keep our crappy jobs. The boss would tell you off for blocking the doors every morning and you would just smile to yourself. But because the store was making huge bucks then it was an acceptable risk. That attitude sums up why T5 failed and why those complaining passengers are entitled to every cent they get. Commercial buildings are built for profit not safety these days, how ever sexy they look.
The worst offenders for unworthy compensation claims are those sexy female city slickers, claiming millions of bucks for allegedly being bullied or sexually harassed at work, the exact tactics they used to get up the career ladder. Attractive women have so many physical advantages at work and as soon as the wrinkles creep up and their looks stop working for them then in go the compo claim. One of The Apprentice contestants from a while back made a similar claim for one million pounds a few years ago after enduring bullying and sexual harassment at a major bank. But she suffered similar in the show and yet didnt react, or indeed sue, Sir Alan having to be on his best behavior in the boardroom if he doesn't want to cop a lawsuit! I don't think there is EVER any justification for huge payouts to women who have been verbally bullied in the city. Its part of the culture there and you know it when you go into it. In America they drug test all their employees every sixth months and store the sample for any such court cases. It's a blizzard of cocaine in the square mile here and coupled with all that unscrupulous trading going on women really need to put those comments and law suits in context. It does seem to be women who make the most compensation claims across the board in Britain, feminist comment indifferent on why that may be. A kid who gets blown apart in Iraq and Afghanistan gets 16 grand for a lost limb yet a female city worker ges £750,000 for hurt feelings.
Another angle is racial discrimination, ethnic minorities who realize that in the current climate they can claim discrimination or bias because of the amount of pressure groups around today bending over backwards to help ethnic minorities. One serial litigant decided it was time to cash in, he using the application scam where you apply to a firm or employer under your ethnic name and then ten other ones under English names like John Smith with identical qualifications. At first he had a genuine case, universities and colleges perhaps more interested in white teachers than Kenyan ones. But after he got his first payout of £12,000 he becam addicted to doing it and made numerous claims. The problem was educational facilities became aware of his tactics and so discarded all of his claims, meaning more law suits and payouts, the schools and colleges going to court, lining up all their ethnic minority teachers and lecturers...
Clearly racism is alive and kicking in Britain and we all know that employers do ignore ethnic minority applications and candidates for jobs, that legal race box tick bit in all application forms, rather ironically, the way to wean out ethnic candidates by companies having a legal pointer to identify the claimant. But we also know race is now a good tool to get what you want if you play the system like a violin, although never outweighing the disadvantages of being Black and Asian in the U.K. Just as discrimination makes us more equal it also pulls us apart. Remember the Muslims, (never out of the news these days) planning a multi-million pound law suit in one of the countries top security prisons because they were served ham sandwiches during Ramadan? Well those Leeds prisoners were entitled to up to ten grand each compo for their trauma. You can't make this stuff up guys. The problem is pretty much anyone can make these claims because the lawyers win either way.
This compensation culture that's coming like a tsunami of greed seems to be about people not wanting to take responsibility for everyday s**t that happens. For me it should be, 'what don't kill us only makes us stronger, a phrase that needs to be reflected on and leant from. If a kid bangs his head on the playing area then there's less chance of him doing it again. Its human nature-we get knocked down and we get up again. How long will it be until we have virtual lawyers on our portable wrist computers that point how much money we can make from tripping on the pavement? You will be pleased to know the people of Leeds and Liverpool make the highest amount of compo claims in the U.K.
You may recall I told you about foreign prisoners who were being paid 'compensation' to go back home and serve out their sentence in their home countries, to ease the stress on the British prison population, some 12,000 foreign lags now swelling the jails to bursting point here, the lags even having to share Playstations and Sky remotes! Such is the appeal of comfy British prisons to our exploding foreign prison population that many of them turned down the then Home Sec Jacky 'Splif' Smiths offer to go back to Lagos and Mogadishu with £800 on the hip, at least enough to buy a kilo of crack in Eritrea. Definitely enough to buy a fake passport to come back and do it all over again. And why not, because New Labor put the money up to a maximum of £3000 tax free, trying to get more to engage with the scheme. So when a foreigner goes to jail in the UK he's guaranteed three grand when he or she comes out! Brilliant! The sum of money is three times the annual pay increase offered to the embattled prison officer at 2.75% per annum. Is it any wonder prison officers are making extra on the side smuggling drugs and cell phones in to prisons to make up a pay packet to feed their kids. What the f**k has Blair done to this country!!!
I apologise in advance that tis is a very short review on the subject, but when i stumbled across the category i had to get this off my chest.
A couple who live near me, and shall remain nameless, disgusted me, and others a few years back. I believe that it says all that needs said on the subject.
When acting like a cretin, and generally showing off at a party in there own garden, mrs x fell onto her patio causing a bit of pain to her back, but nothing more than that. I think that she was more embarrassed than hurt. Of course the guests were upset, and worried about the incident having known the woman for years. But that should have been that, a painful reminder that you cannot act like a child all you life.
That, however was not all.
Mrs x ended up in a wheel chair a week later, and complained of pain so sever that she could not move. Bound to the wheelchair indefinately by her litte escapade. Everyones heartfelt sympathy went out to the woman. Who, after all would wish that to happen to anyone.
A short time later, though, it transpired that the couple had put in a claim for injury. Who were they claiming from, you might ask, as they were on their own private property at the time?
Well it turns out that the twenty or more witnesses must have all been wrong, and when they went to the doctor, it appeared that the accident took place outside their house, and a loose curb stone causesd a nasty fall, and this parylising injury!!!
So the council were being sued for their short-sightedness, and several months passed before word got out that the couple were being paid out a several thousand pound sum for their mis-fortune!!!
And then it happened - a miracle!!!
No sooner had the cheque cleared, than Mrs x, got up from the wheelchair she had been so ruthlessly bound to, and walked once more!! - a happy end i am sure you will agree.
In conclusion. Is this world we live in, that of a greedy, claiming culture. To bloody right it is. A down-right lie has been used to get financial recompense. It is wrong to the tax-payers who have to pay up, and also to anyone who is unfortunate enough to have really suffered such injury.
What do you guys think?
-- Do we live in a culture of compensation? --
It only sounds like it... due to the fact of extreme high media coverage of every turn of high media profiled cases. In fact there has been no more cases per a 1000 people than there were 20 years ago. It just sounds like it.
Obviously, there are more publicised cases that have hit the 'On' button regarding media coverage. Amazingly, it is the same type of class hierachy who always gets that extra media help regarding their case. Whatever it is.
In the lowly corner of the poor surburbs of the UK. No more cases have been highlighted since the introduction of extreme media exposure. 24hr hour coverage media News 24 with minute by minute live coverage of every moment of a high profile case, it can be riveting tv, just like all forms of reality tv. You could be mistaken, in thinking that we are indeed in a driven 'compensation culture'. Tabloids thrive on it. It brings in the bucks.
This is a relatively new concept of middle England, for many decades it has been locked away unheard; afraid of raising their heads and shouting out their unfair treatment, via work, and got accustomed to a lifestyle.
Is it more unfair today? No, it's just that middle England has had enough of unequality in work and in general lifestyle choices, voices are questioning matters... it is part of democracy. The sad entity is that the poor are still hidden, down trodden, unable to get the strength to exume energy to fight for their cause. Severely handicapped by funding and with all that they do not have contact with carefree legal people. The introduction of 'legal aid' is hardly advertised to those who need it. Many are 'legally disabled' suffer with self stubborness and blame themselves for being a victim. Their low self esteem has enveloped these people. Depression sets in and that is it, no answers, no questions. Why complain? I'm not worth anything. Who will look after the children? Will it get me sacked, because I need the money? Trapped without an answer. They get through just as their parents did.
In complete comparison, Middle England has free information from the internet and carefree legal contacts who are always touting for extra business. For the egg mayonaissed stained suited, coffee slurping, biscuit junkie, legal mincer ----- life has never been busier as for--- licking legal letters for business/civil compensation.
Gone is the British decorum of the 'stiff upper lip' pose and our self blame sickness. It is not surprising as the power of the media drills advertising at lunchtime expressing the ease in which you can claim against a company by slipping up on a newly polished floor, regardless of what foot attire the sad high heeled hobbling recipient may have been wearing. ----
The legal profession are not the most creative when dressing up an effective advertising campaign... They are a bumbling mess when addressing an advertising brief with clever concepts----- Legally attuned maybe , but with no marketing substance.... The reason why it has never been a better time for the legal anoraks as this legal wave is due to the expansion of the publics attitudes to inept treatment by the so called big fish companies who have been giving clients poor services and have 'willy nillied' around with falsifying information for many years. Justice is now available for those who question 'wrong doings' and civil crime... this is what our societies lifestyle has come to.
Times are changing. Businesses are now accountable to what they preach, long gone are the easy days of the 'cashcow' attitudes that were so evident by generations gone before.
What has come out of this compensation culture has been the non--conforming younger generation. The youngers know their rights, they know that the amount of legal clout they could muster against anyone who is a bystander could sink the titanic, with the paperwork alone.
What has come out of a over induced compensation culture is a problem of discipline amongst the young. You cannot develop role models for them without a legal issue that could cross your mind. What would society think if I asked my next door neighbour to do some private tuition? In my day it would be a normal practice to ask some adult for help. In my view this problem hidders development amongst the young. Our futures. Is it safe anywhere? No, no-one is safe, especially your child. The old have wisdom to draw their knowledge from. The rest of us have a flourishing legal system that we can go to. The young have so many rights, yet are victims of deprived social values. No-one can get close. They are afraid, afraid to touch, have compassion, talk, smile, give too much encouragement, give too much time, play, have fun, buy an ice-cream, kick back a football. I could go on. The compensation culture has built up so many walls of protection through legal red-tape that is is stiffling any social development, compassion, and warmth in the next generation.
I for one am in favour of our compensation culture on inept business practices, but I don't agree with how it has passed onto the younger generations, with such high maintenance, that I believe it is beyond repair. No 'carefree' playful children are seen where I live. they are locked up from the evils of the modern world. At least they are safe... but for what price.
In business the compensation culture has helped many, including myself. Businesses are afraid to fail. that is a good thing. Before, ineptness was part of what they were... No compensation... that is the rule... abide with our rules... the client is worthless. Thankfully, I feel the tide has changed... I welcome the powers of be that I can command at my own pace that allows a proper case against anyone/business that stands in my way of my acceptable lifestyle. That sounds rather melo-dramatic, but I hope you know what I mean.
--- Comments that I have had to come up with ---
*Bring-out your best attornies and fight the good fight.... over a mobile phone bill of £82.56!!!* A tad like William Wallace ...
*See you in court, I'll send you my invoice, for you to read in your cell* A tad Tom Cruise like in 'The Firm'.
*You have two choices ---- You can either pay-up today or you can pay-up today, it's your choice* A tad like George Bush.
* So you expect me to run around after you, call you, email you, for days at a time and not get paid for it. Think again, my invoice is in the post...* A tad like Jeremy Clarkson on 'Top Gear'.
What I have found is that the US legal attitude has rubbed off us British 'Stiff-upper-lipness' and has resulted in a mismatch 'compensation culture' that the US find rather amusing. They are aware of their influences over little Britain. They have an odd dialogue of always wanting to "kick ass". This is normal practice in an email and I've seen it in their terms and conditions. Quite bazaar.
I'm very aware that the 'nanny' state is upon us and it will be interesting see what will happen when the prisons are full. We really will live in a 'nanny' state whereby we all will be locked up in our homes --- assigned with a 9pm curfew. Watching and betting on drunken yobs fights outside our front doors.... It's better than watching those devastatingly poor legal adverts.
Thank you for reading this review.
You should have claimed compensation is what I was told when I had to take several weeks off work due to an accident in a shop where I fell down some steps.
I must admit it had never occurred to me to do this, but it set me thinking. The fall had not been my fault, it was a new shop and the steps were not marked as being hazardous (they have been now) and it was easy to miss them. I am not talking about a full flight of stairs here, just three steps which were located near to the cash till.
I paid for my goods, stepped back and took a nasty tumble, almost banging my head on a heavy table, but fortunately I managed to twist away from it so my arm took the brunt of the fall.
The shop manageress was very sympathetic, the shop was newly opened and only a few days earlier the owner of the premises had also fallen down the same steps and had admitted they were dangerous. The manageress arranged for someone to take me to hospital as it was thought I had broken my arm, then took my phone number and told me she would tell the owner. I expected perhaps a phone call from him, at the very most a bunch of flowers. But what happened? Nothing. This annoyed me, I did at least think he would ring and ask how I was (dont people have manners these days?) Here was a very wealthy local businessman, who knew there was a hazard in his shop, yet he could not be bothered to enquire after my health, despite the fact that I had just spent several hundred pounds on new furniture in his shop when I fell.
EASY WAY OUT
This got my back up, so when I had to take several weeks off work (I was on a temporary contract so did not get sick pay), I thought maybe it would be worth pursuing a claim against the shop owner and rang the number on a leaflet I had picked up at the hospital.
Someone must think the A & E department is a good place to advertise such services, by the way, leaving their leaflets on display in the waiting room. I mean, what else do you do when you are queuing for a couple of hours you read anything you can lay your hands on. Ha Ha! A leaflet about claiming compensation! Just what you need!
THE CLAIM PROCESS
Months went by, forms were filled in, I had an independent medical with a private consultant, visited the solicitors office several times and still nothing happened. The owner of the shop claimed he was unaware the steps were dangerous as they were adequately marked fortunately we had taken photos of them shortly after the accident, proving they had only bee marked after my fall.
He then riddled out of it by changing the ownership into his brothers name. The solicitor claimed there was little that could be done and shortly afterwards the claim company closed down. I thought that would be the end of the matter. But another claim company took on the workload, involving more form filling and visits etc.
This took two years and a few months later I had a letter from the solicitor telling me that if I paid them 600 pounds to take action against the original owner of the shop, they would pursue the case further. But there was no promise they would win the case, and even if they did, the most I could get would be around 4,000 pounds of which they would take a cut.
Compensation culture? I began to think it as something of an urban myth. Who were these people who were being paid thousands of pounds for accidents? I decided it was not worth continuing with my claim, besides I didnt have 600 pounds lying around.
Then I began to hear of other people who knew of compensation claims which had been paid and I couldnt believe what they were telling me.
I am only giving two instances in this review, but both of these involved local authorities. Which leads me to believe that trying to get compensation out of a private organisation is difficult, but if it is the local authority, they will pay out quite happily!
CASE ONE the 14 year olds new motorbike.
A 14 year old lad I know got a new motorbike from compensation from the local council. It didnt matter that he was too young to ride it legally, he was just so proud that he had got 16 grand (Yes, sixteen thousand pounds!) for his injured foot. Amazingly the injured foot has healed satisfactorily and so he could also spend a few hundred on the latest designer trainers.
The lad was playing, with his mates, around some paving slabs when council workmen were repairing pavements. The slabs slipped and one of them fell onto his foot causing injury.
So he did what most unruly kids would do he rushed home to his parents who cried We will sue the council. The fact that their son should not have been playing on the slabs didn't come into it, what mattered was that the council workmen had breached H & S regulations and not stacked the slabs correctly.
CASE TWO no money to repair roads/pavements
I was discussing this young lad's case with someone I know who works for the local council. He told me he was not surprised. Apparently some local authorities pay out more in compensation to people who claim they have received injuries from unsafe roads and pavements, than they pay for the maintenance of them!!!! But, he said, they are now getting wise to these claims so maybe in future they will investigate them more thoroughly. But at the moment it is less costly to pay up than take the matter through the courts.
Well, what do you think to that? Let us imagine some of the comments you are uttering, I am sure some of them will not be suitable to print on this site.
But at least when the council tax goes up yet again, we will know where some of it goes.
If you are going to seek compensation, then make sure it is for an accident involving the council, you have more chance of being paid out as it is not their money they are using.
Have you been injured or involved in an accident that wasnt your fault? You could claim thousands in compensation on a no-win-no-fee basis. What are you waiting for? Call now.
What I intend to discuss here are not the genuine claims for recompense where someone is clearly at fault but those circumstances where compensation is claimed simply because it can be: situations where we just look for someone to blame or, more worryingly, see a meal ticket in front of us that just proves too irresistible.
Its 2006. Young Charlie falls off a swing in the playground. He lands on soft, rubber mats but cries. His mother has just seen an advert on the television for no-win-no-fee compensation. Shed got a bill to pay. She phones the number and Charlie is awarded compensation because the council who owned the swing failed to put up a notice to say that young children should be supervised.
Its 1976. Young Charlie falls off a swing in the playground. He lands on hard concrete and cracks his head. His mother picks him up, comforts him and tells him itll be OK. Mums got a bill to pay so shell have to go without that new blouse shes seen in the catalogue.
It is often argued that life has become safer for our children as a result of people being made to pay up for accidents and having to implement changes as a result. Is this really the case though or are we just lining our pockets whilst restricting the lives of our children?
I should, at this point, put my cards on the table. Im a solicitor by profession and so many would assume Im pro-compensation, after all, every claim means more work for lawyers, more fees and therefore more profit. Not me if I could change things I would.
The English legal system that allows these claims is a complex one. We have two sources of law, case law and statute. Both play their part in compensation claims. Law is a dynamic system which rests on fairly sedentary foundations. Much of our law was drafted or decided many years ago in circumstances very different to those we find ourselves in today. Unfortunately, it is this situation that allows many of the more spurious claims and ultimately, in my opinion, restricts our freedom. Claimants can find chinks in the rules and pull them apart to open the purse.
The problem, as I see it is that an unfortunate event happens and our first reaction is to look for someone to blame rather than looking first at our own conduct or position to see whether we could have acted differently. We no longer need to use our common sense when conducting our day to day lives. We simply rely on the fact that someone else will be looking out for us and if they are not we can claim compensation. Our attitude to risk has changed as we wrap our children in cotton wool and fail to take responsibility for our own actions.
Undoubtedly, life is far safer now than ever and it cannot be denied that this is, at least in part, as a result of our being able to call companies and organisations to task over matters of safety. However, we are rapidly approaching a time when school trips, holiday activities and other fun things are being cancelled for fear of a lawsuit. Even seemingly innocuous activities are curtailed. By way of example our local community association has had to abandon its annual summer fete. Why? The insurance costs are too high as the event takes place on common land which might not be flat and someone might trip.
The renowned judge, Lord Denning, often commented when deciding cases of negligence, that a degree of self-responsibility was required and that allowing certain types of claim would open the floodgates of litigation. Im sure hes turning in his grave knowing where we are today.
But its not just our children who are missing out. Ultimately we all pay the price. Insurance costs rise which affect us directly and indirectly in the form of costs passed on, higher council tax charges, entrance fees and so on. People refrain from volunteering for fear of being sued. Your first aid officer can no longer give you a paracetamol. We all miss out.
Clear cases of fault and negligence should not go unaddressed and people should be entitled to compensation for loss suffered but I really think we have gone too far, abrogating our general responsibility in favour of a few pounds in our pockets.
Of course, compensation claims are not just limited to injury claims but injury claims are by far the easiest to address. Discrimination claims are growing with the first question on any disgruntled employees mind being how much can I sue for? Employment claims are far harder to discuss as what was acceptable 30 years ago might well have changed today and undoubtedly our awareness of sex, race and culture has developed and we are better for it. It does put pay to office banter though.
My cry take responsibility for your own actions. Let children learn they make mistakes and learn from them, mistakes which cant be made if they live wrapped in cotton wool. By restricting our claims to those genuinely at fault we improve safety and conditions without restricting our freedom.
I felt I should join in the debate which I feel that cannot be won, from the outset I would like to say that I am pro compensation due to a recent incident I was involved in, however, I like many people just get annoyed about how some folks abuse the system just like people have abused other financial rewarding systems for decades - benefit fraud, child support and the dole for instance.
I would like first of all if I may to run down my own experience and show what I believe to be a positive side of the compensation authority. I was in a nightclub in my home town of Chester about 6 weeks ago, having just arrived I was waiting for my friend to get the round in while I stood a little bit back from the bar. At which point I noticed another friend of mine on the dance floor, a split second later I see him get punched in an unprovoked attack. This first blow knocks his glasses clean from his face and he is then punched again; I run over to the attacker to restrain him, and grab his arms from behind holding him in a bear hug and waiting for the bouncers to come over, the attacker though then goes nothing short of crazy, he turns inside my bear hug, and now facing me bites the top inch of my ear off.
He was arrested at the scene and I was taken to A&E, this was on a Thursday night, I waited till Saturday afternoon till I had my ear sown up, due to the fact that the rest of the ear was never found I am still walking around like an abused teddy bear. I have had to take lots of time off due to doctors appoints, hospital visits and of course to see the Police officer dealing with the case. Now it was only recently that I was told about the CICA, The Criminal Injury Compensation Authority, and it has come as a huge relief.
I felt it would be somewhat of a pointless act to sue the attacker for compensation for my injuries, as the amount of money I think I am due for such an injury he just wouldnt be able to pay and Id end up getting a £1 every week for life or something silly. Now the good thing about the CICA (www.cica.gov.uk) is how much detail they go into. They stress everything that is required for you to file a request for compensation and then using their template scheme they can tell you exactly how much an injury is worth. Now I know that for my injury I am looking at £4400, and whatever costs they decide to award me for my time off work and to be honest the mental stress I have had to go through which is probably not appropriate to put on here.
And that is why I do not think this debate can ever be won, on one hand you have people such as myself and some other reviews I have read on here who do seem to be honest cases where money is either much needed for the surgery or physio they have had to go through, or perhaps time taken time off work. And there will always be genuine people who arent looking to rip the system off, for instance with my case, all I would have needed to have done is gone to the doctors a week later and press a case of depression, get signed off on SSP (which is also a joke and I will get to in due time) and hey presto a few months later you have a big cheque for your depression and more time off work.
Before I continue actually I would like to make the point about how crap Statutory Sick Pay is, I am only 21 but I have been in work since 16, and in my short five years in the world of work I have paid stupid amounts of cash to tax and National Insurance, and not once have I ever claimed anything back, I have never signed on to the dole, I have never gone on SSP, but all of a sudden when I do I receive a massive £11 a day. What are you meant to do with £11 a day!? So for the initial twelve days I was off that was £132. Over half a months wages and I receive an amount of money that I would usually earn in two days. Now do not get me wrong I do not believe I should receive a lot of money due to how much money I earn or something similar, but perhaps a system a little bit more in proportion to how much you have paid in and perhaps how much you have claimed, all I can say is the system needs a drastic overhaul.
Now let me tell you about my local public house in Chester, and more importantly the patrons that frequent the place. It is a Sam Smiths pub, and to anyone that knows their beer it means it is the cheapest pub around, a pint of lager will cost you £1.56 and bitter is something like £1.40, so as you can expect it brings in an interesting clientele, now most of the people that drink in there are ageing men who really dont appear to have done much with their lives, but they are harmless so I drink with them none the less. But let me tell you if I could shop them all to the authorities I would, half of them are in the pub for 12 and are totally drunk by the time I have arrived and I have no doubt that every single one of them is on benefits of some kind, how is it you can have a man who doesnt have two brains in his head but knows every single loop hole in a system to claim benefits, I will never understand.
I am willing to bet if you looked at how much money is paid out to those on benefits, week in and week out for decades and compare it to people who milk the system to earn themselves a few grand in compensation after a car accident or a fall at work (you have all seen the adverts) then it shows the fact that we have managed to produce generations of people who do not want to work and can keep finding ways of milking the system the amount of money paid out would be on a completely different scale.
For instance for me to claim my money in compensation I had to fill out a 14 page booklet and send it Glasgow, it is then processed, the police officer dealing with the matter is contacted to confirm my injuries as is my doctor. It is a lot more complicated procedure, and then you compare it to a guy that can walk into the dole office, sign up for jobseekers, earn £160 a month and is no doubt working cash in hand somewhere else, and all he has to do is send a CV to an employee he knows he has no chance of working for. Mix that with any other benefits he can claim for having children, perhaps a disability he has that actually does him no harm, and all of a sudden your man is earning a fortune off the state.
My conclusion to this argument is that of course we have people milking our compensation culture, but the amounts offered are not silly like America, and if we can keep the amounts reasonable, and perhaps eradicate the spongers on the system then perhaps we can make what I believe a good system actually work. Rant over.
Always a risk to talk about claiming for compensation as you always get somebody who will oppose your view. However I will tell you my experiences with compensation and why I think in circumstances it is a good thing and then not in others.
Now first I better explain what compensation actually is for those of you who dont know. It is defined as recompense: the act of compensating for service or loss or injury. The most common form of compensation is for injury. Lets say you are shopping at the supermarket when suddenly you slip on a banana that has just been left on the floor. You fall over and hurt your back which results in you being in pain for days on end. I dont know about you but I would feel like I deserve a little compensation for what I have been through and the pain that I am in.
Then what you do is claim for compensation by using one of the hundreds of claim companies. You know the ones; they all have annoying catchphrases such as no win no fee and where there is a blame, there is a claim. Generally you will have to say why you are claiming, make a few statements, go for the appropriate medical tests and then wait to see if you have won your claim. In the case that you do win, you will be given a cheque which in cases can be for up to thousands of pounds. If you lose you have to count your losses and forget about getting some money.
Now if I tell you about my experiences.
The car accident was with my Mom and my Nan in May 2000. We stopped at traffic lights and a woman who did not realise we had stopped came slamming into the back of us at 40mph. Me and my Nan were taken to hospital where we were treated for whiplash and recommended to go to the doctors for a medical. My Mom was ok as I think because she was driving she was able to anticipate the crash a bit earlier which I think helps.
In the medical me and my Nan were told we would have to start physiotherapy. In the meantime we had already phoned a claims company which I cant remember the name of now and they were right on the case.
When I looked in the mirror I was shocked to see that my shoulders were completely uneven. My left shoulder blade was jutting out about an inch more than the right and it looked hideous.
At the physio I was told that I would need work on my shoulders, my lower neck, my back and my first two ribs. I had around eighteen sessions of physio and was in agony the entire time. I had to take two weeks off work but then I felt well enough to do short days.
Now I got £3000 for my claim and my physiotherapy sessions paid for so I treated myself to a big shopping spree and a laptop. Now in this case I felt like I totally deserved a little compensation for something that wasnt my fault and that I was in so much pain for and the kicker is I was still in pain with it every now and again all through university.
October of 2004 marked my second car crash when getting onto the M6 in Birmingham with my boss who was driving and a guy slammed into the back again. Immediately I felt ill and the pain seared up my back. I went through the motions again and decided on a company called claims today that were brilliant.
It only took until March this year for me to get my £2500 compensation but this time I have had to buy my own physiotherapy sessions. I took a week off of work and still today whenever I move my shoulders they crack and I am seeing the doctor in two weeks about it.
In both of these cases I have been in terrible pain and had to have time off of work. I have been left with a very horrible shoulder and back condition in which I find it hard to carry anything even slightly heavy now incase I am in pain afterwards so things like carrying lemonade bottles hurt me now so get someone to help me.
Now though I will tell you a case of somebody who I know who milked the compensation company for all she could get;
I wont mention her name but this lady is about 37 and she had a car accident about a year ago. She had someone come at her from behind but very slowly they touched. There was not even a scrape on her car which she was questioned about but said it didnt mean that she hadnt felt it enough to hurt her. She claimed from whiplash although she carried on in her job and didnt take a day off work. She milked free sessions of physio but only managed to get away with two because there was nothing wrong with her and was told that.
She then as soon as she knew the whiplash wasnt working, started to claim from stress saying she had nightmares and then got her daughter to stick up for her. She got over £5000 for this.
Now in her case I do not think she deserved it but again that is because I know her and what she did to get as much money as she can because she knew she could. My boss who suffered from whiplash did not even claim as she had not time off work and was recovered in two days so she said there was no point in claiming as she would be wasting peoples time working on her case when she didnt really deserve it.
Compensation is one of those tricky subjects because it is money at the end of the day and if people think they can get some money they will try it by using any means necessary.
It is estimated that compensation now costs the UK £10 billion each year and is rising. Apparently this is because that there isnt a focus in the government on how the compensation regime should work. Where is this money coming from? I am being serious on that because I tried to search it and couldnt find it.
On other cases we have people saying that the whole idea of a compensation culture is a myth and the number of claims is falling. To be honest this can be believed because since people have been made more aware of claiming for compensation for any injury such as like dooyoo says fear of doctors helping people off duty in case they get sued, workplaces and schools have done their best to minimise risk therefore reducing the need for compensation.
Now I know everybody has the right to claim for compensation but I honestly believe that if you are not hurt then stop wasting peoples time and money. Claim for what you need. My last cheque for £2500 goes on physio sessions at £30 an hour and has paid for the time I had off work which is still ongoing as I need more time off to see the doctors about it.
I just hope that 99% of people who claim for compensation do it because they need to not because they think they might as well.
Well this topic is getting two stars because I do think the compensation culture exists and I am sure that some of the people working with compensation cant believe the stories they hear, but what do they care, they get commission if they win a case.
You may think I am wrong but I would love to hear all of your views so leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading.
Compensation eh ! Tax payers Money they say .Ive paid Tax all my life .Went to work no matter the weather as i was a postwoman up at 3.30am everyday.I paid my dues and made a few people happy at Christmas delivering their goods on time.
I was an oasis though and fertile was my middle name. So i decided to get sterilized. no worry every month of heck im late again .Ive been pregnant 11 times had 6 kids out of it .And yes i had a tv LOL 5 tvs in fact .i couldnt afford the aeriels .So of to hospital i go to get my oasis sealed.
All is well. then my tea started to taste like shredded wheat .Oh i thought surely not .Id not long had stitches out .So i went to shops to buy beetroot my own cheap pregnancy test as it tasted like metal when ever i was pregnant.To my horror it did.So i bought a clear blue test <By the way these tests are brill worked everytime for me.I was pregnant docs here i come
12 weeks after gettin sterilized i was <up the duff> as they say.They had to take baby away as it shouldnt of been there and if the child had been born wouldnt of been healthy so another drain on tax payers money again keeping the child well .Solicitors were mentioned by friends i thought sod it they made a HUGE mistake i want them to know they had .Money didnt matter just the fact it was shoddy work .I was first in the queue to get sterilized so the doc should of been awake.I had to edure another sterilization and the loss of a child...
Solicitor was brill but he told me if i didnt settle out of court everything in my past would of been bought up .So bloody what, i never did anyone any harm so y worry .The hospital said i was pregnant already Pah ,why didnt they notice whilst doing operation .Asif im that thick.2 years down line they decided to settle out of court I didnt want to but my solicitor said they would make me look like dirt if it went to the dock .Why was i made to feel i had done something wrong when it was their error .The doctor who performed the operation was some bible person who said he had removed a misscarried baby and that he doesnt do abortions it wasnt an abortion just the operation was .So after 2 years a sum of 6000 pound was given me .What a cheek if i had slipped on the pavement and sued the council i would of been paid more yet i put my health in the hands of a so called experienced person and was made to feel like an idiot when i complained .So all i can say i was owed that if you buy a dress and it does'nt fit you take it back and it;s replaced,I cannot replace what was taken from me and the fact that i had to lose a child which shouldnt of been there in the first place .If you have a genuine case ..firstly get in touch with legal aid .write down all the circumstances and keep a record of all calls made. If injured take a photo as evidence dont be shoved under the carpet if your right in what your doing .Your voice can stop some-one else being hurt..I never had one apology but they paid me money so thats admittance.this is all i wanted in first place..... So do what you feel is right for the benefit of yourself and others who may be put in the same situation ...Thanks for letting me spout on ..Dawn X
Sadly, a lot of people do get hurt because of other people or companies doing stuff that they ought not to do. These victims should be entitled to compensation - as much to ensure that the culprit learns from their mistake (and sadly a lot of companies will not change unless they feel it in their pocket) as to ensure the victim doesn't lose out. The problem is that the process brings every unscrupulous leech out of the system to "help" the victim (for "help" read screw their own bit of cash out of the culprit). I learnt this first hand. I was driving along in my car, minding my own business when a taxi drove out of a side street to my right and straight into the side of me. My car spun around and ended up halfway onto the pavement facing the way he was travelling. The axel broke, the front panels were crushed and I had to force the door open to get out. I went into shock I think, and sat down on a wall to call 999 as my neck and wrist hurt and even in my dazed state of autopilot I knew I needed to be checked out. The taxi driver came out and apologised, gave me his details and then drove off in his crumpled car. I had a fun evening of ambulance, police, RAC, followed by a day off work to see my GP. After a few days my back and neck started to stiffen up, and after about ten days I got sent home from work by my supervisor (who knew me well enough to know I was too stubborn to go home unless she made me). I went to the GP who diagnosed whiplash and sent me for physiotherapy (private, the NHS in that area had an 8 month waiting list). Until that point I thought whiplash was something that people made up for compensation claims. But there I was, hardly able to move my back and neck, and my hands would go numb or get pins and needles if I tried to move my arms too much. However, the leeches were much quicker off the mark than I was. They smelt potential compensation and wanted some of it. Within hours of my cras
h the RAC accident solutions had telephoned me to offer their legal services, and within a day their auto indemnity service had me in a hire-car, which I kept for 5 weeks. Auto indemnity paid, and claimed from the insurance of the taxi driver. Within hours of informing my insurance company, Direct Line, I had a bouquet of flowers wishing me well, and a telephone call from their legal department offering to refer me to a solicitor (I had legal cover on my policy). They appointed Irwin Mitchell to act on my behalf (I now know that Irwin Mitchell are a mass compensation claimer, and advertise on daytime TV just like The Accident Group and Claims Direct). Irwin Mitchell were awful. I cannot stress this enough. They treated me like a number. If I rang they never called back. When I spoke to people I had to give a reference number and wait while they got the file before they would even pretend to know who I was. They knew I wasn't the customer, my insurance company were, and they therefore did nothing whatsoever to be pleasant or helpful to me. It felt like pushing a boulder up a hill while everyone who was supposed to help sat in their diggers and counted their money instead. They appointed an "expert". He was another leech. He didn't care who I was or what the effects ofthe accident had been. In fact when I entered his office he said (and I am not joking) "no blood, no guts, no gore? How am I going to make any money out of you?" and then spent the whole appointment talking about himself. I had to ask as he showed me out whether he wanted to know any of the effects of my accident, but it seemed he had made up his mind. His report recommended I had injections of steroid and anaesthetic into four points in my back to "cure" my pain (I guess he thought of a way to make some money from me). My physiotherapist, GP and other doctors I saw thought this would be unhelpful, so I refused. I claimed loss of £1000 wort
h of overtime, £800 of private physiotherapy, small amounts towards the policy excess, a holiday that was booked prior to the accident and taken 4 weeks after it (when I was very stiff and sore), loss of a gym membership (as I had renewed a week before the accident, but was unable to use the facilities for most of the membership period, and a few little bits and pieces. I had to buy a nicer car to replace the one written off, as I couldn't drive without power steering and electric windows, but was advised this was not possible to claim. 18 months later, after 15 months of physiotherapy (3 months twice a week, 3 months once a week, 3 months fortnightly - all privately - followed by 10 sessions on the NHS after we moved into an area where the waiting list was shorter) a court date was set and I was offered £2200 compensation. Irwin Mitchell said it was a good offer and I should take it. I refused. The offer was upped to £2800. Again I was advised that I wouldn't get any more and to take it. Again I refused. £3200. Irwin Mitchell hadn't even copied me the papers relating to my claim, and I kicked up a fuss and insisted that they did. When I saw them I realised Irwin Mitchell had not even submitted part of the claim, and had accepted the experts report saying I could have been cured in 3 months if I had accepted his treatment, without asking my GP who had advised against this, or the GP who referred me for more physio 10 months after the accident, or either physiotherapist. I made a complaint and was told a senior partner would take on my claim. The offer rose to £3500. I refused and said if need be I would take it to court. The day before court I accepted an offer of £4000. It sounds a lot to read it, but it didn't even cover my losses. I can only guess what the total bill to the taxi's insurance would have been (with Irwin Mitchell's bill, the car hire, the "expert" and uncle Tom Cobbly and all). Since my accident I
have talked to loads of people who have had similar experiences on different scales. Some victims of road accidents (from a guy who nearly lost his leg, had to have months in hospital and change career once he was able to work again 3 years later, to a woman who was traumatised and had part of her nose sliced off when a guy died whilst driving and his car smashed into hers) and some of medical negligence (a man whose daughters critical diagnosis was missed 3 times by his doctor, and the delay caused her to nearly die and loose all her fingers, and a woman whose blood clot was missed who has lost all feeling and use of her leg) and some of other causes (a guy who lost the hearing in one ear due to a skull fracture sustained whilst on a university rugby team). The interesting thing is that none of these people would hesitate to give back all the money if it undid the consequences of the accident. And many of them have deliberately chosen not to make maximum claims against those that were to blame (the two medical negligence cases in particular have accepted all necessary treatment, but feel the doctors have done their best since, and that it would be wrong to make the NHS pay out more than is due). So, I learnt that there is such a thing as whiplash, and that big figures for compensation often don't cover the actual costs for the victim. I also think I understand better now why there is such a prevalence of fake claims. Leeches have no morals after all.
Offers some compensation but at what price? - Advantages: Genuine loss is recognised, Only way to assure future for victims, Encourages better practice? - Disadvantages: Exagerated, fake cases sometimes win, We all pay in the end, Only the lawyers always win
I wasn't going to put my head above the water to be shot at on this one actually. The truth is, I've just left the Personal Injury (PI) sales market after working in it for the past two and a half years. The experiences I have had are mixed. I started out with The Accident Group (TAG). When I first joined them in October 2000, the ethos was sound. You worked hard, you helped people who had had accidents (genuine ones) to gain compensation, and you could get well-paid for it. OK, you might get a bit of abuse every now and then from people who would scream "ambulance chaser" or hilariously pretend to fall over in front of you, or people who would say "the only accident I've had is in that pram there!". All rubbish, but a necessary evil. I left TAG last year thoroughly disenchanted. From a company that was out to help people and make a bit of money in the process (naturally, it's a business, what do you expect?) the emphasis had shifted to 'acheiving the target of 4 claims a day'. Whether these were genuine or not or had any chance of being paid on was irrelevant. I have since had a similar experience with another company laughably called The (Accident) Welfare Centre. So you might think I'd be right up there with all the others slagging off compensation culture and how people can get money for a paper cut. Wrong. Anything but actually. Fair enough, there are people who feign injuries and make up claims to make some money, which is totally wrong. However, there are always going to be the stupid minority who give the rest a bad name. I have helped people who have had serious injuries at work, etc. gain compensation they deserved but were told by others that they couldn't claim. For too many years now, people have been getting fleeced by solicitors preying on the lack of alternatives by taking huge percentages of people's money. No, the real problem with the
PI market is that it is no longer the client who is the main focus in most cases. The focus is the company who treat their own staff like dirt and who are out to make a quick buck before (as is widely expected) the bubble bursts. Some even suggest it has already. So don't be so quick to jump on the bandwagon. Put yourself in the other position. If you fell over in the street and broke your ankle resulting in 4 weeks off, what would you do? I would be willing to lay odds that many of you certainly wouldn't be saying "Silly sod for tripping over that missing grid, I won't be doing that again in a hurry. Oh well, never mind". You certainly wouldn't be too happy about missing out on a month's wages, not being able to eat or keep up with your bills. I would suggest that you would almost certainly wonder why someone hasn't put a grid over a 5 foot drop, why you're in agony and can't sleep due to the pain, and why it should be your fault that you've lost that month in wages. Long-threatened regulation is required of the industry in order to protect the best interests of the people who really need it. The people who genuinely hurt themselves through no fault of their own. So before you go criticising those who make the claims when they injure themselves, just remember that it's all too easy to throw stones, but just watch that greenhouse that you live in.