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Do We Live In A 'Compensation Culture'?

View profile for John Hall
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Everyone will have read articles in the press or come across news items on the radio and television informing us that we live in ‘a compensation culture’. Tilly Bailey & Irvine's experienced Personal Injury and Negligence Partner John Hall busts this myth....

Large figures are bandied about along with extravagant stories of fraudulent claims, but what actually is the truth about this so-called compensation culture? We take a closer look into the key statistics....

What is the truth?

Clinical Negligence Claims

TBI act for clients who have suffered serious injuries as a result of negligence by GPs and/or hospital Trusts. Often these injuries are life changing and mean that the victims can no longer work and/or are left with significant disabilities. In any civilised society it is only fair and reasonable that these victims should be compensated for their injuries and losses. 

According to NHS Resolution, between October 2016 and September 2017 1,895,834 incidents were reported, of which, 496,709 (26.2%) resulted in harm to the patient. A staggering 89.3% of these patients did not pursue a claim.

Since 2013/14 the number of clinical negligence claims received by the NHS has reduced from 11,945 to 10,673 in 2017/18. The evidence shows that the numbers of claims made are falling.

Personal Injury Claims

TBI also handles all types of personal injury claims, including claims arising out of road traffic accidents, industrial disease (including asbestos related injuries, Vibration White Finger and deafness), accidents at work and public liability incidents.

The trend in relation to personal injury claims reflects that set out above. The number of personal injury claims issued in England and Wales County Courts in 2018 was down 13% on those issued in 2017 and were the lowest on record since accurate data on these started to be collected in 2012. 

In relation to personal injury claims caused by road traffic accidents the costs of these claims to insurers since 2013 is down by an incredible £885.5m. However, car insurance premiums have risen in the same period by 19%...

TBI suspect that that may have something to do with the fact that motor insurers spent a record-breaking £1.2b on settling vehicle repair claims alone in the first three months of 2019. So much for the insurers’ ridiculous claims that insurance premium hikes are caused by the prevailing compensation culture and fraudulent claims.

Compensation Culture 'Myth'

The compensation culture is and always has been a myth perpetuated by insurers and was confirmed in the Government’s own report from Lord Young, who said:

‘The problem of the compensation culture prevalent in society today is... one of perception rather than reality.’

It is time that the public were stopped from being brainwashed by insurers and the media into feeling guilty about pursuing valid claims arising out of injuries they have sustained due to no fault of their own.

Government legislation is making it more and more difficult for these claims to be made as a result of slashing the cost of solicitors assisting these claimants and by requiring claimants to pay up to 25% of their damages to solicitors to cover the resultant shortfall in costs.

If you have suffered injury as a result of medical negligence, accident or industrial disease, please contact our specialist team of personal injury solicitors across the North East on 0333 444 4422 or visit our offices in Hartlepool or Stockton.