New research released by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Trade Union Congress has revealed that 85% of injured workers fail to receive compensation from their employers.
The report titled ‘The Compensation Myth’ takes a look at what impact government law changes have had on how people view the claim process and how accessible compensation is understood to be by the everyday employee in the UK.
What it discovered was truly shocking as it revealed that out of 610,000 people who have been reported to be injured or fallen ill because of their job, only 90,000 have made successful work compensation claims.
So why is this the case? Well a lot of it is down to a lack of understanding among employees about how the personal injury claims system works, according to APIL president Matthew Stockwell who believes that due to employers holding such a strong upper hand in the workplace, many victims are simply choosing not to claim.
Mr Stockwell said: “Unfortunately employers tend to have the upper hand as they control the workplace and have all the information on the equipment and systems in place.
“So there will be people who have a need and a right to claim but can’t, which is precisely the opposite of a so-called ‘have-a-go’ culture.”
The report also focused on the changes the government has made to the way claims of this nature are afforded for by the claimant. It showed how in 2012/13 there was a drop of 92,227 claims from the previous year and that since then, despite the fall in claims, the government had changed the costs regime so that claimants are forced to pay up to 25% of their damages in legal costs.
This drew particular criticism from the report as it stated: “There’s a strong likelihood that many injured workers will be put off from making claims for compensation for their injuries entirely, allowing many negligent employers to avoid making amends, and leaving the state to pick up the tab for medical care and any benefits arising from the injury.”
The one thing the government has always claimed was not on their agenda was to remove the access to justice available to the genuine claimant, yet this report displays that is exactly what I happening.
Falling claims will be seen as a good thing, especially for the insurers as it means there are less payouts for them and that is exactly the motive behind their push for the cut in civil litigation costs as well as the changes to the claims system.
It is clear that the guidelines and how the personal injury claims process needs to be clearer and more accessible for employees. Why should they have to endure loss of earnings because of their employer’s negligence simply because their boss holds all the cards?
Finally, for those who are cynical when it comes to the victims right to claim and prefer to brush it under the ‘compensation culture’ carpet, think about it this way: Why should your hard earned money, which the government charges in tax, be used to cover the costs of the medical bills of those injured at work, when the injury was caused by the negligence of the employee?
1. JPhotoStyle; NY Photographic; http://jphotostyle.com/handwriting/a/accident.html