A new report released by National Accident Helpline (NAH) in the last month has revealed that victims of personal injury are facing up to thousands of pounds worth of losses and real financial and emotional hardship.
The report titled, ‘The Real Cost of Personal Injury’, was released in April in order to start a wider debate over what NAH, and pretty much the personal injury profession on whole believe is a misconception in regards to a claims culture.
Among some of the key figures revealed by the report, which was based on independent research with the assistance of leading research agency, Populus it was revealed that 58% of personal injury victims had experienced a loss of earnings as a result of their injury.
Furthermore, 17% of said that they lost over £1,000, which for many is more than a month’s salary. When you take a minute to think what losing out on a month’s salary would mean for yourself, perhaps you can see why having the option to claim this back as compensation is so crucial.
Also revealed in the report was that 57% of victims reported that as a result of their injury, they were forced to make significant changes to their everyday lifestyle.
As is common with injuries suffered in such instances as a road traffic accident or an accident in work, mobility can be affected, often permanently and if you have suffered a break or fracture then the rehabilitation period can, in most cases, take over a year to complete.
The sort of lifestyle changes that victims reported having to make included giving up hobbies or exercise that is part of their daily routine or in the more severe cases being forced to move home or get adaptations built into their current addresses to ensure they can continue to remain mobile.
Again, stop for a moment and think what life would be like without being able to attend that gym class or without being able to play football with our mates, or worse still having to sell and move out of our family home because your injury, for instance, restricts your mobility so bad you can’t climb the stairs.
Not nice is it?
Most intriguingly though from the report was the findings that show that 44% of people who have suffered an injury of that kind of injury when it wasn’t their fault have not made a claim for compensation.
This is a clear contradiction from the insurer-led propaganda that the people of Britain are indulging in an apparent ‘Claims Culture’ and more worryingly shows that many people are not getting the support they need and deserve in order to help them meet the financial losses, caused by the impact of a personal injury.
So why is this? Why are people not claiming for compensation that, first of all they are entitled to but more importantly will help them get the help, treatment and rehabilitation that they need?
Well the report looked into this also and revealed that a third of British adults claimed that they were worried about the cost of a claim in terms of legal fees. This is in spite of the no win, fee agreements that still exist today.
It is a worrying thought that genuine accident victims are genuinely being priced out of claiming for compensation. After all they are the most important person when it comes to the cost of personal injury argument.
Yet we live in a time when the insurers are pressing for more cost cuts and the raising of the small claims limit. Things that if supported would squeeze the life out of the personal injury profession and deny the victims who do claim the opportunity to be suitably compensated.
The findings of the report show a complete lack of understanding or even compassion for the wider effect of personal injury. If insurers had their way, as they asked for recently, victims in the small claims court would only receive money for the cost of rehabilitation. Never mind the fact they have lost earnings through the forced time of work.
There is also a lack of concern for the process of recovery and what victims of personal injury actually go through. The report showed that 82% of victims had anxieties after their accident in regards to the length of time it would take to recover, 66% were worried about how they would cover their household bills and equally as staggering 56% were worried they would lose their job.
It is time that the government stood up and took notice of the real people who have been wronged in the case of a personal injury and it is definitely time that they took their hands off their other ear and gave the argument of the victim some air time.
In the past 18 months the insurance industry has been relentless on securing cuts and the government have bowed to their requests.
We now live in an era where the personal injury victim has to pay for their own representation through their damages rather than the fees being covered by the defendant.
Why should this happen? The personal injury victim didn’t ask to be injured and in most cases would prefer not to have had to contact a solicitor. If there was any moral guideline the negligent party would still cover the full cost of their actions.
Most importantly of all it is time that they myth of a claims culture was put to bed and that those accident victims who are suffering can feel comfortable bringing a claim to get the compensation they need to help with their recovery.
You can read the full report at National Accident Helpline.