The president of the not-for-profit, personal injury representative body, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has slammed an article published in the Times for criticising people who claim for compensation.
Matthew Stockwell took issue with Melanie Reid’s latest installment of her regular ‘Spinal Column’ when she talks about the claims process and suggests those that have used it should in some way be ashamed of doing so.
Melanie Reid has previously suffered a riding accident herself back in April 2010 where she broke her neck falling from the back of a horse and is now tetraplegic. She made the decision then not to make a claim for her injuries.
Whatever her reasons for this have to be respected but what Mr Stockwell takes particular issue with is the feeling of guilt her article lavishes on to those who when in a similar position and did make a claim.
Mr Stockell said: “I can only hope that victims of serious injuries who have pursued redress do not feel too much maligned by Melanie Reid’s column.
“That Ms Reid chose not to seek compensation for her injuries is her own choice. But to take away credibility from those who do, by suggesting that they should be in some way ashamed of themselves, could be very damaging.
“Someone who has been injured through the negligent actions of another has every right to compensation and those with the severest of injuries could easily find themselves insolvent, unable to work, and relying on the state.
“Negligence shatters lives and it is the wrongdoer, not the state, who should be held responsible for providing the means of support to help put the injured person’s life back on track, as far as possible.”
They also criticised lawyers and carried along the usual route as portraying them as ambulance chasers who are only out to make a fast buck. In reality this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially when it comes to serious and catastrophic injury such as spinal damage.
To someone who suffers a spinal cord injury as the result of someone else’s negligence, without personal injury lawyers they would be left to foot the cost of rehabilitation of which Ms Reid underwent 12 months for her broken neck, adaptations to the home in the worst case scenarios, loss of earnings both temporary and again in the worst case scenario permanent.
The truth is legal representation allows those who suffer the worst kind of injuries to be able to pick themselves up as close as they can to how they were living before their injury and move forward and the kind of treatment they need comes at such a hefty cost that without that representation, most people would simply struggle to afford their recovery.