Compensation Culture? What Compensation Culture?

This article was published on: 08/4/14

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The insurer’s dream of a compensation culture society, has been viciously awoken by fact, as a recent poll carried out by YouGov discovered that just 25% of personal injury victims are likely to make a claim.

For the past few years, and through many aggressive reforms to the way personal injury claims are handled and funded, the insurers have pedalled at full pelt to the backing track of this notion that everyone wants to make a personal injury claim and, for the most of that period, the Government have only been too quick to climb into bed with them on the idea of a compensation culture.

So if so many people are so cynical that all they do is go round looking for the smallest of scrapes in order to chip in a claim, then why does such poll consistently show that such a small number of victims would actually make a claim?

The poll showed that 38% of people who had an accident or illness have decided not to make a claim as they believed it wasn’t bad enough to warrant compensation and a further 22% of those who have been involved in some form of accident that has caused them injury claimed that they did not claim because they don’t believe in compensation, while 9% cited that they did not feel they had a strong enough claim to win.

Of course these figures are great for disproving the theory of the Government and the insurers that there is a compensation culture, but at the same time it is also pretty worrying that so many people don’t believe that they are entitled to compensation or worry about the strength of their case.

Genuine claimants should not be put off pursuing compensation, they should be encouraged if it has had a negative impact on their lives.

Around 67% of those who took the poll confirmed that they had been contacted by a personal injury company in the past year, which is a 5% rise on 2013, with unsolicited phone calls now the main way that these companies are trying to make contact.

Again on reflection this is not a figure that the claimant lobby will like to see, and it shows that there is still more to be done to rid the industry of those who are not doing things in the right way.

Tom Rees, research manager of YouGov, explained it was still too early to judge the impact of the Jackson Reforms, but subtle changes have occurred over the past two years that show an evolving personal injury landscape.

He said: “While there are fewer claims being made, the level of contact from personal injury companies has been pretty steady.

“The type of contact is changing, though, with fewer people receiving unsolicited texts and emails but more being cold-called. Direct approaches do seem to be working, however, with a notable number of people choosing to pursue a claim after contact from a personal injury company.”

This suggests that there is still more to do to help the general public understand personal injury. There is no doubt that the insurance industry will look at that comment and wave the figure of disapproval at the number or cold-calls being made  and rightly so.

But at the same time it proves that people still don’t have the needed knowledge to pursue a claim for compensation, which they are entitled to, without legal representation.