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Personal Injury Claimants:money Grabbers Or Unfortunate Victims?

Mar 26, 2008
According to new research commissioned by the law firm Russell, Jones & Walker, most people in the UK believe that Britain is headed toward a US-style "claims" culture and over 50% of those who responded thought that claimants are motivated by money rather than being victims.

However, this figure is contradicted by responses given when questioned about long term affects to health, nearly 90% of respondents would bring legal action against their employer if they sustained illness or injury due to negligence. The reaction was similar when people were asked whether they would sue the NHS or council (in the case of medical negligence) or educational institutions (if they were thought to be liable for damage to their children's health).

A small number of cases hit the headlines for the apparent ridiculousness of the claim, for example, the recent case of a man who sued William Hill bookmakers for allowing him to lose more than 2 million. Unfortunately, these are liable to cause large sections of the population to call into question the legitimacy of the claims process. Yet, the majority of personal injury claims go unreported and deal with small amounts of money that can help those who, through no fault of their own, have been injured or have suffered serious affects to their health.

Recent examples in the news might include the miners who have suffered pit-related illness such as lung disease or vibration white finger, a traffic accident victim who was left with permanent brain damage, whiplash victims who have had their lifestyles affected by their condition and the train driver who suffered serious back pain following a fall that could have been avoided if his employer had replaced a faulty chair.

In all these cases the people involved have sustained injury or health problems as a result of someone else's negligence. They may have had to pay for expensive medical treatment for their condition, they may be unemployable and they may have been unable to pursue their previous lifestyle from having to give up sporting activity to being unable to play with their children.

Besides the financial cost and the cost to the individual, there is also the principal of the issue, that employers and other organisations have a duty of care toward employees, patients and the public at large.

Cases like the recent "popcorn lung" claim, where a man is suing his former employer after developing a lung disease related to a chemical flavouring he was working with, highlight previously unknown issues of health and safety and ensure better protection for employees in the future. In this and many other similar cases, deficiencies in health and safety policy are brought to light and, it is hoped, improved on.

In the case of whiplash or other claims against a third party the principal is straightforward, why should you suffer for another's negligence?

Around 60% of those who responded to the Russell, Jones and Walker research felt that both time and money pose an obstacle to bringing a claim. In fact the claims process has never been easier, or cheaper, to instigate with many claims specialists such as 1stClaims offering a real "no win, no fee" servicetructure, as well as the offer that you will receive 100% of your compensation if you win your case.

For further information, please visit http://www.1stclaims.co.uk.
About the Author
We deal in a range of claims, including personal injury claims and compensation.
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