Drop in personal injury claims
Labour & European Law Review Weekly Issue 381 06 August 2014
A new study from market research agency YouGov has found that the likelihood of people making a claim as a result of suffering a personal injury has dropped over the past year.
The report - Personal Injury 2014 - found that in April 2014 a quarter of people (25 per cent) made a claim after having a personal injury compared to almost three in ten (29 per cent) in July 2013.
The study found that there were a variety of reasons behind the decision not to seek compensation. For instance, just under one in ten (nine per cent) of non-claimants did not believe their case was strong enough to win. This represented a sharp downturn on the almost one in five (19 per cent) who felt this way in July 2013.
Just over a third (35 per cent) of people who had had an accident or illness decided not to claim as they did not believe their ailment was bad enough to warrant compensation. A further 22 per cent did not believe in claiming compensation and one in twenty (five per cent) of non-claimants were concerned about the costs they would incur in making the claim, virtually unchanged from previous years.
YouGov says that it is too early to tell if the drop is because of the changes introduced in April 2013 by the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) as most of the claims were started before the new rules came into effect. However, in its response to the Government consultation in April 2011, Thompsons predicted that 25 per cent of people injured through no fault of their own and who would have pursued a claim under the old rules would not be able to find a lawyer willing to take on their case under the new rules.
More recently, Thompsons welcomed the conclusions of the House of Commons’ Justice Select Committee which severely criticised a government decision in December 2013 to end the exemption for mesothelioma sufferers from paying legal costs under LASPO. In response to evidence given at the Committee hearing by Thompsons’ Head of Asbestos Litigation, Ian McFall, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) admitted that they had struck a confidential agreement with Government about mesothelioma in July 2012. The Committee was critical of Government policy having been shaped by this agreement with insurers which was neither open nor transparent.
For its report, YouGov Reports commissioned a survey among its online panel, drawing on a nationally representative sample of 2,212 UK adults aged 18 and over. This sample was then supplemented by a boost sample of 441 adults who had been involved in a personal injury/clinical negligence claim to generate more in-depth analysis on personal injury claims.
Ian McFall at Thompsons said: “Flushing out the fact that ABI and Government had colluded behind closed doors to reach a secret agreement on mesothelioma claims confirms what we suspected. Its very existence flies in the face of open government and raises serious questions about whether other such agreements are out there.”
To read the YouGov report, go to: http://research.yougov.co.uk/news/2014/07/30/people-suffering-personal-injuries-less-likely-mak/
To read Thompsons response to the report of the Justice Committee, go to: https://www.thompsons.law/news/news-releases/asbestos-disease-news/justice-committee-call-for-further-review-of-mesothelioma-claims-in-response-to-evidence-from-thompsons-solicitors