I recently read an article in the Law society Gazette which was based on a joint report published by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and entitled “The Compensation Myth”.
What is quite shocking is that the report indicates that the latest figures available show that there were around 610,000 people injured at work only 90,000 successful compensation claims were made.
It has to be born that not all injuries at work could form the basis of a claim but it is quite clear from the statistics that many people who should be compensated for injuries they receive at work are simply not receiving compensation.
Despite it being clear that we do not have a compensation culture in this country; the insurers, who are a large and powerful lobby, have still been able to persuade the government that it must be made more difficult for even those with legitimate claims to make a successful claim.
There was a recent change in the law that went through almost unnoticed by the public that makes it more difficult for a person injured at work to recover compensation.
The relationship between an employer and an employee has for many years been governed by many regulations aimed at making the workplace safer. The recent legislation is aimed at preventing an employer from being liable for injury caused simply as a result of a breach of regulations. It is now necessary to show actual negligence on the part of the employer increasing the burden on the employee making a claim with regard to evidence.
The difficulty in claims against an employer is that it is generally the employer who has control of the evidence on which a claim is based. Anything that increases the evidential burden on the person making the claim will always benefit the employer.
Other changes have been introduced aimed at achieving the same result of making it more costly for the claimant and cheaper for the employers insurers.
For some years now low value RTA cases have been dealt with on an electronic system called the “Portal”. This has recently been extended to other types of claims including employers liability claims with a value up to £25,000. This in itself is not necessarily a bad thing as the electronic process is quicker than the previous way of dealing with claims as the time limits are much tighter in the electronic system.
The problem with the electronic system is that only a limited amount of fixed costs are payable.
Another recent change is that where a case is dealt with on a conditional fee agreement basis (no win, no fee agreement) where the insurance premium to protect the agreement and the solicitor’s success fee were previously recoverable from the other side they now have to be paid by the client.
This is not a development that should put anyone off pursuing a claim as the amounts to be paid are only payable at the end of a successful case and payable out of the damages received. The law says that they can never be more than 25% of the client’s damages.
In other words it is only if the client receives damages that they will have anything to pay and they will always receive at least 75% of their damages.
It should be remembered that employers liability insurance is compulsory so all employers are insured against claims against them by injured employees. There is nothing even under the new rules that should put anyone off making a claim if they have been injured at work.
If you have been injured in the course of your employment and are not sure whether to make a claim or not, why not give me a call. I am very happy to provide free initial advice on whether you are likely to have a successful claim and then it is up to you to decide if you would like to go ahead with a claim.
Call Ian Wanstall at DMA Law on 0191 375 3938 to discuss a potential accident claim without cost or obligation.