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In the late 1990s the then Labour government opened up claimant access to justice by enabling individuals to pursue no win no fee claims for personal injury compensation. Unfortunately since then, those fighting for the insurance sector interests and opposing the rights of the claimants have employed many tactics to cast doubt on the integrity of the industry and claims process. They’ve been extremely economical with the truth about personal injury claims and spread damaging myths.
Sadly, most of the common myths that are often latched on to by the media are cheap shots at claimants. We’ve all heard phrases labelling personal injury claims as ‘blags’, ‘easy money’ or ‘something for nothing’ and individuals making those claims portrayed as looking for free cash, and responsible for the compensation culture they say is sweeping the nation. From where we sit (the same applies to our claimants) the compensation culture doesn’t even exist. This blame game just suits the interests of those who stand to gain if people injured through no fault of their own are discouraged from making a claim for personal injury compensation. It’s all supposed to erode the confidence of claimants to pursue their claim and receive a fair settlement to cover their injuries and other losses.
Lies damn lies and statistics
Of course, none of this helps those who have been injured through no fault of their own and find themselves in very tough situations as a result. Whether it’s the struggle of coping with a loss of wages after an accident at work, or in need of rehabilitative medical treatments at a pace faster than the NHS can provide, claimants must be left to make their claim with confidence and without the fear of what people think about them making a claim.
Apart from the tactic of portraying claimants in a negative light, there is very negative talk about the claims process being dodgy, dishonest and dirty. This is certainly untrue in our experience, and that of many other respected companies in the industry.
So what other personal injury compensation myths are there?
- MYTH: You’ll have to go to court to settle your claim
Not true. The vast majority of claims for personal injury compensation never go to court. In most cases it is easy to decide who is at fault for an injury. If liability for your personal injury is shown to be that of the 3rd party, they will agree to settle your claim on the basis of medical evidence and representations from your solicitor on an ‘out of court’ basis. This saves the additional costs of court fees etc, something all parties seek to avoid.
Of course, if the 3rd party mounts a strong denial of liability regarding your personal injury claim and your solicitor believes that you will not be able to convince a judge that they are wrong, your claim will be closed as it is not in the interests of your claim, or those of your solicitor to become liable for court costs. (Remember, if your claim fails, you pay NOTHING).
Only in cases where liability is genuinely in dispute, or the value of a claim settlement cannot be agreed, a claim may then proceed to court.
- MYTH: Making a personal injury claim is easy money
Again, another falsehood about the personal injury claims process. Compensation settlement values cover a large number of factors and are certainly not a get rich quick scheme. Remember, to make a claim for personal injury compensation you have to have suffered an injury that warrants medical attention and causes pain, leads to an inability to live life normally and results in additional losses.
Even those who make claims for relatively minor injuries will have suffered pain, discomfort and distress for a minimum period of 4 weeks. A personal injury compensation settlement value will compensate you fairly for the pain and distress of any injury sustained, medical costs, the level of recovery made, costs for alterations and equipment and loss of income. It’s fair to say that if you read of someone receiving a substantial sum of compensation (6 figures or more), they will have sustained very serious injuries with life changing consequences.
- MYTH: Making a claim takes ages and is a real hassle
Whilst it is always important to be honest and admit that there is no definitive answer to the question of how long making a claim for compensation will take, in the vast majority of cases claims will be settled in 3 to 9 months. This generally applies to lower value compensation claims where the total claim cost, including fees and expenses is limited to £10,000. These claims are made via the claims portal and this has sped the process up.
In claims involving serious injuries, where medical treatment is ongoing and the full extent of losses and injuries is yet to be finally confirmed, a claim can take longer. The reason for this is that it is important for your solicitor to act in your best interests and ensure that you receive the maximum level of compensation possible for the injuries and losses you have incurred.
It’s also not fair to say that making a claim is a hassle. At Direct2Compensation, we’ve worked hard to take the hassle out of claiming. Sure, you’ll have a few obligations to keep such as signing a conditional fee agreement, providing information and answering questions raised by your solicitor or the 3rd party, and you’ll probably have to go for a medical. Apart from that though, we’ll make sure that your solicitor will be doing the hard work for you.
- MYTH: Making a claim after an accident at work will cost you your job
Obviously making a claim after an accident at work isn’t the easiest of situations in which to find yourself. However, claimants have to remember their rights after an injury at work and put their interests and those of their family ahead of their employer.
Employers have responsibilities after an accident at work and a key one of those is to treat all employees fairly. Employers must allow ample time for an individual to recover before they can sack them for not attending work. And before sacking an employee, employers should be seeing if they have any alternative roles that would be suitable for the injured person and enable a return to work.
If your employer is trying to force you out as a result of your accident at work compensation claim, contact us and we’ll give you the confidence to make a claim and link you with an expert solicitor to act for you against them.
- MYTH: The claim will cost you more than you’ll receive
This is one of the most cynical lies told about claiming compensation after suffering a non-fault personal injury. As long as claimants ensure that they are only instructing compliant personal injury claims companies or solicitors, they will always receive the maximum compensation settlement to which they are entitled.
Since the introduction of the LASPO Act in April 2013, claimants now contribute a maximum of 25% of any settlement awarded to them. This is deducted BEFORE any settlement is made to the claimant and goes towards their own legal fees. There are no other deductions whatsoever and the remaining 75% of your settlement and your entire special damages claim will remain yours and yours alone.
Remember, if your claim fails you will not have to pay a penny for the personal injury compensation claims services provided to you.