It is all too common to hear stories of how the no win no fee system has stifled growth and innovation in the UK. ‘No win no fee’ was introduced to improve access to justice and was a very positive step. Sadly, since its introduction, there have been many stories that have cast doubt on the integrity of the personal injury claims process and spread damaging myths that often prevent people with legitimate claims of negligence coming forward. Let’s put some of those myths to bed……
1. Myth – Personal injury claims are spiralling out of control.
Truth – Compensation claims have fallen every year for the last five years. For example statistics show that every year over 850,000 people suffer an injury as a result of their job and over 25,000 people are forced to give up work due to work-related injuries or illness. 9 out of every 10 of these people, however, receive no compensation.
2. Myth – Compensation is paid automatically for any accident.
Truth – This is not true. Compensation is only paid when injuries have been caused by negligence. Negligence is when an accident was foreseeable and the actions or inactions of someone else caused injury. Britain pays out much less compensation, as a proportion of its GDP, than any other major European country apart from Denmark, and a third that of the USA.
3. Myth – We are heading for a US style system.
Truth – No evidence for this. Our legal systems are completely different. In the USA compensation awards are decided by juries. In Britain awards are made by judges and there are very strict regulations on compensation payments.
4. Myth – Personal injury claims are a burden on business.
Truth – It is a legal requirement for employers to have insurance cover for their employees in case they injured through negligence at work. Personal injury claims are usually paid out by Insurance companies. The fact remains that if there had been no negligence then the person who has suffered injury would not be making a claim for compensation. Therefore it is the failure to prevent negligence in the first place that is problem that needs to be addressed.