Victim-blaming grips the personal injury claims landscape

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 19 Nov 2013:

You better hope you have a good injury lawyer, because you could see yourself held responsible for your next accident claim – even if you’re the victim!

There’s this really nasty trend that I’ve been seeing as it develops in the personal injury community at the moment, and it makes me sick to my stomach. If you’re wronged in some way, the legal system is supposed to compensate you for your injuries, but now victims are being wrung out to dry because supposedly they were contributing to the situation.

Now I’m not talking about actual, real instances of contributory negligence. I mean if you get into a car accident that was caused by you as much as the other driver, that’s an obvious cut-and-dried case, but what about when to cyclists not wearing helmets struck by cars? Yes I can hear you say ‘well, helmets save lives, you shouldn’t be on the road as a cyclist without one,’ but at the same time there’s no law. It’s not compulsory. So how can you penalise someone for that?

Well it’s happening. A news story recently broke how courts are throwing the book at cyclists that were struck by cars – through no fault of their own mind you – and were held up to be responsible for as much as 50 per cent of their injuries because they weren’t wearing a helmet. Despite the fact that there’s no law requiring them to do so. How is that fair?

Then if you think that’s bad, wait to you hear this story that comes out of Belfast: two PNSI officers made a personal injury compensation claim against a woman and her partner after they had to ram their vehicles with their patrol car in order to bring the cars to a halt. Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Well get this: the owners of the vehicles weren’t driving them. In fact they had just been stolen!

Somehow it’s the owners’ faults that these criminals stole their cars and that they had to be detained by the police? Did this couple leave their car keys in the ignition? Of course not – what happened was the criminals burgled their house, stole several thousand pounds worth of property, and then absconded in the cars. Yet it’s not the criminals’ fault. Has the world gone mad?

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