Whose fault is it anyway?

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 23 July 2013:

This week, the debate may be raging on over who’s to blame for the so-called ‘compensation culture’ in the UK but there are still plenty of valid claims.

The Association of British Insurers just absolutely love to trot out figures from a research study that says personal injury claims figures have gone up by something like 60 per cent since 2006 when it comes to road traffic accidents, even though the number of reported collisions has fallen by 20 per cent over that same period of time. The ABI blames ‘ambulance-chasing’ personal injury solicitor firms on inflating claims figures in order to pad their own bank accounts, but injury solicitors are striking back against the ABI’s allegations.

Many legal experts say that the ABI is blowing things out of proportion to throw the scent off the trail of insurance providers that inflate the costs of premiums any way they can. Official figures do say that claims volume has decreased by some 60,000 over the past 12 years, and on top of that the ABI’s figures may be woefully out of date.

So who do we believe? Are there these nefarious, mustache-twirling villainous lawyers out there, convincing otherwise honest Brits to commit fraud for a few extra pounds like the ABI says? Something tells me that it’s just not that cut-and-dried; besides there are plenty of other things driving accident claims, such as in the medical negligence field.

I mean, let’s look at the facts here: there’s been a more than 20 per cent rise in claims made against the NHS, according to official figures. Nearly one out of every five pounds the NHS budgeted last year – some £22.7 billion – went to personal injury compensation payouts during the 2012-2013 financial year, according to the NHS Litigation Authority, which was a result of the 16,000 angry and hurt patients seeking compensation after coming to harm whilst in hospital or under the care of an NHS physician.

This figure grew by about 2,500 patients year-on-year, the NHS says, indicating that either people are getting more frail or the level of care being administered by health professionals in this country is on the decline. Honestly, I’m going to suspect the latter before I do the former; yes there’s always the curious effect an economic downturn has on legal matters – people tend to make claims a bit more quickly when the economy is poor and money is tight – but when you’ve got so many medical negligence claims being made there’s absolutely something amiss in NHS facilities all over the country, if you ask me!

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