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It’s official – there is no compensation culture (unless you edit a tabloid newspaper)

Lord Young of Graffam’s report on the nation’s health and safety legislation for the prime minister, unveiled last Friday, has been greeted with wild enthusiasm by the tabloid press, but are they telling the full story?.

A “massive shake-up,” the Sun declared, was set to “rid Britain of its crippling compensation culture.”

The Mail reckoned Lord Young had come up with “masterly plans for curbing the compensation culture and reforming our idiotic health and safety laws.”

The Express heralded “the beginning of the end for the compensation culture.”

The Star claimed to be in tune with the PM’s thoughts on the issue: “Cam: I’ll crush compo culture.”

But what did Lord Young actually say?

“The problem of the compensation culture prevalent in society today is one of perception rather than reality…There was on overriding opinion that the health and safety agenda had been hijacked by the tabloid press, whose reports often contributed to misinterpretation and misunderstandings by regularly exaggerating and ridiculing instances which in reality have nothing at all to do with health and safety…There was a general agreement that the rise of a compensation culture is largely a myth perpretated by the national press.”

So there it is then. According to Lord Young, the PM’s appointee as special adviser and the report’s author, there is no compensation culture. However, there is a lot of media hysteria around and unfortunately the tabloids, true to form, have already hijacked the report for their own ends. What we need is a strong statement from the PM’s office declaring the compensation culture to be a myth but we fear that even Downing Street is not above tweaking Lord Young’s report to suit its own agenda on the topic. 

Bonnar & Company fights for the rights of hurt and injured people and their families. We do not subscribe to the notion of a compensation culture and we will continue to represent the interests of our clients who have suffered as a result of others’ negligence whether at work, on the road or in a public place. Accident victims are under increasing pressure from insurance companies to settle their claim for less than its true value and that is why people seeking personal injury compensation need experience and expertise on their side.

For a free review of your claim and expert legal advice , please contact us on: FREEphone 0800 163 978

20,000 people in the UK die early because of work

Simply being at work can be dangerous and it’s driving 20,000 Brits to an early grave every year, according to a study out yesterday.

The study, by the TUC, comes at a time when health & safety legislation in the UK is under close scrutiny from government appointee Lord Young, who has been asked by the PM to investigate the ‘compensation culture’.

The report claims that thousands of workers in the UK die early because of occupational cancers and lung disorders such as mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos. It also states that thousands of people are injured at work but their accidents go unnoticed. The Health & Safety Executive echoes the TUC study and estimates that a staggering 246,000 workplace injuries were unrecorded last year.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “If the level of HSE funding is cut the effects will be catastrophic.”

Firms such as Bonnar & Company see the effects of workplace accidents on a daily basis and we can only wonder at the rationale behind attempts to cut so-called red tape in the workplace. One person’s red tape is another person’s last line of defence against serious injury or death at work.

If you have been hurt or injured in an accident at work or if you have developed an industrial illness, you can call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for no obligation expert legal advice from a personal injury solicitor.

Insurer resists the urge to blame personal injury claims for rising premiums

Admiral Insurance said today that it had not seen “any unusual trends in bodily injury or damage claims” and reported a 21% rise in pre-tax profit to £126.9m for the first six months of 2010.

Admiral’s chief operating officer David Stevens blamed an “annus horribilis” in the car industry business for a 14% rise in premiums in just six months. He said that costs will continue to go up as the firm responds to changing market pricing, commenting that:

“For the first time in a number of years in 2009, the number of claims actually went up slightly. That was partly due to the bad weather in the winter of last year.”

Firms such as RBS Insurance have recently reported motor insurance losses at the end of 2009 and typically blamed a strong rise in the number and severity of personal injury claims. So let’s not hold our breath in the expectation that more insurers will avoid stigmatising genuine road traffic accident claimants and blaming innocent car injury victims for rising motor insurance premiums. 

Of course, what the insurance companies fail to mention is that bogus injury claims are weeded out early on and never get settled. Unless insurers are  actually paying out on fraudulent claims and therefore sustaining AVOIDABLE LOSSES, there should not be any problem in dealing with those few individuals who are determined to fabricate an accident or an injury.

At Bonnar & Company we receive very few enquiries from people seeking to defraud the system but we take immediate and robust action to immediately kick these claims out. A personal injury solicitor has to build a case for compensation based on the evidence. If the evidence falls short, the claim falls flat on its face – end of story. 

You should also be aware of one of the insurance industry’s favourite ploys, which is to group the dubious claims with genuine accident victims in order to perpetuate the myth of a compensation culture when their real motive is to boost profits by discouraging claimants and making the process as difficult and as stressful as possible.

If you or a member of your family need to discuss a road traffic injury claim with a personal injury expert, please call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for a no obligation case review and independent legal advice.

HSE warns oil companies on North Sea accidents

Just a few short months ago government appointee Lord Young was proclaiming that much of UK health & safety legislation is ‘just plain silly’.

Today, Steve Walker, head of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) offshore division, has bluntly told companies that their health and safety record covering 27,000 workers is “simply not good enough.”

He said: “The industry has shown it can do better and it must do in future.”

Figures released on Tuesday by the HSE show that while there were no fatalities in the offshore operations it regulates for the third year in a row last year, the number of major injury cases rose from 30 in 2008-09 to 50.

The deaths of 16 in a helicopter crash and a fatality involving a diving support vessel are not covered by the HSE figures but the report says the combined fatal and major injury rate almost doubled to 192 per 100,000 workers compared with 106 in 2008-09.

Mr Walker also expresses concern at the increase from 61 to 85 in the number of incidents involving a major and significant escape of oil and gas that could have led to a major incident.

In the wake of the recent BP Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, it will be interesting to hear Lord Young’s pronouncemnts on UK health & safety legislation when his review is complete. Let’s hope meantime that the oil and gas industry pays attention to the HSE’s concerns for worker safety on the rigs.

Bonnar & Company specialises in industrial accident and injury claims and has a particular expertise in dealing with claims brought by workers in dangerous occupations. If you or a member of your family needs to discuss a potential claim please call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for a no obligation discussion.

Insurance industry victimises personal injury claimants in new report

When will the insurance industry stop blaming personal injury solicitors for rising premiums?

Today’s report by the Association of British Insurers claims that the rise of a litigation or “ambulance-chasing” legal culture in Britain is playing its part in the rise of artificial claims.

The ABI’s own figures show that in 2009 a grand total of 4% of ALL claims were fraudulent and that the most common frauds were bogus or exaggerated claims on claims on household policies.

A key point worth stressing and always overlooked by the industry is that, by definition, fraudulent claims do not succeed. Or perhaps I am missing the point. Is the insurance industry really saying that it is paying out on claims known to be fraudulent?

As all reasonable people will understand, personal injury solicitors actually play an important part in identifying and weeding out bogus claims. As a firm Bonnar & Company actually receives very, very few enquiries relating to what might be called ‘dodgy’ claims. The small number of dubious claims that do come our way are quickly rooted out and the claimants are sent packing, pronto.

The fact remains that a claimant for personal injury compensation has to prove that their accident was the result of someone else’s negligence.  As accident and personal injury compensation claim solicitors, our number one job is to evaluate personal injury cases and gather the evidence necessary to support our client’s claim. It is inconceivable that we would spend a second longer than is necessary on a bogus claim when we are busy working on behalf of genuine accident and injury victims and their families.

If you have ever tried claiming on your own household policy for genuine accidental damage just imagine for a moment how difficult it can be to claim AGAINST the insurer of another member of the public or a company for pain, suffering and loss sustained as a result of an accident or industrial illness.   

So, I ask the question once more…

Where are all the successful bogus personal injury compensation claims and where are the lawyers that are making them?

If you or a member of your family would like to discuss your genuine claim for compensation with a qualified, regulated and experienced personal injury solicitor, then please call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for no obligation EXPERT legal advice.