Many people connected in some way with the personal injury industry will have been eagerly anticipating the Cutting Edge documentary, Scams, Claims and Compensation Games last night. It looked at the world of ‘no win, no fee’ accident claims and followed a personal injury law firm in Liverpool and several of its clients who had suffered all kinds of injuries – from the man who cut his face shaving and was left with a scar, to the woman who sat under a tree and got hurt when a branch fell on her.
The programme focussed solely on the trivial or perhaps less serious types of claims…however the law is designed to protect those people who are quite seriously injured through no fault of their own.
Someone who suffers a trip in the street, who can no longer work for example, would need the compensation in order to continue paying their mortgage and bills.
I once represented a woman who fell on a pavement, injured her arm and therefore had to give up work. The injury affected every aspect of her life and the trauma put pressure on her relationship with her husband. It led to her marriage to fail and she was left with no income and a huge mortgage to pay. Without the compensation from the accident which caused this chain of events, she could have lost her home.
Inevitably you will get some trivial claims, such as some of those depicted on the Cutting Edge documentary last night, but if you attempt to exclude some of the less serious looking claims, you run the risk of preventing access to justice for those in genuine need.