Personal Injury claims on the rise
The number of personal injury claims filed in the High Court jumped 32% between 2006 and 2008, research has found.
Whoah! That’s quite a jump.
Claims relating to personal injury jumped 31.8% from 914 in 2006 to 1,205 in 2008, according to a study of the latest available figures by legal information provider Sweet & Maxwell.
The rise comes despite attempts to reduce personal injury claims under the Compensation Act 2006, which imposed registration requirements on claims management companies and created the Ministry of Justice’s claims management regulator.
Citing anecdotal evidence from law firms and insurers, Sweet & Maxwell suggested that the recession is behind the rise in personal injury claims, with individuals claiming because they were under financial stress. At the same time, insurers suffering from weak investment returns were more willing to contest claims, Sweet & Maxwell suggested.
Cynics have always claimed that lawyers milk both recessions and the boom periods in equal measure. While that largely depends on what area you specialise in, I think it’s fair to say there’s an element of truth in it. Mind you, try telling that to the lawyers who have found themselves out of work over the last couple of years and I’m sure they’ll have something to say about it.
But a 32% jump in PI claims in just 2 years is huge, no matter how you slice it. While the reasons are interesting, you could conceivably make the argument that a recession allows justice to better prevail, with claimants more likely to bring claims and defendants more inclined to defend them, rather than just settling at will. That, though, rather presupposes that justice does indeed prevail in an adversarial system. But that’s a can of worms I’m steering well clear of here.
However, there is another possibility for this starling statistic: maybe there are just more instances of negligence going on out there?