James Maxey Responds to Melanie Reid’s ‘Compensation Culture’

The world of personal injury is no stranger to attacks from those who disapprove. As the myth of Britain’s ‘compensation culture’ continues to garner media attention, the stigma surrounding solicitors and the work that they do is at an all-time high.

The latest criticism of personal injury law comes from Melanie Reid, award winning journalist and the author of the ‘Spinal Column’ in The Times. In April 2010, Ms Reid broke her back and neck whilst out horse riding which resulted in her becoming a tetraplegic.

In one of her columns published in The Times Magazine on the 24th August 2013, Ms Reid explained that she did not file a claim herself after her accident, “not because I’m rich but because the whole idea of trying to make money out of an accident is wrong and unfair.”

Now to some extent here, many people will actually agree with Ms Reid. Whilst she was well within her own rights not to make a claim regardless of her wealth, as is anyone who may have suffered an injury, there is still the case of those who have had an accident and have found themselves in financial difficulties as a result.

Any personal injury lawyer could talk about cases where a client has been forced to take time off work whilst they recover from their injuries. This time off may only be for a week or two, which may only have a minor effect on a person’s finances. However, what happens when that couple of weeks turns into a couple of months, or even 6 months, out of work? That is when a family will start to feel the financial squeeze; especially if one partner doesn’t work and they have young children to feed.

A successful personal injury claim can help to make all the difference to this family. Not only can a settlement help to cover the injured claimant’s time off work, it can also help towards other expenses such as medicines like painkillers, petrol to travel to hospital appointments and parking fees. Sustaining any kind of injury is traumatic, both for the person involved and their family. Winning a claim with the help of a personal injury lawyer can really help take the pressure off and make life easier.

Throughout her column, Ms Reid focuses on claims against the NHS and those who heal us when we are injured. But sometimes those we put our trust in to look after us when we are most vulnerable can fail, and lives can essentially be changed forever. Under the current coalition government, the NHS is expected to make £20 billion worth of cuts by 2015. This means slashing wages and cutting back on staff. As a result of strained resources, standards of care within the NHS are dropping.

Say, for example, that a patient who had cancer was misdiagnosed due to Doctors being too busy in a hospital and a long waiting list for an MRI scan. If that patient were to pass away or become seriously ill due to this negligence, their family would be left in the very difficult position of having to adapt their financial situation very quickly. Funerals can be expensive, and if the patient was the only earner in the household, families are left with the painful duty of having to continue on with a very strict budget. As mentioned earlier, a financial settlement after a successful medical negligence case can ensure that the family is taken care of and can grieve together without worrying about financial constraints.

Making a claim for compensation isn’t just about getting the money an injured person deserves, and it isn’t necessarily about proportioning blame. It’s also about ensuring that whatever happened to the person making a claim, whether they slipped on a wet floor or were left paralysed due to a medical mistake, is prevented from happening to someone else in the future.

In dozens of cases successfully settled by Express Solicitors, employers have been known to implement new health and safety measures or training courses designed purely to prevent future injuries.

To conclude, claiming for an injury isn’t a quick way to get a large cash pay-out and should never be viewed in this light. Those that have sustained serious injuries due to the negligence of others often suffer from financial difficulties. It is usually necessary for such individuals to claim compensation simply to continue to lead the life that they did before their accident. After all, why should they suffer in more ways than one?

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