‘Compensation Culture’ in the UK - What does the future hold?

Written by Paul Johnson

Media reports paint a confused picture ofrepparttar compensation industry inrepparttar 142834 UK. Some studies provide evidence of an increased willingness to sue for compensation however slightrepparttar 142835 supposed injury, with diminishing consequences for society, public services and industry. Others reject claims of a widespread compensation culture as tabloid myth.

In recent years there has been a rise inrepparttar 142836 number of people claiming accident compensation;repparttar 142837 question is whether this is a positive or negative trend and whatrepparttar 142838 likely outcomes are. Many seerepparttar 142839 upward trend as a contributing factor inrepparttar 142840 rise in insurance premiums, costing hospitals millions of pounds and contributing to an overall change in society. Onrepparttar 142841 other hand, as a result of these changes, there has been an increase inrepparttar 142842 level of awareness of issues such as health and safety and employee rights. This has forced many companies and public places to raise their standards and provide safe and comfortable working environments for their employees.

What has caused this rise?

It is thought that one trigger forrepparttar 142843 rise inrepparttar 142844 number of people claiming compensation wasrepparttar 142845 lifting of laws banning solicitors from advertising. This made it easier for legal firms to seek out potential claimants and develop ‘class actions’ involving large groups of people. Another explanation forrepparttar 142846 rise isrepparttar 142847 introduction ofrepparttar 142848 ‘Conditional Fee Arrangements’ in 1995 which allowed solicitors to take on cases on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, sorepparttar 142849 claimant could take on a case knowing that ifrepparttar 142850 case was lost, no legal fees need be payable. To cover themselves againstrepparttar 142851 risk of losing or becoming liable forrepparttar 142852 defendant’s legal costs, lawyers could take out ‘afterrepparttar 142853 event’ (ATE) insurance. These policies also offered cover forrepparttar 142854 expenses incurred byrepparttar 142855 solicitors acting on behalf ofrepparttar 142856 claimants.

A significant change inrepparttar 142857 law introduced in 1995 was that inrepparttar 142858 event of winningrepparttar 142859 case, rather than recoveringrepparttar 142860 legal costs fromrepparttar 142861 claimant’s damages,repparttar 142862 law allowed that bothrepparttar 142863 insurance premium andrepparttar 142864 success fee could be recovered fromrepparttar 142865 defendant’s solicitors.

Rising compensation claims – what arerepparttar 142866 costs?

There are those who would argue thatrepparttar 142867 ‘compensation culture’ is causing an overall change inrepparttar 142868 patterns of behaviour and expectations of society. Whereas inrepparttar 142869 past one might resolve problems and differences by mediation or negotiation, now a minor issue is likely to be referred torepparttar 142870 courts to settle disputes. Some feel thatrepparttar 142871 traditional risks encountered in our daily lives, like uneven pavements and slippery floors, are now overhung by legal and financial risks. An example of how this risk has potentially had an impact upon society is with Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002. Many believe that one reason why there were fewer street parties than there were for her Silver Jubilee in 1977 was because borough councils, town halls and public sector providers were fearful of potential litigation claims caused by an accident at such an event.

The cost to employers of claims from existing employees, andrepparttar 142872 unknown risk of future employees, has increased considerably overrepparttar 142873 last five years. This unquantifiable risk may have given rise torepparttar 142874 volatility of share values and depressed share trading. In addition to this more managerial time is taken up dealing with claims.

It is evident that consumers are all paying forrepparttar 142875 increase in compensation claims through higher insurance premiums. For example, employers’ liability insurance premiums have recently risen by 20% for one third ofrepparttar 142876 firms.

How can this trend benefit society? To explore whetherrepparttar 142877 rising numbers of compensation claims has brought benefits to society, we will focus onrepparttar 142878 changes that have taken place inrepparttar 142879 workplace. Employers have a ‘duty of care’ to their employees and must take steps to ensure they are not exposed to potential dangers and risks whilst at work. They must meet minimum health and safety standards to prevent their employees becoming ill or getting injured inrepparttar 142880 workplace. Most employees would argue that anyone who is seriously injured at work deserves compensation. To avoid facing claims for compensation many companies have no doubt considerably improved their safety record in recent years and have set up health and safety at work committees or working groups. Trade unions have ensured that such groups are set up.

Claims for compensation have alerted employers to improve their safety record and monitor claims resulting from injury. The widespread publicity over personal injury compensation has caused people to spot dangers inrepparttar 142881 workplace, where previously safety issues did not hold much significance.

The imposition of liability orrepparttar 142882 threat of it seems to have served as an incentive to safe conduct and proper care, andrepparttar 142883 statistics bear a direct correlation to this. According The Health and Safety Executive,repparttar 142884 number of workers fatally injured in 2002/03 was 226, a decrease of 10% from 2001/02. The trend in bothrepparttar 142885 number and rate of fatal injury was generally downwards inrepparttar 142886 1990’s, andrepparttar 142887 rate is currently a third of that recorded in 1981. Onrepparttar 142888 other hand,repparttar 142889 number of reported major injuries to employees rose by 1.5% in 2002/03 from 2001/02, but it is thought this rise may reflect changes inrepparttar 142890 level of reporting.

Use It Or Lose It!

Written by Maire Hodder

Use It Or Lose It!

One can clearly appreciate all ofrepparttar technological advances in today’s modern world. Efficiency inrepparttar 142615 work place, improved health-care, and increased leisure time are onlyrepparttar 142616 tip ofrepparttar 142617 ice-berg in this brave new world.

However; there are some drawbacks. Somehow duringrepparttar 142618 never-ending search for ‘newer, bigger, better’, we have lost sight of our most valuable asset. (NO, it’s not a big screen T.V.) It’s Our Minds!

I find it very disconcerting that there are high school graduates that can’t read or write. I find it truly terrifying that they can’t add without a calculator. Have you ever been a customer at a store or a restaurant and witnessed some poor cashier struggling to arrive atrepparttar 142619 correct total and change? Yet this same person can surfrepparttar 142620 net and download songs and movies faster thanrepparttar 142621 speed of light. We are spawning an entire generation of techno-junkies that has onlyrepparttar 142622 most rudimentary survival skills.

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