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

Written by Paul Johnson

Continued from page 1

What canrepparttar UK learn fromrepparttar 142834 USA?

The USA is an obvious example of a country that is widely held to demonstrate a ‘Compensation Culture’ inrepparttar 142835 extreme. The gloomiest predications implyrepparttar 142836 cost of compensation (tort costs) could increase twice as fast asrepparttar 142837 economy, possibly rising to 2.4% of GDP by 2005, from around 1.8% in 2000. This potential increase is fuelled by increasing asbestos-related claims, increasing medical costs and additional claims followingrepparttar 142838 destruction that took place on September 11th 2001.

There are a number of class actions against big food and drink companies, seeking compensation forrepparttar 142839 adverse effect food and drink have had onrepparttar 142840 claimants’ health. For example, diets containing too much saturated fats and sugar. McDonalds and other manufacturers/outlets of convenience foods have been inrepparttar 142841 public eye asrepparttar 142842 number of US children, teenagers and adults suffering health and obesity-related problems continue to grow.

Table 1. Monetary costs of compensation in a selection of countries (tort costs)

CountryUS$ million

United States124.0 Switzerland10.8 Australia 7.3 Germany 7.2 Belgium 5.9 UK 5.8 France 5.5 Canada 5.0 Italy 4.3 Spain 3.4

Figure 1 demonstratesrepparttar 142843 considerable difference in tort costs betweenrepparttar 142844 USA and other countries throughoutrepparttar 142845 world. Many legal scholars are concerned withrepparttar 142846 apparent Americanisation of European law andrepparttar 142847 arrival of large corporate law firms, with more aggressive approaches to litigation and dense, defensively-worded American-style contracts.

To many, America has taken their litigation and compensation rights too far and it’s American shareholders and taxpayers who are payingrepparttar 142848 real price. Europe andrepparttar 142849 USA have very different legal systems and practices, which if preserved, will prevent a further shift towardsrepparttar 142850 American style of compensation.

The distinguishing feature ofrepparttar 142851 American legal system isrepparttar 142852 use of juries to decide cases. Inrepparttar 142853 UK civil actions are tried by a judge rather than a jury, with a much less hard-line approach towards pursuing large amounts in damages.

In addition to this, inrepparttar 142854 USA ‘punitive damages’ are imposed to serve as a punishment forrepparttar 142855 defendant and a deterrent to others who may be negligent in similar circumstances. Punitive damages are a modern phenomenon ofrepparttar 142856 U.S. judicial system and enable individuals to claim compensation amounts far in excess ofrepparttar 142857 realistic economic compensation for loss or injury. The problem is thatrepparttar 142858 potential size of a punitive damages award is variable, andrepparttar 142859 process of arriving at it is arbitrary. There are no maximums and no minimums –repparttar 142860 jury alone determinesrepparttar 142861 amount. Problems arise because juries viewrepparttar 142862 case subjectively without regard ofrepparttar 142863 broader implications of their decisions.

Punitive damages do not feature inrepparttar 142864 UK legal system. Instead, onlyrepparttar 142865 need to establish a fault is required. This suggests thatrepparttar 142866 compensation culture inrepparttar 142867 UK is less likely to accelerate to excessive levels asrepparttar 142868 USA.

The way forward

A general awareness of corporate responsibility overrepparttar 142869 last decade has increased employees/a citizen’s access to justice and raised health and safety standards within many organisations. The need to exercise these rights with responsibility is more pertinent than ever. It is important to take stock and be aware ofrepparttar 142870 consequences of resorting to litigation to resolve problems when mediation and negotiation would be a more effective, economical and productive route to resolution. We have witnessed howrepparttar 142871 ‘compensation culture’ inrepparttar 142872 USA has resulted in a change inrepparttar 142873 behaviour for many Americans and whilst many countries will follow where America has led, it is important for countries such as ours to do everything possible to preventrepparttar 142874 replication ofrepparttar 142875 American model.

The differing legal systems and practices highlighted in this article are thought to berepparttar 142876 main checks and balances preventingrepparttar 142877 UK adoptingrepparttar 142878 American judicial style of compensation. It is therefore likely thatrepparttar 142879 UK’s biggest challenge inrepparttar 142880 coming years will be in trying to preventrepparttar 142881 adoption of American policies and influences on European legal systems. Ifrepparttar 142882 lessons learnt from experiences in America inform Parliament and legal decision makers inrepparttar 142883 UK, one can only hope that a balance betweenrepparttar 142884 advantages and disadvantages ofrepparttar 142885 rising number of people claiming personal injury compensation will have been achieved.

Paul Johnson YouClaim paul@youclaim.co.uk

www.youclaim.co.uk is a UK based litigation company providing a no-cost, no-risk compensation claim service for people who have been injured or become ill due to someone else’s negligence.

Use It Or Lose It!

Written by Maire Hodder

Continued from page 1

When my son was in elementary school he was given a list of words to learn for a spelling test. There was only one problem; one ofrepparttar words was spelled incorrectly ON THE LIST. There is obviously something wrong with a system that generates illiterate ‘teachers’.

When he reached high school it became mandatory that he use a calculator. Thankfully, he had already acquired a facility with numbers, but many of his schoolmates weren’t as fortunate. What will happen when they don’t have access to a calculator?

When allrepparttar 142615 machines are gone,repparttar 142616 only thing left will berepparttar 142617 knowledge inside your mind. Ifrepparttar 142618 mind isn’t being nurtured it will wither and die.

Read a book, play cards, do a puzzle, but do something, anything it takes to preserverepparttar 142619 most valuable asset you have.

Aboutrepparttar 142620 author www.mscryptic.com


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