In a Recession: Are you more inclined to make a claim?

by Five Fantastic Lawyers™ on January 4, 2013

Guest blog post considering if you are more likely to make a personal injury claim during a recession.

Whilst many industries falter during a recession, it appears that there are a number of reasons why the personal-injury industry may thrive. Some believe this is due to a compensation culture. However, there are a number of areas that are directly affected by actions taken as a result of difficult economic times.

Personal Reasons

One of the key areas of growth is that of claims for minor injuries. People who would otherwise have accepted a minor injury as just “one of those things” have found themselves in a position where money is tight. Whilst previously they may have been entitled to compensation for an injury but not made a claim, pinched finances can give a compelling incentive to do so now.

A drop in disposable income means that people are looking to reduce their spending in many different areas. When it comes to home improvements, this can have an impact on claims. Those looking to appoint others to carry out work are looking for cheaper quotes and, as a result, appointing lower-end contractors. With this comes a greater risk of below-standard repairs and an increase in the likelihood of injury, either from a poorly managed site or due to substandard works.

Business Reasons

And it’s not just in the home that many are experiencing cutbacks. Many firms are struggling in this difficult economy and have significantly cut back on spending. Areas such as health and safety can be affected, with a reduction in training, poorer quality equipment and bar on anything other than essential maintenance all becoming real possibilities. Whilst companies may still be complying with legislative requirements, scaling back in this area is likely to result in an increase in accidents.

Additionally, the redundancies that have become commonplace may have a knock-on effect on claims. Employees who remain often have to work harder, take on more tasks and have fewer opportunities for training. This means that they are more at risk from occupational stress and injury.

Those that have been made redundant also represent a potential escalation point in the number of injury claims made. A claimant has three years after an incident to make a claim for personal injury. Some people are reluctant to pursue a claim against their employer, worrying that it may cause bad feeling or harm their promotion prospects. Once they have been made redundant this fear dissipates, particularly if they have left harbouring a degree of ill-feeling towards their now ex-employer. Of course, if appropriate redundancy procedures have not been followed then there is also a risk of an increase in employment tribunal claims for this failure or for non-payment of redundancy compensation.

As a result, it seems that whilst the recession has led to a downturn in many sectors and industries, it could actually result in an increase in the number of claims. People are more likely to claim either because of a change in their personal financial circumstances or because areas of life are becoming riskier. The actions of companies as they seek to protect their balance sheets may also have an unforeseen impact on injuries arising and longer-term consequences for their insurance premiums.

Written on behalf of Hughes Carlisle personal injury and family law specialists – visit their site for further insightful information.

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