John here again. This is my first blog of 2016, so Happy New Year.
So what does the year hold in store for blameless accident and injury victims and the lawyers who help them to win fair and just compensation?
Well, I am afraid it is a bleak picture because there are attacks coming from all sides and it is all bad news for victims. My best advice is don’t get injured or have an accident!
Speaking more seriously, it is difficult not to get a little political about the ill thought through and shameless changes that are coming in, wave after wave. Without boring you with minute details, it is safe to say that the changes are ALL in favour of big businesses – particularly the ginormous global insurance companies – and against the “little guy” – folks who blamelessly find themselves injured and perhaps unable to work.
The pace and ferocity of change has ramped up since the election of a Conservative Government.
The “noise” coming from Westminster is now all slurring about fraudulent claims, with pernicious suggestions or whiffs that everybody who brings a claim is “at it”.
This is clearly a consistent campaign and “line” being peddled by Government that mirrors precisely what the insurance industry like to tell us.
Predictably, the lawyers are bashed as fat cats and ambulance chasers too – a familiar, lazy and populist slant (history note – whilst I am not comparing him with David Cameron, Hitler hated “inconvenient” lawyers who stuck up for pesky things like the rights of individuals and upholding the law too, but, cleverly, he cultivated his own band of lawyers as well as using strong arm tactics).
The real fat cats are the multi billion pound insurance companies who love to take our premiums, but really don’t like it when we have the temerity to claim on the policy when something goes wrong. These same companies who wring their hands as premiums go up for insurance and blame feckless “have a go claimants”, still find billions to pay in dividends to their shareholders. They are laughing at how well this is working for them and cannot quite believe the degree to which the Government have swallowed this hook, line and sinker.
But what has emerged is a dirty not-so-little secret that is growing. It turns out that the Conservatives as a party and many individuals in it, have received many millions of pounds from the insurance industry. The Guardian has found what it calls a “golden circle of Tory backers” in the insurance industry. Read article. It makes uncomfortable reading for the law making Government.
These enormous insurance companies can spend huge sums on lobbying and warped, self-serving “opinion forming”. If you say “fraudulent claim” or “compensation culture” often enough and loud enough, some mud will stick. All just “noise”, not facts.
I’ll finish for today with this.
I sometimes meet people who say, loftily, when they learn what I do,
“I don’t believe in compensation claims, it’s distasteful and shabby”.
I then ask them what they do and I get a response like,
“I am an accountant/teacher/bus driver/insurance executive (ha ha)”.
I then say,
“How long do you get sick pay for under your employment contract if you are ill or injured?”
They reply something like,
“3 or 6 months”.
“So, if somebody injures you badly and it is their fault and you can’t work for 2 years or more, what will you do when you can’t pay your bills and your house is re-possessed? Do you “believe” in compensation claims then?”
The answer is usually an awkward,
“Ah…, but that’s different”.
They then usually wander off!
Forgive the soap box blog – it’s my first of the year, so allow me the indulgence. I believe in my clients and I hope they believe in me too!