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Personal injury victims ‘suffer in silence’ despite hard-hitting costs and life-changing consequences

Personal injury sufferers in the UK face losses of thousands of pounds, as well as real financial and emotional hardship, according to a new report published today.

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14 April 2014 / company-announcements

Personal injury sufferers in the UK face losses of thousands of pounds, as well as real financial and emotional hardship, according to a new report published today.

The Real Cost of Personal Injury report, commissioned by National Accident Helpline, the UK’s leading provider of personal injury advice, services and support, used independent research from Populus to reveal the reality of personal injury for the UK’s working population.* 

Key findings from the two surveys that inform the report include:

  • 58% of personal injury victims said they had experienced some loss of earnings after the incident – 17% said they lost over £1,000
  • 57% of personal injury victims reported having to make significant changes to their lifestyle, with 18-to-24-year-olds hardest hit
  • 81% of injury sufferers used compensation to offset lost earnings or costs
  • 75% of the general public would want the person or company at fault to apologise for their part in the resulting injury or illness.

Financial concerns associated with a personal injury emerged as a recurring theme throughout the report. The research confirms that people make claims to try and right these financial and emotional wrongs, not to take advantage of a ‘compensation culture’.

Of those who suffered this type of injury whilst employed, over half (58%) suffered some loss of earnings and almost one in five (17%) calculated their loss to be over £1,000. While battling this reduced income, almost three quarters (70%) of respondents also incurred additional costs following their personal injury. As a result, 81% said they used compensation awarded to offset losses or costs associated with the injury.

Despite these clear financial costs, over four in ten people (44%) who suffered this specific type of non-fault personal injury have not made a claim for compensation, suggesting that many deserving victims are not getting the support required to meet their monetary concerns or help with adjustments to their lifestyle. On top of this, over a third (37%) of the British adults surveyed would be worried about how much a claim might cost in terms of legal fees, despite the creation of ‘no win no fee’ as a non-risk route to justice.

Lifestyle changes

Those who suffered personal injury also painted a stark picture of the type of lifestyle changes they had to make in the wake of the incident from giving up exercise to moving house. Well over half (57%) of this group had to make significant changes to their lifestyle as a result of their injury. Sadly, younger personal injury victims face the most radical alterations to their lifestyle, with 85% of 18-to-24-year-olds in this group saying they had to make sacrifices or changes, compared to 43% of 55-to-65-year-olds.

Emotional considerations

The research also shows that the effects of a personal injury go beyond the individual affected. Respondents to the survey of the general public said that in the event of a personal injury they would be most concerned about the impact of their personal injury on their close family, with partners (67%) and children (53%) most likely to be affected.

While the impacts of this type of injury are huge, on both the individual and their support network, something as simple as saying sorry can help the sufferer’s recovery. Three quarters (75%) of the general public would want an apology from the responsible party if they were to suffer a personal injury.

Russell Atkinson, Managing Director of National Accident Helpline, said:

“Our research outlines the bleak choices faced by personal injury victims across the UK. The level of financial loss and the associated emotional impacts are substantial, and hard-working people are being forced to make impossible decisions.

“In many cases personal injury can have life-altering consequences and it is essential that the very real disruption caused by injury is better understood. The need to use compensation for the essentials shows that claiming is not seen as a bonus. Instead it is seen as a necessity in the vast majority of cases, a finding that is further evidenced by the fact that so many incur additional costs as a result of their situation or circumstances.

“Far from experiencing a national compensation culture, we are at very real risk of developing into a nation of ‘silent sufferers’, whereby people with a legitimate injury are too afraid to come forward and claim the compensation they are entitled to. Ensuring these genuine personal injury victims gain access to the justice they deserve is a key pillar of National Accident Helpline’s offering.”

*National Accident Helpline commissioned Populus to independently poll a panel of 500 employed personal injury victims to gain an insight into the realities of suffering this type of injury. This was backed up by a Populus omnibus survey conducted with 1,000 members of the public to gain a broader perspective of attitudes towards personal injury. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Both surveys were completed between 11 and 24 March 2014.

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