Around this time each year, the Department of Work and Pensions publishes Transparency Data. This shows transparently how many personal injury claims have been registered with the Compensation Recovery Unit for the last year.
Last year there were fewer clinical negligence claims; fewer employers' liability claims; fewer public liability claims; and fewer 'other' and liability not known claims' than the year before. Motor liability claims went up from 761,878 to 770,791 but were still the second lowest they have been in the last 6 years. Total claim numbers across all categories of personal injury compensation claim are the lowest they have been in six years at 981,324.
What might be made of this? Can we say there is a compensation culture if claim numbers are actually going down or at worst could be said to be static for the last 6 years?
Have government reforms had an impact in driving claim numbers down?
If claim numbers are going down does it mean that instead of being compensated, potential claimants are losing time at work and depending on the State for hospital treatment and other support rather than insurers meeting those costs? In 2014/15 there were 611,000 work place injuries according to the ONS, yet there were just over 100,000 employers' liability claims in that year.
Indeed is there any correlation between claim numbers reducing and the number of people suffering injuries? You might want and be able to prohibit claims (or bar access to justice?) but it seems that that won't stop people being injured. It just stops them claiming compensation or makes that more difficult.
Is it time for a sensible discussion here with the focus being on reducing injuries on our roads, in our factories and offices, our public places and in our hospitals - rather than the focus being more narrowly focussed on reducing the number of claims and the costs those who cause injuries/their insurers have to pay in meeting them? Better risk management; better analysis of what went wrong; a meaningful 'learning from mistakes' culture - wouldn't that lead to something better for all of us?
Fewer claims and fewer injuries must be better for all of us than just fewer claims?
The Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) works with insurance companies, solicitors and DWP customers, to recover: *amounts of social security benefits paid as a result of an accident, injury or disease, if a compensation payment has been made (the Compensation Recovery Scheme) *costs incurred by NHS hospitals and Ambulance Trusts for treatment from injuries from road traffic accidents and personal injury claims (Recovery of NHS Charges)