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Compensation claims in the workplace have dropped by 50%

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 09:51 GMT Jump to Comments

Workplace compensation cases have fallen by more than 50 per cent in the last decade, a new report from the TUC shows.

It has been reported that cases of compensation claims have fallen from 183,342 in 2002/03, to 91,115 in 2012/13.

However, in spite of the decline in cases that reach court, the government is making it harder for workers to pursue claims of employee negligence by taking the burden of proof away from the employer, and increasing the costs employees have to pay to get their case heard.

The report found that more than 6 out of 7 (85.7 per cent) of workers who are injured or made ill at work get no compensation whatsoever.

Each year around 500,000 people are made ill as a result of their job, and a further 110,000 are injured whilst carrying out their daily duties. The most common injuries include back problems, repetitive strain injury, injuries from slips and falls and hearing problems.

It is reported that only around 90,000 workers manage to gain any compensation
payments from their employers following an injury or accident in the workplace.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The government is forever trying to brainwash us into thinking the UK has a rampant compensation culture, but – as this new report shows – the facts tell a very different story. Even those dying from work-related diseases have precious little chance of getting a decent payout”.

The report also unmasks the mystery surrounding the size of compensation payouts; according to analysis of nearly 64,000 claims in 2011, the majority of workplace damages paid to injured workers was for less than £5,000. Around 75 per cent of cases are for damages of less than £10,000.

O’Grady added: “The true government motivation here is to weaken health and safety legislation and make it even harder to for victims to pursue claims against their employers. Unfortunately the end result is likely to be a much higher rate of workplace accidents, injuries and illnesses in the future.”

Unlike other countries, compensation payouts in the UK are strictly based on what the claimant has lost, compensating for actual loss including pain and suffering, loss of earnings and future losses.

The joint report from the TUC and Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) made reccomendations to cut the existing bill without unnecessarily penalising injured workers.

It suggests that employers should stop acting negligently and ensure that someone who is injured or made ill through work has early access to proper rehabilitation. This would give the worker a better chance to make a full or early recovery.

Additionally, it states that insurance companies should admit liability – where justified – early and follow court rules so that costly medical and legal bills are not run up.

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