The term ‘compensation culture’ has been seized upon by both the Government and the media in recent years to highlight the supposed prevalence of civil claims in the UKAre people more willing to use the law to settle a claim these days? – be it for medical negligence, an accident at work, or another grievance.
So are people really more willing to use the law to settle a claim than they were previous times?
The view is mixed. On the one hand, a report by the Ministry of Justice suggests that, despite what politicians are saying, there has actually been a drop in the number of civil claims. In 2010 there were approximately 1.6 million civil claims in the UK, representing a 14% fall from 2009. This is part of a downward trend that began back in 2006.
It therefore seems that people are more willing to try other methods of dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, before launching into court proceedings. A report published by TheCityUK’s legal service showed the number of disputes resolved through arbitration and mediation in the UK reached 34,541 in 2009, a 78% increase from 2007.
On the other hand, unspecified money claims (which usually relate to personal injury) have increased by 6%, while medical negligence claims are at an unprecedented high. This is so much so that Chris Evans, chairman of the Medical Defence Union (MDU), wrote in his 2012 annual report that the rise in legal action was “unmatched in the company’s 126-year history”.
Alternative dispute resolution will not, however, be appropriate in personal injury and medical negligence claims. Victims must use the law to obtain the proper sum of financial redress, which explains why the number of cases has continued to rise.
If you are in the middle of a dispute or grievance and would like to know how to resolve the problem, simply contact us to discuss your options. Our disputes and litigation solicitors will be able to suggest how best to resolve your case, helping you understand whether or not you need to use the law to settle your claim. At least then you will be aware of all of your options.
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