A lack of knowledge around the claims process means that a significant number of the public may be suffering in silence after suffering a life-threatening injury.
The research into 1,000 adults across the UK, conducted by Fletchers Serious Injury,found that more than four in 10 Brits (41%), would not know where to begin when making a legal claim, with only 27% of the population being confident that they would know the process well.
A further 45.2% would also be unaware of where to find information online about seeking a claim and 21.4% would not know who to contact to begin the claims process, highlighting a potential shortfall in law firms, insurance companies and advisory groups making people aware of their rights and what might lay in store for them. A further 19.2% wouldn’t know if they would be eligible to make a claim due to a lack of available information.
Worryingly, 18% of respondents would not know how long they would be eligible to make a claim after suffering a serious injury. This in turn means that thousands of potential claimants may be unable to seek the legal action they need to get their lives back on track following a serious injury – three years from the date of the incident in question.
The lack of information also extends to the claims process itself, with worry about how the claim would affect the party at fault a common theme. According to the research, 19% of respondents would not pursue a claim due to not wanting to potentially take money off local businesses or local authorities meaning that, despite the fact that many of these claims would be covered under specific insurance, millions of legitimate claims are not being pursued.
Finally, 17% of respondents would not claim due to fears of being a burden on their loved ones, such as friends or family. This was most commonly seen in older respondents, with more than a quarter (28%) of those aged 65 and over choosing to defer a claim over fears of creating stress for loved ones.
Figures published earlier this year by the Ministry of Justice reveal personal injury claims to be at an eight-year low. This is echoed by the research findings, which reveal that, if people were to suffer a serious injury through no fault of their own, almost a fifth (19.1%) of the population would not take the matter further and seek compensation. Taken across the entire UK population, this equates to 12.6 million Brits that would not pursue the justice they may need, according to the most recent ONS data.
Adrian Denson, chief legal officer at Fletchers Serious Injury, commented: “When people have suffered a serious injury, it is only natural that they have some reservations about the claims process. People find themselves at a very difficult and vulnerable time, faced with an unfamiliar and often daunting process ahead of them.
“Of course, making a claim for the first time is something completely unfamiliar to many of our clients. When you suffer a serious injury following a non-fault accident, there are many things that can suddenly become vitally important to you – and seeking compensation is only one of those things.
“It is important for those suffering the consequences of a serious injury to understand that every aspect of their experience is taken into consideration when processing a compensation claim. For those unsure where to turn, it is the responsibility of the legal profession to ensure that this knowledge gap is closed; so that those desperately seeking physical, emotional and financial support, are able to secure it.”