Collaborative Post

Compensation for Back Injury Depends On Where you Were Injured

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Personal injuries can be sought for a person’s body, emotions, or reputation. There are three grounds for seeking personal injury compensation: negligence, strict liability and intentional wrongs. Negligence is the most common reason why people seek personal injury compensation. Negligence claims are founded on the belief that the level of care deviated from what a reasonable person would consider ordinary prudence. Strict liability is used when a person is held responsible for their actions, regardless of their mental state when they committed that action. Intentional wrongs occur when the defendant intentionally does something, with common intentional torts being assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentionally inflicting emotional distress, and trespassing on land or chattels. Personal injury claims are often resolved outside of the courts through negotiation. However, many do make it to the court system. There should be a fairly narrow margin in terms of personal injury compensation. For instance, if a person sought compensation for a back injury, they should expect to get the same level of compensation as another person with a back injury. That, however, is not the case. Shockingly, there are, according to reports from HR News, significant disparities in back injury compensation.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

According to HR News, there are discrepancies between the size of a person’s compensation depending on whether they injured their back at work, on a road, or in a public space. Compensation tends to favour parties who received their back injury through their employer’s fault. In fact, such a person will receive compensation that’s eight times greater than compensation for a victim of a road traffic accident, even though the severity of the injury is the same.

Road traffic whiplash reforms have caused this disparity. Enacted in May 2021, they place victims who suffer from whiplash injuries for up to two years, under a new compensation scheme. The reform introduced a tariff for whiplash claims because regulators felt that it would reduce conflicts over compensation amounts. The tariffs they placed, however, were very low. For instance, a 0-3 month whiplash injury will earn compensation of just £250, compared to the pre-reform rate of £1,500. The new tariffs only apply to whiplash injuries and whiplash injuries with minor psychological injuries. Whatever the motivations of regulators, the effect has been to dramatically reduce compensation for victims.

Whiplash injuries are very vaguely defined. They are so broadly defined that back injuries can be fitted into the scheme. Many commentators have described the reforms as derisory, as they place back injuries on the same plane even though a back injury from a car accident has very different effects to a back injury from a work-related accident. For example, a person who has had a three-month soft tissue injury to their back, will get a compensation that is on average eight times greater than compensation from a work-related accident of the exact same nature to that sustained in the car accident.

Road traffic tariffs are indeed derisory. A person who suffers from a three month back injury will recover half the payout they would get if their flight was delayed. That is an incredible state of affairs.

Prior to the pandemic, there were about 650,000 motor claims filed per year, with 85% of them whiplash related. These reforms affect so many people, and will leave them out of pocket, even though they are the victims. Their only fault seems to be that they got injured in the wrong place. To maximize their chances of receiving compensation, it will be important to use every tool at their disposal, such as requesting CCTV footage of their accident, so that they can receive some kind of payout.