18 Pages

The compensation culture

The tort of negligence has developed at a tremendous rate in recent years and is likely to continue to do so. The ‘compensation culture’, developed in the 1980s and 90s has led to aggressive advertising of the services of solicitors and ‘accident specialists’. If a person has been injured in any way through the fault of another person (‘person’ here includes corporate bodies, such as companies, who can be liable where someone who is acting on their behalf does so negligently), the specialist will pursue a claim on their behalf, usually using a conditional fee arrangement (see below). Fundamental to the agreement is that the potential claimant enter into an insurance against the risk that they might lose and might, therefore, need to pay costs. A number of solicitors are members of an organisation which offers such insurance at a very modest premium. However, a criticism which has been levelled against independent companies which pursue personal injury claims on behalf of clients is that they make significant profits from charging large insurance premiums, which are then deducted from the damages which are secured on behalf of the successful claimant.