"The findings of this research reveal that millions may be struggling without the justice that is their legal right. "
Adrian Denson, Fletchers Serious Injury
A shocking proportion of Brits would not pursue a claim if they suffered a serious injury through no fault of their own, according to new research.
The research into 1,000 adults across the UK, conducted by Fletchers Serious Injury, revealed that if people were to suffer a serious injury through no fault of their own, almost a fifth (19.1%) would not take the matter further. 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.
This unwillingness to take legal action is backed by industry figures from the Ministry of Justice published in March 2020, which revealed that personal injury claims were at their lowest rate in eight years – which is likely to have been amplified by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Further research revealed a range of motivations behind this reluctance to pursue a claim. Concerningly, the most commonly-occurring reason was a lack of knowledge and available educational resources, with more than four in 10 respondents (41%), saying they would not know where to begin with making a claim.
Financial considerations also featured prominently, with a third (33%) of those surveyed admitting that they would not pursue a claim due to concerns that it would affect them financially. This means that as many as 22 million Brits may wrongly believe that a lack of financial resources excludes them from being able to get the support they need to get their life back on track. This number also rose to 43% for respondents aged 65 and over, who may need the support more than other demographics.
Worry about how the claim would affect the party at fault was also a common theme. 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. Once again, this was most common 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. Concerningly, a small proportion (3%) also put off claims due to fears of being judged by friends and family, anxious of the stigma associated with pursuing reparations.
The most commonly-occurring serious injuries came from slips, trips and falls, which affected 51.6% of respondents. This was followed by injuries from road traffic accidents (31.7%) and sports-related injuries (29.7%). Accidents at work also feature worryingly prominently, with 27.6% of affected respondents reporting that they had suffered a serious work-related injury.
Adrian Denson, Chief Legal Officer at Fletchers Serious Injury, commented: “The findings of this research reveal that millions may be struggling without the justice that is their legal right. Particularly nowadays, there is a real concern that those who need support the most may simply opt to “suffer in silence” and not seek the support they need.
“The varied reasons for this reluctance only highlight the need for those with the power to instigate positive change, such as the legal profession and the government, to do more to educate the public about their rights and the options available to them. Only then will we see more accessible, wide-ranging solutions to help improve access to justice for those who need it most.”
Further statistics and information from the research can be found in the report here.