According to the Ministry of Justice Personal Injury Discount Rate Research published in 2013, there was an increase in both personal injury claims and settlements paid out over the financial years 2009/10 to 2011/12. Data from the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) (where all claims must be registered) revealed a 21% increase in claims, from 859,045 claims in 2009/10 to 1,041,146 in 2011/12.
The increase was apparent across all types of claim (clinical negligence, employer liability, road traffic accidents (RTA), public liability etc) but was most notable within motor/RTA claims, which rose by 23% between 2009/10 and 2011/12.
Government statistics from the CRU on settlement records show that a total of 2,150,797 claims were settled between 2009/10 and 2011/12. There was a steady increase in the number of cases settled each year over this period (691,989 cases were settled in 2009/10, compared to 766,417 in 2011/12). However, this rate of growth was lower than that seen for claims within the same time period.
Types of Personal Injury Claims
Government statistics from the CRU shows that motor/RTA claims made up the majority of all personal injury claims (80%) over the period 2009/10 to 2011/12. Data presented in the December 2012 Ministry of Justice consultation paper “Reducing the number and costs of whiplash claims” outlined that 70% of motor claims in 2011/12 were for whiplash, a figure which was higher than in other European jurisdictions.
The NHS Litigation Authority Report and Accounts 2011-12 indicated that around two thirds (66%) of all claims reported in 2011/12 to the NHS were clinical claims. The general pattern of claims reported across 2009/10 to 2011/12 shows a significant increase year-on-year over this period, with a 6% increase in the number of new claims between 2010/11 and 2011/12.
A more detailed analysis of Compensation Recovery Unit settlement records for the period 2009/10 to 2011/12 showed that there was not the same proportional increase across all types of personal injury cases. Indeed, the number of motor/RTA settlements increased by 18%, while the number of employer liability settlements decreased by 32%. This may show that workplaces are steadily getting safer, whilst roads are getting more dangerous.
Which gender makes the most personal injury claims?
CRU data showed that there were, on average, more settlements received by males than by females between 2009 and 2012 (57% compared with 43%), and this was fairly consistent year-on-year. The data also showed that males were more likely than females to have received a settlement for employer liability (77% compared with 23%) and motor/RTA claims (57% compared with 43%). In contrast, females were more likely to have received a settlement for clinical negligence (56% of settlements were for female claimants, compared with 44% for males).
The age of personal injury claimants
As well as these gender differences, the government’s data shows differences in the age of personal injury claimants depending on the type of claim made. Looking at the overall profile of all compensation settlements, half (49%) of all settlements between 2009 and 2012 were paid to claimants under the age of 35.
However, the government’s data also showed some differences in the age distribution of claimants by type of claim, particularly for clinical negligence and RTA/motor settlements. Indeed, more settlements for clinical negligence were received by those aged 36 and over (69%), with 18% being for those aged 65 and over.
In contrast, over half (54%) of RTA/motor settlements were paid to those aged 35 or under, with very few older claimants receiving settlements for this type of injury (only 4% were 65 and over, compared with 10-18% across other claim types).
Between 2009/10 and 2011/12, motor/RTA settlements were more common among males (57% of settlements) and those aged 30 and under (54% of settlements).
The average compensation pay-out
According to CRU data of personal injury and clinical negligence claims funded by Conditional Fee Agreements in 2011 (No Win, No Fee agreements), half of claimants received damages of less than £5,000.
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