PERSONAL injury solicitors are seeking to tackle the “myth” that workplace accidents inevitably lead to big compensation claims.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers says most workers who are ill or injured at work never receive a penny.
More than 600,000 people a year are reported to become ill or injured because of their job, with 25,000 forced to give up work.
David McWilliam, head of the personal injury department at Ellis Jones in Bournemouth, said he was frustrated by the common perception of the issue.
“It comes across as everyone having a go at making claims, which is not correct,” he said.
He stressed that claimants had to prove negligence or a breach of statutory duty to receive compensation.
“Unless you win the case, you don’t get paid, so we’re not going to take on ridiculous claims,” he said.
“We see people who’ve had serious injuries and it’s affected their lives and they’re fully entitled to make a claim.
“If the insurers want to deny a claim, they will do it. They don’t just roll over.”
Adrian Cormack, Poole-based head of personal injury with Coles Miller solicitors, said many people did not pursue a legitimate claim.
“I’ve had a lot of people sit in front of me who have had an accident and don’t want to rock the boat,” he said.
He said a broken forearm, requiring up to eight weeks off work, could yield around £5,000. “That might compensate you a little bit. You don’t make any money out of it. It puts you back in the position that you’d be in if the accident hadn’t happened,” he said.
Tim Blackwell, head of personal injury at Lester Aldridge in Bournemouth, said: “Some people are reluctant to claim compensation for fear of losing their job or being treated unfairly as a result.
“Work-related illness or injury can have a devastating and lifelong impact upon the injured person and their family. Many people who suffer from work related illness or injury will have to rely upon compensation not only to replace any loss in wages but also to provide the rehabilitation that they need.”
He added: “Workers who suffer workplace illness or injury because of the negligence of their employer deserve to be compensated to help get their life back together and to provide the rehabilitation they need.”