There has long been a culture of claiming compensation in the United States of America, and that culture is showing zero signs of easing up. Actually, recent statistics show that the polar opposite is in fact taking place with more and more personal injury claims being made. Whether this is fantastic news, though, completely depends on where you are standing and in which direction you are looking. But we aren’t just talking about the point of view of victim versus insurance company, or even the person being sued, because there are so many other considerations to take into account, just visit Robins Cloud for more information.
Anyway, the very term ‘compensation culture’ implies that there is a huge number of claims for compensation which aren’t necessarily justified, and are in fact ambitious and fraudulent attempts at making money out of something completely accidental. In the past we have heard phrases like ‘crash for cash’, whereby people are deliberately crashing their cars into innocent driver’s in order to start a compensation claim and receive a hefty payout. This is wrong. But the other big problem with this sort of fraudulence is the effect it has on genuine claims. In short, it is becoming harder and harder to determine what claim is real and what is a bogus attempt at quickly pocketing enough money to put down a deposit on several houses.
What’s more, there are more and more areas of a genuine victim’s life that need to be addressed nowadays. When someone is involved in an accident, there are a vast amount of repercussions that need to be taken into consideration. For example, there are the direct injury costs, the cost of medical care, the loss of earnings (both present and future), psychological stress compensation, the possible increase in insurance premiums, and these are just those that can be measured easily.
On top of this, there are other forms of damage that need to be carefully addressed, things like emotional harm and mental disruption, areas of damage that can’t be measured physically. And as such, these areas are becoming more and more exploited because they are easier to fake. All someone has to do is state they need to see a councillor, and then visit once a week for so many weeks and there is nothing a court of law can do to prove they are bogus. But we will get to this a bit later on.
First, we want to go through some of the landmark cases that has encouraged this compensation culture to spread across the world, not just America.
USA – 1992
This case became world-famous after a woman sued McDonald’s after she bought a cup of coffee from one of their drive-through outlets. What had happened was, after she made the purchase, she tried to remove the lid in which she spilled the entire contents of the coffee onto her lap. She was subjected to extreme scolding and spend eight days in hospital undergoing skin graft operations on her thighs, backside and groin. This was followed by two-years of medical treatments. The grounds on which she won the case was that the coffee served at McDonald’s was far too hot and thus far more likely to cause severe harm that other restaurants. She won an astonishing $2.86 million in compensation.
Australia – 2007
A woman successfully filed a workers’ compensation claim after causing damage to her own face with a lamp during intercourse in a hotel room while away on business. Whilst her employers rejected the claim on the grounds that intercourse was not an ordinary incident of an overnight stay, the court granted her compensation on the grounds that no approval, express or implied response of the woman’s conduct was required and that the company had to deliver the benefits package as they had rented the room.
USA – 2011
A woman was awarded compensation after tripping over her dog while walking to her own garage. The reason this claim was successful was due to her being employed as a decorator by a big home decor company and given she was headed to her garage to collect some sample fabrics, it was deemed her home to be a work environment. Don’t believe us, just look here.
With legal decisions like this setting precedent in courts of law around the world, it is easy to understand why some people wouldn’t try and claim compensation for certain accidents. It also means, governments need to act quickly to establishing new laws that will prevent a queue of similar claims taking place, such as a legal obligation to state that the contents of a coffee cup may be hot.
What does the rise in claims mean for premium prices?
Whether or not it has anything to do with loopholes or wiggle room, there is absolutely no disputing the fact that the number of claims has increased year on year. Even if you take into consideration the growth in population, the number of claims is still rising rapidly. This has seen something else mimic the rise, and that is the consistency in which insurance companies are raising their premiums. It is a logical step. The more people that claim, the more likely they will have to payout, the more they will have to cover their risks. As such, insurance companies have raised premium costs as a way of ensuring they have enough money in reserve in the case of any personal injury claims that may be awarded.
This is where the divide in perspective has been encouraged. Some believe this is a completely logical and necessary precaution that needed to be taken by the insurance companies, while others blame the rise in our compensation culture on bogus and ambitious claims. However, in order to cast a bit of positive light on those feeling hard done by when it comes to their rising premiums, think of it this way; should you ever need to make a personal injury claim, you are much more likely to be offered a hefty out-of-court settlement. Whether you agree with this cor not, it is how the industry seems to operate at the moment.
Time to address the fake and ambitious claims we touched on earlier.
While there is no questioning the rise of legitimate claims, there has also been a sudden spike in fake claims too. These are essentially little more than audacious attempts to con the system out of paying them undeserved money, and the recent rise has seen government organisation and insurance companies work together in a bit to stop this trend gaining any more traction. It is worth noting, though, that whilst terms like ‘crash for cash’ have become common terms, the actual figures churned up through detailed research suggest that the rise in fake claims hasn’t been as substantial as hearsay, gossip and the media would have you believe. This means that most of the compensation paid out to victims is done so legally and in spirit of what they truly deserve.
So why the growth in compensation claims?
As with most things in life, we can only offer well-thought out but speculative theories. However, the most dominant of those theories, which accounts for the most substantial reason for growth is to do with introduction of new laws. We now live in a society that is dictated by rules and regulations, and the room to play is not like it was a couple of decades ago. Everything needs to come with a warning, whether that be a do not eat sticker or a not suitable for under 6 sign. In short, our lives are dictated by health and safety regulations. They have just become stricter and stricter with each passing year. The standards have been increased and tightened. But while this was intended to reduce injury, it has had an adverse effect when it comes to injury claims, and that is because employers now have a legal responsibility to protect their employees right across the board and in almost every aspects of their lives. As we all know, though, accidents happen. It does not matter how many precautions you take or how many stickers you cover the windows with or how much training you give out each month; accidents happen. By it’s very definition, an accident is something that happens unintentionally and unexpectedly, yet by enforcing more and more rules we have provided victims with better grounds to sue on.
It is easier to make a claim against an employer than ever before; it is as simple as that. But if that was enough substance to answer the question of why the rise, well, the majority of all personal injury claims are made up of work related accidents or injuries. Put two and two together and we have a rise in compensation claims and a rise in the costs associated with them.
Another spike that has been noted by industry researches has to do with our roads. They have become busier. There are more cars and more cars means a greater chance of accidents and the more accidents the more claims. The biggest of these are whiplash claims, and that is because whiplash is caused by unexpected jolt involving your neck and back. More payouts for whiplash, the more the premiums go up. It is simple math.
The Most Common Killers Worldwide
While the world is getting more and more populated with the human species, there are also more and more deaths too. And most of the time they have been caused by things that weren’t intended to be fatal.
Here’s some of the most common.
One of the most common killers is from road accidents, whether that be in a car or on a bike, there are crashes that happen every single day. This tends to be due to careless driving from people that are either over the limit and under the influence, driving competitively, or distracted by their phones. While a lot of people are aware of this information, it doesn’t stop the accidents from happening, and lives are constantly being lost. A lot of the time, the accident involves taking innocent lives away at the fault of someone else, that causes them to have an unpleasant death that could’ve been avoided. This is why more awareness needs to be raised with every incident that happens, along with how often they do, because this might give the world a much-needed wake-up call.
Robberies can happen in all sorts of environments, be it at home, in a store, and even on holiday. Robbers tend to target people that seem to have something of value on them, and don’t look as if they’re going to fight back. A lot of robberies do happen when people are on holiday because they’re a lot more relaxed and off guard, because it’s the last thing on their mind while sipping on a mojito. The problem is, they can go wrong very quickly. Most robbers do not intend on killing anyone, they just go in with force to scare the victim, making them easier to take from. But when someone does get brave enough to fight back – that’s where things turn fatal. The robber may end up overcompensating or doing something they hadn’t planned on doing all in the heat of the moment. Not only ruining their own life, but an innocent person’s too.
We all know what cancer is, we see it all over the tv and other forms of media. It’s a disease that comes with a lot of heartache. While there are many different forms of cancers, the grief that they bring to victims and their families can be very hard. Many can be treated with the right drugs and therapy – even surgery. But some aren’t as curable as that, leaving people to end their lives in a lot of pain and discomfort. Cancer can affect anyone, regardless of their age, gender, and lifestyle. There are many different things that are advertised to reduce the risk of ever getting it, but really, the sad truth is that if you’re going to get the disease – you’re going to get it.
There is a lot of negativity in the world, and this is why we should all be doing as much as we can to see the good things. The media highlights a lot of deflating stuff – it’s your job to seek more. – Better.
Myths About Compensation Unveiled
Compensation is an area of life that seems to be surrounded by a host of myths. All sorts of headlines have been made surrounding issues such as “compensation culture” and how compensation is detrimental to society as a whole. But this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, compensation, in many ways, can turn out to be quite a good thing. It’s a process that ensures that as many individuals in positions of authority and responsibility as possible stick to the protocol and provide those under their care with safe environments and products. Imagine the state of things if there wasn’t any threat of financial recompense for negative actions! So, let’s take a look at just a few myths associated with compensation to clear up the confusion.
You Can Claim Compensation for Any Accident, Regardless of Fault
Now, there have been cases in the past where compensation has been falsely claimed by individuals who have exaggerated situations, injuries, or trauma. But this percentage is extremely low and, generally speaking, you have to give a whole lot of proof to be able to make a claim. Only genuine breaches will be taken into consideration, as it has to be proved in court by the claimant that the other part has been negligent. No lawyer will waste their time with cases that won’t stand up in court. Serious faults, such as cases where the victim is deceased as a result of the problem, or the victim is genuinely harmed will generally be prioritised.
People Are Too Ready to Claim
We are given this image of compensation cases where everyone jumps at the slightest opportunity to make a claim. This, again, is false. In fact, six out of every seven individuals negatively affected by an accident are likely to brush opportunities to claim under the carpet. They are often scared by branded with this very myth and turn a blind eye to the problem at hand.
Employers Shouldn’t Have to Pay Out for Unforeseen Problems
Many will argue that employers or insurance companies shouldn’t have to pay out for unforeseen problems. A huge point of contention in this area is asbestos claims. People believe that companies shouldn’t have to pay out because they didn’t know at the time that asbestos was dangerous. However, it’s important to highlight that when you are in a position of responsibility, it is your job to check everything that those under your jurisdiction are dealing with. In the case of asbestos, health and safety checks should have been carried out.
Lawyers Purposefully Make Compensation Cases Last Longer
Another commonly spread myth is that lawyers will purposefully prolong the legal process of taking a compensation case to court in order to increase the amount of money that they can charge and earn from it. But any legal representative has a legal obligation to act in the best interest of their clients. To do this would break their code of conduct.
Chances are that you’ve heard all of these myths time and time again. But hopefully, we’ve helped to clear them up for you!
America’s Aging Workforce: A Call For Change
You don’t need us to tell you that people are living longer. What’s more, advances in medical treatments keep us fighting fit into our later lives. With medicine as it stands, even illnesses such as cancer aren’t enough to knock us down. Instead, we bounce back, often fitter than we were before. Such is the miracle of modern medicine.
No one can deny that this is a positive change and something we should all be thankful for. But, it’s also impossible to ignore that these improvements are at the root of some issues. America’s aging population is nothing new. For years now, we’ve seen baby boomers, born between 1946-1964, forming the largest generation in America. As it stands, 75 million American citizens fall into this category.
As a result, strains have been placed on Medicare, social security, and even our workforces. Early retirement packages start as young as 62, but many are now able to work later. What’s more, inadequate pensions leave many with no other choice.
And, there are obvious issues with an aging workplace. While there are benefits to elderly workers, there are also negatives. Of course, the majority of the issues come about from workplaces targeted towards the young. So, what needs to change to help our aging workers? Let’s take a look.
New health and safety regulations
As it stands, health and safety regulations aren’t serving the aging workforce. In the past, workplace fatalities have concerned younger workers or an even mixture across the ages. But, statistics from Minnesota fatalities suggest that things are changing, with more elderly workers at risk of fatal or long-term injuries. In fact, at least half of workplace deaths involved those who were 55 and over. And, these numbers look set to skyrocket in the coming decade. In some ways, you could argue that these statistics are inevitable. After all, workers in these age ranges now far outweigh those in any other. But, the figures are still worrying. What’s more, those over the age of 65 are thought to take longer to recover. Statistics show that older workers took an average 14 days to recover, while younger workers took 4-9. This is terrible news for everyone, as it means lost workload and lost earnings. The injured individual would be within their rights to contact lawyers such as Strickland, Agner & Associates to cover the financial burden of their time off. But, this would again leave employers out of pocket, which ultimately doesn’t help anyone involved.
Instead, it might be time for workplaces to reconsider their health and safety measures. With elderly workers in mind, issues such as visibility and hearing should be a priority. Bear in mind, too, that a small trip could do real damage for an older worker. As such, it’s more important than ever to keep walkways clear and safe at all times. These changes won’t be difficult to implement. So, there’s no excuse for workforces not to get behind this.
A focus on employee wellness
Employee wellness should always be a priority. Any employer knows that allowances must be in place for workers with disabilities. The law states that they provide wheelchair friendly desks, easy access to all areas, and even parking spaces close to the building. And, all these allowances could help to make life easier for an aging workforce. Admittedly, going too far here could cause insult. But, it’s hard to ignore that a 65-year-old worker will struggle to make their way up three flights of stairs to reach the office. As such, you should provide options like elevators and parking spaces nearby. Keep this understated, and let workers make their own choices about whether to use such benefits. But, you can be sure that having the option will go a long way towards reducing any discomfort.
Acknowledge the limitations of age
This is a tricky matter to traverse. On the one hand, discrimination should be avoided at all costs. And, that includes age discrimination. At the same time, it’s impossible to ignore that older workers won’t be as able to complete incredibly strenuous jobs. What’s more, they could cause themselves injuries while attempting it. As such, it’s difficult to know how employers could best approach this issue.
It may be that jobs should be at a worker’s discretion. Nobody knows our limits as well as we do. As such, it should be made clear that elderly workers can approach managers if they aren’t up to certain tasks. They shouldn’t be reproached or made to feel uncomfortable. Instead, bosses should be accommodating here. After this has happened once, they’ll know not to give the individual in question that job again. Rather than being a matter of discrimination, communications like these are a sign of a healthy and fair workplace, which accommodates for age without making assumptions.
Acknowledge the benefits of age
On the other end of the scale, it’s also crucial for workplaces to acknowledge the benefits with come from an aging team. Workers who have been in the field for their whole lives can bring a load of experience to a role. While not all 65+ employees will be as physically able as young candidates, you can be sure they’ll know a lot more. Why not make the most of these benefits by entrusting our older workers to train our young ones? This would save managers both time and money, and ensure workers learn from someone who’s done the job for years. What’s more, those older workers are sure to appreciate the chance to pass on their knowledge. It’s the best of both worlds and is a setup which is sure to suit everyone.
Accommodating an aging workforce isn’t difficult. It doesn’t cost employers, or create unnecessary work. In fact, small shifts in thinking and operations are all it takes to get this right. And, given that this is an issue which will only become more prevalent, it makes sense that all workplaces get on top of this sooner rather than later.
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