Stop victim-blaming personal injury claimants


VICTIM-blaming is rife and has been for years. If you are fortunate enough to not have witnessed the ugliness of it, you might not yet be familiar with the term. Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or wrongful act is held at fault for what happened to them.

It has been amplified further by social media, where everyone has a voice, for better or worse. Thankfully, the culture has shifted in recent years and when someone victim blames another, it’s not long before they are called out for it. Rightfully so! Victim blaming is egregious, unhelpful and risks further harm to the victim.

Despite this welcome cultural shift, there remains some instances where victim blaming is apparently acceptable and random internet trolls are not the only perpetrators. Even our national media engages in it, from time to time. It is not uncommon to read a sensationalised headline that slams so-called “compensation culture” in the UK and Ireland.

The inference is that we live in an increasingly litigious society made up of those who pursue frivolous personal injury claims at any opportunity.

However, the facts don’t back this up. The number of personal injury claims made has been declining year on year.

This is mainly a result of innovations by car manufacturers and advancements in PPE. We also have the benefit of robust health and safety laws.

On top of the downward trend, a YouGov report found that only 25% of people suffering from personal injuries will initiate a claim. It begs the question, why would 75% of people injured because of someone else’s negligence willingly give up their right to be compensated? Could it be that years of systemic victim blaming has conditioned them into thinking there is something shameful about access to justice?

The vast majority of those who pursue a claim deserve to be compensated for injuries that should have been avoided in the first place. Exaggeration and fraud are quite rare and solicitors are trained to spot them.

Any one of our friends, family or neighbours could get into an accident caused by another without warning at any time. Dealing with injuries can range from inconvenient to life changing. Personal injury litigation seeks a fair and balanced amount of compensation for those injuries.

The process does not go unchallenged. The defendant has the right to defend against the claim and ultimately, facts and fairness prevails. At least, they should and mostly do.

Our long-established laws are here to protect us. They are constantly scrutinised and often made even better than before. They give us many rights, including the right to be compensated if an injury is suffered.

Let’s not victim blame those who choose to pursue that right.

:: Glenn Reid (Twitter: @glenn_reid_) is a legal marketing specialist and marketing manager of McCartan Turkington Breen Solicitors (