Master of the Rolls slams UK’s treatment of accident victims

The Master of the Rolls yesterday attacked the UK’s shameful record on looking after accident victims. Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers made a plea for the Government to back the rehabilitation of those affected in its forthcoming plans to deal with the spiralling costs of employer’s liability insurance.

Lord Phillips told delegates at the Forum of Insurance Lawyers annual conference on 2 December that the Government could make well over £1 billion of savings in benefit payments.

“Rehabilitation is the most important element in the response to any serious personal injury,” Lord Phillips said. “Statistics demonstrate this and they are statistics of which we should be ashamed.” In Scandinavia a paraplegic has a 50 per cent chance of returning to full employment, in the US the figure is 42 per cent but in the United Kingdom it is a mere 14 per cent.

Earlier in the year Government reports highlighted the fact that for every £1 paid out, insurers also paid lawyers 40p. “The amount of money in this country we pay to support victims of accidents is per capita approximately twice as much as is spent in the US…the difference is explained largely by rehabilitation,” said Lord Phillips.