Claiming compensation is a tricky social issue. Some people feel that anyone can claim compensation for any piece of bad luck these days. But the fact remains that negligence is everywhere and if you are seriously injured, you deserve to be adequately compensated. So here are five things that (in the UK) you can expect recompense for that you may not have known:
Accidents Caused By Uninsured / Untraced Drivers
Being in an accident involving a vehicle is sufficiently traumatic. But when you’re involved in an accident with someone too cowardly to own up to causing the accident, or someone sufficiently stupid enough to be driving without insurance, things will seem excessively horrible. Where is the money going to come from? Well, in the UK at least, the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB. Nothing to do with aliens, unfortunately) has you covered. However, it does come with a hefty excess of £350 plus legal fees.
Bus and Taxi Crashes
Whilst we all typically expect compensation in accidents in public places, accidents related to public transport often slip by us less because we don’t know that we can claim, but because we’re afraid to claim, or convinced that it is impossible to claim. To be sure, getting witness statements to back up your claim can be difficult (unless you’re on a service you take daily with the same group of people). But considering the standing state of my passengers and the severity of injuries that can result in a crash or emergency stop situation, bus companies do come under intense scrutiny from the police and from passengers alike if there is an accident, and witnesses are more willing to come forward than you’d think.
The British High Speed Rail 2 Link
A passionate point of debate in the UK at the moment is the forthcoming High Speed Rail 2 link between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Intended to improve international links to the midlands and northern England, concerns have been aired about the noise, pollution and the basic need for such a project. Of course, people living in the path of the route will be hit by compulsory purchase orders and forced to relocate, with compensation.
But what about those who are stuck next to the construction work and the noise, smell and danger of a high speed train? Well compensation will be offered through the government’s Exceptional Hardship Scheme. However, this will only be offered to those who have to move urgently at a time when the price of their houses has been dramatically reduced (for reasons including divorce, unemployment or serious illness). There is also some ambiguity over the precise route, until early April 2012.
Vibration White Finger / Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome
Despite being a rather descriptive malady, knowledge about, Vibration White Finger (VWF) or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) isn’t exactly mainstream. Yet, around 1 in 10 people who use vibrating power tools will suffer from this industrial disease. VWF is caused by restricted blood supply in your extremities whilst using vibrating power tools, as well as working in extreme cold temperature. The intensity and duration of work with vibrating equipment matters: even a small vibration over an extended period can be as damaging as using an intense tool for a short amount of time.
You may be entitled to compensation if you were a) improperly trained, b) forced to use poorly maintained, poorly designed, high intensity equipment. In the UK, tools have an exposure limit value (ELV) which you should not be forced to exceed.
The Ministry of Defence has a duty to its employees, just as any other employee does, but people are still often surprised to hear that an occupation where danger is certain is involved in the whole compensation game. In the UK at least, compensation for injuries at work came about because of the high numbers wishing to claim over the use of asbestos in dockyards, among other situations in which injuries were the result of MoD negligence rather than enemy action.
The same array of possible negligence claims exist in a military context, and it shouldn’t be unusual that a soldier is able to claim for injuries in a car accident, for injuries caused by repetitive action, inadequate training and so forth. And actually, since 2005 claims for injuries sustained in combat may be made via the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). Those who are medically discharged from the military are automatically compensated via the scheme.