The notion that the UK is rife with a health and safety-based compensation culture is false, with most people who are injured at work having only modest expectations of compensation, a leading law firm has argued.
Research by personal injury solicitors Hubbard Pegman & Whitney (HPW) has found most people stoically avoid seeking compensation for injuries, even for modest amounts, for fear they might be made redundant as ‘punishment’ by their employers.
The poll of nearly 2,000 adults conducted by YouGov found that, while more than nine out of 10 said they would expect some form of monetary compensation after an injury at work, most underestimated how much they would receive, even though awards are normally modest.
The typical compensation for an arm broken at work was in the region of £6,000, but around 44% of those polled said they would expect £2,000 or less, with six out of 10 putting the figure at under £5,000, and just 4% saying they would expect a bumper payout of more than £10,000.
Similarly, the typical compensation for a leg broken at work was £8,650, but nearly half of those polled said they would expect to get £5,000 or less, with only 12% expecting more than £10,000.
Only in respect of more serious injuries did people begin to expect large amounts of compensation, the firm said. The typical compensation, for example, for permanent loss of the use of both legs from an injury at work is at least £140,000 and often higher, but while one-fifth of those polled expected £100,000 or less, 42% said they would expect more than £200,000.
Charlotte Pegman, managing partner of HPW, said: “While large compensation awards for seemingly minor injuries and slights rightly attract hostile media attention, the reality is that awards for most workplace injuries – often nasty ones – are generally much more modest.”