Should Albert claim for compensation?

author image - oliviah

By Oliviah Rix-Taylor

on Friday 1 June 2018

Man playing with grandchildren

I want to make it clear from the start that Albert, although not a real person, is very representative of the thousands of people that suffer personal injury at the hands of a negligent person - and doesn’t make a claim.

It seems these days that the terms ‘claim’ and ‘compensation’ have become synonymous with ‘fakery’, ‘money-grabbing’ and ‘opportunists’. But like all other stigma’s out there, it is a harmful one that prevents victims of negligence and abuse from acting upon their rights.

Let’s take our imaginary friend, Albert, as an example. Albert is a post-war generation stand-up member of the community. He’s the kind of man that will check your car for you before you go on a long trip, or asks how you are and actually stops to hear the answer. He’s worked hard all his life, paid his taxes and he’s now beginning to enjoy his retirement.

He has a cough, its worse in the nights but he can manage, he’s had it for a while now and he’s learned to ignore it. Lately though, it’s been getting a lot worse and his wife is concerned it could be something more serious.

A trip to the doctors seems a little over the top for Albert but he goes anyway, if anything just to keep his wife happy, and if truth be told it is starting to become very painful for him.

Whilst he is waiting for the results of the scans and the blood tests, Albert fixes some areas of the house that need some attention. He’s good with his hands (a tradesman in his day) and can build almost anything with the right tools, including the bookshelf that his wife has lovingly adorned in their sitting room.

Albert’s daughter brings her kids around, his grandchildren, and he enjoys measuring how much they have grown each time they visit by putting a notch in the kitchen door frame. He is happy he made the decision to retire early, now he can use the spare time to be with his family for a change, instead of working all those long hours.

The doctor calls, Albert’s results are back and he wants him and his wife to come in for a chat. Albert seems unconcerned but his wife is nervous, she knows that if the results were fine they would have been told over the phone.

Tragically the news is worse than she expected and the doctor has the difficult task of explaining to Albert that he has cancer – a rare type called mesothelioma which is particularly aggressive. The cancer, the doctor explains, is notoriously caused by Asbestos.

Albert is given a year or maybe two to live.

The reality is that Albert was a victim of negligence. He worked in a job that exposed him to a lethal substance, one that his employer allowed him to do and one that health and safety regulations failed to acknowledge in time. Albert’s lungs were cut and scared by the sharp fibrous substance known as asbestos and now he is terminally ill because of it.

Of course, there are government funded compensation schemes nowadays for people exposed to Asbestos but the question I want to ask you is this;

Should Albert and his family claim for compensation?

I’m certain the majority, if not all of you would answer YES. So why doesn’t that apply to all personal injury cases? Albert is an extreme, although sadly very real, example of workplace negligence and his choice to claim for compensation should in no way be stigmatised.

But what about people suffering from stress and depression from intense and overloaded working roles? What about people with back injuries from poor manual handling training? What about victims of clinical negligence who’s delays in treatment could cost them their lives? Does the same not apply?

At Accident Line Direct we believe it’s time to change the way people think about personal injury law. We believe that behind every claim is a story and a person who has suffered because of someone else’s mistake. Helping that person to recover and get back to the life they had before the accident constitutes the very meaning of justice.

It doesn’t have to be about pointing the finger of blame but it should be about recovery, responsibility and above all else – humanity.