I spent a very pleasant hour in the company of Sally Chesworth who interviewed me for a Radio 4 documentary on the role of insurance companies in abuse claims.
One of the questions she asked was how I would react to a suggestion that abuse Claimants were akin to personal injury Claimants and whether they should be allowed to be claiming significant levels of damages many years and even decades after the event.
We discussed the difference between personal injury law and abuse law.
Politicians and the media have spent the last few years castigating the personal injury claims industry. Legislation has been produced which has decimated the profession and the insurance industry seems to have found a favourable ally in the present Government.
My response to Sally’s question was that abuse claims are different in many ways from normal personal injury claims. The aim of the Claimant is not always to maximise damages. Often they simply want some recognition that the abuse occurred and the award of nominal damages will suffice if it means that someone accepts responsibility for what happened to them. It also goes some way to provide closure. One of the main elements of any claim we bring is for treatment costs and earnings lost as a result of the abuse which are often essential awards to help a victim overcome their childhood experiences.
Abuse law is an increasingly specialised area. The Barristers and medical experts that we use specialise in abuse claims and I have found that the approach to the claims differs considerably from routine personal injury work. As an example, one of the first issues in any case to address will always be limitation. The claims are invariably brought many years after the 3 year limitation period which applies to personal injury claims and any abuse lawyer will need to be well versed in the case law relating to limitation.
Here at Farleys we have specialist personal injury lawyers who deal with a wide variety of personal injury work and a separate Abuse Department who specialise in abuse claims.
Media coverage of this area of work will undoubtedly continue as the Government press ahead with their long awaited inquiry into historic child sex abuse and as a result there are likely many more Claimants come forward.
My advice to such Claimants would be to choose a firm who specialises in abuse work like ourselves.
Here at Farleys solicitors our specialist Abuse Claims department are experts in helping victims of physical or sexual abuse pursue compensation. Whilst we realise the initial process of filling a claim may seem daunting, our solicitors will be here to support you through the entirety of the process, for further advice please don’t hesitate to call us on 0845 050 1958, or email us.
Alternatively we also have a free online chat service where you can speak directly with an experienced abuse claims solicitor.