Accident injury claims in the homeMost people probably don't think about the dangers of facing an accident injury claim being made by a visitor to their own home.
Yet this is a very real possibility. While a compensation claim certainly has the potential to sour friendships, there is no real reason why one should. Usually, the insurers of the residency where the accident occurred will pay out any compensation arising out of the injury claim, meaning there need not necessarily be any financial loss incurred by the home-owner.
Looking at these kinds of personal injury claims from an objective viewpoint is a useful exercise. If someone has suffered pain, injury and financial loss through no fault of his or her own, seeking compensation is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
People have been doing this for thousands of years. Many eminent historians argue that the existence of a system of monetary compensation is a good indicator of a civilised society.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) have long been trying to drive the message home that accidents in the home represent a real danger to everyone and that people should be doing more to lessen their likelihood.
They report that every year, 4,000 people are killed in accidents in the home. Further to that, hospitals report that 2.7 million people each year turn up at accident and emergency wards seeking treatments for injuries sustained in the workplace. While only a small percentage of these resulted in accident injury claims, enough of them did for the total compensation claim cost to run into millions of pounds.
A personal account
I must admit that I do, in fact, have a personal interest in this subject. Nearly ten years ago I was at a friend's school graduation party. There were around 15 of us at Ella's family home, so it was a pretty low key affair.
The celebration had been put on by my friend's parents. To mark our graduation and our burgeoning adulthood they had even laid on some beers and wine for us to drink. This was despite the fact only around half of us had reached 18 the legal drinking age.
Ella's best friend, Jenny, was there. She was of a very slight build and, at that stage, had virtually no experience of drinking alcohol. Pretty soon she was friendly, cheerful and effusive, but by no means completely drunk.
As it approached midnight, Jenny decided it was time for her to go home, so she phoned her parents to ask for a lift. What she hadn't noticed was that Ella's parents had only recently closed the sliding glass doors.
The fact that these glass doors had no markings to indicate their presence, coupled with Jenny's tipsiness meant she failed to notice them so crashed through the glass as she walked towards the phone, sustaining severe cuts to her face and arms.
Ella rushed over to and tried to stem the flow of blood with several t-shirts, while I called emergency services.
Eventually, Jenny turned out to be alright, although she did need some corrective cosmetic surgery to minimise the effect of scarring to her face.
Funding of both the her surgery and the counselling Jenny needed to help her recover from the trauma of the incident cost her parents quite a lot of money; money they didn't really have.
This was part of their motivation for making an accident injury claim.
I would be lying if I said that this didn't sour the atmosphere between the two families for a while. However, nearly a decade on Jenny and Ella are again really close. So close, in fact, that Jenny was recently bridesmaid at Ella's wedding and Ella's husband, he's none other than Jenny's big brother.
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