It is quite widely-known that people who have been injured are entitled to claim a financial settlement if another party was at fault. However, a lot of people never claim the compensation they are legally entitled to, and often this is down to a general lack of understanding on any deeper level. One thing that many people are often unclear on is exactly what a compensation payment is for, and what it represents.
The answer to this works on two different levels, because compensation payments are designed to represent two different forms of justice for the injured party. Both of these will be taken into account when calculating the total amount that should be awarded as a result of an accident at work claim or any other kind of personal injury case.
Reimbursement for Expenses
Part of the purpose of compensation is to reimburse you for expenses that have been incurred as a result of your injury, as it is considered only fair that these expenses are met by the person who caused your injury and was at fault. Examples of expenses that might be incurred in this way are any costs associated with medical treatment, such as the cost of having prescriptions filled, and losses incurred as a result of being unable to work. More serious and longer-term injuries may also require you to make adaptations to your home in order to accommodate a reduced level of physical ability, or assistance from private carers. These are also expenses that could be considered for reimbursement when calculating the amount of compensation that is due to you.
Compensation for Suffering
The other purpose of financial compensation is to serve as, quite simply, compensation. In other words, it is designed to make up, at least on some level, for the suffering that your injury has caused. Of course, in many cases no financial settlement could really make up for this, particularly in cases where accidents have resulted in a long-term or permanent disability or even death. Nonetheless, a compensation payment is designed to go some way – as far as reasonably possible – towards making amends for pain and suffering. In some cases, such as where a household’s major wage-earner is permanently unable to work or even deceased, this aspect of the compensation payment is also intended help ensure the financial security of the claimant or claimants in a more general way than the part of the settlement that relates to specific expenses.
Since Alternative Business Structure (ABS) licenses allowed non-legal businesses to branch out into legal services, a number of major businesses have taken advantage of the opportunity to enter the legal sector. A number of large corporations and household names continue to move into the law, most recently major insurer LV=. However, one of the first major businesses to enter the legal market under an ABS license – motoring organisation the AA – has now announced that it is withdrawing from the sector.
AA Law was first launched in December 2013, just weeks after the business first obtained its license with an initial focus on offering personal injury services. The creation of a legal arm for the motoring services firm was brought about through a partnership with national law firm Lyons Davidson. The goal of the new business was initially to offer legal services that would be of interest to its existing customers and a complement to its motoring services, notably personal injury and other kinds of litigation that might arise from traffic accidents. It was indicated that other services, such as contract services and employment law, would also likely be introduced in the future as a “natural evolution” of AA Law’s services.
At first, the AA’s move into legal services seemed to be a successful one. An annual report, covering the year to 31st May 2014, showed pre-tax profits of around £613,000 and turnover of nearly £2 million. However, while AA Law benefited from a rush of business in its early days, the influx of new work for the ABS has since slowed significantly and this seems to have led its parent business to question the value of continuing operations in the legal sector. It has now been confirmed that AA Law ceased accepting new clients in November.
The company said that: “Following a strategic review the AA decided that the level of customers it was introducing did not justify the maintenance of a standalone business.” The spokesperson delivering this statement went on to clarify that Lyons Davidson was continuing to work on existing cases that had been started with AA Law before the effective closure. It was also said that the firm would “[continue] to work with the AA and on a number of other initiatives for the provision of legal services to the AA and its customers.”
Following the early success of AA Law, a separate legal arm – AA Home Conveyancing – was launched. Whether this part of the AA’s legal operations is also going to cease operating is not currently clear.