Severely injured people should not be forced to gamble compensation for life-changing injuries, lawyers warn in response to a Department of Justice (DoJ) consultation on how payments are calculated.
“The people affected by this consultation have life-long and life-changing injuries, which they would not have suffered were it not for negligence, said Maurece Hutchinson, Belfast-based Northern Ireland representative of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) They are compensated to pay for their care, specialist equipment, and living costs. They cannot simply earn their own money as they did before they were injured - in most cases the compensation is all the support they will ever have for the rest of their lives.
“The DoJ is consulting on whether compensation should be calculated in such a way that injured people will have to take risks when investing their compensation to ensure it will stretch for the rest of their lives,” Ms Hutchinson explained.
“If they don’t take that investment risk, they will have to fall back on the State to pay for their needs when the money runs out. This goes against the basic principles of compensation. It is supposed to meet an injured person’s needs after serious injury which was inflicted upon them by someone else’s negligence. The State should not have to pick up the bill,” she went on.
“Injured people should not be forced to take risks and gamble their compensation in a bid to get by. Catastrophically injured people are vulnerable and fearful for their futures. There has been much debate about whether injured people should shoulder some risk with their investments. They are averse to taking risks with this very important money and should be allowed to invest without taking risks at all,” Ms Hutchinson added.