The Annual Report of the Injuries Board is always worth reading. It suffers from a persistent tone of self-congratulation but the Injuries Board has access to information previously possessed only by insurance companies and it publishes it, or some of it, in the Annual report and other publications.
The Injuries Board views this information narrowly. It extracts it as statistics and makes little effort to draw conclusions from it.
For instance it remarked of public liability claims for 2009;
“Females accounted for 72% of the 1443 PL awards during the period of this review – over twice as many (2.5 times) as males. This is a direct reversal of data for workplace accidents where females account for just over a quarter (26%) of awards.”
A curious mind would ask if this is evidence of something, and if so, what? Furthermore, to what use can it be put ? The Injuries Board doesn’t ask these kind of questions.
It is reasonable to speculate that women do more shopping than men; they are more vulnerable to traps or deficiencies in premises open to the public.
If that is the case, what does it say about the Occupier’s Liability Act 1995? Was it, in effect, directed to denying the claims of one sex, women?
The Injuries Board Report goes on to say:
“Just over half (51%) of the accidents under review took place in privately owned establishments, with one in four (25%) occurring in a retail/shopping outlet, one in five (19%) in a hotel/pub/nightclub or restaurant and 7% in leisure facilities like sports clubs/gyms and cinemas. almost a quarter of PL awards (24%) were made against local authorities and a further 8% involved transport and utility services.”
This is peculiar; there is a world of difference between “accidents” and “awards”. Many people who have accidents on the public highway will fail in their claim against a local authority. The reason is, they have to show that they, effectively, were injured at a place where the authority caused the defect which led to their injury. If they cannot show that, where the defect developed from wear and tear, say, they will fail.
This aspect is hidden in the use of “accidents” and “awards”. As they say in trade union circles, one is apples and the other is oranges; in a phrase, they are not comparable.