According to BBC The government is to ban referral fees in personal injury claims in an attempt to curb the “compensation culture”.
This is a topic close to my heart as despite my tutor’s advice ‘don’t work for dodgy lawyers’ I very briefly was an intern at one of those ‘personal injury firms’.
One of the things I was helping with was finding Russian-speaking clients so I was coming up to people and saying something very similar to: ‘if your friend, colleague or family member had an accident, you can earn 200 pounds for referring him/her to us’.
Response was very interesting. Some people, rightly, looked down on me. They said that if something was to happen to their loved one, calling people like me would be the last thing they would want to do.
But some were very excited with the opportunity of earning extra cash. So we signed lots of people up.
I left that firm after three days because I hated the concept and didn’t want to be one of those ‘ambulance-chasers’.
When I first saw this news on BBC, I was delighted – I really don’t like this system. However, not long after, my liberal instincts kicked in. I am against banning anything unless it harms others. The rise of insurance prices and annoying text messages trying to sign people up don’t constitute sufficient harm as far as I am concerned.
Also some people actually have series accidents and injuries (caused by asbestos for example) and those personal injury firms with their referral system raised awareness of those health risks and helped a lot of people. Maybe that is enough of justification for their aggressive marketing and sending out troops of annoying people like I was for three days.
I would welcome a discussion and will wholeheartedly support the ban if I was presented with a case on how this system can seriously harm anyone.
But for now: there you go: this is just another example of things that should not be banned just because we don’t like it.