The NHS reports that 1 in every 4 adults in the UK is classified as clinically obese – determined by a score of 30 or more on the body mass index (BMI) calculation system. While it has long been known that obesity significantly affects health, there is another aspect that experts are beginning to associate with the obesity crisis – personal injury claims. Based on emerging trends in personal injury claims – and in recent scientific research – it appears that obesity is causing a rise in the number of claims being made. The question is – why is weight having such an intense and obvious effect on personal injury claims?
The obvious answer is that those who are obese are more likely to suffer bodily injury. Studies have found that overweight people are more likely to be seriously injured in a car accident that their normal weight counterparts. While there are many reasons as to why this is, seat belt use is believed to play a major role.
Instances of correct seat belt use are around 67 percent higher amongst normal weight motorists and passengers than amongst the obese, primarily because of problems fastening the seat belt, and because certain body shapes can affect how the belt sits which can cause discomfort. Coupled with underlying health conditions directly caused by obesity – such as muscle pain, swelling, and inflammation – which can make injuries seem much more severe, it can reasonably be expected that personal injury claims would be high amongst the obese population.
Interestingly, however, the rise in personal injury claims relating to the obesity crisis are not only being seen amongst those who are classed as obese. James Andres Bassos, an Australian man, hit the headlines last month for making a personal injury claim against airline Etihad for a back injury caused by sitting next to an obese passenger. Bassos claims that the passenger was ‘grossly overweight’, and that he was forced to twist and contort his body in order to fit into his seat next to the passenger. During the 14 hour flight from Sydney to Dubai, Bassos was allegedly denied permission to move to a more comfortable seat and is now suing the airline for personal injury obtained during the flight.
Etihad have publicly confirmed that they will continue to oppose the action made by Mr Bassos. However, Mr Bassos has yet to receive a full medical examination to determine whether or not his injury was pre-existing, or whether it was caused – or severely aggravated – by the in-flight conditions. What this suggests is that companies are prepared to fight personal injury claims without even knowing whether they are indeed responsible, and this is a trend that we’re beginning to see more and more within the industry. It’s never been more important for the public to work with highly skilled, experienced solicitors who can help genuine claimants to receive compensation they’re entitled to. Why don’t you look into what you are entitled to today!
Harry Price is a talented writer and lanscape artist, who lives on the south coast with his wife and 3 dogs. He draws on his beautiful surroundings as inspiration for his work.