Isn't it time John Jackson found a new hobby horse (1 July, Insurance Times)? The plain fact is that the only independent evidence is from the Compensation Recovery Unit, which found accident claims have decreased by almost 10% in the past year.

This does not point to a compensation culture. In fact, the unit, as well as many other informed commentators, recognises that the opposite is the case.

Close inspection of the Institute of Actuaries report reveals that findings and figures are based largely on assumption and estimation, following surveys of people connected to the actuaries' own industry. Indeed, the working party openly admitted the figures "... are by no means precise and in places rely on some heroic assumptions".

The widely misused £10bn figure actually includes several government-paid schemes, most notably, compensation payments made to farmers following the BSE crisis.

Teachers' concerns may be real, but they are unfounded and fuelled by a lack of knowledge about the legal system. A child running across a playground, stumbling and cutting his knee is still - and always will be - an accident.

Insurers are well aware that such a scenario would never result in a successful claim, yet continue to pedal the myth.

The real danger is that such mischievous scaremongering distracts the education authorities, teachers and the public from the very real need to ensure that those in charge of children fulfil their duty of care.

Only last week, we heard about a teacher who obviously did not carry out a proper risk assessment, and could have consequently put 39 pupils' lives in danger.

Rather than perpetuating the myth of a legal minefield for teachers, responsible commentators should surely be focusing on the importance of making sure our children are safe.

Colin Ettinger
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

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