Accidents can happen to any one at any time. You are a very lucky person if you manage to go through life without having an accident. Road crash, house fire, assault, workplace accident or a simple trip. These are common. The headline stories of fires, murder and terrorism are not common. It is the everyday workplace, home and road accidents that claim most victims.
The main thing with accidents is that they are random and can happen to anyone anytime anywhere. Most accidents are minor, but others can be more serious. In the blink of an eye, your life could be changed for ever. Accidents happen every day, everywhere.
Just look at these latest statistics from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA):
Accidents on the roads
During 2004 there were 280,840 casualties on British Roads
That includes 3221 killed and 31,330 seriously injured
Accidents at home
Surprisingly, your home is one of the most dangerous places you can be.
Home injuries send an incredible 2.8 million people to hospital Accident and Emergency units, with an unknown number going to GPs for less serious accidents.
Every day, ten people die and 8000 people seek medical treatment as a result of home and garden accidents in the UK.
Most common accidents are falls from height, choking, poisoning, burns and scalds.
Accidents at work
You are also at risk at work.
In 2005 around 2 million people were hurt at work and required treatment at a hospital casualty department. In 2005 over 200 people died, and over 350,000 were seriously injured. Many had to take weeks off work.
Accidents involving children
The saddest figure is the annual toll of child deaths from accident, including 260 road casualties
Every year, 3 million children suffered injuries which require attendance at the A&E department of a hospital. A million are injured in and around schools, recreational areas, and sports facilities and so on -and 2 million in and around the home.
If a serious accident befalls you, then you may be unable to work for the rest of your life. You may need money for income or adapting your home.
You have a one in seven chance of being off work for 6 months due to illness or accident, during your working life.
Thankfully, medical advances and better remedial care mean that more people can return to work and normal life.
You may expect the state to support you. You may get a small amount of benefit, but may have to go through unpleasant interviews, medical tests and a review of your finances. Sadly, with many fraudulent claimants, the state treats everyone claiming benefit with great suspicion, guilty until proven innocent.
If you are a specialist tradesperson, or professional, a serious injury may mean that you can work, but not in the profession or type of occupation you were used to. Politicians may dislike the blunt truth, but in the modern world, the state expects you to take any form of work on offer. They may even force you to go on training programmes, before they decide whether or not to give you a handout.
By law, an employer must pay most employees statutory sick pay for up to 28 weeks. This will almost certainly be a lot less than your full earnings. Few pay for longer. If it is obvious you can never return to work, they may stop paying and terminate your employment. Not all employers pay willingly.
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