Accidents at work

The Compensation Recovery Unit has released its annual data (2019-20) relating to personal injury claims in England and Wales.

What is the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU)?

The CRU is part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which is the government department responsible for benefit payments and employment practices in the UK.  The CRU exists to recover social security benefits in certain compensation cases.  It can also recover costs incurred by the NHS in personal injury cases.  The CRU does this by essentially piggy-backing on a personal injury claim and then once the claim is resolved in favour of the claimant, the CRU will recover any state benefits or NHS expenses incurred on behalf of tax payers.


Let’s say Mr Smith was injured in an accident at work in Manchester and was taken to Salford Royal Hospital by ambulance.  Prior to his accident he was employed and not in receipt of any benefits.  He instructs us to represent him in a personal injury case.  We review his case and see that his employers have let him down badly by not providing him with any training; inadequate equipment; sending him to work in a dangerous environment and generally put him at a level of risk that nobody should face when going to work.  As a result of his injury Mr Smith needed to claim state benefits because he was unable to work.  We win the case and Mr Smith recovers compensation for his injuries and for his lost earnings.  At this point the CRU will make a recovery (from our opponents) of the benefits paid to Mr Smith whilst he was unable to work. They may also claim back from Mr’s Smith’s employer (or his insurance company) for the cost of the ambulance and Mr Smith’s treatment at Salford Royal Hospital.  That way, the tax payer is not disadvantaged by Mr Smith’s employer’s reckless business operations.

As a consequence of their role in personal injury cases, the CRU is able to collate numbers of the total amount of personal injury claims being made.

What do the latest numbers show?

The latest numbers show a falling number of personal injury claims registered with the CRU in every category of injury claim.  This may surprise many people as the public is constantly told that personal injury claims are growing and that we live in a compensation culture.  Yet again, this is not supported by the facts.

Accidents at Work:

There were 79,027 new Accident at Work claims registered in 2019-20.  This is a fall of 10,434 or 12% on the previous year’s figure.

Clinical/Medical Negligence

Medical negligence claims are down by 964 claims, or 6% year on year and now total 15,845.  This is the lowest figure in the last 10-year data set, and is down by 14% from the high point in 2013-14.

Overall Accident Claims

Overall, for work place accidents, amputation claims, road traffic accidents, public liability accidents (i.e. trips and slips in public), medical negligence and other accident types, the total number of claims reported fell from 862,356 last year to 829,252 this year.  This is a fall of 33,104 which is a reduction of 4%.  It is the lowest level of claims reported in all of the last decade for which data is reported and is a reduction of 21% from the high point in 2012-13 when 1,048,309 new injury claims were reported.


This is great news and should be celebrated.  It is testament to the hard work of health & safety officials, responsible employers, careful drivers and improved road safety and car design.  Moreover, the CRU has, via the work of personal injury lawyers, recovered over £120,000,000 on behalf of tax payers. This is an often-overlooked benefit of the personal injury sector which makes a considerable contribution to the budget of the DWP.

You can read more about the CRU claims data here or learn more about the CRU in general here.

If you have suffered a personal injury, or have another legal problem you need help with, please contact our specialist solicitors today for a free, no obligation discussion.

You can call us on 0161 989 9400 or complete the contact us form.