Procedural Justice and Quality of Life in Compensation Processes

Injury, Int. J. Care Injured 44 (2013) 1431–1436

6 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2015

See all articles by Nieke A. Elbers

Nieke A. Elbers

VU University Amsterdam - Faculty of Law

Arno Akkermans

Amsterdam Law and Behavior Insitute (A-LAB); Amsterdam Centre for Comprehensive Law; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Faculty of Law

Pim Cuijpers

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Clinical Psychology; The EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Center; The Amsterdam Interdisciplinary Center of Law and Health

David J. Bruinvels

The Society of Occupational Medicine (NVAB) Utrecht; The Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Academic Medical Center; The Amsterdam Interdisciplinary Center of Law and Health; VU University Amsterdam - Department of Clinical Psychology

Date Written: July 1, 2011

Abstract

Background: There is considerable evidence that being involved in compensation processes has a negative impact on claimants’ health. Previous studies suggested that this negative effect is caused by a stressful compensation process: claimants suffered from a lack of communication, a lack of information, and feelings of distrust. However, these rather qualitative findings have not been quantitatively investigated yet. This observational study aimed to fill this gap of knowledge, investigating the claimants’ perceived fairness of the compensation process, the provided information, and the interaction with lawyers and insurance companies, in relation to the claimants’ quality of life.

Method: Participants were individuals injured in traffic accidents, older than 18 years, who were involved in a compensation process in the Netherlands. They were recruited by three claims settlement offices. Outcome measures were procedural, interactional, and informational justice, and quality of life.

Results: Participants (n = 176) perceived the interaction with lawyers to be fairer than the interaction with insurance companies (p < .001). The length of hospital stay was positively associated with procedural justice (b = .31, p < .001). Having trunk/back injury was negatively related to procedural justice (b = .25, p = .001). Whiplash injury and length of time involved in the claim process were not associated with any of the justice scales. Finally, procedural justice was found to be positively correlated with quality of life (rs = .22, p = .004).

Discussion: The finding that the interaction with insurance companies was considered less fair than the interaction with lawyers may imply that insurers could improve their interaction with claimants, e.g. by communicating more directly. The result that claimants with mild injuries and with trunk/back injuries considered the compensation process to be less fair than those with respectively severe injuries and injuries to other body parts suggests that especially the former two require an attentive treatment. Finally, the fact that procedural justice was positively correlated with quality of life could implicate that it is possible to improve claimants’ health in compensation processes by enhancing procedural justice, e.g. by increasing the ability for claimants to express their views and feelings and by involving claimants in the decision-making process.

Keywords: Claimants, Lawyers, Insurance companies, Procedural justice, Interactional justice, Informational justice, Compensation processes, Therapeutic Jurisprudence

Suggested Citation

Elbers, Nieke A. and Akkermans, Arno and Cuijpers, Pim and Bruinvels, David J., Procedural Justice and Quality of Life in Compensation Processes (July 1, 2011). Injury, Int. J. Care Injured 44 (2013) 1431–1436, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2562307

Nieke A. Elbers (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands

Arno Akkermans

Amsterdam Law and Behavior Insitute (A-LAB) ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/arno-j-akkermans

Amsterdam Centre for Comprehensive Law ( email )

Faculty of Law, Initium Building
De Boelelaan 1077
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/arno-j-akkermans

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

Amsterdam, 1081 HV
Netherlands
+31205986286 (Phone)
+31205986280 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/arno-j-akkermans

Pim Cuijpers

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Clinical Psychology ( email )

Amsterdam, 1081 HV
Netherlands

The EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Center

Amsterdam
Netherlands

The Amsterdam Interdisciplinary Center of Law and Health

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

David J. Bruinvels

The Society of Occupational Medicine (NVAB) Utrecht ( email )

Utrecht
Netherlands

The Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Academic Medical Center

Amsterdam
Netherlands

The Amsterdam Interdisciplinary Center of Law and Health

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Clinical Psychology ( email )

Amsterdam, 1081 HV
Netherlands

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