There is now a very worrying trend on the part of the Government in relation to regulating personal injury cases. In the last couple of years, the Government has banned referral fees, introduced fixed fees in Employers and Public Liability cases. They have also extended fixed fees in Road Traffic Accident cases.
All these steps have been introduced to prevent “fat cat” lawyers “milking” the system and fraudulent Claimants making whiplash claims. Unfortunately, this has led to personal injury practises closing and Claimants being denied access to justice. The only beneficiary of the so called reforms are the insurance companies. Again it is the case that the majority of genuine Claimants being punished for a tiny proportion of dishonest ones.
To add insult to injury, the Government has recently made a proposal to raise the small claims limit for Personal Injury claims to £5,000 and to stop compensation payments for minor soft tissues injuries arising from Road Traffic Accidents. The former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne, stated in his Autumn Statement last year that the Government are going to make it harder for people to claim compensation for exaggerated or fraudulent whiplash cases.
Although no concrete plans have yet been announced, this represents another blow to access for justice for ordinary people.
Other recent developments are the introduction of a register for medical practitioners in whiplash claims as well as Medical Agencies as well as the registration of every whiplash case on a national database. This was to try and prevent fraudulent cases and fraudulent medical practitioners, who facilitate them.
There is also the introduction of fixed fees for Medical Negligence Claims under the value of £250,000. This was going to be introduced this Autumn but has been put back. Practitioners will be aware that Clinical Negligence cases are extremely complex and introducing fixed fees for these cases will mean that fixed fees and profit margins are squeezed and therefore there will be fewer Solicitors able and willing to take on these types of cases.
If you would like more information, speak to our Personal Injury Solicitor, Zahreen Hussain on 020 7998 7777 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.