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Civil Litigation Section

Whiplash plans under fire from Law Society

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Plans to up the small claims limit for personal injury to £5,000 will stop people getting the legal advice they need to bring claims for the compensation they are entitled to, the Law Society warns

The MOJ is consulting on proposals to cut dramatically the amount that car crash victims can claim for whiplash injuries. Media reports highlight that the proposals are designed to make obtaining a payout much tougher.

The Law Society released an infographic (below) for social media to highlight the impact of the proposals on access to justice and the ability of people to get compensation for their injuries.

whiplash infographic

‘These proposals will completely undermine the right of ordinary people to receive full and proper compensation from those that have injured them – often seriously – through negligence,’ Law Society president Robert Bourns said.

‘This five-fold increase will stop people getting the legal advice they need in order to bring claims for the compensation they are entitled to in law.

‘People may be tempted to try to bring claims themselves without expert advice. This will clog up the court system, creating a David and Goliath situation where people recovering from their injuries act as litigants in person without legal advice - those defending claims can often afford to pay for legal advice. This undermines ordinary people’s ability to access justice - especially if defendants refuse to accept liability, forcing people to fight through the courts without legal help.

‘Spinning this proposal as an attack on the “compensation culture” and claiming it will reduce premiums is misleading. If you are injured through no fault of your own you should be allowed to claim for that.’

Robert Bourns added: ‘We do, however, support the proposal to prevent claims being settled without medical evidence. This should curtail the practice of some insurers trying to persuade people to settle for less than their claims are worth without evidence of the actual value.’

 

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