Justice committee inspects Personal Injury Claim Reforms

Lisa Walton Personal Injury Claims

Justice committee inspects Personal Injury Claim Reforms

Neil Sugarman, Association of Personal Injury Lawyer’s (APIL) president, defended the right of injured people to claim full and fair compensation in his evidence to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee on Tuesday.

This was a one-off session, which followed a series of meetings with committee members during which they were alerted to the fundamental unfairness to injured people of the Government’s proposals. Written evidence was also submitted prior to the session.

During the session, James Dalton of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) was questioned by committee members about whether savings from the proposed small claims reforms would be passed on to motorists.

Neil said that the insurers’ arguments, and the Government’s proposals, “are all predicated on an assumption that society is out to make money out of compensation claims.”

He said: “Injured people are being ‘picked on’ based on a perception of fraud. Is whiplash the sole reason that insurance costs so much? No. We know there are other factors.”

The committee also questioned insurers’ claims that a so-called ‘whiplash epidemic’ and fraud are rife and pushing up premiums. Chair Bob Neill MP said to James Dalton: “It’s anecdotal isn’t it? You don’t have hard evidence”.

Throughout the session Neil called for a greater focus on prevention of needless injuries and a ban on cold calling for personal injury claims, accusing the Government of “tinkering around the edges” and having “no appetite” to clamp down on intrusive nuisance calls which generate the perception of easy money. Neil also conveyed APIL’s fundamental opposition both to the removal of general damages and proposals to force thousands more injured people into the small claims court.

“People will be up against skilled insurance companies whose only duty is to minimise costs to insurers,” he said.

Further evidence is to be submitted to the committee.  A report will then be prepared for the House of Commons. The Government then has to publish a response.

 

For further information or to contact a Personal Injury Specialist Solicitor at WSP please click here.

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