The National Accident Helpline has responded to the reforms of the no win no fee system announced by Kenneth Clarke.
Sam Porteous, the chief executive of the Helpline, pointed out that people who are injured in accidents are often the underdog and have undergone severe trauma through no fault of their own. Furthermore, in many cases they are oblivious of their rights. A study carried out in 2010 showed that only 6% of people in the UK understand their rights when it comes to personal injury claims.
The National Accident Helpline is therefore extremely concerned about these proposals as they could hamper innocent victim’s right to personal injury compensation.
Kenneth Clarke has said that he wants to protect the rights of injured parties but the government has overlooked the fact that in more than 75% of cases, legal costs are fixed, Porteous continued. Accident victims, with complex injuries, should not be forced to fight their own battles in a small claims court; they should be allowed proper representation from a reputable personal injury solicitor.
The compensation awarded to victims goes towards paying for the basic cost of living and rehabilitation. It’s wrong to suggest that an accident victim should be deprived of part of that compensation to pay legal costs. The behaviour of defendants has caused costs to rise and yet the government has not put forward any measures to deal with that matter. The National Accident Helpline believes a more balanced approach to reform is needed, he concluded.