Personal injury solicitors in the UK are charging legal fees that are unacceptable, unsustainable, and unaffordable, according to the Association of British Insurers, who claims consumers in the UK have to pay the equivalent of £1,666 every minute due to court costs associated with personal injury claims.
These fees are paid by Brits through their motor insurance premiums, claims the ABI, as insurers that settle low-value personal injury compensation claims need to pass along these costs, which top £2.4 million a day, along to their customers. Not only that, compensation payments are often dwarfed by legal costs, such as one 2010 claim was comprised of fees that were 142 per cent of the total compensation given to the injured claimants.
Other examples include another recent claim where a personal injury at work led to a compensation payment of £12,750 for the injured employee, yet legal fees topped £74,000 after everything was said and done. Another case included a £37,250 in legal bills for a £15,000 compensation claim for a woman who had injured herself after a fall sent her into a castle moat.
The NHS also recently reported that their legal costs rose by 5 per cent between 2004 and 2011. However, legal costs incurred by claimants against the NHS – which are paid by the authority if they are found liable for a claim – have gone up by 130 per cent in the same period of time.
The head of the ABI’s liability and motor insurance divisons, James Dalton, recently spoke out on the issue, stating that the Government needs to take steps to reform the compensation system in the UK. Solicitor fees need to be brought down to more manageable levels, Mr Dalton said, as lowering these legal fees will result in cost decreases for insurance customers.