Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 2 Apr 2013:
Personal injury solicitors have been up in arms now that the Legal Aid bill has gone into effect, and there’s more than one Chicken Little running about.
The sky is absolutely falling, according to some personal injury solicitors, who feel that thanks to the reduction in access to justice brought about by the Legal Aid bill will see people having no option but to actually ‘take the law into their own hands.’ While this seems absolutely ludicrous at first glance, the warning actually originates from the Law Society, an industry body representing solicitors.
The Law Society’s legal aid head, Richard Miller, fanned the fires of hysteria by stating that the ‘social consequences’ of trying to trim off £350 million in costs during a time of austerity will leave people vulnerable and without the ability to gain legal representation when it would otherwise be out of their financial ability. This is, to me anyway, a load of bollocks, as any personal injury solicitor really concerned about whether or not the nation’s poor would still retain access to justice would simply volunteer their services even in light of the Legal Aid scale back – but I suppose that working pro bono won’t put another Jaguar in the garage, now will it?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the personal injury coin, predictions are running high that car insurance providers are most likely going to experience much reduced profit margins even though the he Legal Aid act will supposedly also put an end to the so-called ‘compensation culture’ gripping the UK. Rampant personal injury claims made against insurers have been held up as one of the main reasons that we’re all being charged an arm and a leg on our annual car insurance renewals, and Ernst & Young say that even though steps are being taken to reduce legal costs to the insurance industry, insurers are still going to pay around £1.08 in expenses (including paying out on car accident claims) for every pound taken in from premium payments.
If this turns out to be true, this will be nearly 20 years in a row that the car insurance industry in the UK has failed to turn a profit from an underwriting standpoint. The impact of the reforms will most likely be nowhere deep enough to reduce costs to enable profitability, Ernst & Young says, mostly because insurers are over-estimating the scope and effect of the new legislation.