Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 29 Oct 2013:
The Ministry of Justice’s newest decision not to raise the limit for personal injury claims has met with quite mixed responses from the legal industry.
The MoJ definitely made news this week with their decision to leave the small claims limit where it is at £1,000 this week. Whether it’s good news or bad news depends completely on your point of view though, and if you’re a member of the Law Society it’s time to throw a bit of a party.
Personal injury solicitors had been waiting with bated breath to discover if the limit was going to be increased to £5,000, which was the rumour that had been circulating in the days prior to the MoJ’s final judgment. Legal experts are quick to point out that raising the limit might have left all too many accident victims high and dry with no recourse but to represent themselves in cases where their damages were under this £5,000 threshold – raising the limit would have meant that anyone making an accident claim of £5,000 or less would not have been able to seek legal advice and would have had to represent themselves instead!
Of course, what’s good for claimants – and by extension the legal industry – isn’t necessarily good for everyone else. In fact, insurance provider LV= was more than a little disappointed at the news as this flies directly in the face of their wishes.
Many insurers were pulling for the claims limit to be raised because it would have supposedly been a way to kerb spurious personal injury claims, especially claims for whiplash. Car insurers are particularly sensitive to the problems caused by the so-called ‘compensation culture’ that’s supposedly encouraging more fraud than it has had to deal with in years past – something that insurers claim is driving their costs up and forcing their hand in raising premium prices for everyone.
For what it’s worth, I truly think that insurers are absolutely blowing this way out of proportion. I’m not going to say that fraud isn’t a problem – I’m sure it is – but there’s plenty of underhanded things that insurers are doing already to inflate their bottom line as an excuse to raise premiums on unsuspecting Brits. Perhaps insurers should turn their gaze inward instead of blaming claimants and personal injury lawyers!