Earlier this month, the Justice Minister, Lord Faulks, indicated, in his keynote speech to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), that there would be “no retreat” from the government’s proposals to further reform Personal Injury Claims. He indicated that the government remained committed to scrapping general damages completely for “minor” whiplash claims and raising the small claims limit for injury claims to £5,000.00.
Further reforms have also been proposed which could mean that all injury claims worth under £250,000.00 would be subject to fixed costs.
These proposals come on the back of various reforms to personal injury claims over the last 3 years or so which have seen; success fees and after the event insurance premiums no longer recoverable from the other side (save for some limited recoverability in clinical negligence claims), legal aid being scrapped for all injury claims except for birth injuries, an online claims portal being introduced governing all claims under £25,000.00 where liability is admitted within a certain time period, Medco being established where first experts in road traffic accident claims relating to soft tissue injury claims within the online claims portal must be pre-selected from an accredited panel, askCUE being set up whereby details of any recent previous accidents a Claimant has had are flagged up to a potential Defendant insurance company and fixed costs in all personal injury claims under £25,000.00 (save for clinical negligence claims).
The further proposals have received criticism from both APIL and the Law Society.
James Braund, Senior Associate at Trethowans LLP’s Poole Office in Dorset who specialises in personal injury and clinical negligence claims, states that “rightly or wrongly the government seems intent on pushing through further reforms in this sector. However it remains to be seen what the exact detail of these reforms will entail – for example what will count as a “minor” whiplash claim – as with so many things, the devil is very likely to be in the detail.”