Legal Expert Comments On Proposals
The Government has today announced a new consultation in relation to tackling fraudulent injury claims arising from road traffic accidents and proposing a new small claims threshold for personal injury cases from road traffic accidents.
Commenting on the proposals, Matt Currie, Partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We support the Government’s desire to stamp out fraud and drive down insurance premiums but denying access to justice to thousands of genuine victims of injury isn’t the way to do it and that’s exactly what it risks doing through these proposals.
“If they are serious about tackling the problems in the current system, then they should continue to focus their attention on the multitude of Claims Management Companies who add little or no value, rather than making genuine victims suffer further. They could start by banning text messaging and cold calling right now.
“Of course, no-one should receive any compensation without proper medical assessment so we welcome the chance to work with the Government on that but forcing genuine victims to use the small claims track would be a misguided attack on access to justice. Small claims may be effective for disputes over washing machines but it isn’t suitable for more complex injury cases.
“Those claimants who did use the small claims track would face the ultimate David and Goliath scenario – bringing their own claim with no legal expertise against large corporate defendants with the best lawyers money can buy. That can’t possibly be right or fair.
“Indeed, the Government concedes in its own consultation that its proposals risk driving victims to accept less than their case is worth so we welcome the chance to show the Government the value a firm like Irwin Mitchell brings to the process for genuine claimants.”
Currie added: “The reality is that this will deny access to justice to thousands of genuine claimants to tackle the small minority who cheat the system, removing the reputable lawyers who weed out the dubious claims in the first place. In doing so, the Government could inadvertently be creating a fraudsters’ charter.
“The way to really tackle fraud in the system is to root out bad practice across the sector. That’s why we back the Government’s desire to get the industry working together on fraud and look forward to working with ABI immediately on this, as soon as it agrees to share its data to allow everyone involved to root out and eliminate fraudulent claims.”