December 11, 2012
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has today published a consultation paper proposing ways to reduce the number and costs associated with whiplash claims within the UK. The MoJ proposes creating independent medical panels to support better diagnosis of possible whiplash injuries and to raise the threshold for personal injury claims arising from road traffic accidents from £1,000 to £5,000.
Spencers Solicitors fully acknowledge that there are problems with the current system but believe that the Government's approach is misguided. Forcing legitimate claimants into the small claims system for claims under £5,000, which can be serious injuries, will severely restrict their access to justice and fails to tackle the most important issues.
Responding to the Ministry of Justice's consultation, 'Reducing the number and costs of whiplash claims', John Spencer, Director of Spencers Solicitors, a leading personal injury claimant law firm based in Chesterfield, said:
"The Government should be focusing on combating spam, fraud, third party capture by insurers and paying claims without medical evidence, not denying access to justice to the vast majority of claimants, which even the Association of British Insurers acknowledge are legitimate.
The MoJ's consultation is premature and should have taken place once the fixed costs regime had been finalised and the other reforms to the legal sector have been reviewed.
This is cheap political point scoring, playing to the insurers' tune about a so-called compensation culture and is nothing to do with responsible government.
Before embarking down this path, the Government should be demanding cast-iron assurances from the insurance sector that they will reduce premiums on the back of the already agreed reforms and closing the ABS loophole for insurers following the referral fee ban."