Category Archives: Personal injury

Can I claim for asbestos exposure?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral which due to its hardwearing properties, was widely used in the 50’s 60’s 70’s and 80s particularly in power stations, shipbuilding, construction and the motor industry. It was not until 1999 that the damaging effects of the fibres were fully accepted and its use was completely banned in the UK.

Many people were exposed to asbestos but had no idea until decades later when the effects began to become apparent. Year on year the number of patients diagnosed with asbestos related diseases continues to rise and is expected to see its peak around 2025.

As well as those that worked directly with asbestos, it is possible for victims to suffer from ‘secondary exposure’. This occurs when inhaling fibres from the work clothes of a family member, or inhalation from living near a factory where asbestos was regularly used.

The illnesses caused by exposure can be very serious and even fatal. These include

Mesothelioma

A rare fatal cancer which most frequently starts in the lining of the lungs but can also start in the abdomen. Symptoms tend to only be noticeable once the cancer has grown and presses on a nerve or body organ. Common symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, tiredness and a persistent cough. Unfortunately there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, but positive studies are being made in the development of immunotherapy treatment which can prolong life expectancy.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer originates in the lung tissue. Symptoms are similar to mesothelioma and include shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and weight loss. Patients generally have a better survival rate than those with mesothelioma.

Asbestosis

A long term lung condition caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos. Symptoms include shortness of breath, a persistent cough, and fatigue and chest pain.

There is no cure for asbestosis once it has developed and it can worsen over time. However, in many cases, the condition progresses very slowly or not at all. Those diagnosed with asbestosis, are at a higher risk of developing pleural disease, mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Pleural thickening

Also known as diffuse pleural thickening, this is a lung disease which causes extensive scarring and thickens the lining of the lungs. The capacity and malleability of the lung is often reduced.  Symptoms include chest pain and difficulty breathing.

What do I need to prove to make a claim?

To be able to make a compensation claim for asbestos exposure, you must file the claim within three years from the date that you first become aware of the diagnosis. Or when you were made aware, or should have been aware, of the link between your symptoms and exposure to asbestos.

If you are claiming on behalf of a deceased family member this time can be extended as the claim must be filed within three years of the date of death.

Damages can be substantial in these claims to cover the pain and suffering as well as any financial losses or expenses incurred by the sufferer or their family.  Funding can be obtained to help provide care and adaptations, an example being the installation of stair lifts and walk in showers.

To make a valid claim you must be able to prove some important points. You will need

  1. A medical report, by a reputable respiratory disease expert, to state that you are suffering from an asbestos related illness caused by exposure.
  2. To be able to link asbestos exposure back to a specific workplace; product; location  or, if secondary exposure, to be able to link to the original source
  3. To prove that the employer or occupier was aware of the risks
  4. To prove that the employer was negligent or in breach of a duty in regards to failing to take reasonable practicable steps or to avoid exposure to the asbestos

Proving all of these aspects can be very difficult, particularly if liability is disputed by the employer in question. Due to the length of time which has passed, further difficulties can be found if the company no longer exists or the insurer is difficult to track down. This is why instructing an experienced and accredited asbestos specialist solicitor, like those at Plymouth’s GA Solicitors is crucial.

Additional support can be found on the British Lung Foundation’s website.

The process of completing a fatal accident claim

When you have been affected by a fatal accident, making a claim is likely to be one of the last things on your mind. You will understandably be taking the necessary time to mourn your loved one as well as making arrangements in the wake of their unexpected death. However, it’s important to realise that taking the huge first steps towards receiving the compensation you’re owed can help ease the financial pressure on yourself.

As we will explain in this article, making a fatal accident claim doesn’t have to be a long and hassling process. Here is the process you will go through when completing a fatal accident claim…

Find the right solicitor for you

The first step you should undergo is to look around for a trusted firm who will represent you throughout the whole process of making a claim. You will want to find a team of experienced solicitors who specialise in cases such as your own. Many qualified firms operate on a No Win, No Fee basis which shows that winning your case is at the forefront of everything they do. Don’t make the decision that you can handle a claim on your own, particularly when the emotional stress can cloud your judgement and understanding.

Naturally you will have a lot of questions which this step is why is arguably the most important one you will face. You shouldn’t commit until you know what lies ahead. Any professional firm should be able to provide a free, no obligation consultation. Use this opportunity to clarify any questions or doubts you may have.

Appointing a firm to handle your case

Finding the courage and will to get to this position is a mark of your strength and belief in chasing what is right. By this point you should know if you are eligible to claim, what you can claim for and how much you can claim. Whether you are looking to claim for a bereavement award, a motorbike accident claim or another type of fatal claim, these are all points that should be answered during the initial consultation when searching for the right solicitors.

If a solicitor firm agrees to take on your case, then this is a sign that they believe you have a strong case to answer, especially if they work on a No Win, No Fee basis. This means that you won’t be liable to pay their solicitor fees unless your case wins in court.

A coroner may decide to hold an inquest

One of the first major developments that can occur during your fatal accident claim is when a coroner chooses to hold an inquest. An inquest is not always necessary but will happen if a post-mortem examination shows that a death has not been caused by natural causes. An inquest may also still be held in deaths by natural causes in certain situations such as if someone was under arrest or in prison at the time of their death.

During an inquest, the coroner will carry out an investigation and hear evidence to confirm the identity of the deceased and their cause of death. At the end of the inquest they will then deliver a verdict. However, it’s important to note that this does not disclose any individual or organization as having criminal or civil liability.

While the thought of hearing evidence at an inquest can be nerve-wracking, many of those affected typically feel that this is an important part of the grieving process and helps them come to terms with their loss. It is also a good chance to prepare yourself for future proceedings. Your solicitor can represent you at the inquest and will help ease your concerns during the process.

Taking your case to court

From the moment you choose your solicitor firm, they will look to build a case as strong as possible with your best interests at the forefront. This will come in the form of evidence you may find difficult to confront and tough questions you will be asked. The solicitors should make you feel at ease and answer any questions or concerns you may have. It’s important that you co-operate with them as much as possible in their conquest to gather the facts. You may be asked to supply evidence to help your case such as doctor notes, police complaints, salary slips, letters from an employer, photographs of injuries, witness statements and receipts showing expenses related to the accident and subsequent death.

Going to court can be a worrying scenario for everyone and even more so if you are asked to give evidence. Regardless of your involvement during the proceedings, this is where the solicitors earn their money. Not only should their priority be to present the strongest possible case against the defence, but it’s important that they keep you at ease and inform you of regular updates along the way.

If all is successful, the process for a fatal accident claim will hopefully conclude with you receiving the amount of compensation that you deserve.

Why you should get in contact with a personal injury lawyer

Personal injury law is very complicated, and if you have recently been involved in an accident, then you might need to seek the help of a professional. Many people who are seriously injured don’t do anything about it while their life isn’t affected, and they miss out on compensation. Here, we are going to talk you through some of the reasons why you should get in contact with a personal injury lawyer. Keep reading to find out more.

You were recently injured

One of the most important reasons why you should get in contact with a personal injury lawyer is the fact that you were recently injured. Injuries vary in severity, but you will find that if you have been injured in such a way that your daily life has been affected, then you might just have a case. People often talk about making a claim, but without a personal injury lawyer you won’t be able to establish whether this is possible or not.

The law is complicated

Although it can be tempting to handle things by yourself when you are seriously injured, you might find that you don’t handle things correctly and cause more problems for yourself. There are specific laws that surround personal injuries, and if you don’t claim compensation or put in a complaint within a certain period of time, you could find yourself unable to make a claim at all. Make sure to get in contact with a personal injury lawyer right away.

Lawyers specialise in this

You might already have a lawyer that handles all of your other matters, but do they specialise in personal injury law? Certain law firms like Atkins Hope have teams that can handle these matters in a short period of time and get you the help that you need. If you are looking for someone who is trained in these sort of cases, then make sure to get in contact with Blackheath solicitors who can get you the compensation you deserve.

The insurance company denied your claim

Have you recently been injured and have found that your insurance company haven’t been accommodating? Insurance companies can deny claims for a whole host of reasons and can often leave people like yourself feeling like there is no compensation possible. Of course, when you contact a personal injury lawyer, you can figure out why this happened in the first place and decide on what to do next with the help of your lawyer.

Get in contact now

If you are thinking about getting in contact with a personal injury lawyer over a recent accident, then you should make sure to do so as soon as possible. Without proper knowledge of the law surrounding this, you could be risking your claim and won’t get everything that you deserve. Get in contact with a solicitor that specialises in this sort of claim today to get your life back on track.

Concerns over victims of cycling accidents with recent whiplash reform

Throughout the UK, roadways are more congested than ever, but not with motorists alone. Many adults are utilising the roadways to bike, either for pleasure or to commute to and from work, but the rise in the number of road users has created some concern in several arenas. The most pressing is the fact that accidents between motorists and other road users like cyclists and pedestrians are on the rise. A recent report highlights these statistics, citing a five per cent increase in the number of accidents resulting in serious injury among cyclists on UK roads. In 2016 alone, more than 100 cyclists died in an accident with a motorist, and another 3,300 reported serious injury after colliding with a vehicle. These stark numbers point to a real need for change; however, the government’s focus is on another issue surrounding the use of UK roads.

In 2017, the Civil Liability Bill proposed by lawmakers spelled out a grave need for reducing the number of fraudulent personal injury claims against motorists and their insurance companies. The focus of the bill is whiplash reform, as this soft tissue injury is often easy to fake and has been included in compensation claims at an increasing rate over the last several years. The initial roll-out for the bill set for October 2018 has now been pushed back to April 2020, giving many a reason to celebrate. While the whiplash reform programme has some positive aspects, many believe it unfairly includes vulnerable road users, including cyclists, into the mix.

Reform highlights

The Civil Liability Bill introduced in 2017 has several components, but the main focus is the need to reduce fraudulent whiplash claims relating to road traffic accidents. Whiplash often takes place after an individual has experienced a car accident, but the injury has been cited as an easy way to claim for compensation that may not truly be due to the accident victim. The proposed bill is meant to reduce the number of frivolous whiplash claims by fundamentally changing how compensation claims are processed.

Under the new reform, the biggest change in legislation revolves around the small claims court limit. Historically, the threshold for small claims court has been set at £1,000, meaning any claims above that amount were moved to civil court. The reform proposes an increase to the small claims court limit, up to £5,000, with the intent of decreasing the number of whiplash claims that can be brought with the help of legal representation. The proposed bill also requires medical evidence of whiplash after a road traffic accident, as well as a need to prove valuation of a claim for compensation. These tactics may indeed decrease the total number of whiplash claims, helping reduce fraud over time, but vulnerable road users including cyclists lose out in the deal.

Cycling accident victims and implications

Cyclists rarely experience whiplash after an incident with another road user, which a group of bike accident claims solicitors says is part of the reason the reform is not appropriate as it stands. Many cyclists involved in a road traffic accident have different injuries, ranging from broken wrists and ankles to broken collarbones and head injuries. Cyclists often see damage to their bike and clothing due to an accident, and they may have a loss of earnings while rehabilitating after an injury takes place. These issues are not explicitly addressed in the whiplash reform bill, nor is the reality that cyclists’ claims do not meet the new small claims court limits.

Under the proposed bill, cyclists stand to lose out the most because of these issues. The valuation of a claim in small claims court only includes the compensation for an injury. In 70% of cyclist accident claims, their injuries do not exceed £5,000 and so they may then be forced to go through the claims process without legal representation. If they do decide to use s solicitor to assist with their accident injury claim, their total compensation may be greatly reduced because they cannot recoup legal costs in small claims court. The reform blatantly overlooks these issues impacting cyclists and their ability to claim for compensation after an accident.

A nod to big insurance

While the whiplash reform programme is presented in a way which seems beneficial for road users, that is not the whole truth. Insurance companies and government leaders have been lobbying for a change in the personal injury landscape for years, citing a reduction in frivolous claims trickles down to savings for motorists. When insurance companies do not have to spend their money on settlement costs related to whiplash, they pass on the reduction in cost to drivers in the form of lower insurance premiums.

The reality is, however, that insurance expenses will not decrease as a result of whiplash reform, but instead, motorists will see little change. At the same time, vulnerable road users are left to fend for themselves in small claims court under the new programme. With the delay in implementing the reform, many have decided to speak out against it in the hopes that cyclists and other non-motorists on the road will have some protection, not penalisation, under the bill.

Image: Cycling Oxford cc by Tejvan Pettinger on Flickr

What does the future hold for whiplash claims in the UK?

On the UK’s personal injury claim landscape, 80 per cent of all claims are for whiplash injuries. Such is the prevalence of whiplash claims in the UK that it is known as the world’s Whiplash Capital; when compared to other countries, such as France and only a 3 per cent occurrence of whiplash, the UK’s whiplash problem becomes even clearer. Experts have estimated that whiplash claims in the UK is directly responsible for car insurance premiums rising by an average of £93, prompting Government to bring the issue up for review, with a view to curbing the exponential rise of whiplash claims. Here are some issues that may arise in the near future with regard to whiplash claims.

Are whiplash claims on the rise?

The prevalence of UK-based compensation claims for whiplash injuries has been speeding towards a problem for a long time, and the issue has finally impacted, with insurers and policyholders ultimately paying the price. Car insurance policy premiums are at an all-time high, costing the average driver approximately £800 per year, which is an increase of 14 per cent in the space of two years. The rampant use of legal action over minor and even contrived injuries has led to the many bearing the brunt of a problem created by the few, and the Government deciding to reform the process of claiming compensation for whiplash injuries, which is being instigated this year.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is actually a bit of a blanket term, and is used in relation to an injury to the muscles, nerves, discs, bones or tendons in any part of the back or neck. Accidents that involve abrupt impact or braking often cause passengers’ heads to be jerked in one direction and then back again with considerable force, which leads to inflammation, swelling and pressure on the nerves. While this tends to be the extent of whiplash injuries, severe cases can see damage to the neck bones too.

The problem is that whiplash injuries can be difficult to ascertain the seriousness of. In many cases, the injuries heal themselves within about six or nine months, but for the unfortunate few, permanent injury can be sustained.

Complications caused by whiplash

Anyone who believes they may have incurred a whiplash injury should immediately seek medical attention. Whiplash symptoms can worsen with time if left untreated, so an initial medical assessment is important. The common symptoms of whiplash include stiff or painful neck, diminished mobility, headaches and migraines. The intricate nature of whiplash injuries and the vast number of muscles, nerves and tendons that could have suffered because of it, make it a complex injury, and one that could cause long-term problems if not seen to early on.

If no expert help is sought following a whiplash injury, the likelihood of the damage developing into a more chronic condition is higher, and if a serious injury, such as a herniated disk, goes unnoticed, the long-term effects could be very serious. A doctor or chiropractor can examine existing injuries and devise a recovery plan to help rehabilitate the person and prevent the condition from worsening. Treatments like massage can help to ease muscle tension, while more specific physiotherapies and chiropractic manipulation can be used to treat more severe injuries.

The hidden symptoms of whiplash

People who have suffered from whiplash injuries often do not recognise other symptoms as being connected to their initial injury, at times preventing them from realising the extent of the damage. Headaches and migraines are one of the lesser known symptoms of whiplash, and are often considered a secondary symptom, in that they are directly brought on by the initial injury and the tensions and stresses caused by it.

It is also common for people with whiplash injuries to put off seeking help for what are deemed lesser symptoms, such as stiff necks and loss of mobility, under the assumption that the pain would clear up by itself. However, this can cause more harm than good, and an untreated injury can go on to become a long-term issue, impacting other facets of life, including quality sleep, ability to concentrate at work and general comfort.

Fact vs fiction

Because of the complexity of whiplash injuries and the difficulty faced in trying to determine the long-term impact of them, large compensation amounts being paid out to people whose injuries were not as serious or chronic as they implied has gained prevalence. Fear that further increases in such claims will only hike insurance premiums up yet again – and cause unnecessary problems for victims with legitimate claims – has seen a growing insistence that politicians review and reform the claims process for whiplash injuries in the UK. However, such efforts have been bogged down by other issues that have taken precedence, including Brexit.

The solution

Last year the Government declared that they would be ‘Reforming the Soft Tissue Injury (Whiplash) Claims Process’, in an effort to quash the ever-increasing claims, and the subsequent hiking of insurance premiums by implementing changes to the process followed to award and calculate compensation amounts. A fixed payout amount is being introduced for complainants whose injuries last less than two years, which is hoped to regulate the amount of money being distributed in this way. Additionally, the Small Claims Track Limit is being increased from £1000 to £5000, in an effort to reroute the majority of cases through small claims court, and therefore reducing both the amounts awarded to victims, and the amounts spent on legal fees, which often cause even more money to be spent in such cases. It is hoped that this will help to stabilise insurance rates too.

What this means for claimants

Part of the purpose of this reform is to repel false whiplash claims, but this should not dissuade genuine victims from filing for compensation. However, the reform means that claimants may have to take a different approach to filing their claim. The input of a reputable legal expert should be the first port of call, to give an indication of the viability of the case and how to  make a claim for whiplash injury, but it is likely that the majority of such cases will be continued in small claims court.

 

How important is no win, no fee to your online presence?

There is no denying, that when it comes to making a personal injury claim, no win, no fee is exceptionally important for your clients. It allows many people to pursue personal injury claims they otherwise would not, which is great news for you, and for your client. However, how can you utilise the power of taking on clients on a no win, no fee basis? Friends Legal, no win no fee lawyers Leeds, are an excellent example of how to market no win, no fee services correctly. Here are the three main things you can do.

Provide information

Although clients understand the basic concept of no win, no fee, many are still sceptical – how can lawyers simply work for free? Providing clear information about how exactly no, win, no fee works, and what your client can expect is an excellent way to build trust. It will also boost your conversion as you have already been helpful to the client by assisting them in understanding.

Provide a free initial assessment

Providing a free initial assessment is something most firms do anyway, but be sure to advertise this on your website. Make sure that clients understand that you are happy to discuss whether you can take on their claim on a no win, no fee basis, and that there is also no obligation to continue their claim, regardless of whether you can take them on on a no win, no fee basis or not. Consumers are very wary of hidden costs, and are fearful of how much legal fees might set them back. As a result, you should be as clear as possible about your processes for assessing a clients claim.

Provide information about how much they might be able to claim

We know that how much you can claim for a personal injury can vary wildly, however it is possible to give clients an idea of how much they might be awarded, should their no win, no fee claim be successful. Case studies of your successful past cases are very useful in helping clients understand how much they might be awarded, and also build confidence in your ability to win their case. You can also outline example amounts for different types of injury, and of varying severity. Clients are also interested in finding out all of the things you can help them claim for, so be sure to provide as much information about heads of claim as you can.

ONS reports highest number of road deaths since 2011 – claims for compensation rising too

car crash

According to the ONS, a total of 1,792 road deaths were reported in 2016, a rise of 4% compared with those in 2015; the highest figure since 2011. There was a 44% drop in fatalities during 2016 in comparison with 2006.

Personal injury claims as a result of road traffic accidents are on the increase, and if you have suffered an injury due to a road traffic accident, you might be entitled to compensation. If you need to file a road accident claim Gloucestershire legal specialists are available to assist you with legal and procedural advice to ensure your claim has the best possible chances of success.

Other notable statistics reported by the ONS include:

  • There were 24,101 people seriously injured as a result of road traffic accidents during 2016. However, comparisons of this figure with earlier figures is challenging, as there have been changes in the manner in which severity of injuries are now reported.
  • There were 181,384 casualties in total in 2016. A 3% decline from 2015 figures, the lowest ever recorded.
  • Motor traffic levels increased by 2.2% from 2015 to 2016.

What can be concluded:

There has been a statistically significant decrease in the number of casualties in road traffic accidents between 2015 and 2016. This suggests there are various factors that have combined together to improve some aspects of safety on Britain’s roads.

What cannot be concluded:

The number of deaths as a result of road traffic accidents increased between 2015 and 2016, but the change is minor, and can be attributed to natural fluctuation in deaths over a period of time.

The 2016 serious injuries figures were substantially impacted, and figures for slight injuries also, but less severely, by changes in reporting systems used by approximately 50% of UK police forces. Therefore, comparisons with figures from 2015 for serious injuries may prove to less accurate.

  • In 2016, a total of 24,101 seriously injured casualties were reported in road traffic accidents.
  • There were 181,384 casualties reported in road traffic accidents during 2016. This is around 3% lower than in 2015, and the lowest level ever recorded.
  • 136,621 personal-injury cases related to traffic accidents were reported in 2016, of which 1,695 involved at least one death.

Regardless of the type of personal injury sustained in a road traffic accident, you should always seek legal advice. Many legal firms offer a team of specialists in personal injury and compensation claims. If you need to make a traffic accident compensation claim, a workplace compensation claim, a burn compensation claim, or a cosmetic surgery compensation claim, having the right legal specialist working on your case will increase the chances of receiving an acceptable compensation settlement.

No Win No Fee solicitors services in Ireland

If you or a member of your family has been injured in an accident or suffered from any form of injury or illness due to an act of negligence or a lack of duty of care, we could help you to claim the compensation that you deserve.

Our guarantee is that if there is no win, then there is no fee, so in the unlikely event that we do not succeed with a personal injury claim, there will be no cost to you.

We provide personal injury and medical negligence advice in Ireland. We will deal with your personal injury claim in an efficient, effective and sympathetic way so you receive the best compensation settlement possible. We are extremely proud of all the wonderful feedback we have received from our clients in the past. We will do what it takes so the feedback continues into the future.

A No Win, No Fee agreement is an arrangement between you and us who are your personal injury Solicitors which means that if unfortunately, your compensation claim with us is not successful, we, your no win no fee  Solicitor at http://cli.re/gA3YQ5 will not be paid for the work we have done. If you win your claim, we, your Solicitor is paid our fees by the other party, typically an insurance company.

The No Win No Fee agreement covers both our fees and costs and applies to Road traffic accidents, which cover accidents with cars, Lorries, motorbikes, bikes and pedestrians; it also covers slips and falls and of course, works accidents and injuries. Where there is a lack of duty of care in a medical established then we also offer No Win No Fee agreements.

A no win no fee claim is a conditional agreement between you and us your Personal injury solicitor. We fully agree that if your case is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay the fees or costs to us. If your case is successful, on the other hand, your personal injury solicitor’s fees and costs are paid out by your adversary. That means, win or lose, it will not cost you anything upfront to make a personal injury claim.

No win no fee claims mean an opportunity to seek accident compensation without worrying about the serious financial risk involved. Many people who suffer personal injuries in Ireland turn to no win no fee claims for two key reasons;

  • No financial risk for you in going down the No Win No Fee route
  • It focuses our mind on winning your Personal injury claim for compensation as if we lose we are out of pocket!

You should know that in Ireland we, your personal injury solicitors and indeed all solicitors in Ireland are not allowed to charge clients a percentage fee for winning a case. Only work performed can be charged.

The insurance industry is very critical of No Win No Fee agreements as they claim that it fuels the Personal injury industry, but we believe that No Win No Fee makes justice available for all.

Personal injury solicitors design new site for Ireland

PISD help people to contact the best legal representation for those who have been injured in an accident or by a medical intervention either physically or mentally due to the negligence of an individual, company or another party. In short, it is their job to prove that the negligence of a third party or parties caused your injury. They work mainly on a No Win No fee basis which makes personal injury claims easy to access for all. No Win No Fee solicitors are the way to go.

Their experienced personal injury solicitors at http://cli.re/gzKzbm have specialist expertise in all areas of personal injury and medical negligence law. If you have been injured or suffered medically because of someone else’s negligence, they will guide you through the process of making a personal injury or medical negligence claim for compensation against the individual or organisation responsible for your injury.

Following any such injury from an accident or medical intervention, it is important to contact a personal injury solicitor as quickly as possible. Although by law, those injured in such incidents are allowed up to two years (unless you are a minor) within which personal injury claims must be commenced, they would always recommend commencing your claim as soon as possible so that all the necessary information can be documented as accurately as possible while your recollection and that of any witnesses of the accident remains fresh.

Personal injury may be defined by injuries suffered because of an accident that was not your fault and could involve road traffic accidents, slips, and falls and work accidents and injuries. Road traffic accidents may involve, cars, Lorries, buses, motorbikes, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Medical personnel have what is called a “duty of care” to their patients. Doctors, Surgeons, Consultants, dentists, and nurses may define medical personnel etc. When there is negligence and the duty of care is not provided then the patient may take a Medical Negligence claim out for damages due to the harm, loss of income and quality of life etc.

Personal injury solicitors may seem like an expensive option just to make a personal injury claim for compensation for what could be a minor injury, but when you consider the experience and knowledge they bring to the table, opting to hire a solicitor like them is simply a no brainer. On top of that, they are also No Win No Fee solicitors and that makes life easier.

Their Personal injury solicitors love their job not only because of the money they can earn but from the satisfaction they get from helping those that very often are in a situation when they need it, and their team are no exception.

If you need an expert, then contact us today to find out how they make a serious difference in helping you. They have a team of personal injury solicitors with many years of experience in successfully claiming compensation for clients, mainly on a No Win No Fee basis.

Whiplash claims reform to benefit insurers most

RTA UK 2 CC license

In early January of this year, the UK’s Ministry of Justice closed a consultation on soft tissue injury claims, or whiplash, reform after a seven-week response period. During that time, interested parties were given an opportunity to analyze the significant impact the proposed changes to the claims process relating to whiplash after road traffic accidents would have. The reforms, coming only a short three years after similar measures benefiting large insurers, purport to address the perception of an excessive compensation culture throughout the UK, focused on fast cash for claims that burden the insurance companies and ultimately, raise premiums for motorists.

Within the proposal for reform, the government offered four substantial changes to how claims are handled currently. The first change hones in on the need to reduce fraudulent claims made by dishonest motorists or cash-hungry whiplash victims by altogether taking away compensation paid for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity (PSLA). An alternative to completely dissolving the opportunity for compensation is to cap the total amount paid to no more than £400 per incident. In addition, the reforms propose a denial of any whiplash claim brought against an insurance company that does not come with medical evidence to support it, and an all but forced small claims track for personal injury claims after road traffic accidents.

The combination of these reforms is, according to the proposal, intended to reduce the frivolous soft tissue injury claims and starkly reduce the average amount of a claim, currently at an estimated  £1,850. The reduction to compensation amounts, increased maximum for small claims court, and requirement of medical evidence of whiplash is all meant to deter individuals from making claims that may not be substantiated. Although the reform for soft tissue injury claims processes is spun under the guise of saving safe, honest motorists some money each month in insurance premiums, the true motivating force behind the potential changes is clearly an industry interested in higher profits.

The case for insurers

No altruistic driver is apparent in the insurance industry, despite the narrative of wanting to create a more honest, claim-wary population. Instead, insurers have created a story of a growing epidemic of fraudulent whiplash claims, pointing to the detriment erroneous lawsuits cause for the vast majority of motorists. In the opening letter of the reform, the government cites that an increase in whiplash claims has taken place over the last ten years, to the tune 50%. In addition, individuals filing soft tissue injury claims tack on costly attorney fees in addition to pain, suffering, and loss of amenity, creating a substantial blow to the insurance companies and the road users who rely on affordable coverage.

The reality of the soft tissue injury claims issue is not nearly as excessive as insurers might hope to promote. Instead, the cost of claims have fallen steadily for the last five years, and the associated cost to the insured population has experienced a 30% decline since 2010. Yet insurance companies have raked in more than £2.5 billion in profits by slowly increasing insurance premiums since 2013. The rise in cost to motorists can’t be directly correlated to an increase in fraudulent soft tissue injury claims, nor the cost of paying for substantiated claims. Motorists are required by law to hold insurance – the insurance companies have taken that mandate straight to the bank, and now are on the path toward limiting the benefits they provide to road users throughout the country.

A missing piece

Insurers claim to be on the right side of the reform, touting a reduction in premium costs to the insured population by putting an end to abusive whiplash claims. The unfortunate truth is that, while some motorists will be afforded cost savings by way of lower monthly premium payments, others will continue to be left out in the cold. A representative from a personal injury firm dealing with motorcycle accidents in the UK states, “The vulnerable 1%, including motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, should be protected from the potential impacts of the proposed reforms, but they stand to be adversely affected instead. Motorcyclists represent just 1% of road traffic but account for 19% of all road user deaths. Given that accidents involving vulnerable road users are often more complex and more severe, the proposed reforms have the potential to keep them from receiving just compensation when they need it most.”

The soft tissue injury claims reform is a singularly focused method to reduce the number of fraudulent claims against insurers. Unfortunately, the perceived benefits of the reform put a heavy burden on the individuals who turn to their insurance companies for the financial assistance they are entitled to after a road traffic accident, especially road users who are more vulnerable to injury. Insurers are standing firm in their narrative that abusive claims work to drive up costs for the average motorist, but the data points to a driving force produced by the need to increase profit margins. The potential £40 savings possibly passed down to safe, honest road users hardly offsets the handcuffs placed on their ability to receive compensation from insurers after a road traffic accident occurs.