How have personal injury claims been impacted by Covid?

The impact of the novel coronavirus has been felt in just about every part of the economy. Among the most obvious implications have been medical ones. We’ve all been paying close attention to the number of reported cases and hospitalisations due to Covid-19.

Statistics elsewhere, on the other hand, might indicate a silver lining or two. For example, the number of personal injury claims have hit an eight-year low.

It might seem obvious that claims are in sharp decline because fewer people are in work, and thus they’re instead having their accidents at home. However, the statistics released by the Ministry of Justice in March describe a fall to just under twenty-seven thousand personal injury claims in the last few months of the previous year – in other words, before anyone had heard of Covid-19.

According to the MoJ, this decline is largely due to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, which effectively made litigation more affordable for those who might not otherwise have considered it.

How might Covid impact my claim?

The damages awarded in personal injury claim serve two purposes. First, there’s a sum to compensate for any financial loss incurred as a result of the injury. Second, there’s a sum to offset the pain and suffering that the ordeal might have inflicted.

If you’ve been injured during the pandemic, then your recovery might have been complicated by the lockdown restrictions. If this is the case, then you’ll want to ensure that you’re working alongside a personal injury solicitor who understands the current difficult circumstances. For example, the people who might otherwise have looked after you might have to isolate socially themselves. The process of collecting medication might have become extremely difficult. Moreover, the psychological impact of having to recover from an injury might have been further complicated by the loneliness of enforced lockdown.

What changes are on the horizon?

The future is difficult to predict, because the medical facts on the ground are uncertain. However, changes to the law due to come into force next year thanks to the Civil Liability Act 2018, which will raise the threshold for the case to be taken beyond the small claims court. For road accidents, the estimated damages will need to exceed £5,000. For other incidents, the figure is £2,000.

At present, only very minor injuries are lumped into the ‘small claims’ category. Once the changes come into effect, even those suffering from broken bones and permanent scarring might find themselves unable to secure a no-win-no-fee solicitor.