Law Firm Attacks Whiplash Reforms
A Leeds law firm has criticised the government over whiplash reforms which, it claims, will adversely affect thousands of genuine claims.
Leeds (I-Newswire) January 10, 2013 - Winston Solicitors LLP, based in Roundhay, has spoken out over government proposals to raise the small claims limit on whiplash cases to £5,000 and says the move may well lead to the majority of victims of whiplash injuries having to represent themselves.
The justice secretary Chris Grayling said the threshold for such injuries would rise from £1,000 to £5,000 at the same time as announcing plans for independent medical panels to diagnose whiplash injuries. The Ministry of Justice, while acknowledging the argument that this could mean victims receiving smaller offers from insurers or failing altogether to receive suitable damages for their injuries, believes its action will reduce the number of fraudulent claims by subjecting them to proper interrogation.
Grayling said that honest motorists have, for too long, been paying the price for a system which is too open to abuse and that this has to change. However, law firms, including Winston Solicitors, are angry about the changes, claiming that, while the small claims court is suitable for minor disputes, it is not appropriate for more complex personal injury cases such as whiplash.
Karl Tonks, the president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) quoted recent research suggesting that 70% of people would not have any idea of how much to claim in the event of a whiplash injury. He said these people would, in representing themselves in court, be up against insurance companies who know exactly how much a claim would be worth.
He added that whiplash claims actually fell by 24,000 last year and about 40% who had received a whiplash injury in the past, had not claimed for it. Tonks said the government’s priority should focus instead on tackling claims management companies and banning text messaging and cold calling.
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Published in:Legal / Law
Published On:January 10, 2013
Print Release:Print Release
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