UK Personal Injury Review Causes Legal Concerns
Personal injury lawyers in the UK are expressing concern that Lord Young’s recently published report ’Common Sense, Common Safety’- produced following a review of health and safety laws and compensation claims in the UK - may restrict access to justice and funding for rehabilitation for those involved in serious injury claims.
The report, which was published on 15 October and has been accepted by the Government, aims to address the so called compensation culture. However, personal injury and clinical negligence lawyers have identified a range of shortcomings in its findings:
- A one size fits all approach restricting recoverability of costs tries to treat a child who becomes paraplegic in an accident with a difficult claim but significant needs in the same way as a person claiming for a whiplash injury - yet the need and complexity are vastly different;
- No clear recommendations are made on how to deal with claims management companies which sell claims to the highest bidder with no check of the service offered and often encourage claims by way of incentives;
- The fact that costs in personal injury and clinical negligence claims are frequently driven by defendants who refuse to admit liability and/or protract litigation is ignored;
- Many cases which are valid but difficult to prove may not be taken on under the new proposals because of fears that litigation costs will not be recovered - thus resulting in only ’sure fire’ cases being taken on and a loss of access to justice for those with significant injuries;
- In clinical negligence claims, removing after the event insurance may result in only those who can afford to pay for expert reports as part of the investigation of their case being able to bring claims - meaning access to justice for the rich rather than the deserving;
- There is no focus on quality standards for those advising on personal injury claims to ensure that only valid cases are pursued.
Philippa Luscombe, a partner in Penningtons’ personal injury team, has analysed the report and gives expert commentary on its implications for those seeking compensation in this country in this report: http://bit.ly/e3DN93
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