Kenneth Clarke outline plans to allow personal injury claims online. Under the same proposals, those seeking a compensation claim would need to try mediation before applying to court.
It was part of a series of measure designed to free up our courts and speed up compensation claims, while also lowering the rising cost to insurers and their customers.
According to researchers, the average legal cost of a compensation claims is now 142% of the award, up from 56% in 1999. The average award has also increased by 33% and the fees themselves are up almost 300%. No legal system can maintain, or justify such rises, especially in a challenging financial climate.
The changes to compensation claims proposed are to allow personal injury claims online up to a value of £50,000. This is to reduce court time, speed up resolution and control the spiralling legal fees.
There are also plans to ban convicted criminals from making compensation claims. This is a very welcome move that will save around £5 million in costs to the Treasury. It means anyone serving time will not have access to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
Well-documented claims include Ian Huntley making a compensation claim for £15,000 for injuries he sustained while in custody. These type of claims also include controversial claims in which burglars have demanded money for injuries sustained when escaping the scene of the crime. Thousands is also paid out every year to criminals who sustain injuries in prison as a result of feuds and drug-fuelled violence.
There will also be changes to the way companies represent themselves to their potential clients and how they list fees. The changes include a distance-selling type cooling off period for all contracts and a written statement of charges for each client considering a compensation claim.
The biggest change will be to remove compensation claims for less than £2,500. This is by far the most controversial change. It means anyone who suffers anything up to facial disfigurement, loss of taste or smell or a fractured skull would no longer be entitled to claim.
Thanks to the tariff system already in place for compensation claims, we know precisely who will and who will not be affected by this and those injuries form part of those who will.
This also include serving police officers, paramedics and other frontline units who put themselves at risk on our behalf. While fair in theory, the reality of these limits will hurt an already overstretched emergency service system. If nothing else, emergency services should be exempt from these cuts.
The Effect of Making a Personal Injury Claim Online
While it would be easy to wax lyrical about the political outrage some of these changes would bring, for the most part, these changes are positive.
The ability to bring a personal injury claim online will make life easier for everybody. That is as long as the website that controls it is designed and implemented properly. Making a compensation claim can be a long, drawn out process involving a lot of court time. Continue reading